QuickBooks Inventory Management

Everything you need to know about this supplementary feature of QuickBooks.
Best for businesses on a budget
Quickbooks
4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4
  • Check
    Cheaper pricing than other options
  • Check
    Seamless communication with accounting software
  • X
    More advanced features require add-ons for an additional cost

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.

QuickBooks does offer a full inventory management and tracking plan through QuickBooks Online. With additional services from QuickBooks Commerce, you can have the majority of your business reliably covered with one service.

QuickBooks Online helps you get the job done with an online platform that combines the best features of QuickBooks with an easy way to manage and view your business. The ability to track inventory and costs, along with taxes and employee management, makes it easier for you to run your business. And if you’re already a QuickBooks subscriber, you really can’t go wrong with adding your business needs to the portfolio.

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.

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). This does not mean that it is not well covered, though. The Plus and Advanced plans from QuickBooks Online allow you to track inventory in addition to tracking income, expenses, cash flow, and invoices. It may be a supplemental feature, but it works well within the whole platform.

So QuickBooks’ inventory tracking functionality works well for both small businesses with less than a hundred sales orders per month and  more complex needs of midsize businesses. In fact, because it’s combined with all the accounting features of QuickBooks Online, the inventory management plans allow you to keep your business one step ahead at all times.

QuickBooks inventory pros and cons

Pros
Pro Bullet Cheaper pricing than other options
Pro Bullet Seamless communication with accounting software
Pro Bullet Smooth integration with other systems
Cons
Con Bullet Add-ons unlock ecommerce selling
Con Bullet No multichannel tracking
Con Bullet Additional features available with higher-cost plans or products (like QuickBooks Commerce)

QuickBooks inventory pros

Although QuickBooks is not designed specifically for inventory management, it does a good job of providing you with the basic features needed to run your business. But, it is not the best and has a few flaws.

QuickBooks requires add-ons to unlock ecommerce selling and other features that many other brands have upfront. In order to sell online, you need to use QuickBooks Commerce, which can cost your business. Although the regular inventory management side of QuickBooks does integrate sales data and inventory lists with many popular ecommerce apps, you won’t be able to branch your business out further.

And while we’re on the subject? Multichannel tracking—which allows you to follow your inventory as it's sold across multiple sales channels including Instagram, ecommerce, and brick-and-mortar retail stores—is not available on QuickBooks Online. Instead, you will need to invest in QuickBooks Commerce. This takes down the number of features immediately available to users, and increases your cost.

Finally, we’re not thrilled with the way QuickBooks makes necessary features available on only its desktop app. Many features like barcoding, unlimited customer support, and over 200+ report templates are only available there. You want to be sure you’re getting the best software for your business—one that will work with many users and across warehouses and locations. We cannot guarantee that QuickBooks will do that effectively without incurring extra costs.

Best Inventory Management Software
Ordoro
Best for ecommerce
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
InFlow
Most budget pick
4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1
Upserve
Best for restaurants
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2
Cin7
Best ERP solution
4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4
Zoho Inventory
Best for small businesses
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Learn more about our top brands.

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

Plan
Price
Key features
Learn more

QuickBooks Simple Start

$12.50/mo.
  • General reports
  • Track income, expenses, and invoices
  • QuickBooks Essentials

    $25.00/mo.
  • Time tracking
  • Bill management
  • QuickBooks Plus

    $40.00/mo.
  • Inventory tracking
  • Project profitability tracking
  • QuickBooks Advanced

    $90.00/mo.
  • Invoice and expense batching
  • Workflow automation
  • Dedicated account manager
  • Data effective 7/21/21. 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 $12.50 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 yearly fee.

    QuickBooks Desktop plans

    Plan
    Price
    Key features
    Learn more

    QuickBooks Pro Plus

    $199.99/yr.
  • Bills and accounts payable management
  • Time tracking
  • Inventory tracking
  • QuickBooks Premier Plus

    $299.99/yr.
  • Forecasting
  • Profitability tracking
  • Progressive client billing
  • QuickBooks Enterprise

    $1,147.50/yr.
  • Warehouse management
  • Serial and lot tracking
  • Mobile inventory barcode scanning
  • Data effective 7/31/2021. 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 for its most basic plan.

    The QuickBooks Enterprise plan for desktop helps you automate inventory and track inventory across warehouses and multiple locations. With the QuickBooks app, team members have a mobile barcode scanner on their phones and can follow instructions on where each product needs to go.

    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.

    There are some worthwhile advanced features, and QuickBooks’ accounting integrations do put the software a step above other inventory management systems.

    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 $12.50 per month for the QuickBooks Online Simple Start plan to $1,147.50 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 Ordoro and Zoho get pretty close. With its multichannel selling features and dropshipping capabilities, Ordoro has everything you need to run your store. Meanwhile, Zoho’s free and inexpensive plans make it perfect for small businesses just starting out up to midsize businesses with 60,000 orders per month. We’ve got options for all of your business needs—from restaurants to budget picks, manufacturing to warehouse management—to ensure your business needs are met with the right tools.

    The takeaway

    Does QuickBooks offer an inventory management solution? Yes, it does.

    Do we recommend QuickBooks for inventory management? Yes, we do, depending on your business needs.

    QuickBooks’ inventory management works well for small businesses, but does have a lot of features behind a paywall—like requiring you to sign up for the next plan or add-on service. This isn’t a great part of the software, but for basic organization (and combining it with QuickBooks accounting) the inventory management works well with tracking invoices, automating quantity adjustments, and sending out goods. Is it perfect? No, but it could be the thing your business needs.

    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. With the option to include payroll with QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop Premier, your entire business can be housed on one platform. With so many other things for you to juggle as a business owner, QuickBooks makes it easy.

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

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    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.

    Courtenay Stevens
    Written by
    Courtenay Stevens
    Courtenay cut her teeth (and occasionally her tongue) on the world of business when she was eight years old, licking envelopes to help her dad mail calendars to his clients. Ever since, she has fostered a passion for entrepreneurship, which makes small business one of her favorite topics to write about. When Courtenay isn’t writing, she enjoys podcasting about pop culture and attempting to keep up with her hellspawn (aka children).
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