Improvements to QuickBooks Online Inventory

Improvements to QuickBooks Online Inventory

Improvements to Items and Inventory in QBO – by Woody Adams

Some are reading that title and thinking; “wait, inventory is only in QBO Plus, what is going on here?” True that. However, this past year we have enhanced product & service functionality even at the Essentials level. Essentials has time tracking now and time tracking only users and settings, what? Yup. But this article regards item and inventory improvements we had this year, and I will not be detailing dates of such changes as my memory is real suspect. And when I say “items” I mean products & services, which is a minor pet peeve I have with QBO in general. I just like “item or items”, way easier to mutter. Ha! “Mutter”. Nobody says that anymore…

Inventory Improvements—Quantity Adjustment, Starting Value Adjustment, Low Stock/Out of Stock/Reorder Point

Other Product & Service Improvements—Categories, Bundles, Sku

In order to really align QBO Plus with QB Pro, we had to allow the ability to make quantity and value adjustments. And by adjustment, I don’t mean editing the P&S and changing the quantity on the fly. That was never a good idea, and you couldn’t change the quantity for a prior date either, it would have to be as of today at least, and that was rather annoying…So we added two adjustment related features, one for quantity and the other for starting value, which I have an important qualification to make about when I get to it.

When I create a new inventory product in QBO Plus, I NEVER enter the current QOH in the setup window. Why? It will hit Opening Balance Equity. Please, don’t do that. Go enter a bill, write a check, or a credit card expense, any vendor posting transaction to “receive” the items into inventory. We really need to remove all those open balance fields on list elements in QBO, period…

But what if you want to change the current QOH of an inventory part? On the P&s list, click the arrow next to Edit in Action column, then click on Adjust quantity, seen screenshot below. In the shot, check out the other options now…the last 3 in list are what is really critically new IMHO. The cool thing about adjusting quantity is it is an actual transaction type. Oh, editing the item record before the change QOH on fly did qualify as a QTY adjustment and would show on reports as its own transaction type too, but I feel QTY adjustment has finally had its day. 2nd screenshot below is the actual Inventory Quantity Adjustment window. I can choose the adjustment account, as QBO will default to Inventory Shrinkage, an account QBO auto creates in your COA. You can choose another based on your needs. I suggest keeping it to a COGS type account however and I am sure you accountant will agree. Note I can even tag a class, location, Memo to the adjustment. In my example below, I reflect a new QOH for Ball of Yarn of 150, a change of 50, which debits inventory asset and credits inventory shrinkage.

If you are not sure the T-chart, don’t click Save & Close, instead click Save and then click More tab/Transaction Journal.

Now, this adjustment transaction will show up on related reports, including the Inventory Valuation Detail report. Note also, Starting Value in the screenshot below. These will have blue links underneath them in the report that will take you to the adjustment. Starting value is like a Value Adjustment in QB Pro, but not really. Why not really? It is not meant as a periodic value adjustment maneuver. It is meant to be a onetime event, like Woody entered the wrong cost or value for the item when setting it up so I need to go back and change its Starting Value kind of adjustment. I can also get to this value adjustment from the P&S list, the arrow next to Edit in Action column. Or from a couple reports like the one below.

Get a little popup warning too when you go to change Starting Value of an inventory part…

From screenshot below, you want to impact the Initial cost field, make the value change there. And watch the adjustment account! It defaults to OBE, so make sure to change it appropriately before you hit Save & Close. Further below, I show a screenshot of me changing the Initial Cost from 1.00 to 1.50 and I also chose an proper COGs adjustment account.

The Inventory Starting value adj will also show up in Search field when you left click it, as well as related reports…You all know re the Search field right? Click in there to see more recent transactions entered!


Above are the main enhancements impacting Inventory in QBO Plus. The remainder of the article will focus on enhancements added to QBO Essentials and Plus but not specifically related to inventory. For example, a Bundle item might include inventory parts but I don’t need Plus to create Bundle items…etc.

Used to be, QBO had a gap vs. Pro, no group items. We added that recently to Essentials and Plus, and we call it Bundle. The Bundle item is totally a group item. I cannot think of a difference except that QBD supports Other charge items that can have a %, not just an amount. I know, I know, it’s the little things…How is that file transfer working out for you? That is loads of fun too. How important is that lack of other charge item type now in QBO? Exactly, not nearly as critical as you once thought…

The Bundle—Go to your P&S list, however you like to get there, click on New tab in upper right and you will see Bundle as a 4th type option. Oh, forgot to mention…While we still call items in QBO “Products & Services”, we decided to differentiate a bit better between the type of P&S you are creating. Inventory, Non-inventory, Service and Bundle. If you don’t see Bundle, you are in QBO Simple Start. Or Self-Employed, LOL. Well, QBSE has no P&S list but still, that is funny…need to take a drink…

Back…Oh, I can also now filter my P&S list by type to help me find stuff easier. Forget when we improved the filtering but it really helps me daily. Wait, what are Categories and how did I group my P&S list so visually impressive? I will get to that.


