Entering and Editing Bills

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Entering and Editing Bills

Once you have used the New or Edit button on the Bill List window, or the Actions ⇒ Enter Bills menu option, or the Enter Bills quick link on the main menu, you will be brought to the following detail window for that bill, to create or edit its properties. (This is a sample, for one sample bill we created.)




A bill that you are entering for later payment must always be entered against an Accounts Payable account. (It is possible to have more than one such account, but most organizations will only have one.) The other side of the transaction is shown in the splits area in the bottom half of the window, and will usually consist of any sales taxes, and one or more expense account lines.


The fields that you fill in are as follows:


Payables Account: If necessary, select which Accounts Payables account this bill is to be charged against. If you have more than on Payables Account, which would be quite unusual, you can start typing its name and it will come up via autocomplete. (After you have used this window once, this will be set on subsequent uses to whichever account you used the previous time.)

Vendor: Which vendor this bill is for. You can select the "<Add New>" item on this drop-down to add a new Vendor while you are entering the bill. For bills, you cannot just type in a Payee - it must be a saved Vendor. You can also just start typing the name of a Vendor and it will come up, via autocomplete.
After you select a Vendor, if that vendor has a default Expense Account or Tax Code filled in, then if the relevant field here (the Account on the first splits line, or the Tax Code) is not already filled in, the default from the Vendor will be automatically filled in. Those default values are applied as soon as you move out of the Vendor field, to another field or another part of this window, based on the vendor that you picked. However, for technical reasons, if you go back to that field afterwards and make a different selection, no further changes based on vendor defaults will be made.

Total Bill Amount: The amount of the bill, including any sales taxes. (You can enter a credit memo from the vendor by entering a negative amount.) As soon as you enter this Amount, it is immediately copied into the Amount field in the first line of the splits section at the bottom (as long as that field is still empty).

Tax Code: As on the register windows, you can select a pre-defined Sales Tax Code from this drop-down list. The codes are specified via the Maintenance ⇒ Sales Tax Codes window. Selecting a Tax Code causes an automatic split of the transaction associated with the bill, to include the associated sales tax accounts.

Bill Date: The date on the bill. This is the date the bill transaction will be stored with, and will determine what report date ranges its details will appear on. (For instance, what Income Statement date ranges any expenses in the bill's splits will appear on.)

Due Date: The date the bill is due (with no penalty for late payment).

Terms: The payment terms for this bill. (If you select a Vendor for a new bill that has payment terms in the Vendor record, this field will be automatically filled in from the Vendor record, but you can still edit it after that if desired.) This field is only for information - there are no calculations in the program that use it in any way.

Reference #: Any reference number for this bill, for instance an invoice number.

Memo: Any memo that is relevant for this bill. This will be printed on any cheque you use to pay the bill, but only if the Vendor for this bill does not have an Account # field specified for it. (If an Account # is specified, it will be printed as the memo on the cheque.) See below also for details on how this Memo may get copied to the Memos on the splits lines for the other accounts involved in this transaction.


Of those fields, only the Payables Account, Vendor, Total Bill Amount, Bill Date and Due Date are required.


Entering the Splits


Once you have filled in the fields at the top of the window, you use the area at the bottom of the window to specify the splits (also called "counter accounts") for the transaction associated with the bill. (This is very much like a register splits window.) If you selected a Sales Tax Code, those accounts and their calculated amounts will already be filled in. You will need to select one or more expense accounts to charge the pre-tax bill amount to. (In rare cases, accounts other than expense accounts may be used.) Of course, the splits Amounts must add up to the Total Bill Amount.


The Account field normally drops its list down automatically, as soon as you Tab or click into it, though this can be changed with an option on the Maintenance Main Options window. (If that option is turned off, you can drop down the list by clicking on it with your mouse, or pressing the keyboard combination Alt+DownArrow.)


