Quantity gets lost when creating invoices from reimbursable expenses

When I enter a payment as a reimbursable expense and subsequently create an invoice from that expense, any quantity and unit-price information I included in the payment entry are lost, and only the total amount is carried over to the invoice (although in some cases, the unit-price information is displayed incorrectly on the printed invoice).

For example, my client reimburses me for business use of a personal automobile on a per-mile basis. Let’s say I drive 100 miles to visit my client’s office. I create a payment for 100 miles at the standard rate (unit price) of $0.575/mile, crediting Cash and debiting Reimbursable expenses $57.50:

Then I create a sales Invoice to the client from the billable expense:

The invoice that is generated shows only the $57.50. That is the correct amount, but the quantity and unit price information are not displayed on the invoice:

If I edit the invoice, I can see that the quantity field is now blank, and the unit price has been changed to the total amount (in this case, $0.575 has been changed to $57.50):

The quantity and unit price information still appear correctly in the billable expense and payment entries, but for some reason are not reflected on the invoice. Worse, if there are other items on the invoice that do have quantities, the entered quantity for the billable expense still does not display on the invoice, and the wrong unit price appears:

The desired behavior is that if I enter a quantity and unit price for a reimbursable expense, those values should appear correctly on the printed sales invoice.

There are several things to comment on in your post, @Jon:

  • You should not be entering mileage allowances with payment forms. No money has left the business. Personal use of an automobile is equivalent to payment of an expense on behalf of the business by the employee (in this case, you). So you should use an expense claim. Rather than an expense being credited to Cash, the credit should be to Expense claims, a liability account, because the business owes you the money for the expense you incurred using your own vehicle. But the business has not yet paid that expense. If you want to reimburse yourself later to clear Expense claims, that would be a separate transaction. As a sole proprietor, you can also just clear the liability to Owner’s equity with a journal entry, debiting Expense claims and crediting Owner’s equity. (If using a capital account, the expense claim would be posted directly to it as a contribution of capital.)
  • Regardless of how the billable expense was created, though, when it is invoiced, it is converted to a total because you are not invoicing for a quantity of anything. Nor does the unit price really matter. You are invoicing the billable expense amount already recorded, not recording incurring the expense itself. That was done with the source transaction. To understand this better, follow the invoiced amount through all involved accounting. If you look in the Billable expenses - invoiced and Billable expenses - cost accounts after your invoice is created, you will see that your transaction has been reduced to a single credit or debit (depending on which account you are looking at). All of the movements of billable expenses from one account to another after their initial recording are effectively just journal entries in which the quantities and unit prices are meaningless. You are moving dippers of money from one bucket to another.
  • If it really matters to you, you can enter the mileage and rate in the description. Then they will show in the description when you invoice. Or you can edit the sales invoice after creation and substitute the mileage and rate into the appropriate fields. Of course, you would want to be sure the resulting amount matches the original source of the expense. Between the two choices, a complete description of what the expense is for is less work.