QuickBooks offers limited (at best) inventory functionality, for small businesses with minor inventory needs it probably will work, but as your business grows and your inventory and related requirements expand, so do you inventory management needs. Intuit would have you believe that you can resolve the limitations of Pro/Premier by migrating up to Enterprise, and as if that isn't enough you need to add their subscription functionality for 'Advanced Inventory' and 'Advanced Pricing'. Even with all those changes, and extra expense, you still don't have all the inventory capabilities you really need.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a series of articles on Inventory Management options including add-ons and add-ins to QuickBooks, I also summarized in one article about solutions that take over inventory functionality completely. A couple of months ago I wrote about one such product, in this article we will review another product, Acctivate Inventory Management.
Let me interject here that the makers of Acctivate decided early on that while they wanted to offer software with a vast array of functionality, they didn't want their users to have to pay for features they didn't need, so they chose the route of offering a product core and then making a series of optional feature modules available at an additional cost. Core functionality is key to Acctivate, you might elect to start with the core and later add 'mobile warehouse' features, or perhaps E-commerce integration, or even EDI functionality. With this approach you can add more sophisticated features as you need them, when you need them, and only if you need them. (You will see notations in this article where a feature or function is 'optional'.)
Whether you need to look at summaries, details, or both, Acctivate dashboards are a dynamic, interactive solution that enables you to gain insight and make better business decisions:
- On-screen information saves time and conveniently keeps you informed of your entire Inventory process
- View data from every area of the company, or only one – you decide
- Quickly identify issues and take action to resolve them
- Gain better visibility into remote offices and operations
- Real-time information available when you are – no more waiting around for personnel to report
- Eliminates clutter – enables each user to focus on their environment, tasks and duties
- Almost limitless possibilities and uses by creating custom widgets
- Personalize each users dashboards so they see only what you want them to see
Integration with QuickBooks
Acctivate Inventory does not routinely sync with the Items in QuickBooks. Once the initial sync is done, all of the active items are copied to Acctivate, including the quantity on hand and inventory valuation in QuickBooks.
Sync with QuickBooks
Then QuickBooks items are turned off inside QuickBooks and Acctivate takes full responsibility for all Inventory Management. Journal entries, Sales Orders, and Purchase Invoices will reference the Product Class assigned to the products in your inventory. Therefore, you will see the Product Class list in your Item List in QuickBooks. Any transactions that affect inventory, including transactions to the Inventory asset account, should always be handled in Acctivate to ensure that Acctivate and QuickBooks are kept in balance. When transactions are posted from Acctivate to QuickBooks you do not see the part numbers if you want to print the invoice or run any item specific reports you MUST do so from Acctivate.
Acctivate’s Business Activities Features
The Business Activities functionality can manage and track any activity, issue, follow-up, event or project. Each time a user logs into Acctivate, they will be presented with a current list of alerts and business activities.
Business activities help you assign, manage and track activities throughout the organization. Business activities will track your projects and tasks and then, business alerts will make sure you never miss a deadline again.
- Business Activity Management – Creates an electronic folder that can be used for tracking sales, Return Merchandise Authorizations (RMAs), service calls, and more in one place. This is for activities that involve several people or take place over a period of time. Track notes, changes in status, emails, etc. (Optional Module)
- Business Activity Scheduling - Acts as a scheduling board for assigning business activities. For example, if there are five service techs, scheduling provides a board where you can move service activities among the different service techs. (Optional Module)
- Business Activity Service Billing - Allows for billing of time and material charges within a business activity. (Optional Module)
- Business Decision Support - Acctivate decision support tools simplify the decision-making process by providing easy access to real-time business intelligence across all areas of your company. Get personalized, useful information for each user, delivered with a flexible, simple-to-use interface, allowing every member of the organization to gain the knowledge they need to make better decisions – whether dealing with vendors, prospects, customers or employees. (Optional module)
Sales and Customer Management
Sales management and order fulfillment tools integrated with inventory control software can be the sales team’s secret weapon in an ever-increasingly competitive environment. Real-time access to accurate inventory and product information keeps orders flowing and customers happy & away from competitors.
- Lead Management - Acctivate has a set of customizable contact and lead management tools that enable company-wide visibility, access, management and analysis into the sales and account management process.
- Customer Sales - When the customer is ready to buy, they want the process to be handled quickly, accurately, easily and via their preferred, and sometimes mandated, channel. That may mean shopping online, by phone, by fax, through the mail, from a catalog or, at a retail counter, from a sales person, or, for some businesses, buying is an automated process using EDI. The key to effectively handling all sales channels with accuracy & consistency is centralizing – having the data, including inventory quantities, in one location.
- Sales orders - The power of a sales management system that is directly integrated with inventory and other areas of the company is most apparent at the time of the sale. Quotes are converted to sales orders with Acctivate’s one click conversion process – even for orders with complex components, parts or configuration. Sales orders are handled easily, accurately and quickly with real-time access to inventory, credit management, shipping information and customer history at your fingertips.
