Am I Misunderstanding Disbursements?

So, I think I’m getting the hang of Manager. For my last invoicable job, I had to buy some spare parts for the client. After reading around on the forums, it seemed that Disbursements was the tool to do this, but I’m obviously misunderstanding the process. I’ve added the appropriate tool to the LH panel, and when I click on it I get a window with two buttons, one at the top left marked new sales invoice, and a big blue one in the middle of the screen with the same wording. I click on either of them and it asks me for a customer. I select the correct one from the dropdown, click on next and just get a Screen marked New Sales invoice with the word empty in the middle.

So, what is the process for using this tool? Is it even the right tool? Should I just use the Expenses tab and add another line to my invoice? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

You don’t use the disbursements directly to create the disbursement. See the help guides on how disbursements work Disbursements In your purchase invoice, you select disbursements recoverable. This will allocate the expense to the disbursements account. The guides explains it well.

Excellent, thank you. One other issue, I see how to create an invoice for that disbursement as a stand alone item, but how can I add that Disbursement item to a Billable time invoice? I see the Disbursements Income in the account tab, but that doesn’t seem to link to my created disbursement items. Do I just do it manually or does that muck everything up?

If some disbursement under Disbursements tab is marked as unbilled but you want to link this disbursement with an existing invoice to make it appear as “invoiced”, simply edit the disbursement, change the status to “invoiced” and select the invoice it relates to.


So the correct procedure is to create the Disbursement under Expense claims, create a normal invoice, and manually add the amount of the disbursement with the Disbursement Income tag. Then I edit the appropriate disbursement item, tagging it with the appropriate Invoice number. Correct?

Sorry if I’m dragging his out, I just want to make sure I’m doing this correctly from the start.

I know @lubos must be tired of hearing it from me, but I think the inability to take full advantage of the invoicing features of Billable Time and Disbursements is Manager’s biggest remaining shortcoming. Regardless of whether a sales invoice is initiated in one of those two modules or directly from Sales Invoices, I think you should be able to add billable time or expenses in the same way. To my way of thinking, it would be worth giving up the ability to create a sales invoice from Billable Time or Disbursements and do it only from Sales Invoices if the Customer > Item click-through process could be preserved. Editing the disbursement or time entry when you are in the midst of creating a sales invoice is not an acceptable workflow.

I know little about accounting, ( as you can probably tell! ), and even less about software development, but it would seem straightforward to me to have a Create Invoice tab that picks up all the un-invoiced items due to a selected customer, (sales, disbursements, billable, etc.) and lets you click and select which ones to put in an invoice.

What you suggest, @pinkmouse, is what several users have advocated. The challenge comes from the manner in which various capabilities were added to Manager. Standard sales invoices came first. Then billable time was added, demanding quite a bit more background capability, such as integration with customers, ability to invoice some but not all charged time to allow for projects that might not be billable according to contract terms, etc. Since @lubos’s overall philosophy is to let users add modules only as they need them, the new capability became its own module.

Disbursements was added still later and turned out to be more complex than you might have thought, because, in addition to the customer integration, it had to allow for those who might mark up expenses and for billed expenses a customer might refuse to pay (requiring a write-off capability). Once again, since many people don’t need this capability, a new module was created.

Each of these modules ended up adding some default accounts to make everything happen. Incorporating what seems straightforward, as you describe, isn’t perhaps as easy as it looks. (We have a saying in the tech/development world: “The rest is just engineering.” :grimacing: ) But @lubos has told us the final integration is on his list.

Meanwhile, there has been a side discussion about what to call the disbursements capability. Some of us have argued for Billable Expenses to match Billable Time. I think that question boils down to what is most obvious for new users, remembering that not only do you have to name the module, but also the accounts it requires.

Anyway, welcome to Manager. :grinning: