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Sustainability tracking in QuickBooks®

By April 22, 2021September 7th, 2023No Comments

Organizations use QuickBooks® to track their sales and expenses, but more and more business owners want to track sustainability improvements, such as reducing energy usage and waste. By tracking more details in QuickBooks, an organization could measure key indicators, such as Kilowatts used and waste, to determine if they are in alignment with some of their goals. This article will explore ways to measure and track some of these areas of interest. It is assuming you have an active, up-to-date version of QuickBooks Desktop Pro.

Sustainability data measuring

Each organization will want to establish their own list of sustainability areas that they find important to measure and track, and then determine what type of additional data should be gathered in QuickBooks. Examples include the following:

Tracking quantity of sustainable purchases data in QuickBooks

Set up an Item type Other Charge, and be sure to put a checkmark next to This Item is used in Assemblies or is a reimbursable charge, and list the correct Expense Account in the drop down box.

In QuickBooks, you can add a new Products and Services Item and select the type Service. Put a check mark in the box I purchase this product/service from a vendor, and list the correct Expense Account in the drop down box below that.

Using items with quantity

In order to track the company’s sustainable goals in QuickBooks, you will want to list the Quantity on all bills and checks sent to vendors related to sustainable tracking.

Use the Item Tab and enter the QuantityCost and Amount. If they charge by the Kilowatt, include that on the quantity column. If they charge by the pound or container size, use that in the quantity and include a memo if you need more details, such as frequency of pickup for waste and recycles.

In QuickBooks, when using the Bill, Expense or Check areas, use the Item Details line below and enter the sustainable Service, Quantity, Rate, and Amount. Or, you can skip using a new Service Item and add more details in the Memo line as a simple solution.

This way, in the future, the organization can determine if they have reduced the amount of energy usage. Some companies have set a goal for zero waste. The objective as you go forward is to develop history you can use to determine if there is improvement in the areas of Sustainability.

Sustainability reports

The following report will assist in tracking Sustainable quantity and dollar amounts purchased:

  1. Select Report Menu.
  2. Select Purchases.
  3. Purchases by Item Summary or Item Detail.

In QuickBooks, go to Reports>Expenses and Vendors>Purchases by Product/Service Detail.

Vendor type tracking

In addition to tracking units, the company could create custom reports by marking each sustainable vendor as Vendor Type Sustainable:

  1. Select Vendor Center.
  2. Select a Sustainable Vendor and Edit.
  3. Select Additional Info tab.
  4. Select Vendor Type.
  5. Select <Add New>.
  6. Type Sustainable and select OK.

Now edit each vendor that is considered Sustainable and drop in the Vendor Type Sustainable. You can now filter some reports such as Profit and Loss and include only the Vendors Type Sustainable. If you already are using the Vendor Type for some other means of tracking you may have to explore another means of tracking these vendors.

Tracking in QuickBooks

There are different ways to track additional information in QuickBooks. Tracking of special Items with Quantity, as well as the Vendor Type can help an organization monitor their progress in achieving their sustainable goals.

Consult with your accountant and/or QuickBooks ProAdvisor to make sure the setup is correct and that this is appropriate for your business.


The author of this article and its company assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this document. The information contained in this document is provided on an “as is” basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness. Use at your own risk.

Original article by Chris McGee, published on the Firm of the Future Blog

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