How to record construction-in-progress charges

A reader asks, "we have construction-in-progress (CIP) for large projects in the fixed asset subledger. Is it best practice to post all accounts payable invoices to the CIP fixed asset subledger even though some of these invoices will be expensed since they may not meet the requirement for capitalization as fixed assets, or is CIP to be used as a tracking device for an entire project regardless of capitalization?"

You should pre-screen CIP-related invoices when they are first entered into the system, so that items to be expensed are charged off at once. They should NOT be stored in the CIP account; otherwise, there is a considerable risk that expensable items will not actually be charged off for some time. As an alternative, if you want to use CIP as a tracking mechanism for an entire project, then create a pair of sub-accounts for it, one of which stores items to be charged to expense, and the other for items to be capitalized. This approach makes it easier to charge off expenses in a timely manner.