Acctivate Sales Order Process
- Retail counter sales - Counter sales, returns and exchanges can be handled quickly with multiple payment options, barcode scanning, special handling or shipping instructions and sales tax management. A variety of supported hardware is available to streamline point-of-sale operations. (Optional module)
Acctivate’s purchasing management functionality is a repository of purchasing history information that can be accessed by all authorized company personnel. Streamline the complexities of purchasing management with dynamic purchasing management software for managing: requisitions, request for quote, purchase orders, receiving and alerts. Purchase orders can also be created based on pre-established reorder policies and procedures using preferred vendors and inventory reorder alerts.
- Drop-ship/Special Order Wizard - Acctivate’s drop ship purchasing wizard is a powerful tool that automatically creates purchase orders for drop shipments (ship from your vendor to your customer) or special orders (for products that you do not keep in stock, but order when you get a sales order for the product) from line items on the sales order. (Optional Module)
- Inventory Forecasting - Acctivate helps you make sure you have enough of the right inventory on hand, without having too much, to fulfill sales when sales happen. With tools that simplify forecasting & sales trend analysis, you get it right and ordering new products or reorders is a quick, easy process. The result is increased forecast accuracy, reduced inventory purchasing errors, reduced inventory levels, improved customer service, and reduced out of stocks.(Optional module)
Inventory control affects the entire business and your customers, not just your warehouse. Having the correct inventory, in the right quantities, and keeping it under control, can be the differentiator in customer satisfaction and is a key driver for increased productivity and profitability. Some specialized features of Acctivate include:
- Catch weight - Catch weight, or variable weight, is typically used for food or other items where each item has a different weight and the items are stocked by piece and priced by weight.
- Kitting & Assemblies - Whether products are made to stock (assemblies), made on demand (kitting) or any combination of the two, Acctivate controls the inventory, and provides visibility on sales, margins, availability and anticipated current and future component inventory requirements. (Optional module)
- Landed cost - Landed cost, or true cost, is the process of capturing all costs associated with the acquisition of goods, enabling businesses to accurately calculate inventory valuation by including these associated costs, whether the costs are known at the time of receipt of the goods, or sometime after. (Optional module)
- Matrix Inventory - Used in many different industries – apparel, jewelry, footwear, paint manufacturing, flooring, sporting goods – anywhere color, size, style or pattern variations require complex inventory control and tracking capabilities. (Optional module)
ACCTivate Matrix Inventory
- Pricing Flexibility - Create, manage, control and monitor pricing decisions across the company, by segment, by product or by customer with Acctivate. Each individual price can be a specific dollar value, a discount from list, or a markup from cost. Customer tiered pricing can have an unlimited number of tiers, and can be specific to a single product or a group of products. Any number of quantity break prices. Point-of-transaction up-charge or discount capabilities. Cost-plus calculations. Users can be ‘constrained’ to choice of price, or granted rights of manual price overrides. Pricing approval options also available.
- Trace & Track with Serial, Lot Numbers and Expiry Dates - Acctivate’s powerful lot number and serial number tracking capabilities, when combined with Acctivate’s barcoding functionality, form one of the most robust, yet affordable solutions available to businesses requiring lot and serial number management with traceability. You can also record and manage expiration dates by lot number or serial number. (Optional module)
Acctivate offers a variety of manufacturing functionalities from basic bills-of-materials and assemblies to custom fabrication to detailed process/batch formulation:
- Custom fabrication – Vary Bills-of materials by adding, removing or changing component parts or quantities, automatically maintain traceability of lot/serial numbers for components and resultant finished products, easily manage refurbishment and/or disassembly. (Optional module)
- Process manufacturing – Handles conditional recipe or formula variations, record the actual ingredients used at time of production, manages waste and spoilage, automatically maintains the traceability of ingredient and production batch/lot numbers, tracks expirations, and records the resulting yield quantities. (Optional module)
Acctivate software is the most advance inventory & warehousing software available to the small and mid-market, enabling your business with multi-channel order management & fulfillment, real-time visibility, barcoding, workflow management and flexible warehouse organization.
- Multiple Locations – Track inventory in any location below the primary site/warehouse including aisle, rack, shelf, bin, trucks or other defined locations. (Optional module)
Pick accuracy and on-time shipping are the last critical steps before the moment of truth when the customer receives the order. Acctivate’s order fulfillment tools are designed to reduce errors, eliminate bottlenecks, optimize worker productivity and assist in the process of satisfying customers time and again. Gain the competitive advantage of flexible, reliable and cost-effective order fulfillment with Acctivate’s fully-integrated picking, shipping and shipment tracking capabilities.
