Estimate Tracking - Billable Expenses vs Progress Invoicing?
I have a consulting company. We create invoices with target hours of work at an agreed upon rate plus estimated travel expenses.
When I create an invoice, I use progress invoicing again the estimate, which works great for the hours of work. Each person has a line-item rate, so I can use what is pulled in from the estimate and enter how much of the estimate we "consumed".
Travel Expenses are the problem. In the Estimate, I have one line item, entered as either Expenses or Travel Expenses. In my list of Products/Services, I have this line item (Expenses, for example) set-up as a Service with the Income Account equal to "Billable Expense Income", and I have tried multiple settings with either "I purchase this Service" or without that setting. When using it, I select the Account as Travel Expenses.
Now, must of my consultants are independent contractors, who submit their invoices to me for both labor and expenses. Therefore, when I create invoices for my client, I pull the expenses into the invoice as Billable Expenses.
The invoice generates perfectly.
The problem I have is when I run tracking reports against the Estimate. When I go back to view the invoice, I see the progress against the hourly labor, but the tracking against my travel expenses continues to show 0 against it. If I look at total invoiced to the client, these expenses show up as expected. But when I use any of the built in reporting to show Estimate Vs Actuals, the travel expenses (billable expenses) are completely left off the report.
So, what am I doing wrong, or what should I look at? I suspect it is a problem with how I have set-up the travel expenses line item in the estimate, but I don't know.
A few other comments. I have to pull the billable expenses in to the invoice (I can't just put a line item for the total) as my clients require adherence to their travel policies show I have to show each line item expense. My estimates are for overall expenses, and are not broken into the various sub-categories of Travel Expenses that I use for the Billable Expenses (Airfare, Travel Meals, Taxi, etc.).
Now, I am an engineer, not an accountant. So, I am very analytical, but I may need the explanation to be in simpler terms than some experts on this forum prefer. This also means that suggestions may want to start with the simplistic troubleshooting questions (like, okay, is the computer plugged in).
I have asked this same questions a couple different ways in the past, but hope I have painted a much clearer picture this time. I appreciate any guidance.