Chapter 17. Tracking Time and Mileage

Services that you sell often boil down to time spent. Customers might pay for services, but they’re really buying your knowledge of how to get something done and your experience doing it in the best or fastest possible way. That’s why a carpenter who can barely hit the nail on the head charges $15 an hour, whereas a master who hammers faster and straighter than a nail gun charges $80 an hour.

If you charge by the hour, you know time is money, so you want to keep track of both with equal accuracy. But product-based companies track time, too. For example, companies that want to increase productivity often start by tracking the time that employees work and what they work on.

There’re hordes of off-the-shelf and home-grown time tracking programs out there, and Intuit enters the fray with several ways to get time data into your company file. QuickBooks’ time tracking isn’t fancy. But for companies with simple time tracking needs, the advantage of this feature is that the time you record is ready to attach to an invoice (see Chapter 8) or payroll (see Chapter 11).

Mileage is another commodity that many businesses track—or should if they don’t. Whether your business hinges on driving or merely requires the occasional jaunt, the IRS lets you deduct vehicle mileage, but it requires documentation of the miles you deduct. The QuickBooks mileage tracking feature helps you track the mileage of company vehicles, which you can use not only for tax deductions, ...

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