4 posts categorized "Selling Online"

5 Reasons to Pause Before Selecting QuickBooks Online for Inventory Tracking

Pause for QBO Inventory

Thinking about using QuickBooks Online (QBO) for tracking your inventory?

It may very well be a good choice for your business, but here are five reasons why it may not...

(NOTE: Unlike the desktop versions of QuickBooks that only update new features once per year, QBO releases new features and functionality more often. The listing below is accurate as of the date of this blog post).

Reason #1 - No backorder tracking

If your business is lucky enough to ship every order complete, then this isn't a concern at all.

If you do have backorders, then QBO won't help so much.

Unlike the sales order tracking feature in QuickBooks Premier and Enterprise, QBO does not offer sales orders. Without them, you're forced to develop some alternate method (think Excel) to track your unshipped orders.

I have seen some businesses try to use the estimate feature of QBO for open order tracking. While that is certainly a start, it usually isn't robust enough to run your business on.

Reason #2 - No ability to fix calculated average cost problems

Every inventory item you create in QBO has two costs that are associated with it. 

The first cost is the one you see in the inventory item master. I'll refer to this as the "purchase cost" and this is shown in the graphic below:


QBO Purchase Cost


The second cost is the one that QBO carries that you can't see - the "calculated average" cost, as shown in the graphic below:

QBO Average Cost

Unlike the Pro, Premier and Enterprise desktop versions of QuickBooks, QBO has no button, lever, or option available to fix this calculated average cost figure if it goes out of whack. I have worked with 3 levels of support at Intuit on this issue, and the only sound I hear is crickets when discussing it.

And it WILL go out of whack due to reason #3...

Reason #3 - No ability to stop on-hand from going negative

Do you often "ship negative" to get an invoice processed and out the door?

By that, I mean you create the invoice first, drive the on-hand quantity of an item negative at that time, and then make a vow to go back and fix it later?

If that's you, QBO is going to give you some heartburn.

If you "ship negative", that process then starts to cause problems with the calculated average cost that QBO holds (see reason #2 above). The calculated average then becomes incorrect, and then any inventory valuation type reports you run in QBO will be incorrect. I've seen the effects of this process first hand in a number of customer QBO files.

The Enterprise edition of QuickBooks desktop does have an option to stop a business from "shipping negative". The Pro and Premier desktop versions of QuickBooks don't have this option, but at least they have the "fix" available for the average cost.

Reason #4 - Can't Set the Closing Date if Inventory On Hand is Negative

The closing date in both the desktop QuickBooks and QBO is a great thing! It stops entries from being made or changes to existing entries in closed accounting periods.

Sadly, if you have just one (that's right, just one) inventory item in QBO that has a negative on-hand quantity at the time you go to set the closing date, you'll be presented with this lovely message:

QBO Closing Date

Sorry to say, there is no way around this other than to get in and fix each and every negative on hand value as of the date you want to set.

I have never seen the Pro, Premier or Enterprise versions of QuickBooks flash this message if an on-hand value is negative.

I am unable to even attempt to explain the logic behind the scenes as to why this happens in QBO - it makes no sense to me.

Reason #5 - No Custom Fields for Inventory in QBO

The Pro/Premier desktop editions of QuickBooks offer you five custom fields to use as needed.

The Enterprise desktop edition of QuickBooks provides fifteen custom fields to use as needed.

QBO offers....zero (at least that I could find anyway).

Depending on what type of information you need to track for your inventory (i.e. color, weight, size, etc.), you may find this to be a very limiting factor.


If you like the concept of QBO and find that it works well for other aspects of your business, you'll be glad to know there are options out there that can help fill in these missing pieces when it comes to tracking your inventory.

Plug-ins such as:

can be brought into the mix to help you overcome the inventory limitations currently found within QBO. Naturally, it's important to understand just what it is about your inventory that you need to track - that will help determine which plug-in may be the best fit for you.


I've been working with inventory-based businesses for over thirty years, and I welcome the opportunity to consult with your business on this topic.



The Inventory Planner - An Inventory Forecasting Tool for Your Business

The inventory stock status report in QuickBooks is a good way to keep score on your inventory, and see what items you need to order.

But what if you want more than it provides?

Consider a closer look at the Inventory Planner software package to help with your QuickBooks inventory forecasting needs.


Designed to help e-commerce businesses with their inventory management, Inventory Planner brings many helpful features to you, including:

  • Automatic forecast and replenishment
  • One click purchase orders
  • Overstock analysis
  • Tracking multiple sales channels in one central place

I really like the forecasting module, as it looks at both the sales history of an item as well as forecasted usage, as shown in the screen shot below:

Inventory Planner Forecasting

The same applies to the overstock module, as Inventory Planner identifies slowly moving inventory and helps to take action on it. You will see if product is overstocked according to its current sales velocity. It can also analyze some common reasons why a product might not be selling well, for example the most popular sizes or colors are sold out.

