OK, one more QuickBooks 2012 inventory article. Inventory management is near and dear to my heart, as I’ve been working in that area for over 30 years. QuickBooks is a bit frustrating to me because inventory tends to be an afterthought, not one of the core areas. I’ve been very excited about the QuickBooks 2012 update because there is a real emphasis on improving inventory features (So I’m a bit of an inventory nerd, things like this get me excited). Finally, inventory has been elevated, we have an Inventory Center and many wonderful features.
I’ve talked about many inventory features in various editions of QuickBooks 2012 (FIFO, Serial numbers, enhanced inventory receiving, price/cost updates, lot tracking). Now we’ll talk about something that is a bit more generic that will apply to all Windows desktop users except for Quickbooks Pro, the Inventory Center.
This article was updated on 9/28/2011.
If you work with QuickBooks you are familiar with the item list. A simple list of your items, with some buttons at the bottom to access certain activities. You can modify the display to see different columns, but if you want to see details about the item you have to edit it, or go to a report somewhere.
With QuickBooks 2012, we now have the Inventory Center (you’ll find it in the Inventory menu in Enterprise, in Premier it might be in the Vendor menu).
Lots of interesting things here. On the left you see a list of your inventory part and inventory assembly items. None of those annoying Service or Sales Tax items, etc.- just inventory. You can modify this list to add different columns (just as in the item list). There are filters at the top of the list that let you filter what is listed. The Custom Filter option is intriguing, it lets you select for key words in item name, custom fields, and notes.
The top center of the window shows you basic information about the item, so that you don’t have to edit the item to see inside. I like that.
At the right you see a list of the most commonly used reports, which is nice so that I don’t have to search for them in another menu or take up space in my icon bar or favorites list. Although I wish I could edit the list, some reports aren’t there that I like to use.
In the middle you’ll see a new feature – Notes. We’ve had notes available in other lists, but not in Inventory. This is a nice addition.
At the bottom of the window is a filterable list of transactions that include the selected item, which is very convenient.
Then there is that feature you might have noticed right away from my screen shot, that I’ve been dancing around. An Image of the item. When I first saw this I was very excited, as the ability to add an image of an item has been a highly requested feature. I’m disappointed so far, though, as this is the only place you can see that image. It can’t be added to reports, invoices, purchase orders or any of several other places that I would like to see it. I’m hoping that Intuit develops this further. Also, I would like to point out that the image feature is only found in QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions, you won’t get it in Premier. Another issue – these images are stored in the “Images” subfolder by your company file – which is good and bad. Good, in that your QBW file won’t grow. Bad, in that if you move a file to another location by restoring a backup, you must manually move the information to the right place to retain your image links.
I like the Inventory Center, and I hope that it will be expanded in the future. My friend Rustler wasn’t too impressed with it in the early testing rounds, so I guess it depends on what you are expecting or what gets you excited.
Some Other Things to Mention
Here are a few smaller inventory related improvements that I would like to point out:
- You can filter the Physical Inventory Worksheet by inventory site if you have QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions with the Advanced Inventory option. Lots of requests for this one (the filter is right there at the top of the report, not buried in the Customize Report button).
- QuickBooks has a limit of 100 records in the Price Level List table. Some people find this to be too low a number. If you have QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions that limit has been increased to 750 records now. I’m worried that people will misuse price level lists now – this isn’t enough to have one list for every customer (which is what many people ask me for) unless you have a small customer list.
My Wish List For This Feature
As always, I have a few things that I would like to see changed. Here is a quick list, I’m sure that there are more that we can all think of…
- I would like to have the option of adding non-inventory part items to the Inventory Center display. Even though you don’t have a balance on hand, they are still inventory items that you are managing in a very similar way to inventory part items in many cases. Can we have them as an option, please?
- Adding the item picture to the item in the Inventory Center is nice, but can we have the ability to add images to an invoice or purchase order, or reports? That would make it useful. As it stands now, the feature doesn’t give us much. I am also concerned about how the images are stored, because of potential problems for restoring backups. More on this in the future.
- Can we get the Notes included in the Excel import and export, and in the QuickBooks SDK so that add-on developers can use it?
All in all, I like this option. And, the impact on file conversions and compatibility should be very low, so it is a safe feature to use.