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Creating Item Descriptions in QuickBooks Pro 2014 vs QuickBooks Online

Both applications provide data entry windows for item information. But QuickBooks Pro 2014 offers more flexibility.

If you started your company as a sole proprietor, your original “inventory” might have consisted of boxes stored in a spare room. Your inventory count might have taken 20 minutes.

More complex businesses need the ability to create individual records for each item that can tell them instantly how many are waiting to be sold, in addition to other information. Both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Pro 2014 allow this. But item records in the desktop versions of QuickBooks are more thorough, which translates to more precise inventory management and comprehensive reports.

To add or edit an item in QuickBooks Pro 2014, you’d open the Vendors menu and select Item List. Right-click anywhere within the grid in the window that opens and choose either New or Edit Item.

Here’s an example of a completed item record in QuickBooks Pro 2014:

QuickBooks Training 022614 image 1

An item record in QuickBooks Pro 2014. If you’re uncertain about how you would complete some of these fields, QuickBooks training would be a good idea.

The two applications share fields for a number of the same item attributes. These include:

  • Item name
  • Item description on both sales and purchasing forms
  • Subitem status
  • Quantity on hand
  • Inventory asset account
  • Income and Cost of Goods Sold accounts
  • Cost and sales price, and
  • Tax status.

Here’s what the item screen in QuickBooks Online look like:

QuickBooks Training 022614 image 2

The Product or Service Information page in QuickBooks Online is cleaner and more elegant than QuickBooks Pro’s, but it doesn’t let you enter as much information about your inventory items.

(If you’re a QuickBooks Online user and this item record doesn’t look complex enough to meet your company’s needs, you might consider exploring a QuickBooks Online add-on that offers much more depth and flexibility: SOS Inventory.)

Both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Pro 2014 work similarly. In some fields, you’ll enter data, while others will have drop-down menus with multiple options, information created elsewhere in the application. Both are easy to understand and use, though if you’ve never worked with an inventory system, a good QuickBooks course will teach you the basics.

As you’ll notice in these screen shots, though, the desktop version of QuickBooks lets you record and track information that QuickBooks Online doesn’t. QuickBooks Pro 2014, for example, contains a field for an item part number. You can select a tax code rather than just checking a box to indicate that the item is taxable, and there’s a field for your preferred vendor.

Desktop QuickBooks also helps you track your items more closely than QuickBooks Online does. Both maintain real-time quantity-on-hand totals, but QuickBooks Pro 2014 also lets you enter a minimum and maximum reorder point. It calculates the average cost and tells you how many units of the item are on purchase orders.

Each version of QuickBooks has its strengths and weaknesses. Where item recording and tracking are concerned, though, the desktop versions are more sophisticated.

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