What is the best QuickBooks Program for Managing MY Inventory?

Many clients have inventory and struggle with how to manage the inventory effectively and easily.  Although QuickBooks does have inventory functionality in QuickBooks Pro/Premier and Enterprise, there are various add-on solutions that are also be helpful for your specific needs.  To determine the correct version and add-ons I’ve created the summary below. Retail businesses should also review the Point of Sale section. 

Quick Books Pro

Inventory functionality is very basic.

  1.  Inventory features are designed for businesses that buys and sells the same items over and over again (ie Antique Shops buy and sell different items).
  2. These businesses do not assemble items or repackage them and only have one location.

QuickBooks Premier

Inventory functionality of QuickBooks Pro and

  1. Ability to assemble items (remove raw materials from inventory and replace with finished goods or repackage in smaller quantities.)
  2. Create Sales Orders to manage partial shipments of goods and manage unfulfilled orders

QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions

Inventory functionality of QuickBooks Premier and

  1. Ability to use custom fields in transaction to configure orders
  2. Ability to add-on Advanced Inventory (annual fee)
    1. Use Multiple Inventory Locations
    2. Track Lot and Serial Numbers
    3. Bar Code Tracking

QuickBooks Point of Sale (POS)

This is a separate program that integrates with the other QuickBooks programs mentioned but is designed to work in a retail environment and function as a cash register.   

  1. Ability to run daily cash register reports.
  2. Ability to track individual cashiers
  3. Bar Code Tracking
  4. Multi-Store ability
  5. Styles view to see inventory availably by 2 designated features (i.e. size, color)

Should I choose an In-House, Hosted, or Cloud based Accounting Software Solution?

Lately I’ve received many calls asking about cloud based accounting software solutions and in particular QuickBooks Online.  My answer to these questions tends to be a lengthy discussion of the needs of the client.  Here are my thoughts…

Find the software that meets your needs first.  Many cloud applications require the use of various add-ons to achieve the total solution while in-house software may have all the functionality needed in one product.  If the in-house product is a better match for the business, it can be hosted by various companies and you still have the option of a 24/7 solution. 

If you have a cloud based or hosted solution, you can access your data and program 24/7 and multiple users have access from any location or device that connects to the internet.  That sounds great but there are the issues to address:

  • Connectivity – Vendor issues that may not allow you to access your data, what is their history?
  • Security – What security is available and does it meet the legal requirements of you industry?
  • Costs – Expect a monthly fee per user or company file.  I am not a fan of free solutions.
  • Backups – Do you have the ability to download your data in a usable format?

If you choose an in-house solution you have more control, however there are also issues to address:

  • Connectivity – Do you have remote users that need to log into the system?
  • Security – How will you provide the proper level of security for your business?
  • Costs –What are the software costs, annual renewals/updates, and cost of maintaining server?
  • Backups – What is your backup strategy?

These are just some of the issues you will need to consider.  

Hiring Qualified Employees

Hiring Qualified Employees

This week I received an e-mail from client asking me if I knew of anyone with experience in a particular software package for a managerial opening in a firm.  I actually get this question quite often and could probably make a fortune as a referral agency.  However the question always strikes me as odd and wrong.

Finding Qualified Candidates

We really need to fill our job opportunities with qualified candidates that can perform their jobs with a variety of skills and tools that the employer uses.  A qualified manager should be able to learn new software and adapt. I’m probably aging myself with this comment but imagine a journalist in the 1970 who applied for a position, would experience with a specific brand of electric typewriter be the first question asked?  I’m assuming not.  I feel we should hire employees with experience that pertain to the job without regard to specifics that can change over the years.  Accounting software changes but leadership skills and knowledge of accounting principles will help a manager adapt to the changing business environment.

Testing Prospective Candidates

I’ve also been approached by employers who are asking for a test to determine the capabilities of prospective employees that say they have experience with particular software or task.  May clients asked me this and I say I did not have a test.  Creating a test would be cumbersome and should really be individualized to the job duties.  I’ve seen tests on the internet but I’ve never been impressed with the results.  Many employers use these tests with disappointing results.

Extended Interviews

I’ve had clients who decided to have a prospective employees work for a few hours with pay so they to assess their skills.  I’ve also seen employees work with temporary employment agencies so they can really see an employee’s skills before hiring with great results.  Keep in mind that if you use one of these strategies, don’t forget the goal is to find a qualified employee not to find  someone who can start on Monday!

Client Experience

I had a client in desperate need of assistance.    The applicant had a background in the software working at high level in a financing company.  When asked to perform routine tasks for an entry level bookkeeper in a distribution company she was unfamiliar with inventory control concepts and workflow.  The company decided that she was bright and could learn the job and hired her.  She quit the job within 3 months when a better offer requiring her previous skills came in.  Although she appreciated the company for giving her a chance, she felt that she did not have the proper background to excel at the job and was frustrated with the position.  The company was also frustrated since they had spent time training a new employee in the software (but not distribution concepts) and could not understand why she not performing the job duties efficiently