One of the interesting new features in QuickBooks 2016 (for full description: QuickBooks 2016 Has Arrived! Here Is What to Expect) is the Bill Tracker. We’ve had the Income Tracker feature for a few years now, which summarizes multiple income-related transactions into one screen where you can do bulk processing. Now Intuit has added a similar feature for purchase orders and bills. You can access this through a variety of points of access: the Bill Tracker option in the left navigation menu, an icon in the top icon bar, an icon in the Vendor Center, or by selecting Vendors in the main menu and then Bill Tracker.
Note that this information was recorded using a pre-release version, so you may see some differences when you get access to the public release of the product.
Managing Purchase Orders and Bills
If you are managing a large number of purchase orders and bills, it can be a hassle in QuickBooks. You may receive (and enter) bills from your vendors before you receive the items you ordered. You don’t want to pay those before the items are received! You also may want to prioritize which bills to pay by vendor. In QuickBooks you have to look at a number of different reports to see all of this information, and that makes it difficult to manage when there are a lot of transactions.
QuickBooks 2016 Bill Tracker Makes It Easier
To make this task simpler, Intuit has introduced the Bill Tracker. This presents all of the information you need to manage your bills in one screen, presented in the familiar “dashboard”-like visual layout like we are used to with the Income Tracker. It includes your purchase orders as well as unbilled, unpaid and paid transactions summarized in one screen. You can click on the colored bars at the top to filter for one category.
The default view shows you all unbilled purchase orders, unpaid bills and unreceived item receipts, as well as any bill payments made in the last 30 days.
There are a number of simple filters that you can apply to this list, which you almost always will do when using this, as the accumulation of all those transactions in the default view isn’t really useful. For example, click on the yellow bar at the top and you will see just the “open bills.”
Some additional filters and items of interest here:
- The Vendor dropdown lets you filter for a single vendor, useful if you just want to see what you owe a particular vendor.
- The Type dropdown lets you filter by transaction type. For instance, in the screen shot above you see both Bills and Item Receipts, but you can use the type filter to only see the bills.
- Status lets you choose all, open or overdue transactions.
- Clear / Show All will reset all of the filters to return you to the original state.
- You can sort the display by clicking on any column heading. You cannot change which columns show.
- The Action column button lets you perform an action on the selected transaction. The action that is available depends on the type of transaction. As an example, for a Bill, you can pay the bill, make a copy, or print it. For a purchase order your options are to print, close, email, copy or convert to a bill. For some transactions, no actions are possible.
- Manage Transactions provides you with shortcuts to create new transactions (purchase order, bill or check), or to edit the highlighted row.
- Batch Actions can be applied to a number of transactions at the same time, if you check the box by the ones to process. The options available are to batch print purchase orders, batch pay bills, or batch close purchase orders.
- Note that at the bottom, if you apply a filter, the amount due column is totaled.
Another interesting feature is the Group By box – it defaults to None as shown above, or you can select Vendor as shown below.
This is different than sorting by vendor – it also gives you a subtotal by vendor, as well as letting you expand or collapse the list for any given vendor. If you have a large number of transactions then this can be a useful tool.
I like this feature, since if you are managing a lot of bills and related transactions, having all of this in one place is more useful than trying to poke around in different reports and screens. Using the familiar user interface from Income Tracker makes the QuickBooks 2016 Bill Tracker easy to use. This feature will be available in QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise.