Part 1 of a two-part series on managing inventory with QBO.

Remember the early days of your business, when you could keep track of the products and services you sold with a written list or spreadsheet? Good times. And remember when your business grew as you added additional products and services? Even better times.

And…remember when you got to a point in your business where keeping track of inventory was a real headache? Maybe you’ve reached that stage recently. For many business owners, inventory management is an ongoing struggle.

Whether you sell products or services or both, you need records of specific items to use in transactions and reports. Those records are especially important if you have physical inventory. They can store details that help you know, for example, when it’s time to reorder.

Building a database of your inventory is time-consuming work that requires a lot of detail. But the information it supplies worth its weight in gold as you make critical buying decisions.

Detailed Templates

 It’s easy enough to create your individual records. To get started, click the gear icon in the upper right corner of QuickBooks Online and select Products and Services under Lists. A table will open that will eventually contain a comprehensive list of what you sell. Click New in the upper right corner, and the Product/Service information pane slides out.

You’ll see your four options here:

  • Inventory: Products you buy and/or sell
  • Non-inventory: Products you buy and/or sell that don’t require tracking
  • Services: Services you sell
  • Bundle: Products and/or services that you sell together

We’ll focus on the first option:

  • Click Inventory
  • Enter the product’s Name and SKU (if there is one)
  • Click the pencil icon to upload a photo if you’d like
  • If this item is going to be a sub-product or service of another, you’d click the box in front of that option and select the “parent” product or service from the drop-down list

Tracking quantity

 How many do you currently have of that item? Enter the number in the field to the right of Initial quantity on hand

  • Then enter the as of date in the next box
  • When your stock level hits a certain number, you’ll want to reorder more. Enter that number in the box to the right of reorder point

Learn how to complete inventory records and generate reports in part 2 of this series.

Joe Gibbons, CPA is managing partner of Gibbons & Gibbons, P.C., a Northern Virginia-based accounting and business advisory firm that specializes in working with law firms and other professional service providers.

Photo by Martin on Unsplash