QuickBooks Inventory Management


Everything you need to know about this supplementary feature of QuickBooks.

2.0 out of overall
Cheaper pricing than other options
Seamless communication with accounting software
Lack of critical features

QuickBooks is one of the most commonly used accounting platforms among small-business owners. And if you’re already a QuickBooks user, you may be wondering whether QuickBooks also offers an inventory management service. After all, accounting and inventory are inextricably tied together—so much so that having a single product to manage both seems like a no-brainer.

Here’s the thing, though: there’s no such thing as QuickBooks inventory management software. Instead, QuickBooks offers limited inventory management functionality—but only on select plans.

While we don’t recommend QuickBooks as a reliable inventory management solution for all businesses, it does work well for businesses with minimal inventory needs, especially if you’re already a QuickBooks subscriber.

QuickBooks inventory management is best for businesses on a budget

Accounting and inventory management are both very important when it comes to running your business. But let’s face it: accounting and inventory software can be expensive.

The nice thing about QuickBooks? It includes both. QuickBooks users can enjoy an accounting system that works for them and rudimentary inventory control without paying hundreds of dollars extra each month.

Where you run into problems, though, is when your business’s inventory needs get too big. QuickBooks’ inventory management capabilities are only supplementary features to the platform’s accounting function (which is why inventory management isn’t available on all plans).

So while QuickBooks’ basic inventory tracking functionality may work well for small businesses with less than a hundred sales orders per month, it just isn’t robust enough to support the more complex needs of midsize businesses.

QuickBooks inventory pros and cons

Strengths
  • Cheaper pricing than other options
  • Seamless communication with accounting software
  • Smooth integration with other systems
Weaknesses
  • Lack of critical features
  • No real-time inventory tracking on full-featured plan
  • Few to no manufacturing features
  • Inaccurate reporting

QuickBooks inventory pros

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QuickBooks is a decent enough inventory solution for some businesses.

For starters, even QuickBooks’ most expensive plan (QuickBooks Online Advanced) is less expensive than some of the leading inventory management platforms. And since it’s both an accounting program and an inventory management system, it’s appealing to many small businesses looking to economize.

Then there’s the QuickBooks Online integration, which allows you to enjoy real-time tracking on both your inventory and accounting software. That means you don’t have to manually update your records business-wide every time you make a sale or reorder products.

We also like that QuickBooks’ inventory and accounting program syncs smoothly with QuickBooks POS and other Intuit products. That way, you don’t have to manually enter info from your sales receipts into your accounting software every night.

QuickBooks inventory cons

We need to note, though, that QuickBooks treats its inventory management as a supplementary feature rather than a standalone product. And honestly? We can see why.

QuickBooks offers very limited inventory management capabilities on pretty much every plan. Sure, you can track inventory levels, but you don’t get any manufacturing features (like bill of material generation). Even features that other inventory platforms consider basic (like managing multiple warehouses) isn’t available unless you have a QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise plan.

And while we’re on the subject? We’re not thrilled with the way QuickBooks makes necessary features available on only its desktop app. Without cloud-based inventory management software, you can’t enjoy real-time data about your business. You also can’t have multiple users updating your records simultaneously (like they’d need to if you’re managing multiple warehouses).

Most importantly, though, QuickBooks’ inventory management system tends to produce more negative inventory than other providers. Negative inventory occurs when your inventory tracking system shows a negative number of inventory items in your possession—usually due to issues like reporting order fulfillment too soon.

Apparently, this is such a common problem with QuickBooks products, the brand has released a whole help article about it. QuickBooks even acknowledges that these issues may affect everything from your profit and loss statements to your cost of goods sold.

QuickBooks plans and pricing

Many people don’t know that there are actually two different versions of QuickBooks: the cloud-based online version (QuickBooks Online) and the desktop version (QuickBooks Desktop). QuickBooks Online is available for a recurring monthly fee and has four plans with varying prices.

