This is one of the most nebulous features in QuickBooks for new users for a couple of reasons. One, most users without inventory barcode experience do not have a clear idea about what they expect barcodes to do or not do when using them. And Two, QuickBooks is extremely limited in what it can actually do with the barcodes. If you outgrow the basic functionality of barcodes in QuickBooks, you may want to look at some add-ons such as: HandiFox Inventory. Or upgrade to a full inventory management program such as Fishbowl Inventory or Acctivate! – both still integrate the general ledger with QuickBooks
Now let’s dive into what you can do with QuickBooks Enterprise with barcodes. First, we need to separate the barcoding feature into two groups or functions:
- USB Barcode Scanning
- Smartphone-Based Barcode Scanning
So the USB Barcode Scanning feature was added as part of the Advanced Inventory Module (now known as “Quickbooks Enterprise Platinum Subscription”) in 2013 and they have not made any changes or improvements since then. Any standard USB barcode scanner would work, they cost from about $30 in Amazon – there is a “wireless bluetooth” scanner for about $230, but is still considered a “USB scanner” for the purposes of this article. You can use the barcode scanner while you are inside of almost any transaction that accepts items: Estimate, Sales Order, Invoice, Sales Receipts, Credit Memos, Purchase Orders, Item Receipts, Bills, Checks, and Credit Cards Chargers/Credit. One particular quirk, is that it will only correctly prompt for a proper partial/sequential receipt process with Inventory Receipts or Bills – when receiving from a PO, in other words, those two transactions have an option to leave the QTY open so you can scan to confirm the quantities. Unfortunately, we cannot do that same type of functionality when Invoicing a Sales Order (which is a very common request) so when creating an Invoice from a Sales Order, you most accept ALL the QTY numbers from the Sales order and override them to zero to THEN scan the items… it is a little tedious.
Other places the barcode scanner works:
- Item List, it will go straight into the edit item screen
- Edit Item, it will add/update the barcode number to the barcode field automatically
- Serial Number or Lot Number field (but the barcode must be in serial number format, 40 characters limit, and no asterisks in the barcode – typical on UPC barcodes). Also, you must be on the serial/lot number field to scan the numbers into the forms… Scanning a serial number anywhere else, will not do anything
Some places that the USB barcode scanning function will NOT work:
- Editing Bill of Materials inside an Assembly Item
- Build Assembly
- Specify Items and Quantities for Invoice (When Converting a Sales Order to an Invoice)
- Specify Items and Quantities Estimate (When Converting an Estimate to an Invoice)
- Adjust Qty/Value on Hand (you could scan the item int he “Find & Select Items..” screen to search for the items
Additional caveat, you cannot scan the same item into two different lines, which makes it a bit useless for working with lot numbers if you have more than one lot in the same transaction
Ok, lets move on to Smartphone-Based Barcode Scanning, in 2018 QuickBooks Enterprise Platinum added a new feature called “Enhanced Sales Order Fulfillment” to replace the old Sales Order Fulfillment worksheet and added a new Purchase Order Fulfillment Worksheet (Must install latest release: R6)-you can see both of these features in the “Site Operation” tab within the Advanced Inventory Preferences. This new features add a really interesting dynamic to the QuickBooks Desktop Ecosystem – now QuickBooks can communicate wirelessly (via internet) to any Android device with the new QuickBooks Warehouse Management app; the device could be anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
The Android device will receive a Pick Order from QuickBooks’ new Enhanced Sales Order Fulfillment and the user of this device can confirm that a particular Sales Order has been picked (and ready for pack/shipping), once it has been marked “picked”, QuickBooks will receive an update, allowing the user to know which Sales Orders to Invoice (the ones confirmed to be picked). Any android smartphone or tablet would work, and the user would just hand key items and quantities in the app. You can also get a MC40* device (which is a Motorola/Zebra Android smartphone with a built-in barcode scanner (each of these will set you back about $1,100 a pop). You can also use the same process to send open PO’s to the device to receive Inventory, and the device will send information about received PO’s into QuickBooks to automatically create those item receipts
I have a few clients using barcode in QuickBooks and are very happy with it, but also (like me) wish it had more functionality at the moment; we will have to wait for version 2019 to see if we get a little more!
I got a few videos to compliment this article:
- Compatible Bluetooth devices:
- Android-based Warehouse App:
Additional reading – What QuickBooks Enterprise CAN do and CANNOT do?
We are Quickbooks Enterprise Resellers, and we can answer your questions regarding your advanced inventory needs and give you a quote for QuickBooks Enterprise (or any QuickBooks Desktop/Online version), Email me firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office 954-414-1524 for immediate help.