A while back I created a Bundle item called Groom & Board, see in screenshot below. Key things to point out: You can name it, add a Sku (will get to that later), sales description, then add all the P&S that are part of the bundle aka group item. Bundle is NOT a build assembly. There sales price and any costs will be determined by the Bundle’s component parts. I cannot set a price or cost different from the price/cost of the items in the bundle. And like a Group item in QBD, I can chose to “Display bundle components when printing or sending transactions” or not. So I can see all the detail on the screen but my customer will only see Groom & Board and the price. To me, this is the most important part.

When on a sales form…

Here is the transaction journal of the above entry…

Let’s end with Categories, which really represents QBO’s new way to support sub-items. If you convert a QBD file to QBO that has sub-items, you will see an option to convert the subs into Categories. Really helps in filtering the P&S list, pick correct products on a sales form and even filter reports. Enhances visibility, and for me, really it is about the P&S list and a clearer understanding and grouping.

In All Lists under Gear icon, you will see Product Categories. You can also manage your categories in the P&S list itself.


Category is just a name. Add some, then you can assign your products and services to a Category. Basically I am creating Item groups. I can then filter the P&S list by a specific category…like Dog Attire below, and focus in on those products.

I often like to filter the list by Uncategorized so I can batch assign products to their respective Cats…In the screenshot below, I am batch assigning several services to the Treatment category…

Now, when I filter the P&S by the Treatments category, I can see them all grouped…

Categories also infiltrates the P&S list dropdown on sales forms, so I can make sure I am choosing the correct item, and I can even quick-type based on Category to find the products in that group, etc…That has got to help with data entry. See screenshot below…

Well, that just about…..WAIT! Stock status and re-order points, wow, the list just keeps going on and on…ok then we be done…

See above. I have filtered the P&S list by my Dog and Cat toy category as these are super popular sales items, daily. My concern is the Red rubber ball. At top of list is the Low Stock alert and the Out of Stock alert. I know I need to purchase some red rubber balls, the reorder point being 3, which is mildly humorous. I need to change that to a more reasonable point. And 12 of my items are getting low. So I might as well purchase those too. and I can purchase in batch assuming the low and out of stock items have the same vendor…Before I do that, see how Reorder point is used when I edit the product record…I updated the point to 50. See below how I can batch purchase too…

Note: Reorder points and stock level tracking is supported for inventory parts ONLY…


Now the QTY I need to order is not auto-filled on the PO based on the Record point of the product. It defaults to 1, so I still need to enter the QTY I want to order. Important to note, but still, nice to see all items I need to purchase from same vendor on one PO…I hover over the QTY field and I get a popup for QOH and Reorder point, then I just click into field and enter amount…

The hovering popup happens on sales forms too, and while not tracking “availability to promise” to a customer, it does give me visibility to current QOH. As there is no Sales Order tracking at this time in QBO, I am restricted like a QB Pro user is, by the current quantity on hand of an item. Sales receipt is the shot below…

Oh, below is a shot of me filtering a report by Category…

Remember, you can now add Sku info at the product level and see that column on sales forms, reports and the product and services list. Though I cannot change the Sku label name, I could use this field as a “custom field” at the item level. I mean Sku can mean anything, right?



QBOA Team Permissions Break Down

QBOA Team Permissions Break Down

My good friend and co-host, Woody Adams, has written yet another great piece. This time, he breaks down QBOA team permissions.

QBOA = QuickBooks Online Accountant

Team = Firm staff you invite to QBOA Team

The below permissions are set in the Firm Administration and Books tab in the team member’s record. You access this page by clicking on Team tab in QBOA (assuming you have access), then click on team member name in list you want to affect.. Regardless of the below QBOA team member access level settings, team members are Company Admins on any QBO client file to which they have access. 

