QuickBooks 2016 Bill Tracker

Written by Charlie Russell

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.

Multiple QuickBooks reports

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.

QuickBooks 2016 Bill Tracker

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.”

QuickBooks 2016 Bill Tracker with filter for open bills

Some additional filters and items of interest here:

  1. The Vendor dropdown lets you filter for a single vendor, useful if you just want to see what you owe a particular vendor.
  2. 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.
  3. Status lets you choose all, open or overdue transactions.
  4. Clear / Show All will reset all of the filters to return you to the original state.
  5. You can sort the display by clicking on any column heading. You cannot change which columns show.
  6. 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.
  7. Manage Transactions provides you with shortcuts to create new transactions (purchase order, bill or check), or to edit the highlighted row.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

Group By Vendor

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.

About the author

Charlie Russell

Charlie Russell has been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70's, and remembers releasing his first commercial accounting software product when you had an 8-bit microcomputer with one 8 inch floppy disk drive. He has a special interest in inventory and manufacturing software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor with additional certifications for QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Enterprise, as well as being a Xero Certified Partner. Charlie started blogging about QuickBooks in 2008 (Practical QuickBooks) and has been writing for the Accountex Report (formerly the Sleeter Report) since 2011. He retired from accounting and QuickBooks activities in early 2018.

Visit his CCRSoftware web site for information about his QuickBooks add-on products. He is also the author of the California Wildflower Hikes blog.


  • This is a great summary of the new Bill Tracker feature. I like the idea of being able to see open bills and overdue items in one place. Clients may still prefer an aging report when approving bills for payment.

  • I’m waiting for QB to add features for document storage, easy viewing and approval routing so that Bill.com style features are in QB. Maybe even vendor ACH processing. Then QB would be a true enterprise system.

    • There is a document storage feature for QB Desktop products, but I generally recommend against using it because of it’s limitations. Last I looked, Bill.com does work with QB Desktop, so you have that feature available to you. However, as I’ve stated in other articles, my understanding is that you won’t see significant large new features in the desktop product, only incremental improvements, with the focus being on QB Online. Of course, Enterprise might get some more features, but the things you are talking about are unlikely to be on their short list of improvements.

  • My boss would like to see all the vendors that were pd in the previous month. This would make the perfect report. Is there anyway to print it?

    • No, but you can modify the Transaction List by Vendor report to filter just for “bill payment” (and possibly “bill ccard” transactions. That should get you the info you are looking for.

  • I’m wondering if there is a sort feature for by client/customer? Say when a job is finished and I need to pay all outstanding invoices for that job, How can I view that information without clicking and opening each bill?

  • What if I have Premier Edition?
    I searched the reports and I have “Unpaid Bills Detail” but couldn’t get the customer/job information.

    • It is harder to get the info there. “Premier” comes in various flavors. General, Retail, Nonprofit, Professional services, manufacturing and wholesale, contractor. And there is a separate Accountant edition. They are all “Premier”. Other than Accountant, you choose which flavor you want when you install the program (at least, for versions released over the last 5 or so years). You also can change the edition by selecting Help, then Manage My License, then Change to a Different Industry Edition.

      It is frustrating, but each edition has a different selection of industry reports. Contractor has all the good job costing reports. There are other differences in the various editions. Some don’t give you all the unit of measure options, for example. The Accountant version gives you access to ALL of the reports and features, but there is a different cost structure for the product.

      • Thank you so much for the information. I was able to create a report that shows me all the bills associated with a specific customer, and it specifies if it’s paid or unpaid and that’s great and super helpful in identifying any unpaid bills. Only down fall is I still have to click and open each bill to click “Pay Bill”. Wish the bill tracker had a sort filter to sort by customer so I could select all and pay them all in one quick step, but this definitely helps. Thank you so much for the information!

  • What permissions are needed to use Bill Tracker? I have AP/AR but I still don’t have permissions to Bill Tracker or Income Tracker. Only full Admins can use it but we want AP & AR
    to be able to use it.
    QuickBooks Enterprise Contractor 16.0 multi users

    • Do those folks have full inventory permissions?

      This feature’s main drawback is that it pulls information from so many different parts of the program, the user needs a wide set of permissions. I haven’t mapped all of what is needed.

  • How do you get the” Billable check box” to NOT check all the boxes when entering in bills against a PO. We uncheck “Mark all time entries as billable” under Company Preferences, Time & Expense, Time Tracking, & ” Invoicing Options” the box is unchecked in “Mark all expenses as billable”.
    But all of our material items from our PO when pulled into an invoice, all the boxes are check. We do not bill our clients for items in this manner and would like it all to remain unchecked.

    Also the “Clear Qty” button is greyed out so when we pull in an PO to a bill and it has 50 items on that PO but the vendor is only partial billing for 1 item, we have to zero out each qty on every line to only create the bill for one item. What a pain. Between the check boxes and the qty changes we are spending a lot more time entering voices than necessary.