Barcoding and Warehouse Mobile features
Acctivate supports leading barcoding hardware devices, scanners and printers and Acctivate is built on a flexible foundation that allows the system to understand your specific environment, and then permits a custom barcoding solution to meet your business needs, goals and budget. Adding barcoding software and workflow management to the order fulfillment streamlines the process: (All ‘Mobile features’ are Optional Modules, each mobile device requires an individual ‘optional feature license’.)
- Mobile Receiving – Use wireless handheld devices to receive products.
- Pick in progress - Pick the product on each sales order using a handheld barcode reader capturing the product barcode, bin barcode, and/or lot or serial number barcodes.
- Picked – Use wireless handled devices to pick and process outbound orders. Order. Order & address information is automatically available for printing labels without rekeying of information.
- Shipped - Order is shipped, tracking information is automatically supplied to Acctivate from FedEx, UPS, USPS, ShipRush or DHL workflow status is changed to shipped, and the order is ready to be invoiced. (Shipping solution integrations are an Optional module.)
Running an import or export business can be complex. Capturing all the costs, managing inventory, handling customers, creating pricing structures – and doing it all efficiently and profitably, can be a challenge. Acctivate helps importers and exporters of all sizes buy and sell globally with ease and efficiency by:
- Landed Costs - Calculate the true cost & profitability of goods with landed cost (Optional module)
- Multi-currency Support - Implement a multi-national pricing strategy with the most comprehensive multi-currency solution available for small & mid-sized importers (Optional module)
- EDI Compatibility - Automate routine tasks & eliminate rekeying of documents with fully-compliant EDI (Optional module)
E-Commerce and EDI Integration
Acctivate integrates with many major E-commerce platforms, such as Magento, Amazon Services, and many more. With one click – orders, tracking information, product availability and customers are synchronized between Acctivate & your web store. (Optional modules)
- Web Store Integration - Integrates Acctivate seamlessly to eCommerce platforms, such as Magento Commerce, ASPDotNetStoreFront, Volusion and many more shopping carts and web applications. You won't need to rely on any third party vendor's software for your integration. (Optional module per Web Store)
- EDI Sales/Purchasing/3PL Transactions – Import orders from your EDI Provider into Activate using 850, 860 or 810 translations. Export purchases from Acctivate to your EDI Provider and vendor trading partners. Map 940 warehouse orders to your 3rd-party Logistics Company with returning 945 confirmations. (Each of the 3 features are optional modules, there is also a charge for each trading partner.)
Platform or Cloud Options
Activate is available on premise or in the cloud letting you chose which deployment is right for your business:
- On-premise Platform - Acctivate has been designed using industry-standard development tools that integrates with top technology providers – an approach we believe ensures application longevity, flexibility, and performance. The technology beneath the Acctivate application is robust, secure, and accelerates the value delivered to customers today and in the future. Acctivate supports most versions of Microsoft Windows and all Microsoft Server Operating Systems.
- Cloud Option - Acctivate brings a cloud offering of the tools growing companies need to manage their businesses more effectively and improve inventory controls, productivity and profitability. With their cloud option you will have real-time access to prospects, customers, vendors & company performance information at your fingertips, manage your credit and the sales pipeline, and provides access to all customer orders, returns, communications, issues and history to everyone in the company from anywhere via the internet.
Acctivate’s reporting and document management capabilities were designed around Crystal Reports, providing Acctivate users the ability to develop advanced, integrated reports and documents with professional design quality & branding. Acctivate includes over 100 reports & documents out of the box including a customizable dashboard AND the ability to create virtually any report or document with Crystal Reports® eliminating all restrictions to getting the information you need, the way you want it. Acctivate provides fully-integrated, real-time access to company-wide information. (Custom reporting is an Optional Module)
- Reports are easily accessible within each category module (sales, purchasing, etc.) and are also housed within the Report Catalog, a system library that contains all reports and documents
- Report filtering: Report data can be filtered to limit what is presented to achieve a more customized user view of the information
- Printer assignments define a default printer for each report
Retailers, wholesalers, distributors and almost everyone in between, who are in the inventory business, have a need for some level of inventory management; that level can range from pencil and paper, to a spreadsheet, to QuickBooks, or something more sophisticated like Acctiivate. QuickBooks, even QuickBooks Enterprise with Advanced Inventory and Advanced Pricing is far from perfect inventory software.
Acctivate is one of several 'good' inventory alternative to QuickBooks, but also a solution that works with QuickBooks to allow your financial staff to continue to use the QuickBooks they love as they general ledger (and more).
Depending on your needs you may find that Acctivate when implemented with Pro/Premier will actually cost you less than migrating to QuickBooks-Enterprise with Advanced Inventory and Advanced Pricing. But more importantly you will get a better feature set as well as a more reliable application and database, and improved capabilities.
Acctivate will gladly give you a complete demonstration of their software capabilities, or you can sign-up for a free trial (although I recommend you get the complete demonstration first). If you support inventory clients you should certainly give Acctivate a thorough review.