When companies managing large or complex inventories, have needs that grow beyond the capacities of QuickBooks, the next best option before abandoning QuickBooks for an expensive ERP system is utilizing a third party add-on software to manage the inventory.
One powerful and feature-rich inventory solution for QuickBooks is Fishbowl Inventory. In addition to the inventory functionality QuickBooks with Advanced Inventory has, Fishbowl offers:
- Advanced User rights (including allowing sales reps to only see their customers and not allowing sales personnel to change set sales prices on sales order)
- Alert Notes (tag a customer, vendor, or item to have Fishbowl automatically open a customized pop up message if they are used in a transaction)
- Auto calculation of reorder points
- Auto-directed picking paths
- Barcode scanning of items, serial numbers, and locations, both into inventory off a PO and out of inventory off an SO (avoid shipping out the wrong item).
- Bar code scanners (stand-alone) that work on Windows PC or Android (receive, pick, pack, ship, adjust quantities, and perform physical inventories all from device without having to be tethered to a PC)
- Built-in CSV imports and exports
- Committing (reserving) inventory to specific sales orders
- Consignment tracking
- Customer Item Numbers (track your customer’s internal part # for each of your items)
- Default item locations (assign items to their default warehouse locations)
- Expiration date tracking
- Grouped order picking (pick multiple SOs together)
- Landed cost management (item purchase cost + freight-in, import fees, etc.)
- Lead times
- LIFO, FIFO, Average Cost, and Standard Costing
- Multiple vendors for Items (tracking of each vendor’s part #, lead time, and order cost)
- Packing Lists with shipment detail (how many boxes, what items are in each box, tracking #)
- Point of sale (can setup POS retail stations that share the same database as the warehouse, no need for separate databases that need to synchronize)
- Product substitutions (if an item is out of stock, a substitute product will be suggested during SO creation)
- RMA tracking (full return merchandise authorization tracking)
- Separate pick, pack, and ship steps (segregate duties and know exactly where inventory is in the fulfillment process)
- Transfer orders (track inventory being moved between your warehouses that is in transit)
- Unlimited smart custom fields
- Vendor cost rules (automatically track and apply volume incentive discounts offered by vendors)
- Assembly Features (Manufacturing) – Assign users to build assemblies; assemblies with multiple finished products (by products); add instructions to assemblies (create instruction manuals with pictures); disassemble finished goods (finished good becomes input and raw materials become output); build to order (customize the assembly directly on the customer’s sales order per the customer’s build specifications); and assembly scheduling
Here is a simple presentation of the sales process, from estimate to invoice:
You receive a call from a customer requesting a quote on a couple of items:
Proceed to the Sales Order module to create your estimate. (In Fishbowl, estimates and sales orders are managed from the same module).
Fill out all relevant information on the General tab:
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Directly from the estimate entry screen, you can double-click the product to see expanded information about that product including its weight and dimensions, its average cost, and the quantity you have in each location:
The details tab will bring over the default information corresponding to the customer on the estimate. These fields can be modified for this estimate as needed:
Once the estimate is completed, proceed to save the estimate. Most transactions in Fishbowl have both Save and Issue options. Save is used to save the transaction as an Estimate while Issue is used to save the transaction as an accepted sales order. The saved transaction will show a status of “Estimate” on the screen, and when printed, will be printed with an “Estimate” title:
When the customer replies and accepts the estimate, return to the estimate, proceed to add the customer’s purchase order # (if applicable) and issue the sales order by pressing on the Issue button. The status will change from “Estimate” to “Sales Order” and if printed, the form will now be titled, “Sales Order”:
Once the Sales Order is issued, the available inventory quantities are adjusted to reflect a reduction by the sales order quantity, and the order will be available for picking by the warehouse staff.
In the Picking module, you have several options which include:
o Hold – Mark the pick for this order as on hold status.
o Start – This marks the pick order as having been started and being in progress.
o Commit – This reserves the items for this customer’s order so they cannot be picked by another customer’s order. This helps insure a subsequent customer order does not take the inventory that was first reserved by the earlier customer order.
o Find – This automatically locates an item in inventory and selects it (ex. It selects a specific serial # for this order).
o Finish – This tells Fishbowl you have completed the pick and have moved the inventory from the stocking location to the packing location.
When you go through the steps, Fishbowl will require you to select a serial number if the item you are picking tracks serial numbers. It will not allow you to proceed without selecting the serial numbers. This ensures that the total quantity on hand of an item always matches the total of your serial numbers.
While picking, Fishbowl will also warn you if you have picked an item which is expired:
Once your pick is complete and the items have been moved to the packing area, you are ready to pack and ship the items.
The Packing and Shipping functions are both found within the Shipping module. In packing the items, you can add cartons to the pack to indicate how many boxes are being sent and which items are being placed in which boxes. You can track the shipper’s tracking # and you can designate the dimensions of shipment boxes that you stock. Fishbowl will add the weight of your items for you.
After the items have been packed, you can print out a packing slip. You have an option when printing the packing slips to print them by carton. This will print a separate sheet of paper to be placed with each box in your shipment identifying the contents of that box and the box’ tracking information.
Once the package has been shipped, you would let Fishbowl know the shipment has taken place by clicking on the Ship button. Alternatively, you can ship packages from multiple orders simultaneously by selecting the batch shipment option.
You will receive a shipment confirmation letting you know the shipment has been recorded. Furthermore, if you have configured e-mail notification for shipments, your customers will receive an e-mail notifications letting them know their order has been shipped.
This completes the process in Fishbowl. Upon synchronization with QuickBooks, an invoice will be created in QuickBooks to reflect the shipped items. You would then proceed to send the customer the invoice and follow up for payment in QuickBooks. The invoice affects your sales and accounts receivable account. A corresponding journal entry will be created to update your inventory and cost of goods sold accounts.
This was a simple example. Fishbowl also offers many useful inventory reports such as Inventory Turnover, Margin by Order, and Product Catalogs with pictures to name a few.
Mario Hernandez, CPA, is president of Miami Accountant. Over the past decade, he has acquired invaluable experience in many different industries. He also became an expert in QuickBooks and in Fishbowl. He is Adavnced Certified in both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online, an achievement held by less than 1 percent of QuickBooks ProAdvisors. The QuickBooks ProAdvisor program has over 150,000 members and Mario Hernandez was named as part of the "Top 100 ProAdvisors" in the world. He has received that distinction in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Today, he applies his experience and expertise in helping businesses with their unique workflows and accounting processes. Mario is fluent in English and Spanish.