QuickBooks Online plans
PlanPriceKey featuresLearn more
QuickBooks Simple Start$25/mo.
  • General reports
  • Transaction tagging
  • View Plans
    QuickBooks Essentials$40/mo.
  • Time tracking
  • Bill management
  • View Plans
    QuickBooks Plus$70/mo.
  • Inventory tracking
  • Project profitability tracking
  • View Plans
    QuickBooks Advanced$150/mo.
  • Invoice and expense batching
  • Workflow automation
  • Dedicated account manager
  • View Plans
    Data effective 4/15/20. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

    As mentioned, this version of QuickBooks is a cloud-based accounting software, meaning it can be accessed and edited in real time from any device. And with plans starting at $25 per month, QuickBooks Online is a lot cheaper than other inventory options.

    On the flip side of that, most QuickBooks Desktop plans are available for a flat one-time fee.

    QuickBooks Desktop plans
    PlanPriceKey featuresLearn more
    QuickBooks Pro$299.95
  • Bills and accounts payable management
  • Time tracking
  • Inventory tracking
  • View Plans
    QuickBooks Premier$499.95
  • Forecasting
  • Profitability tracking
  • Progressive client billing
  • View Plans
    QuickBooks Enterprise$1,219/yr.
  • Warehouse management
  • Serial and lot tracking
  • Mobile inventory barcode scanning
  • View Plans
    Data effective 4/15/20. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

    The exception to the flat-fee rule is QuickBooks Enterprise. This advanced plan is available for a yearly subscription fee of just $1,219. That’s roughly a third of what inventory management competitors like Cin7 charge per year.

    Unfortunately, you get what you pay for since only the QuickBooks Enterprise plan for desktop comes close to offering the basic features of other providers’ introductory plans.

    Key features of QuickBooks inventory management

    Basic features

    Managing inventory in QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks desktop is relatively simple. In fact, the platform doesn’t offer much more than basic tracking of inventory levels and shipments:

    • Track products
    • Track cost of goods
    • Receive low inventory notifications
    • Create purchase orders
    • Manage vendors
    • Review best-selling items

    QuickBooks advanced inventory features

    While most of QuickBooks’ plans include only limited inventory management features, the Enterprise plan on QuickBooks Desktop offers enhanced capabilities:

    • Manage multiple warehouses
    • Pair your QuickBooks account with a barcode scanner
    • Print labels
    • Track items by bin number
    • Manage sales order fulfillment

    However, these features are available only to QuickBooks Desktop users with an Enterprise plan. And because they’re available only to Enterprise plan subscribers, they come with a significant drawback—you can’t access your inventory tracking solution from the cloud.

    What’s more, QuickBooks’ “advanced” inventory features aren’t actually that advanced. In fact, we’d say they barely bring QuickBooks up to the same level as the starting plans from other inventory management systems.

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    QuickBooks inventory FAQs

    What is QuickBooks inventory management?

    Intuit QuickBooks is primarily an accounting software, but it offers some supplementary inventory management features too. QuickBooks offers both cloud-based software and desktop software—but you’ll have to sign up for an Enterprise plan through QuickBooks Desktop to enjoy the full range of inventory management features.

    How much does QuickBooks cost?

    The pricing for a QuickBooks plan varies depending on the type of QuickBooks software you choose and the plan that works best for you. Prices range from $25 per month for the QuickBooks Online Simple Start plan to $1,219 per year for an Enterprise Desktop plan.

    While that may sound like a lot, it’s actually a lot lower than what small-business owners usually pay for their inventory management.

    What is the best program to keep track of inventory?

    The right inventory management software varies from business to business. There is no one-size-fits-all solution—but we think Cin7 gets pretty close. Cin7’s elegant B2B e-commerce sites, mobile app, and more all make it easier for small-business owners to manage every facet of their sales and inventory.

    The takeaway

    Does QuickBooks offer an inventory management solution? Yes. Kind of.

    Do we recommend QuickBooks for inventory management? Not really, no.

    QuickBooks’ inventory management is a bit of an afterthought to the platform’s accounting service. The inventory features just aren’t robust enough to support more than the most basic business needs, and it hides critical features behind a paywall—forcing you to sign up for the most expensive desktop plan just to sort and track your items by serial number.

    Businesses that are already using QuickBooks for accounting might enjoy using the same platform for their inventory management as it would allow them to enjoy both services for one low price. However, due to the platform’s limited features, we think most businesses would be better off using QuickBooks for accounting, then integrating their service with another inventory platform (like Fishbowl Inventory).

    Want more information about QuickBooks accounting software? Check out our full review to get the scoop.

    Disclaimer

    At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don’t guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.