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Fishbowl's Frequently Asked Questions

About Fishbowl Inventory

QuickBooks Integration

Upgrading Fishbowl Inventory

General Questions


What is Fishbowl Inventory?
Fishbowl Inventory is a full-scale, inventory-control software designed for companies that are currently using either QuickBooks or spreadsheets to track their inventory. Fishbowl is an affordable solution that solves many of the problems that only expensive solutions solved in the past. Fishbowl integrates with Intuit’s QuickBooks and is the leading inventory control and manufacturing solution, allowing companies to continue to use the QuickBooks software they already know. In short, Fishbowl provides control over many problems faced by small and medium-sized businesses that are trying to survive in today’s highly competitive business world.

What are Fishbowl Inventory modules?
Fishbowl Inventory is designed to allow the user to easily select an inventory item, observe the properties of that item (ie: quantity, location, tracking parameters, and detailed allocation), then easily adjust inventory levels and properties without having to sort through multiple screens to reference or edit the data. The Fishbowl organization of inventory information into modules gives our clients the ability to view their inventory processes at a glance.

Does Fishbowl Inventory have a Bill-of-Materials?
Fishbowl Inventory with Manufacturing has a Bill of Materials feature. This feature provides users with the ability to create custom, basic, or configurable items. The Bill of Materials module works hand in hand with our Manufacturing module, where users may manufacture, disassemble, repair, or service items. For a more detailed overview of Fishbowl's ability to handle Bill-of-Materials, please see our 10-Minute Test Drive, or our Bill of Materials Module.

Can I run Fishbowl Inventory without integrating with QuickBooks?
Yes. You can run Fishbowl Inventory as a standalone product. You need to integrate Fishbowl Inventory with QuickBooks only if you want to import data from QuickBooks or have Fishbowl Inventory send accounting transactions to QuickBooks.

Which functions does Fishbowl Inventory take over from QuickBooks?
Fishbowl Inventory takes over all inventory functions from QuickBooks. Sales and purchase transactions fulfilled in Fishbowl will automatically post "Invoices" and "Vendor Bills," respectively, to QuickBooks. As manual adjustments are made to Fishbowl's inventory levels, any affected accounting data will be exported to update the General Ledger in QuickBooks.

Is Fishbowl Inventory Scalable?
Fishbowl Inventory runs on the Firebird database engine: a very fast, reliable, efficient database. This means that as your data accumulates and the complexity of your business increases, you will not be constrained by this virtually unlimited database.

On which platforms does Fishbowl Inventory run?
Fishbowl Inventory Server and Client will run on Windows and Linux platforms. Fishbowl Client can run on the Mac platform. Please note that in order to integrate with QB, the server must be on the Windows platform.

Which Operating Systems does Fishbowl Inventory run on?
Windows 2000, Windows XP Pro, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista (Pro, Business and Ultimate), and Windows 7 (Pro and Ultimate). Fishbowl does run on Linux but is only partially supported. The Fishbowl Client does run on Mac OS X but is only partially supported.

For a more complete list, please see Fishbowl's Supported Operating Systems

What are the hardware requirements for Fishbowl Inventory?
The hardware requirements for Fishbowl Inventory can be found within our Getting Started Manual here

Which versions of QuickBooks does Fishbowl Inventory integrate with?
Fishbowl Inventory integrates with the QuickBooks versions found on the following page: QuickBooks versions compatible with Fishbowl Inventory

Which features does Fishbowl Inventory have that appeal to the independent manufacturer or wholesale/distributor?
Fishbowl Inventory gives awesome functionality to the manufacturer and wholesaler with the following features:

  • Multiple warehousing
  • Specific inventory locations
  • Lot, revision, expiration date, and serial number tracking
  • Auto-purchasing for re-order points and backordered parts
  • Outsourcing
  • Dropshipping
  • Consignment management
  • RMA Tracking
  • Flexible pricing levels
  • Landed Costs and Purchase Order Reconciliation
  • LIFO, FIFO, Standard and Average Costing accounting methods
  • Pick lists, packing slips
  • Finished goods possessing Bills-of-Materials
  • Work Order generation for manufacturing, repair, and disassembly
  • Staging with work orders
  • Auto-Work orders for staying up to designated levels and sub-assemblies
  • Basic Point-of-Sale capability
  • Extensive Reporting
  • and much more

Does Fishbowl Inventory handle multicurrency?
At this time, Fishbowl does not handle multicurrency.

