In QuickBooks are reports that will compare actual costs of a job or project with the planned cost amounts. You, the QuickBooks user, can see these comparisons and make adjustments for future projects to make them more profitable.
The starting point for this capability is the estimate form. We have to tell QuickBooks how much we plan things will cost. Then, the software will be able to compare those numbers to actual figures.
Above is a good example of creating an estimate with costs so the comparison reports will work. Note that the items describe the potions of the project that the company wants to track and compare for cost tracking purposes.
There is a cost column and a markup column. The Amount column shows the price or revenue of a particular item. QuickBooks computes this by using the cost and modifying by the amount recorded in the markup column.
However, you don’t need to allow QuickBooks to populate the Amount column. You may know the cost and revenue amounts for a particular line on the estimate. You can enter cost and revenue (amount), and QuickBooks will then compute the markup column from the information entered.
It should also be noted that it is not necessary to use a percentage if you are filling out the Markup column. If you enter a number without a percent sign, QuickBooks will use it as a dollar amount and simply add it to the cost figure.
If the estimate template you are using does not have a cost or markup column, you can add it. Note in the screenshot above that the formatting tab of the estimate form has been selected. Clicking on the Customize Data Layout button will open the following window.
Note that the Columns tab across the top has been selected. The circled lines point out the settings you want in your estimate form. Cost is selected to be on the screen view as well as the printed form. Markup is selected to appear on the screen only, not on the printed form.
This gets the estimated cost numbers into QuickBooks. In order to get the actual cost amounts, we need to include job information on all expense transactions for the job.
If we create our estimate as described above and enter all our job costs using the Customer:Job designation, we will end up with reports that give us cost comparisons not only for our projects, but for the various stages of our projects as well.