Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28

Chapter 7

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A product invoice is used as an example, and is brought up from the Sales tab of the Navigator, by clicking the Invoice icon.  You can also get there by clicking Activities|Create Invoices.  The service and professional invoices differ in that they do not use some of the fields and columns.  Customized invoices would have more fields, if you set them up.

Customer:Job is selected from the short form customer list, by clicking the down arrow.  Alternatively, enter Control-L to open the full customer list.  In this case, selection requires highlighting the customer name, and clicking Use.  This is the first of many entities brought in from the Building Blocks chapter.

A Job has many characteristics of an additional customer.  When payments come in, each one goes to only one job.  The job prints in the Project field of the invoice.  Jobs (beginning with version 4.0) may be joined on one customers statement.

0ne Time Customer can be set up as an umbrella name for non-recurring customers. The actual customer name can be entered in the Memo field of the invoice.  0ne is spelled with a numeral zero (0) which causes it to alphabetize at the top of the list.

lass, if used in your  XE "class:invoice" accounting plan, may be entered in the header, and will apply to each income transaction in the invoice. If the invoice is customized to add a class column, the class in the header will be the default class for each line item, but may be changed.

Custom Template allows selection of a customized invoice template, if any have been set up (Chapter 17,) beginning with QuickBooks 5.  The template concept divides invoice generation into two processes. The template determines which information is presented, and where.  Data entry fills in the information for each invoice, or other form.   

Date should be inspected on every window or box where it appears.  If a previous date is used on a transaction where entry is long after the fact, this date may be a default on the next form used.  The sticky date is handy, but sometimes is a bother.  Dates are, in one sense, from a list, specifically the list of  36,525 days which can be used in QuickBooks for Windows or Macintosh (1928 through 2027.)

Invoice Number increments  XE "invoice number" automatically, but is reset if you manually enter a number.  The largest incrementing number is 999,999,999 (dont use commas.)  One user actually found that 960000400 would increment, but not 9600000400, the 96 part being the year. 

Letters can be used in invoice numbers, and numbers to the right will increment, with qualifications.  Left zeroes are not remembered.  The number following 97West0004 is 97West5.  Something like 97West1004 would be needed.

Memo (below the invoice) is a free text field, and the content appears in the A/R  Register.  In reports, this memo may be retrieved with the Accounts Receivable end of the transaction.  It will not appear with the transactions in the line items.

Bill to (and on the Product Invoice) Ship to come from information entered in the customer record, but may be changed here. If either is changed here, QuickBooks will challenge you when the invoice is recorded.  The decision is, does the customer have a new address, or is the change for this invoice only.

PO Number is intended for the customers purchase order number, and is a text field of eleven characters.

Terms and Due Date may be selected from the list of terms, where the visible text is cosmetic.   The numbers behind the text control what happens. The list of terms may be edited under Lists|Other Lists|Terms.  QuickBooks 5 allows fractional percentage discounts.  The usual terms for any customer may be set up by editing the customer from the customer list.  Discounts may be adjusted when payment is received.

Rep displays initials from the list of employees.  Some reports can be sorted by Rep, as a basis for crediting employees with sales.

Ship Date    The default is the invoice date.

FOB means  XE "FOB" Free on Board, and usually refers to the place where title passes and from which the buyer pays freight. FOB is a text field, and QuickBooks will not recognize any significance to the content.  This a legal term, with many complexities in the UCC and case law, and all the opportunities for problems that a legal term implies.

Item is the name of the item in the Item List.  The item name must be displayed, but printing is optional (depending on type of invoice.)  The item brings along the sales income account, and, if applicable, expense or COGS and perhaps inventory accounts.

Description is copied in with the item, but may be edited here.  For long descriptions,  QuickBooks 5 provides an automatic line wrap, or new lines can be started with the Enter key. Only the Tab key will move out of this field; the Enter key will not do it.  In earlier versions, manual line wrap is needed, with several strokes of the Tab key.  See the TIP at the end of this section.

Qty, when blank, has a default of one. Negative quantities may be entered, but not a negative total invoice, in Windows or Mac versions.  That requires a credit memo.  (In the DOS versions, there is no separate credit memo.  A negative invoice is used.)

Rate is the unit price, and is also a default copied in with the item. 

Amount is the extension, the product of quantity times unit price.  The equality will be maintained; changing either Rate or Amount forces a change in the other.

Customer Message is selected from a list of customer messages.  If a new message is typed in, it must be added to the list. If a message is later changed, it will be changed automatically in the record of every invoice in which it is used.

Taxcolumn shows a T if the item is taxable.  There is no option to suppress display of the T.

Taxbox (at the bottom) shows a default entry of the sales tax item selected as the principal sales tax under Preferences|Sales Tax, but another may be picked from the list.  This will not appear if you have indicated that you do not collect sales tax, in the same preference.  The rate displayed is as set up in the sales tax item, and cant be changed here.  Some states require reporting location of tax-exempt customers, so this should be accurate on all sales.  Sales tax is covered in Chapter 10.

Tax amount is calculated from the total of taxable items, times the rate. 


A tax item group may be used, in which case the state and local taxes will be calculated separately, each rounded to the nearest cent.  The tax amount will be the sum of the rounded amounts.  It will not necessarily be the total rate times the taxable total.

Total shows the total amount of the invoice.  This is usually the sum of the items.  If a payment item is included, it will reduce the total and balance due.

Balance Due is the amount currently due on the invoice, reduced by any later payments.

OK records the invoice, and closes the Create Invoice window.


Curb your mouse!  The button described below will immediately kill a new invoice and discard any work done in preparing it.

Cancel means Oh, forget it!  On a new invoice, it would be discarded. Editing an existing invoice, it will be left as it was, with no changes being recorded.

Next (on a new invoice) records the invoice, and displays a new, blank invoice form.  When editing an existing invoice, it will question you about recording changes, and then go to the next existing invoice.

Enter closes the invoice.  On a new invoice, it is the same as Next, but when editing an existing invoice, it simply closes the edit and records. If Pressing Enter moves between fields has been selected, then Control-Enter closes the invoice.  See the TIP at the end of this section.

Prev goes to a previously existing invoice.  From a new invoice, it will record the invoice, as filled in.  From an existing invoice, it will first ask if you want to record changes, if any were made.

Pmt History displays payments received and applied to this invoice.  A payment received but not applied can be connected through Receive Payments.

Expenses or Time/Costs list expenses, items, and chargeable time, in QuickBooks Pro 4 or 5.  Other versions may allow expenses only.

Change Title allows printing of something other than Invoice.

Preview displays the copy that would be printed using the form selection Blank paper (w/ drawn-in boxes.)

Print prints the invoice, but does not record the invoice.  This is handy in some situations, if you keep track of what is done.

To be printed makes the invoice available for printing, under File|Print forms.

Customer is taxable means the customer is subject to paying sales tax.  If this is changed, upon recording, you have the option to make the change permanent, or one-time only. 

Invoices have been the subject of a long dissertation, for good reason.  Once you get a grip on the invoice form, the others will come easily.


The Description field, in QuickBooks 5, added an automatic line wrap, and changed manual line wrap.  Pressing Enter always goes to another line of description.  Many users, especially old DOS hands, (the author ) have found the preference (in General or Data Entry,) for Pressing Enter moves between fields. The description field makes a good case for not selecting this option.  You can learn to Jab the Tab with your pinky.  A QuickBooks seminar leader says The Tab key is your friend.

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Last modified: May 21, 2004