Basic Access Level Settings—This team member is completely Basic access level. All they see is the Clients and ProAdvisor tabs in the firm QBOA. Essentially, this is for the staff that you only want to access the clients you want them to access, and nothing else. Absolutely NO firm admin duties allowed. There is only one Basic option, and it is the mode in the screenshot below. If you allow access to any other field, Access mode turns to Custom:

By changing anything in the access column drop downs, the type of access changes to “Custom”


There are different options for QBOA Team member permissions for your firm’s books and client access


Custom Access Level Setting—Manage your clients

The first Custom access level is for the Basic staff team member needing the ability to Add a QBO client sub to the firm QBOA. You choose Yes for Manage your clients setting. As you can see in the next picture below, Firm Admin and Firm Books are still completely restricted, but I have the ability to allow a team member to add a QBO sub. The team member will see nothing in QBOA but the Clients they have access to, ProAdvsor tab and the Add Client tab. While the team member can add the QBO sub to Wholesale Billing, he or she cannot edit, view, or manage Wholesale billing settings at all. Nor can this team member move existing clients under Wholesale. As well, this team member cannot assign other team members to the newly added QBO sub. Net, net: I can give a QBOA team member the ability to add a QBO sub, add it to wholesale, work on their appropriate assigned clients, and get certified in QBO as a free ProAdvisor.

This QBOA team member has NO other firm admin abilities:


This QBOA team member will have no access to the firms books, aka “YOUR BOOKS”



Custom Access Level Settings—The Rest

Note: I decided not to test any View Only settings per access level, as why would I set a team member to view something if I didn’t want them to have access to modify it?  Also, I kept the Manage your clients set to Yes for all of the following, which you may or may not want to do depending on need. We just broke down Manage your clients so hopefully this does not cause any confusion.

Firm Information Edit, All other settings None, Manage your clients Yes—No differences noted. As far as I can tell in my testing, this minor setting change makes no difference to the above Basic team member with Manage your clients set to Yes.

Firm Information Edit, Firm Users Edit, Manage your clients Yes—The team member now has some firm administrative access. Upon giving team member Edit access to Firm Users, team member can now see Clients they have access to, Team tab, ProAdvisor tab, Add Client (remember, Manage your clients set to Yes), and Your Books. Team member can add staff to the team and edit any staff member save for the QBOA Master admin. While the team member sees Your Books, they have no access to it. All Your Books pages throw a “We’re Sorry warning.”

This QBOA team member still has no access to manage wholesale billing or see the firm credit card, nor can they move existing clients not under Wholesale to Wholesale billing:


This QBOA team member won’t be able to edit Wholesale Billing information.



Firm information Edit, Firm users Edit, Subscriptions and billing Edit, Manage your clients Yes—All same abilities as the above setting, with the addition to Edit billing information for Wholesale Billing, aka, access and change the firm credit card. This team member can still NOT move existing QBO clients not under Wholesale to Wholesale, nor manage any wholesale billing duties that have to do with adding payroll, upgrading Essentials to Plus, cancelling payroll or removing a client from Wholesale billing.

This QBOA team member can edit Wholesale Billing settings.


Firm Administration Access Edit for all, Your Firm Books Customers and A/R Yes, Manage your clients Yes—The below setting allows the team member to access all customer and sales related forms and reports in the Your Books file, plus the same permissions allowed in the above setting. The team member will have NO access to chart of accounts, registers, online banking, vendor/expense related forms and reports, attachments, budgeting, bank reconciliation or payroll.

This QBOA team member does have access to time forms and reports. NO access to financial reports.


Custom access for this QBOA team member.


Full Access Level Setting—This team member has access to all areas and tasks in QBOA, as well as all the permissions allowed in the settings above. The only move this team member cannot make is remove the Master admin of QBOA. This team member has access to all of the Your Books file, including Payroll, registers, banking and financial reports. The Full team member is basically a Company admin of QBOA.


Only the Master Admin is greater than Company Admin, but not by much.


Woody also has a lot of great product videos. He’s also written other articles for

QuickBooks Online, The Camille Epiphany Part 3: QuickBooks Desktop looks old

QuickBooks Online, The Camille Epiphany Part 3: QuickBooks Desktop looks old

This is part 3 of 3 in a series by Woody Adams. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here

“QuickBooks Desktop looks old”… Let me end this series with a story that happened to me recently. I set aside 30 minutes to help a sales agent on our team overcome the Open Windows objection, as she sells the current 5 for $25 deal to accountant firms. You know, where you can get 5 QuickBooks Online Plus subs in your QuickBooks Online under wholesale billing for $5 each? Killer deal…Let’s call her “Camille”. Camille recently joined Intuit right out of college, a young millennial, a bright and shining example of the type of person you are wanting to hire or take on as a client.

