Fishbowl is robust program for managing your inventory, enabling you to do things that just aren’t possible in QuickBooks alone. Doing things in the right order makes a big difference.
In a Fishbowl/QuickBooks environment, Fishbowl acts as the “master.” You receive and reconcile inventory in Fishbowl, and then Fishbowl pushes the information through to QuickBooks. Unfortunately, timing-related issues can cause serious headaches if you don’t do things right.
This is the case when it comes to receiving inventory. If you close the month out in QuickBooks before you’ve reconciled all of your item receipts against the vendor bills, you end up with things that either post twice or don’t post at all.
This is because Fishbowl sends the item receipt over to QuickBooks on the day you receive it, and then after reconciliation it sends the bill and deletes the item receipt in QuickBooks. If you’ve set the closing date in QuickBooks without reconciling all item receipts for the period, one of two things will happen. If the date on the vendor bill is before the closing date, the bill will not transfer to QuickBooks and you will receive an export error. If the date is after the closing date the bill will transfer, but the item receipt won’t be deleted—thus doubling both payables and inventory.
You need to stay on top of your item receipts
How can you avoid this problem? Start by creating a memorized report in QuickBooks showing all of your open item receipts for the prior period. Run this report, and hound your vendors to get those bills to you so that you can close the period. If necessary, make them fax it over. Just get those bills in a timely fashion. You need to have correct costs inside of Fishbowl, and without the bills you cannot make this happen.
Of course, you also need to keep up with your reconciliations in Fishbowl, so that the open items receipts report is accurate!
You want to avoid the dreaded “caution” sign
There’s actually a second reason why it’s in your best interests to force your vendors to bill you. If all or most of your inventory moves too much (i.e. gets consumed or sold) between the time it was received and the time you go to reconcile the bill, you run the risk of getting a huge “caution” sign in Fishbowl saying that the item can no longer be reconciled because it’s been moved. Once that happens, you can no longer make any adjustments to the cost of that order. After all, if the inventory has been mostly used up, you cannot undo the transaction and redo it correctly because you don’t have the inventory to work with. So if, for example, your purchase order cost is different than the billed cost, you’re out of luck.
The bottom line
In a Fishbowl/QuickBooks environment, receiving inventory and reconciling it against the vendor bill in a timely manner (i.e. before the inventory is used and before you need to close out the time period) is extremely important. If your vendors are slow to invoice, you need to force them to bill you!