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Be A Better Bookkeeper

Being a bookkeeper or office manager for a construction business is one tough chore! There are thousands of little things that you have to keep track of and manage on a daily basis and there is always something “special” that your boss needs you to keep track of. Who has time to pick and poke around QuickBooks to see if you can automate a task? As a result, we all end up, at one point or another, resorting to a trusty Excel spreadsheet track something special. The result – fragmented data or information all over the place. These tips will help you to handle specific tasks.

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Tips for Effectively Using QuickBooks Purchase Orders

Using Purchase Orders in QuickBooks can help you to ensure that your Subcontractors or Material Suppliers do not charge you more than what they originally quoted you for a price and the Open Purchase Order by Job Report can help you to see how much in committed costs there are left on your jobs. Both very valuable pieces of information.

Having said that, you do have to use the QuickBooks Purchase Order function correctly and there are several pitfalls that can happen, that you will want to avoid.

This post provides you with tips for effectively using QuickBooks Purchase Orders as well as entering Bills against those Purchase Orders.

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How do Amazon Merchants Reconcile in QuickBooks? Webinar

One of the biggest struggles for merchants that sell on Amazon Seller Central; or participate in Amazon FBA is how to reconcile their orders with the payments received. Amazon pays their merchants either weekly, bi-weekly, or in some rare cases daily. The majority of merchants I work with are paid bi-weekly or weekly. They also combine all types of payments in your settlement; making it almost impossible to truly see the details behind Seller Central versus FBA sales.
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QuickBooks Tip: How to Calculate Over/Under Billings

You can easily calculate Over/Under Billings and Percent Complete from QuickBooks data IF:
  • You create an Estimate for EVERY job/project
  • You've modified the QuickBooks Estimate Template to include Cost and Markup columns and you utilize those columns when building your Estimate
  • All of your "Items" have been set-up to capture BOTH revenue and costs (double-sided items)
  • You enter ALL job related employee time and vendor costs using double-sided items
  • You create Job Types for Over/Under and Completed (with sub-types for years) and assign them correctly to your jobs
IF all of these things are currently in place in your QuickBooks file, this is how you can create a simple Over/Under Billing Report with Percent Complete WITHOUT hours of manual calculations.  To learn how, read the full blog post.
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Employee Reimbursements-Accountable vs Non-Accountable Plans

The IRS has very strict rules about how a business should handle employee reimbursements. If you make the payment under an accountable plan, deduct it in the category of the expense paid.  If you make the payment under a non-accountable plan, deduct it as wages and include it in the employee’s Form W-2. Avoiding paying unnecessary taxes on employee reimbursements involves keeping detailed and accurate records separating out how much your business spends on different types of expenses.
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QuickBooks at Year-End: Getting Ready for 1099’s

The end of the year is fast approaching and we are all getting geared up to issued 1099's to Vendors and W-2's to employees. Making sure that we issue 1099's to the appropriate Vendors is a task that we all need to pay attention to. This article talks about several reports that you can create in QuickBooks that will help you to make sure that your 1099 information is up to date by performing a self-audit of your records.
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QuickBooks Year-End Tip – Tracking 1099 & W-9 Information

With the end of the year quickly coming – I thought it might be a good time to discuss how you can track Vendor/Subcontractor 1099 information in QuickBooks. While actually issuing 1099’s is only a once a year event – if you plan and prepare all year long you’ll be in good shape. Thankfully QuickBooks provides with the tools and ability to track 1099 payments to subcontractors as well as the ability to generate these forms at year end - but if you don't know about (or use) these tools; well you are in for a tough time.
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Cleaning Up Your QuickBooks File at Year End

Most of us strive for an organized work space and a clean desk – if not on a daily basis at least once in blue moon. But few of us ever think about including our QuickBooks file when we think of “cleaning up at year end”. You probably think I’m a little nuts, right? Well maybe I am, but……
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How To Create a Payroll Deduction Authorization Form Using the QuickBooks Letters function

Payroll management isn't an easy task and certainly involves more than just getting paychecks distributed in a timely manner.   One area that businesses seem to have a hard time with is putting a plan in place to ensure payroll deduction authorization forms are properly collected and errors are prevented.  Payroll deduction authorization forms are a must if you are taking money out of an employees paycheck for anything other than required payroll taxes.  Yes, I know - more paperwork!  You can implement a simple system in which the authorization forms can be numbered as they come in and a log may be maintained to help keep track of the forms.  QuickBooks can help you to automate this process and even help you store this information electronically by attaching the authorization form to the employee record. Also, be sure to let employees know when the deductions will take effect. Generally, deductions would activate during the following payroll processing period after they were received.
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Recording & Tracking Employee Personal Tool Purchases

Quite often, especially in the construction industry, an employee will purchase tools for their own personal use; either using a company credit card or through a tool vendor account.  While most employers don't mind an occasional purchase such as this, it's important for you (as the bookkeeper) to track this information and make sure that the employee actually pays the company back for these purchases.  This blog post will provide you with instructions on how to track this in QuickBooks and provide tips for handling this situation if you use an outside payroll service.
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About Your Host:

Nancy Smyth, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Nancy Smyth, Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
QuickBooks Construction & Payroll Expert


I've been using and supporting QuickBooks products since the early 1990's. I've worked with thousands of contractors, assisting them with QuickBooks setup, Certified Payroll Reporting requirements, AIA Billing and Weighted-Average Overtime.


QuickBooks is a powerful product, but learning how to use it in your construction business can be difficult. I hope you find resources available here to be helpful.

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