She wanted to know more about what an accountant means when they complain about QuickBooks Online and how QuickBooks Desktop is so much easier to work in from a workflow standpoint, because of the Open Window list. I showed her in my QBA 2017, opened up a few reports, the register, a check etc, and the Open Windows list. Immediately she realized a benefit of this ole desktop approach. It was quite eye opening to her and she admitted easily that it did look easier in terms of UI, workflow, toggling quickly between windows. I showed her some browser tips in QuickBooks Online, and we both agreed it is not the same thing. Even the multiple tabs felt chunky and took time to get setup etc…Camille could understand the argument. It is not a winnable debate from the QuickBooks Online workaround viewpoint. Then I told her it didn’t matter and was not a battle worth winning…Her gut reaction to my take confirmed the Why…

QuickBooks desktop looks old.


“Camille, what does QuickBooks Desktop look like to you?”


“Exactly. Anything else?”

“I do like the visual open windows and how easy it is to flip back and forth but I wouldn’t ever install such an old application. I mean, QuickBooks desktop looks old…”

I then tell Camille a story of a firm transferring files back and forth with their clients, never having the most current data, or even the correct data, hosting fees, all to support the ability to use the Open Windows feature.

“Oh, well, yeah, I am never using QuickBooks Desktop, I mean it is just really old.”

Quickbooks desktop looks… old

Now I am paraphrasing “Camille’s” thoughts as we sat together at my desk that day, looking at QuickBooks Desktop, then doing the similar work in QuickBooks Online, and even launching the QuickBooks Online Windows app, which she admitted would bridge the gap for someone really struggling with moving to QuickBooks Online. It was some of the better 30 minutes I have spent in my 12 years at Intuit. Why?

“Camille” to me represents consumer progress, the younger generation that will soon take over the market, whether that market be firm employees or firm clients. You cannot take QuickBooks Desktop to them as a viable option, particularly if the client is going to be in the books. You are going to want to be in there with them, collaborating with them in real time, and they are not going to want to send you any file or version of their file. They will want you to login beside them. They will want you to teach them how to automate data entry, how to quickly get to critical data and have you advise them on it. Daily, in the moment. If you are willing to sacrifice all that progress for Open Windows, who are you really solving for? And the said in school I could never end anything with a rhetorical question. Ha!

This is a guest post, authored by friend and co-host, Woody Adams.

QuickBooks Online, The Camille Epiphany Part 2: Open Windows List

QuickBooks Online, The Camille Epiphany Part 2: Open Windows List

This is part 2 of 3 in a series by Woody Adams. You can find Part 1 here

As an Intuit product specialist for the Accountant segment, I get to spend time supporting sales agents and account managers as they work with their customers (accounting firms) and their clients. For the most part, most firms are opening the door and shifting their client base from a desktop platform like QuickBooks Pro to QuickBooks Online Plus. There are some reasons that are perfectly valid to ignore the knocking on the front door. Maybe it is not a good fit for yet, due to finances, consistent internet activity, fear of change, lack of perceived urgency to adopt latest technology, feature set, etc. There are many reasons like this that I totally understand; concerns with which I can empathize.

However, there is one push back from firms adopting QuickBooks Online: it doesn’t have the open windows list like in QuickBooks Desktop. Well, there is a QuickBooks Online utility app you can download on windows or mac machines that renders QuickBooks Online more relatable to long time desktop QB users. And we have the browser tips oft discussed in webinars and trainings to show accountants that they can indeed have a P&L, a Balance Sheet, and other forms or windows open in multiple tabs. It works well, but is not the same thing as the good ole QuickBooks Desktop Open Windows list.

QBDT Open Windows List

These things aren’t going anywhere


Open Windows list isn’t QuickBooks Online. That’s a desktop thing.


Instead of the open windows list, we can use browser tabs. And move them around, on any monitor.

You can put these bad boys any place!


So I just do not fight that complaint anymore. I don’t put the gloves on and duke it out with some tips and tricks. I demo the QuickBooks Online Windows app, but would never actually use it myself. Why? I grew up on QuickBooks Desktop but also on QuickBooks Online, and when on QuickBooks Online, I am in a browser, mainly Chrome or Firefox.

