USA Inventory vs. non-Inventory parts

Jun 7, 2014
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I just setup a new company in Quickbooks 2011. The company will be A small VAR, IT services company that will also sell the complimentary hardware and supplies, perhaps later supplemented with an online store. No assembly or manufacturing will be part of this business for the foreseeable future. I will stock a couple of items but most everything will either be a service or will drop ship directly from a vendor. Intuitively, the most obvious choice for items that are drop shipping directly from a vendor would be to categorize them as non-inventory parts. I noticed that there are a couple of significant differences between inventory and non-inventory parts. An inventory part has both a expense account for purchasing (POs) and an income account on the receivable side (invoicing). Inventory parts also allow you to specify separate descriptions for POs and invoicing. Non-inventory parts can only specify a single description and, more importantly, a single account. This would seem to require for every item that I resell setting up separate part numbers for purchasing and invoicing.

The downsides of this would mean that the history for each item (the record of orders and invoicing, etc) as well as the maintenance of the data entry would be split between two items. To put in another way, for any given item there is no formal link between the purchasing and sales version of the item number. Informally, the two versions of the part number could otherwise be the same except with a "P" and "I" prefix for purchasing and invoicing. It is certainly possibly to run things this way, but it seems not as good as compared to using inventory parts. Even though there is no inventory for these items, it seems like there would be some advantages to dealing with them as inventory items in spite of having to deal with inventory counts. There is the risk of maintaining inventory counts and having those become screwed up. As far as I know invoicing relieves the inventory, so everything should always go back to 0 and the only real risk comes into play is if you purchase and invoice in different units, i.e. purchase by case, sell by individual item, etc. If you're careful to make sure that your units match, the risks of having an inventory count seem low.

I was wondering if I could some thoughts and feedback from people who are more knowledgeable about accounting and business.


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