A reader wrote in to ask if we knew if the new SKU feature for QBO could make use of Barcodes. Since a barcode scanner is nothing more than an input device, not much different than a keyboard, it would seem natural that if you have a barcode scanner properly configured on your computer that you should be able to both scan barcodes into the SKU field (which will be stored as their numeric equivalent) and also scan barcodes into the Product/Service field on various QBO forms that make use of the new SKU field.
First we created a new item, for this purpose “Business Cards”, and then scanned a barcode into the SKU field. The barcode numeric identifier was 12801275717888. (By the way, solely for reference purposes, we scanned an ‘image’ of the barcode, and then uploaded that image into the image field of the QBO Inventory Item. You can see in the illustration below that the barcode numeric identifier was recorded in the SKU field, and that the SKU value equals that of the barcode shown in the illustration field.
We then attempted to scan the barcode into various QBO forms, placing our cursor in the Item Product/Service field, and scanning the barcode using our barcode reader, as shown below.
The barcode numeric identifier was populated into the field, then QBO displayed the ‘Add/pick’ pop-up window, as well as another window in which you would pick the type of Product/Service (Inventory/Non-inventory/Service). When it did this process the entire ‘form window’ goes dark with the exception of the ‘Add/pick’ pop-up window, as can be seen in the illustration below. It is almost as if QBO recognizes the numeric, but only secondarily does it recognize the numeric as corresponding to an SKU. It apparently first thinks it is a new item that you might need to add.
If you proceed with manually selecting the SKU item from the pop-up window, as shown below, then the entire process proceeds in a near normal fashion with a couple of noted exceptions. First, the Product/Service type window I eluded to, that should be associated with the ‘Add new item’ feature, does not close automatically. You have to close it manually, and the form template screen does not return to full (normal) brightness until you close that window. Secondly, even though you accepted the proper item from the pop-up window, the Product/Service field remains blank while the associated description and other fields such as price, show up correctly. (This seems to be a bug in the new feature.)
In order to preclude the possibility that ‘the bug’ is exclusive to using a barcode form of input, I tried the same thing by manually typing in the full barcode numeric value into the product/service field, and I got the exact same results. On the other hand, if you type in only a sufficient portion of the numeric value for QBO to find the SKU, and then pick the item, both the item name and description show up in the appropriate fields. I must therefore conclude that the bug is associated with the actual QBO SKU feature as a ‘value’ as a whole.
Another very odd thing happens when you attempt to view the transaction in reports, as can be seen above. If you run the Sales by Product/Services Detail report, and you add the Product/Service column to the report, the transaction item shows up as a 'Service' when in fact it is an 'Inventory item'. I am unclear as to if this bug is the result of the SKU functionality, the fact that the Product/Service is not retained when you pick from the pop-up displaying the SKU, or if it is in fact associated with the Inventory product type since again I get the same result even if I pick an SKU item, rather than barcode scan the product/service field.
All in all I must say that the new QBO feature does not appear to be 'prime time' ready for barcode numeric values to be used, and may in fact not be fully 'bug free' in even normal hand-keyed or drop-down picked interface use.
If you have begun using the SKU feature, and noticed any 'odd behavior' associated with this new functionality, please let us hear from you by posting your observations in the 'comments' section below.
(By the way, for purposes of our experiment we used a 'Hand-held Products' Model 3800 USB-corded Barcode Scanner.)