I Need an Inventory Solution for QuickBooks for My Lots and Bins

ALERE | Inventory Management Business Process Model

I see this question come up many times from companies trying to find an accounting solution. Many companies start out with a one user version of QuickBooks Professional, which is great for a start-up company.

However, I find that it is not long before inventory becomes a critical requirement due to multiple locations, warehouses or racks with the company’s facility.

One quick google search brings up FishBowl and QuickBooks Enterprise Platinum edition as full inventory management solutions. I started researching further and found that both solutions show some promise, but also concern. FishBowl provides a full featured inventory management system with locations, bins and stores, lot costing, vendor part numbers, notes, images and a configurations for a bill of materials. I also saw that the QuickBooks Enterprise Platinum Ed. displays many of these features.

As a QuickBook user, you can continue to use your Accounts Payable, General Ledger, and Accounts Receivable menus/functions and then use the new added features of either QuickBooks Enterprise or FishBowl.

These two inventory solutions appear to be the perfect solution and they have the promise of providing the needed inventory management that basic QuickBooks Software does not have.

With my experience, I could not help but notice that both solutions provide the needed features by adding in their own Web based or local based server software service. First, this adds complexity and “moving” part(s) into the simple QuickBooks structure. Second, both QuickBooks Enterprise and FishBowl have contract or subscription plans. I realized that you only get the features that you need with a QuickBooks Enterprise Platinum plan and since FishBowl installs its own server software, it would be unwise to buy FishBowl and not have a contract. Consequently, you have now added computer software and hardware complexity along with a reoccurring cost.

Equally important to point out is that your simple one time purchase of QuickBooks changes and your company now becomes “locked” into subscription and/or contract plans. It is also possible that your company risks issues when these heterogeneous systems do not sync correctly. As the consumer it is important to realize that these add-ons have been designed by different (this is the key word) software development teams to interface together.

Consumers need to know this is not always the case with software.
Cars are a perfect example of teams making multiple parts that are interfaced and assembled into a finished product. For example, the side mirror assembly process has 20-plus inspection points from sub-assembly to the car on the floor.

Are there other surprises? Sure, there are multiple versions of windows with multiple updates. If you moving up from QuickBooks Pro to the Enterprise Edition, you have to factor in another 30 to 45 mins per PC that will using QBE. Do the math, a 10 user installation of QBE is going to take most of your day unless you are paying an IT firm.

I left the costs for last as those will vary based on your computer equipment, software windows versions and the number of people. QuickBooks Enterprise software changes as Intuit offers discounts and the smart consumer can get 40% just by following links. You will get eventually to “meat” of the costs.

You pay a monthly subscription based on the number of users with a one user starting at $125/month, 3 user at $195/month and then it drops down to $151/month for a 5 user – probably a mistake- and then goes back over $255 as you get to 10 user. My message is “you will always pay a monthly fee”. If your company goes withFishBowl, it is a purchase and a contract.

So what do I recommend? Well, do your research well, and if nothing else, make sure that the development team is also a part of the technical support team.

One solution I can recommend that quickly comes to my mind is ALERE accounting. If needed, there is also ALERE Manufacturing, In-Touch CRM and mobility which are all developed by the same team. ALERE is VFP, SQL and now HTML5 with mobility. ALERE installs on one PC or server and workstation installs put ALERE client on each PC (5-10 minutes to complete).

Because ALERE software has very few technical issues, ALERE technical support staff are able to answer calls in a timely manner. My current ALERE clients report call wait times of 5 minutes or less. For a comparison, I’ve heard complaints of waiting 30-40 mins for QuickBooks support staff.

ALERE also has pricing options that include subscription with part of the first year payments toward purchase of system, a per user cloud option or the on-premise purchase. While it is not required for a company to renew it’s annual software maintenance and support, most do since a 5 user system with 5 accounting modules is $2,500/year.

What about renewal for 10 user? 25 user? $2500/year. What if you skip a few years and renew? Currently is $3500/year for one year and then $2500/year after that.

I have written blogs on working with your fellow employees to develop a strategy and to understand the importance of doing your homework due to the impact that inventory solution could have on your QuickBooks solution. Please refer to that blog.

An accounting system is the financial heart of your business and I recommend that you do not just go to a find accounting website and expect that the person who answers the phone or email can match you with an answer. Most of these websites are just selling your information to resellers.

I suggest you go to our site and register for a free one hour phone conversation with one of our technical specialists. But please meet with your team first and come prepared with the features you want the requirements you need and cannot run the business without.