Inventory planner overstock


Currently, Inventory Planner connects to QuickBooks Online, as well as e-commerce platforms such as: Shopify, Amazon, WooCommerce and many others.

You can use Inventory Planner with the desktop versions of QuickBooks, but you'd have to use their CSV import tool in order to accomplish that. They currently do not offer a direct integration with QuickBooks desktop products (Pro, Premier or Enterprise).


Inventory Planner provides a free 14 day trial of their software. At the conclusion of the trial, pricing starts at $99/month for tracking up to 1000 skus, and then scales from there based on the number of stores and number of skus being tracked.

I have found their support team to be exceptionally responsive and helpful as questions have popped up in working with their software.

If you've been looking for a tool to help you plan and manage your inventory more effectively, I encourage you to take a closer look at the Inventory Planner package.


POOF! There went $100,000....

It was mid-afternoon, and the controller did a quick check of his e-mail to see if anything came in.

An e-mail from the CEO had arrived, so he opened it.

The e-mail contained instructions to send a wire transfer of $100,000 to cover a deposit for a deal the CEO was working on.

Knowing that the CEO was regularly involved in various transactions, the controller picked up the phone and called their bank to get the wire transfer underway to avoid any delays with the deal in progress.

The process with the bank was pretty simple, as wire transfers were sent regularly.

A couple hours later, the controller got a call from the CEO about another matter, and the controller confirmed with the CEO that he had sent the wire transfer he requested.

"What wire transfer?" said the CEO

"The wire transfer you e-mailed me about earlier this afternoon", said the controller

"I didn't send you any e-mails asking for a wire transfer to be made", said the CEO.

Silence followed.

Hauntingly dead silence.

The controller just realized he had been scammed by a well crafted and well executed e-mail.

Even worse, the funds had already left the bank.

Never to be seen again.

To repeat - never. to. be. seen. again.

Poof. There went $100,000!

Does this sound like some fiction to you?

Sadly, it is true. Very, very true!

View some additional real-life social engineering losses here.


The scenario above falls into what is being called "social engineering losses" by those in the insurance world.

In fact...

“We have seen social engineering losses for a number of our clients ranging from small business to publicly traded companies.   This is becoming common and businesses need to be sure to validate each transaction carefully.   Insurance is now available for this situation, however it is not automatically included on most policies and must be added by endorsement. Check with your insurance advisor to see if you have this coverage”  Lou Antonelli, Vice President, Practice Leader Risk Consulting, Oswald Companies

Whatever it is being called, it could mean a substantial loss to your business, just as the $100,000 was to the business above. That money is long gone, and isn't coming back any time soon.

Social engineering losses are just one form of cyber insurance coverage, as are system damage, system business interruption, cyber crime, multimedia liability and a host of other potential issues.

As businesses get ever more interconnected, it's essential to talk with your insurance agent to determine if this type of coverage is a good idea for your business. I've had that conversation with my agent recently, and I hope you take the time to do so as well...



A Simple Way to Sell Products or Services on Your Existing Web Site with Shopify

Trying to find a new revenue stream for your business?

Looking to sell products or services from your web site?

Does the thought of "adding e-commerce functionality" to your web site give you a headache and keep you from moving forward?



Here's the good news...

Selling products or services on your existing web site doesn't require an IT specialist or an expensive web designer.

In fact, all you need is a Shopify Buy Button.


As easy as 1-2-3...

Step 1 - Decide which products or services you want to sell on your web site

Step 2 - Grab the "embed code" that Shopify automatically creates for you to present them exactly as you want. Customize the colors to match your existing site

Step 3 - Copy and paste the code into your web site

This adds a mobile friendly and secure shopping experience to your site. All the power of Shopify in a single button.


Adding the Buy button opens the door to a complete suite of tools that Shopify also offers their customers, including:

  • Integration with QuickBooks desktop (via Webgility) or directly into QuickBooks Online
  • Easy order tracking - notifications of orders received via e-mail or mobile
  • Shipping integration with all major carriers if desired
  • Analytics tools - assess sales and other metrics via the handy dashboard
  • Fully mobile - you can easily run the business from your phone or tablet


Adding the Shopify Buy Button to your existing web site runs just $9 per month. Other Shopify plans are also available to allow you to build your own online store and add even more features if desired - those start at $29 per month.

Shopify offers a free 14 day trial, with no credit card required so you can see for yourself how the Buy button and other features might work for you.