QuickBooks Advanced Inventory

Aaron Thompson
February 2, 2024

Have you outgrown parts of QuickBooks and now you need more advanced inventory features to handle increasingly complex logistical challenges? Unfortunately, this is the case for many QuickBooks users, especially ones who have been with the solution for years (such as QuickBooks Online Advanced). Yes, it’s true that QuickBooks Enterprise has come out with some advanced inventory features in the past few years, which may help improve your business’s processes. But for the most part, it’s still really limited and leaves a lot to be desired for businesses needing more functionality to better manage their inventory. After all, QuickBooks is first and foremost an accounting software, not an inventory management solution. The inventory management features it offers are simply a convenience for a small business and don’t have much experience with managing their inventory. Another option is using QuickBooks Enterprise, which has more inventory management advanced features, advanced reporting, and deeper insights. However, QuickBooks Enterprise costs $100 a month, which a small business might not be able to afford. Similar QuickBooks products, like QuickBooks Premier Plus, would yield similar results.

The good news is that there is a business automation platform called Fishbowl that integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks. Fishbowl offers advanced inventory management and manufacturing features that QuickBooks lacks. So you can continue to use your favorite accounting software and then use Fishbowl to get your warehouse and other areas of your operations running more efficiently.

Here are just a few of the many inventory management features Fishbowl has that QuickBooks lacks.

Let’s dig deeper into each of these features to show how Fishbowl goes beyond QuickBooks’ limited inventory management features.

Extensive Costing Methods

QuickBooks only offers Average Costing and First In First Out (FIFO) costing methods while Fishbowl offers Average Costing, FIFO, Last In First Out (LIFO) and Standard Cost methods. This added flexibility gives your business more options to meet your unique requirements to measure all of your inventory costs over time.

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Additional Inventory Tracking Options

QuickBooks allows users to track their inventory by lot numbers or serial numbers. Unfortunately, they can only choose one option. They can’t have some items tracked by lot numbers and others tracked by serial numbers. It’s either one or the other. Fishbowl, on the other hand, allows items to be tracked by lot numbers, serial numbers, revision numbers, expiration dates, and virtually any other criteria you can come up with via its custom fields. And it’s not an all or nothing proposition, either. You can track some items by their lot numbers, others by their serial numbers, others by their revision numbers, and still others by their expiration dates. There is practically no limit to the inventory tracking options available in Fishbowl.

Pricing and Discounts

Creating discounts is an important tool to help you improve customer loyalty and boost sales. With QuickBooks, you are limited to a percentage discount and a certain number of dollars taken off the price. Fishbowl is not restricted to only those two types of discounts. In addition to a percentage discount and a certain number of dollars off, Fishbowl also allows you to set up group pricing and cost-plus pricing. These allow you to reward customers who fall into certain tiers and also to be flexible with your discounts. The cost-plus pricing can change over time as the cost of new products changes.

Transfer Orders

QuickBooks requires users to record a purchase or sale in order to transfer products from one location to another, even if they’re not actually being bought or sold but simply moved internally. Fishbowl offers transfer orders, which are designed for this very purpose. There is no purchase or sale involved in a transfer order. Items are simply moved from one location to another and these changes are recorded in Fishbowl’s database to ensure each location has the correct inventory quantity.


QuickBooks Pro and Premier do not have the ability to scan barcodes outside the system, but QuickBooks Enterprise does allow barcode scanning to add items to purchase orders and also to pick items for order fulfillment. Fishbowl Go is an app that allows barcode scanning for many jobs beyond picking items to fulfill orders. You can also use it to cycle count your inventory and instantly update quantities on hand. Scan barcodes to reorder items that are getting low and receive orders as they arrive in your warehouse. And that’s just scratching the surface. Fishbowl offers much more comprehensive barcoding functionality.

Return Merchandise Authorizations

A Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) is a useful tool in processing product returns from customers. QuickBooks does not make use of RMAs. Fishbowl does, and it allows items to be returned, replaced, repaired, and refunded, depending on the situation and the policy that your company has in place concerning returns. RMAs go a long way toward assuaging customers’ concerns and making the best of a potentially frustrating moment for them.

Advanced Manufacturing

With QuickBooks, you have limited manufacturing features. For example, users can create simple work orders to assemble finished products. However, simple assembly jobs are not the only kind of manufacturing jobs that a company may need to perform. Fishbowl Manufacturing lets you generate work orders and manufacture orders for the purpose of assembly, disassembly, repair, service, and replacement jobs. You can manipulate parts in many ways and have those changes reflected in your inventory records. Fishbowl Manufacturing utilizes production stages and user-assigned tasks to ensure that complex manufacturing jobs are performed in the right order and by the right people. If anything goes wrong in the process you can quickly track down the source of the problem and fix it.


Kits are groupings of products that are similar to each other in some way. QuickBooks does not have the functionality to allow kitting. No kidding! Fishbowl, on the other hand, allows kits to be created and added to sales orders to make it easier and more intuitive to group products together and sell them. This helps make inventory count much easier.

An Ideal Inventory Management Solution

Fishbowl can track tens of thousands of parts and it gives you the ability to view your inventory in multiple locations.

TL;DR Summary

Fishbowl has quite a few features that even the most advanced version of QuickBooks does not. These include:

  • Extensive costing methods
  • Additional inventory tracking options
  • Pricing and discounts
  • Transfer orders
  • Barcoding
  • Return merchandise authorizations
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Kitting