Displaying Billable time custom fields on invoices?

Step one I created custom fields to Billable time. This includes Project number, category (type of service ie in-house or external) and staff member (ie role type) all relating to the billable time and cost there of.

Step two I generated the invoice but can’t seem to call any of the custom fields from the billable time.
(I did manage to add a custom field to the invoice, but his doesn’t allow me to call the billable time custom field or fields.

I thought maybe one could call the billable time custom field from within the tax invoice custom field in a manner similar to an email auto responder by using %billable_time_custom_field_NAME%.

Your further input on this item would be greatly appreciated.


Did you check the “Show custom field on printed documents”?

Yes that is checked on all three of the billable time custom fields.

That is because custom fields created for billable time entries only show there. In general, if you want custom fields to show on sales invoices, you must create them for sales invoices. There are a few exceptions. One includes:

  • Inventory items
  • Non-inventory items

For both categories of items, if a custom field is created for the item and checked to show on printed documents, the field will be inserted into the main body of the transaction form as an additional column and the content (if any for that item) will be displayed.

Another exception includes transaction recipients:

  • Customers
  • Suppliers
  • Employees

These fields will display at the bottom of a transaction that includes the relevant recipient, if the box is checked to show on printed documents.

Billable time entries are not line items, so no line-item custom fields. They only become line items (general ledger transactions) when invoiced.

Just discovered that. That’s very useful. Thanks. BTW it works also for Inventory Kits.

Yes, because they are items.

There might also be other subsidiary ledgers, but I didn’t have time to search for them.

It would. Coincidentally I logged an ‘idea’ for same very recently. - see Flowing Custom fields to Sales invoice lines from Billable time

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Are you saying that you are able to enter data in a custom field in a Sales Order - and when you “Copy to Invoice” the data is filled in the same field in the Invoice? How did you do that?

Line custom fields will not carry forward. Only regular custom fields will if they have identical labels.

Apparently I was wrong and I don’t know how I got this idea.

Definitely one for future development. The client wants to see more and more on the invoices and the custom fields appear to be the way forward. Just need a similar option to “show on printed documents” for carry the custom field through to the invoice.

Having used billable time extensively for 7 years, my recommendation is not to hope for custom fields that will carry forward to an invoice for information you want customers to see. I use custom fields for the Billable Time module for several purposes, such as service classification, staff member’s name, etc. These are very useful for internal purposes—searching, sorting, creating reports, and so forth.

But in many cases, you might not want some of that information going to a customer. And, of course, different customers request different information. But the option to show a custom field on a printed document would be universal. A given field would appear on every invoice. So you would lose control over this.

If you want information to show for the customer, my strong recommendation is to put it into the Description field for the billable time entry. It’s quite easy to adapt that content to the needs of any particular customer—even after an invoice is created, by editing. You can even format the Description field using HTML code, so it is very flexible.

To summarize my practices, most built-in fields are for the program, but descriptions are for the customer, and custom fields are for my business uses. That has worked extremely well over a wide range of customer and service types. If treatment of custom fields for billable time were ever to change, there would be serious issues of backwards compatibility.

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Yes - thank you Tut. I have modified my descriptions to include the additional data required. As you state this is what the customer will see.
I recently came across the ability to use html. I will be exploring this more.

Our use case is very open with the client. We are supplying resumes of the staff working on projects to the client and as part of the project requirements we must list a range of information to break down costs to areas, staff role or type of service etc. It is the most detailed invoicing we have had requested.
It’s actually a good thing for our business and we will adopt this commonly moving our business forward (the drop down menus are very useful for this data but Manager does cope by remembering description entries)

As you suggest for the custom fields to work you would need to be able to turn each custom field on or off for each individual invoice …and by backwards compatibility I assume they would be default off for already generated invoices and then you would need to have a means to set all future invoices to use a standard template that has only specifics on. SO I do see the complexity unfolding.

This would rely on Form Defaults. But those are defined for transaction types, not for the custom fields themselves. You can specify default content for custom fields, but it then appears on all custom fields. So, for example, if you tailored your default sales invoice content to include a custom field related to billable time, the same content would appear on a sales invoice selling inventory items. All could be edited, but the potential to forget and the irritation of having to frequently delete unwanted content would be high. (More complexity unfolding, as you put it.)

newbee here making my transition successfully from QBONLINE:
In searching for subcategory specification under billable time (time entry details) I’m struggling to do the most basic thing which QB has:
service type:
website dev
graphic design
I of course added custom fields to my billable time which accomplishes nothing (besides internal filtering as mentioned) - I understand the auto-fill occurs on descriptoin field of billable time > but isn’t this a major missing function to designate/categorize anything about billable time (services/time entry) ? Both for reports and important for me to show on invoices what type of service.
I had to create non-inventory items for these categories to show in invoice and or account types under income – to show breakdown on profit/loss simple report > can someone advise comment on this and confirm that auto-fill desc field is only option &/or best practice - was I doing something wrong in QB because it worked well ?

Welcome to the forum @James_Thompson,

Have you tried using Divisions? This will help you categorize your billable time for internal reporting, as for the invoice display, you have the Description field as you already mentioned.

For more details on Divisions you can see the following guides:

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Quickbooks and Manager are two different accounting systems and it is not really useful to expect that what was available in one, is available in the other.

You will have to research and use Manager to see if it is compatible with what you are looking for, otherwise continue to use Quickbooks

The best way to do this, is to setup a test company, read the guides and then try out the various options and features available in Manager. Other users, ie forum users, cannot be expected to show you how to do what you are looking for. They can guide you in explaining the features available in Manager, but you need to read the relevant guides - in particular the old guides available at Guides | Manager

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