One of the new features added to the 2012 version of QuickBooks was item notes – the ability to add a note to your item list records just as you could to many other lists in QuickBooks. Have you used that feature? Have you noticed that sometimes your notes disappear? Or, have you noticed that you are getting multiple items in the item list with blank item names?
“Notes” in QuickBooks are helpful, a freeform place to enter text that is separate from the item descriptions that show on invoices and purchase orders. They are simple to use, just click the Notes button in the Edit Itemwindow.
Unfortunately, at least up to this point, Intuit hasn’t made this really useful. I’ve not found any inventory (or other) report that lets you include these notes, they aren’t included in the Excel export of the item list, and they aren’t included in the QuickBooks SDK so third party reporting tools can’t access it. But, you can see them when editing the item!
There are a couple of problems with this feature, though, that I’d like to point out. Along with ways to get around the problems.
Sometimes when you enter item notes, they disappear! You can enter the information, but when you go back they are gone, and there isn’t any way to get that information back. This can be frustrating if you are entering a lot of notes, which just disappear.
There is a workaround to prevent this. Don’t add notes when you add a new item, always add them when editing an existing item. QuickBooks 2012 has a bug, if you add a note at the same time that you are adding the item, the notes are not saved. So, add the item, save it, edit the item and then you can add your item notes.
Simple! Now, I just wish there was a way to get those notes into a report…
Items with a Blank Item Name
Here’s another item list error that I noticed while exploring the Disappearing Notes problem. My item list has multiple Service Items that have no item name?
How can that be? If you try to add an item without a name, QuickBooks won’t let you. Do I have some sort of file damage, or have I been importing incorrect records through some sort of import? Well, no, I can see this in a brand new QuickBooks company file that has no existing items to start with, that I don’t do any importing with. What is going on?
This is tied in with the prior problem, the “disappearing item notes”. Each time I click the Notes button in the Add Item window, when adding a new item, QuickBooks adds a new service item to the item list. I can delete the item, I can edit it and add a name. Strange!
If I try to verify the file, the verify fails. If I rebuild the company file, QuickBooks detects that there are items with no name, and attempts to correct the problem. You’ll see some odd “Rebuilt” item names in the list. After this, the verify will succeed.
These tests were all performed with QuickBooks Accountant 2012 (Premier) release R8. I haven’t looked at Enterprise, or older releases. It isn’t a problem in 2011 and before, because Item Notes were added in 2012.
My thanks to Judy DeFeo for pointing out the disappearing notes problem (which led me to the second problem), and the workaround, in the Sleeter Group Consultants Network member forum. If you are an accounting professional working with QuickBooks there are a lot of tips you can pick up in the member’s-only discussion forum.
Update: QuickBooks 2012 R9 has been released and it should fix this problem.