Billable Inventory Items & Time

A certain Intuit product that I’ve been using for a while has a nice feature (We won’t mention their not so nice ‘features’ here. . . .) where if you purchase an inventory item, you can designate that item as billable to a specific customer:

This make is nice and easy when you go to invoice the customer, QB has an ‘add time/costs’ button:

In trying to replicate this behavior in Manager, ‘Billable Expenses’ was enabled, but when I try to enter an inventory item and make it billable to the customer, Manager only allows it to be allocated to the ‘Inventory on hand’ account and not the ‘Billable Expenses’ account:

I would like to track items (be able to generate reports on quantities sold and profit margins) and when I purchase them, make them billable to a specific customer if I choose to. It looks like Manager should be able to do this, but I’m struggling with how.

Would this also apply to billable time? Technician Marie spent 2 hours on Customer Yancy’s problem on Tuesday from 2-4PM.

The Billable Expenses feature can be used for purchases you want to pass on to a customer:

The Billable Time feature can be used to invoice time to a customer:

I use Billable Time every month for every client. I don’t use Billable Expenses. I found it easier in my case to simply create a small number of non-inventory items ( and add these to my clients’ monthly invoices manually.

Thanks for the response and the info - I’ll check out the billable time feature.

However, with the Billable Expense feature, I can’t seem to get Manager to let me enter an inventory item as a billable expense.

That is because items purchased on behalf of customers (billable expenses) are not inventory. They never affect your Inventory on hand account. Their costs are being passed through to a customer. So they show up in the Billable expenses asset account.

Typical billable expenses include things like airline tickets billable to a customer, materials to support service jobs like plumbing repairs, or copying costs for legal papers.

If you have inventory items in stock, you can add those directly to a sales invoice to bill them to a customer.

Is there such a thing as Billable Inventory which does affect the Inventory on hand account? It would be useful to have Manager track which item goes to which customer.

No, @Gordogato, there is not. You are confusing and combining different concepts. Inventory items are always trackable in the Inventory Items tab and various reports. By definition, you buy them to sell to customers. As @cfischer69 wrote, you can add them to invoices for billable time or billable expenses. If those were the only things you were buying and then selling to customers, there would be no need for the Billable Expenses tab.

Billable expenses are incurred on behalf of a customer. They would never involve anything that could be sold to someone else, while inventory items could. Billable expenses are immediately offset by their costs in the profit and loss statement and do not affect profit unless you mark them up. For many, probably most, users, there is no intent to make a profit on billable expenses. Inventory items, on the other hand, are purchased with the goal of either making a profit through their sale or upon sale of a manufactured item that they are used to produce. Another way to think of billable expenses is that the customer is reimbursing you for goods or services purchased on their behalf.

Aside from the fact that this is not how manager works, I cannot really see why you have to create an inventory item to be billable to a specific customer. If it is back ordered only, then there’s no point of stocking it. Inventory is meant for stockable items not billable expenses.

Personally, I would enter these items as billable expenses and not worry about wasting my time affecting any inventory items.

When selling inventory, it is essential to track what item goes to which customer. In Manager, it looks like that if you purchase several different inventory items from a vendor for several different clients, then you have to keep track of which item goes to which customer. Bummer- that’s more work for us when using Manager versus using QB and allows more room for human error - especially if one person is entering the purchases and another is invoicing the customers. QB lets you allocate each item to a customer as either an expense or a billable item right from the window where you enter the purchase - see picture above.

In evaluating Manager for switching from QB we have to decide if inconveniences like this one are worth foregoing the cons of QB.

@Gordogato, I suggest you take the time to understand Manager before condemning it. As I wrote in post #7, inventory items are trackable by customer through the Inventory Items tab. They are also trackable by customer through the Inventory Quantity Summary and Inventory Value Summary reports.

@Tut You seem pretty defensive - condemning Manager is not my intent and I apologize if you feel like Manager is being condemned.

I feel like you don’t understand what I’m asking - maybe because you’re not familiar with Quickbooks. It is clear that in Manager, inventory items are trackable by customer. That’s not the issue.

The problem is that when entering a ‘Purchase Invoice’ or ‘Payment’ to acquire new items, there is no way to allocate an item received to a particular customer. This causes an issue when creating invoices for the customer - you have to remember what items go to which customer Manager should remember this information for you and put the information into the invoice for the customer automatically. It’s one of the reasons we use computers for information processing - they’re good at it!

In Manager, it looks like the only way to allocate anything to a customer in order to bill the customer is through ‘Billable Expenses’ which is not for items.

Quickbooks allows you to do this easily which saves time and helps prevent human error - like I said earlier.

Manager not having this capability or my not knowing how to use this capability in Manager is a problem for me to successfully use Manager.

Then you should not say things like this that are not representative of how Manager functions:

As an example, you wrote:

No, you do not. Manager does that for you. It seems you are spending quite a bit of time trying to refute what I have told you and justify your earlier misconceptions about Manager. I suggest that you instead create a test company and try entering some representative transactions to see how the program works and just what information is available.

Here, you indicate a flawed understanding of fundamental accounting. When you purchase inventory—no matter what accounting program you use—you are never entering an expense. Inventory you purchase becomes an asset, not an expense. Its cost is transferred to expenses as cost of goods only when sold.

I understand what you are asking. Unfortunately, it contradicts basic accounting principles.

I’m sorry, but you have said several times in several ways that it is.

You can do exactly what you want with Billable Expenses. You just cannot buy inventory that way, because inventory belongs to your business, not to a customer. But if you sell inventory to a customer, Manager does remember who you sold it to and will report that information in all the ways I have already described, but which you seem determined to disregard.

Manager does have the necessary capability, consistent with good accounting practice. You need to learn how to use the program. Again, I recommend creating a test business to see for yourself how things work.

Out of interest, how of does you business operate.
Do you have many inventory items but aim to keep no stock of most things, ordering them only to fulfil customers orders, possibly using drop shipping when available?

What reports do you require to run your business?

Manager maybe able to achieve all you actually require.

By the way if you want a program which behaves like your old program, then you have specified you will have to keep using your old program.

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Why would the guy doing the purchase tells the sales person about what the salesperson should give the customer?

What if 10 customers backordered the same 3 inventory items that compliment each other. Should the purchasing guy magically know that the salesperson received those 10 orders? Moreover, should the purchasing agent split each line of inventory item into 10, effectively doing 10x the work.

To me it looks like you adapted your work to the bad design of qb and know you have Stockholm syndrome.

That’s how you miss out on opportunities, if you keep an open mind and accept that there are more than one possible workflow for the same process, and try Manager’s own processes, then you might actually find manager to be more efficient.

First option is if to place a purchase order per sales order and use the copy button on your sales order to do that.

Second option is to invoice customer orders (lock them in) and these amounts would show as quantity to be delivered on inventory items. From the inventory tab you should know which products go to which customers.

We use sales orders to allocate items and time to customers. At the time they are ordered from our supplier, they are added to the sales order for the project. Upon completion the sales order is converted to an invoice and away we go.