Here is a quick checklist of the things that we need to do to get started. Don’t get overwhelmed. Honestly, once you get the hang of it you will find it is easy.
- Make sure all time is entered.
- Print or display the Unbilled Time Report and Unbilled Cost Report.
- Create invoices.
- Add any additional costs to the invoices.
- Print or e-mail the invoices. If you have a trust or escrow account you may want to transfer the funds and apply the transfers to the invoices before you print out the invoices.
- Run any billing reports you want.
- Take a coffee break because you are done.
Report on Unbilled Time
Once your time is entered, the first thing you should do is run a report that shows you all your unbilled time. This way you have a list of everyone that needs to be invoiced.
From the Main Menu, click Reports and choose Jobs, Time & Mileage. Locate the Time by Jobs Detail report and click it to open it. Click the bbutton on the top left, and then click the Filters tab. In the Filter box, scroll down to find Billing Status and click it. To the right, click in the Unbilled option (see Figure 10.10).
Next click the Header/Footer tab and enter a report title such as Unbilled Time by Job Detail (see Figure 10.11).
Make any other modifications that you want, and then click OK.
The report in Figure 10.12 shows you all the time you have entered that has not been billed to a client. You can change the date range to show whatever period you would like. I find it useful to set the date to All so that each time it comes up you don’t have to change the dates. Another good reason for setting it to All is to be sure you didn’t leave out any billing from a prior period.
Now that you have your Unbilled Time by Job Detail report let’s memorize it so you don’t have to customize each month. Click the Memorize button at the top of the window.
You may want to print the report at this point, or just keep it open on the screen so that you can refer to it. We are going to use this report as a reference to generate our invoices so that we make sure not to miss any. Our next step is creating the invoices.
The time has been entered and and we have created a report for unbilled time, so now we’re ready to start creating our invoices. From the Home Page choose Create Invoices. When the invoice comes up, the first thing that you are going to do is find the Customer:Job box near the top and click the dropdown menu to select your client from the list.
NOTE: QuickBooks does have an autocomplete feature in some text boxes. Click in the box and start typing the first few letters of the client, and Quick- Books will start narrowing the list for you.
After you choose the client, a pop-up box will appear if you have unbilled time/costs for the client (see Figure 10.13). If you do not see the box, check the client name to make sure that you chose the correct one. If the box still doesn’t pop up, you might have to double check that the time was assigned to the correct client. This is where using the unbilled time report is handy. You only see the clients that you need to bill, and that cuts down on confusion.
Choose the option Select the outstanding billable time and costs to add to this invoice? and then click OK.
The Choose Billable Time and Costs box will appear, and you will see all the time you have available to bill your client (see Figure 10.14). Click the Select All button to add all of the time, or you can select particular time entries, and leave others unchecked. If you do this, the unchecked entries will stay as unbilled and continue to display in your unbilled time report until they are billed.
You should also click the Expenses and Items tabs to see if they have any other charges to add to the bill (see Figure 10.15). Click the Select All button to add all of the expenses, or you can select particular expenses, and leave others unchecked.
When you have finished, click OK to add the items to the invoice. Once the time is transferred to your invoice, you can modify or add to the invoice. If you want to modify any of the rates or the descriptions, go ahead and do that now right on the invoice. Keep in mind, though, when you change something on the invoice, the change does not appear on the existing timesheet record. If you want to change the time record you will need to go to the time entry and edit that.
Before printing invoices, I find that it is a good idea to run the Unbilled Cost Report to make sure I didn’t leave any costs out during the billing process. To do this, go to the Main Menu and choose Reports. Then choose Jobs, Time & Mileage and Unbilled Cost by Job (see Figure 10.16).
When this report is displayed, you should not see anything on it if you have finished with your billing. If you do see something on it, you will need to go back to the original invoice and add these costs. Once you are finished, you are ready to print or e-mail the invoice.
You can print the invoice now or wait and print all of the invoices at once. To print or e-mail now, just click the Print or Email box at the top of the invoice. To save and print (or e-mail) all of your invoices at one time, make sure the Print Later (or Email Later) box is selected (see Figure 10.17).
Later, when you are ready to print all of them, click File, Print Forms, and Print Invoices.
Once invoicing is done, lawyers often ask me if there is a way to generate a report to see what was billed and by whom. If we set up your items by lawyer, we have a couple of options for generating a report that will give us that information: the Sales by Item Detail and Sales By Item Summary reports.
From the Main Menu, click Reports. Choose Sales and then Sales by Item Summary or Sales by Item Detail.
What we are doing is looking at the service item that is customized with the lawyer’s initials. As long as everyone uses his or her own items when tracking time, this report will give you a summary or detailed breakdown of the income generated for each lawyer.
You can customize these reports by clicking the Customize button and then Memorize when you have finished. Figure 10.18 has examples of these reports.
Success! We have completed our billing, and it is time for that break. Soon our money will begin coming in, and we will need to receive it and apply it to each client’s account.
More Time Practicing Law, Less Time Balancing Books
This post was adapted from the Law Practice Division’s publication Quickbooks in One Hour for Lawyers. In this book, Lynette Benton shares step-by-step guidance for getting started with QuickBooks and putting it to work tracking income, expenses, time, billing, and much more.