Many businesses fail to track non-billable time only focusing on time they are actually billing clients for. As an employee you probably don't care about non-billable time and you may not even have any. As a business owner I would be shocked if you did not have non-billable time. I would be even more shocked if you did not see the importance of tracking it.
Examples of non-billable time in my eyes would be internal business processes, company meetings, outside education and networking/prospecting just to name a few. No client is directly paying you for any of these things. However, they are essential things that need to get done in order for your business to succeed.
Tracking non-billable time in QuickBooks
You can enter time in QuickBooks by first turning the time tracking feature on in QuickBooks. Go to Edit/Preferences/Time and Expenses/Company preferences tab and select 'Yes' next to time tracking. Now time can be entered by clicking on 'Enter Time' on the lower left hand side of the QuickBooks home screen in the Employees section. There are three options: let employees enter time, use weekly time sheet or enter a single activity. Select the employee and correct date range and enter the time. I would create a new service item called Non-Billable Time. I would also make several sub-items of non-billable time for each specific non-billable task. The level of detail is really up to you, but I would not overcomplicate it.
Reporting time in QuickBooks
If you enter your time on an ongoing basis you can then report your time to extract some meaningful data for your business. All time related reports can be found under Reports/Jobs, Time & Mileage. The time by job summary will show you how much time was dedicated to each client but also to non-billable time. The time by item will show you how much time was dedicated to every item that you track, both billable and non-billable. Lastly the time by name will show you a detailed breakdown of each employee's time.
By tracking both billable and non-billable time in QuickBooks you will be able to produce some meaningful data. You can see which clients or billable business processes are taking the most time and if they are as profitable as you need them to be. You can also see detailed reports of where you are dedicating your non-billable time. Does it make sense with your business plan? Is it paying off and how do you know? Are your sales and leads in line with how much time you dedicate to creating new leads and sales?
If you have any further questions on tracking time in QuickBooks and how to use this tool to help run your business feel free to contact me.