I will Right click/Duplicate tabs when needed, move a tab to a 2nd monitor if I need a split view, or Tile the tabs vertically when on one screen. Like Stacy, to me, the point of using QuickBooks Online is so that I don’t have to install local apps. But even this does not matter. I am not using QuickBooks Online because of the open windows list. I am using it because QuickBooks Online offers me the best platform for the following WAY MORE CRITICAL business life stuff:

  1. No file transfer
  2. No QuickBooks Desktop versioning or installation of a desktop application
  3. No expensive IT structure
  4. Better real time collaboration with clients
  5. Automatic connection to bank and credit card feeds
  6. Automatic sync to apps that pull in feeds from other vendor sources with attachments, transactions auto created in QuickBooks Online.
  7. Auto-sending of reports
  8. Auto sending of transactions
  9. Auto-creation of invoices from unbilled activity
  10. Better collaboration within the firm
  11. Ability to hire better talent that will think desktop installed solutions unacceptable, unimaginable…
  12. One client list inside of QuickBooks Online
  13. New features and functionality in product without installing maintenance releases
  14. Access data from any device
  15. No re-entry of data after the day is done and I been out on road working with customers
  16. More time back to spend with family

I am sure there are more.

So I give you your victory regarding QuickBooks Desktop Open windows list. Congrats. Cling to it as long as you can. But how sustainable is your stance? How do you encourage an employee natively powered for the cloud to adopt your QuickBooks Desktop client collaboration process of transferring files back and forth? Or explain the benefit of using the accountant’s copy process? They will just think you are out of touch and apply to a firm down the street that is better adapted.

The desktop platform is not relatable to employees that are embracing technology. These demographic – regardless of their age –  is fast becoming your clients and employee base. Is not being able to do a bank feed from an iPhone while on the road so much more viable than having an open windows list in one screen on a computer in an office? Your answer to that question is critical to your own sustainability as a sought after accounting practice. Are you in retirement mode or growth mode? Retirement = QuickBooks Desktop, Growth = QuickBooks Online…

Stay tuned for Part 3: It looks really old

This is a guest post, authored by friend and co-host, Woody Adams.
QuickBooks Online, The Camille Epiphany Part 1: Bank feeds in QuickBooks Online are superior to QuickBooks Desktop

QuickBooks Online, The Camille Epiphany Part 1: Bank feeds in QuickBooks Online are superior to QuickBooks Desktop

“Let them win the QuickBooks Desktop open windows argument, mostly cause it doesn’t matter. Even they know that.”
                                                                                            -Clayton Adams III

Less and less do I hear this refrain, because I am somewhat removed from the phones; yet I know the argument still rages on in sales calls. “QuickBooks Desktop just is better at workflow…QuickBooks Online takes me 15 minutes longer to do the same task…I cannot have multiple windows open like I can in QuickBooks Desktop…Reporting sucks vs. QuickBooks Desktop”…and such. The last complaint is mostly in relation to open windows, “…like in QuickBooks Desktop”.

Core reporting is essentially the same between the two platforms, I mean the main 3 reports accountants run: namely the Balance Sheet, P&L and Trial Balance. I know there are a few gaps remaining in terms of extra header lines, footer on every report page, and date range formation flexibility, etc… but mostly, QuickBooks Online is on par with QuickBooks Desktop where it matters. Even feature set-wise, QuickBooks Online is practically a price-level away from QuickBooks Pro.

What really is the continuing negative noise about?

Tis more of a tired, dwindling tune…

Bank feeds in QuickBooks Online are superior to QuickBooks Desktop.


Bank rule function, direct connection, batch accept to register, batch modify, batch undo and delete – these are all online banking features that QuickBooks Desktop either does not have or does in a way that just cannot compare to QuickBooks Online feeds. Add to this the fact that with QuickBooks Online, it can all be done on mobile. Bank feeds in QuickBooks Online are superior to QuickBooks Desktop.

This is what the bank feed feature looks like in QuickBooks Desktop:

QBDT Bank Feed


This is what the bank feed feature looks like in QuickBooks Online:

QBO Bank Feed


If automation of data entry is at the doorstep, then QuickBooks Desktop is a-slipping out through the back. Yet, there are many desktop champions still clinging to this old solution, and it is not because QuickBooks Premier supports sales orders. Heavy inventory and job costing requirements are seldom needed across a firm’s client base – at least not the firms with whom I’m talking to. If this were not the case, then why do so many of their clients use Pro?

Exactly… robust feature set is not the reason for the QuickBooks Online criticism or pushback on sales calls. These diehards just like the way the windows open in QuickBooks Desktop vs QuickBooks Online. It’s ok. It is cool how open windows work in QuickBooks Desktop. Genius. A genius whose impact and effectiveness is waning against a more important story: Automation of data entry and real time results. Who cares about open windows if you no longer need to enter data, or can set up the data to enter with minimal involvement? Uh, that question was rhetorical. Have I mentioned yet that bank feeds in QuickBooks Online are superior to QuickBooks Desktop?

Check out Part 2: Open Windows List

This is a guest post, authored by friend and co-host, Woody Adams.

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