Can URLs be associated with items in Fishbowl?
Yes, within several different modules in Fishbowl, such as the Part, Product, and Vendor modules, the opportunity to place a URL is available for ready reference to files on your PC or the Internet.

Can part numbers be exported from Fishbowl into QuickBooks?
No; because Fishbowl is a robust inventory-control software, we strongly encourage QuickBooks users to disable purchasing and inventory tracking in QuickBooks after the Fishbowl Integration. However, part numbers that are entered into QuickBooks may be imported into Fishbowl via the Accounting Configuration Wizard.

Is Fishbowl Inventory ODBC compliant?
Yes; Fishbowl's database is ODBC compliant and therefore can maintain ODBC connections with other compliant programs such as Crystal Reports, Wasp Bar-coding software, and Microsoft Access. For instructions on how to complete an ODBC setup, click here

What is the maximum number of items I can have in Fishbowl Inventory?
Fishbowl Inventory has no limit to the amount of inventory items you can manage in your database. However, depending on the amount of parts or data within your Fishbowl database, we do recommend the following System Hardware Requirements to ensure the proper speed necessary to run your datafile.

What are incidents and how do they work?
Once a Customer's Free 30 days Support is over, an incident is used per training and support call that takes place for the length of time 10 minutes or greater. Incidents are not used if a Customer calls in with an issue Fishbowl is responsible for. Customers are given a set amount of incidents with their initial maintenance and support package purchase. Once all their incidents are used, additional incidents may be purchased at $75 each.

Does Fishbowl Inventory offer QuickBooks training?
Fishbowl Inventory does resell Real World Training as a resource to learning and understanding QuickBooks. Fishbowl Inventory's Support and Training staff will also train you on those aspects of Fishbowl Inventory that integrate with QuickBooks though our staff cannot give a complete QuickBooks training.

General Questions

How do I know what will be included in the next Fishbowl Release?
Fishbowl Inventory has a Release Notes page as well as a Change Log page that include all of the enhancements and new features for the upcoming release. The Change Log provides a list of all the bug fixes completed for the next version.

Why are my parts not showing up in the inventory module?
Frequently the question arises, "My items are in the part module, but they are not showing up in the inventory module. Why?"
The reason for this is because the part is either a non-inventory type, or because the part does not have inventory in stock. The inventory module will only show parts with inventory currently in stock (unless you have the module option turned on to not delete tag numbers when quantity goes to zero).
To enter inventory in for a part that does not currently have inventory, you will want to either Cycle Count or Add Initial Inventory. You may do this by clicking on the Cycle Image:Inv_05.JPG button in the Module Toolbar of the inventory module. A wizard will be displayed to take you through the process of adding inventory. You may view Adjust Inventory Quantity for further instructions on how to adjust or add inventory.

What types of Costing Methods does Fishbowl handle?
There are several different | types of cost fields requiring different types of information. The following table definies the various types of costing methods that Fishbowl inventory offers.

Warning: Once a costing method is used with Fishbowl Inventory, the only way to change methods is by creating a new database. Always consult with your accountant before switching costing methods.

Why can't I see all of the modules in Fishbowl?
We frequently get asked the question, "Why am I not able to see all of the modules in Fishbowl?"

The answer for this is that the user does not have rights to those modules.

  1. In order to give rights, you must be logged into Fishbowl as Admin. After you are logged in as admin go to the Set Up Module Group--User Module

  2. Double click on the user you would like to modify.

  3. To the right you will be shown what groups the user belongs to.

  4. Make note of the user groups this user belongs to and then go to the Set Up Module Group--User Group module.

  5. Double click on a specific group name and click on the Rights subtab in the main screen.

  6. The checked modules listed are the default access given for that specific module group. If you would like your users to have additional access within this group, simply check the 'Value' box to the right of the option you would like them to have access to. *Note: providing additional access to one user will give this same access to every user who has rights to this User Group*

  7. Click Save in the Module Toolbar to solidify these changes.

For additional information, please see Assign Access Rights to a User

Why does Fishbowl export all items over to Quickbooks as FB_item? Can this be changed?
The question frequently arises, "Why does Fishbowl export FB_Item over to Quickbooks instead of using the QuickBooks item number?"
The reason for this is because the costs for each part is stored in Fishbowl. When we export to QuickBooks, Fishbowl creates a journal entry and adjusts the COGS account according to what the costs were in Fishbowl. This also allows us to use different costing methods such as LIFO, FIFO, etc. There is not any way to change this feature at this time.
If Fishbowl sent the item number to QuickBooks in an Invoice (and that item number was an "Inventory" type item in QuickBooks) then the COGS account would have two adjustments made: once by QuickBooks using the costs it has stored and again by Fishbowl using the costs contained within it.  Even with the Inventory features turned off in QuickBooks, it will still make adjustments to the COGS account using the values it currently has. 

