A lot of the work Intuit has done in recent years to improve inventory management in QuickBooks has gone into their Enterprise software. Even without the Advanced Inventory features that are part of the highest subscription level, Enterprise has several inventory features the other versions of QuickBooks don’t have.
One of those is automatic cost and price changes.
It’s very important to note a couple of things about cost information in QuickBooks. First, the value of inventory is maintained on an average cost basis. That is, if we purchase a widget at $5 and one at $10, QuickBooks tracks inventory as 2 widgets valued at $7.50 each.
The sale of one of those widgets will generate a charge to cost of goods sold of $7.50.
An item record actually has two cost fields.
The bottom circled area titled Calculated Average, is the QuickBooks generated average cost for this item. It is not an editable field.
The upper circled area is editable. You can put any number you want in that field. It affects very little. QuickBooks uses the average cost in all accounting entries.
That can change with QuickBooks Enterprise. That user-entered cost field can matter very much when using the automatic cost and price updates. Let’s see how that feature works.
First, turn on the preference.
Several settings are available in the Automatic Cost & Price Updates window. The top dropdown field labeled Markup, gives the QuickBooks user two choices. Percent over cost or Amount over cost.
The middle section determines how automatic cost updates will be handled by QuickBooks. The first field is labeled “If item cost changes on a purchase. The choices are Always update item cost, Never update item cost, or Ask about updating item cost. Selecting Always or Ask and then assuming the QuickBooks user responds positively when asked, will cause QuickBooks to update the Cost filed in the item setup window.
The second field is labeled “When item cost changes.” The selections for this field are Always update sales price, Never update sales price, or Ask about updating sales price.
In the sample file is a product named Virus Vac A. The cost field is filled in with the amount 37.50. The price is set at 75.00.
If we enter a bill purchasing Virus Vac A at 30.00, the following popup appears.
The popup appears because the setting selected in preferences is “Ask about updating item cost.” Yes has been selected as the answer in the graphic in order to show the price options. If yes is not selected, the price update options are grayed out. If you do not automatically change the cost, there is no way to automatically change the price.
So, the new cost is $30. QuickBooks will change this value in the item window when this transaction is completed. The markup on the old cost is 100%. A cost of 37.50 times 100% yields a price of 75.00.
Now, if QuickBooks updates the new cost to 30.00, in order to maintain the price markup of 100%, the price will be updated to 60.00.
Let’s go back to our Automatic Cost & Price Updates window.
The bottom section in the preference window deals with assembly type items. If we are having QuickBooks automatically update costs for inventory items, should these new costs then add up to create a new cost for an assembly item? The checkbox indicates yes, QuickBooks should make that calculation.
If the cost of the assembly total bill of materials changes, should QuickBooks automatically update the sales price? Again, a selection in this checkbox indicates that yes, it should.
How do you maintain pricing as the costs of the products you sell changes over time?