The accounts on the list are initially displayed in chart of accounts order, but if you type a letter, it immediately goes to the first account that starts with that letter, and also re-sorts the list in alphabetical order, to make it easier to see and select other accounts that start with that letter. If you press Backspace after that, or Tab out of the field, the list is returned to chart of accounts order.


The Account field uses autocomplete to make selecting existing account names easy.


When the Account list drops down in a field that currently has no value it, the list is automatically scrolled for you to the first Expense account, since those are the accounts you are most likely to pick for the splits on a bill.


The Amount fields in the bottom half (which are totalled in the Total field below the grid) must add up to the Total Bill Amount of the bill in the header.


If you enter an Account, and then change the Amount on the first line (or any subsequent line), and then Tab or click out of that Amount field, the remaining part of the overall bill amount will be filled into the Amount field on the last row with no Account selected, so that you may only have to enter the Account for that row, and you will be done.


The optional Memo field for the splits lines can be used for a further description of that individual split line. The Memo you entered for the overall transaction in the top part of this window will always be stored with the implicit split line for the Payables Account of this transaction. It will also be stored with each split line for the transaction that you do not enter a distinct memo for, when you save the transaction.


Click OK to save this bill, or Cancel to abandon any changes. Either one will close this window.


Saving a new bill creates a transaction in the selected Accounts Payable account. It can be viewed (but not edited) in the register window for that account. When you view bills entered with this window on the register window, they will show a Type (transaction type) value of "BILL".


Resizing this Window


For the unusual case where you have more than 8 split lines in a bill (the number shown by default), you can click and drag the top or bottom border of the window to resize it vertically, to allow more split lines to show. Split lines will be automatically added to fill the space, if necessary.


However, you don't have to resize the window to get additional split lines - a new one will always be created if you do any edits in the existing last split line.


You can also resize the window horizontally, by clicking and dragging on either the left or right side. The memo field will expand when you do that, to fill the space.


Deleting Split Rows


On occasion you may find that you have entered a split row that you don't want to be there, and don't have any other split row you can overwrite it with. To get rid of it, just clear the Account value (by selecting the blank value at the top of the drop-down list of Accounts) and also clear every other value on that row. You can also do this clearing of a line by right-clicking on it and picking Delete Row from the popup menu. When you save the window, that row that is now entirely empty will disappear.


After deleting a row, a last row's Amount field will also be adjusted to make sure the total is still correct.


How to Pay a Bill


If you enter a bill on this window, you must record your payment of it using the options for paying a bill on the Actions menu or in the main window's quick links. If you just enter a cheque or other payment for it directly on a register window, the program will not pick up the fact that the bill has been paid, and will still show it as outstanding on the Bill List or Bill Payment windows, and on Reports ⇒ Vendors and Bills ⇒ Overdue Bills Aging Summary.


Credit Memos


As mentioned above, if you enter a negative number for the Total Bill Amount, that represents a credit memo from the vendor. You can then include that as part of a bill payment, to offset other real bills from that vendor.


On thing to watch out for, however, is that the subsequent bill from that vendor might or might not subtract off the credit amount. If it does subtract it off, you need to either:


Delete this credit note (in the Bill List window) and enter the new bill for the stated amount (with the credit subtracted off), OR

Leave the credit note in and enter the new bill for its original amount (without the subtraction of the credit amount).


What if I Made a Mistake?


If you save a bill that you should not have saved, or that needs some correction, you can get back to it with Actions Bill List window, and use the Edit or Delete button on that window to make the appropriate correction.


In addition, if you open up the register window for your Accounts Payable account, you can right-click on bills there and pick Edit Bill from the popup menu, to edit them.


Please note that if you edit a bill that has already been paid (or partially paid) there will be a warning about changing the Total Bill Amount, because obviously that would then require either changing the bill payment transaction (if it hasn't really already gone through) or perhaps making another bill payment, if the total was increased.


This topic was last edited on Nov 16, 2022