Historically, older versions of QuickBooks use to limit the number of items to 14,500.  Using FB_Item also made it so that Fishbowl could have many more parts than QuickBooks.  This is not as important now that newer versions of QuickBooks do not have this restriction.
See Export FB Items to QuickBooks for additional information

We are integrating Fishbowl and QuickBooks for the first time. What do we need to do or know beforehand?
answer= Before Integrating QuickBooks and Fishbowl many customers have general questions or concerns about the process. Below are links to overview pages that show what is expected so you may successfully link the two softwares together:

Does Fishbowl Inventory print Barcodes?
Fishbowl Inventory prints barcodes in various standard formats. Barcodes can be found within Fishbowl by going to the Reports Module - Labels Folder. Custom barcode labeling is available through iReport, an open source report writer that comes bundled with Fishbowl Inventory.

My barcodes are only printing the first 90, but I know I have more parts than that in my inventory
All of Fishbowl Inventory's barcodes are designed to print in a qty of 3 pages, with 30 to a page. It was designed this way so the reports didn't time out if you were trying to pull up hundreds of pages with thousands of labels at a time.
To view past the first 90 labels (or 3 pages) you must go to the Modify Report File:Customize.symbol.JPGoption. In this option there is a Skip box that will default at 0, or a Start at Label option. Enter 90 (meaning you will skip the first 90 which you've already seen and show you the following 90). after you have viewed or printed the next 90, you can go to customize again and enter 180 to skip the first 6 pages worth, and so forth.

Continue in this manner until you have viewed all of the desired pages. Once again, this is designed so the report will not time out when trying to pull hundreds of pages of barcodes up at once. At this time there is no other work around for this feature. If possibility of a Custom Report is something you may be interested in, please contact Support at 800-774-7085 ext 3 or email support@fishbowlinventory.com

How do I switch Servers for my Fishbowl database?
The following instructions will be helpful when you are moving your Fishbowl database to a different server.

  1. Make a backup of your database folder. If your Fishbowl is installed in the default location you can your database file here: C:\Program Files\Fishbowl

  2. If you have images in Fishbowl, copy the entire database folder.

  3. If you have custom reports you will also want to copy the reports folder located (default) in C:\Program Files\Fishbowl\Server

  4. If you do not have images or custom reports and simply want to copy your current database go to C:\Program Files\Fishbowl\Server\database\data. If your database is internal and was installed to the default directory it will be located in the data folder. Your database will likely be the largest and will have the most recent date. If you are still not sure which database is yours you can find out by right clicking on the Fishbowl Server icon in your system tray and go up to Show. The Database line will show your company name and datafile that Fishbowl is connected to.  For example, in the following screen shot you will notice that Bicycles Unlimited is the company name and EXAMPLE.FDB is the name of the database.

  5. Copy the files to a device where you can access them from your new computer. ie: network drive, flash drive, burned cd, etc.

  6. Install the Complete version of Fishbowl Inventory on your new server computer

  7. You are going to want to copy and paste the files from the old computer onto the new computer by placing them into the exact directory they were retrieved from (these should be the same directories as in steps #1-3).

  8. You will likely need to create a new database connection in order to connect to an existing datafile. If you have questions on this you may view  changing your default database for help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How can I find where all of the Fishbowl Module Options are and what they do?

Answer: Within most of the Fishbowl Modules, there are customizable options called "Module Options". They can be found within each module by going to Tools | Module Options on the Toolbar. To see a complete list of all the Module Options and their functions, please see Fishbowl Module Options

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Type Of Cost
Standard Cost
Cost units are pre-determined for estimating the cost of an order or product. The difference between standard costs and actual costs are recorded as variances and will be reflected in a Cost Variance account. The specified Standard Cost of a part will be used to debit the Cost of Goods Sold account.
Average Cost
The rolling weighted average of all your costs. It is calculated by taking your total cost
divided by quantity. The weighted average of current inventory will be used to debit the Cost of Goods Sold account.
Last in, First out. This method assumes your last inventory purchased will be the first sold. When these goods are sold, the value of the newest inventory will be used to debit the Cost of Goods sold account.