The Right Way to Receive

July 11, 2017 by in category Fishbowl Inventory, Inventory Management, QuickBooks with 2
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Like many things in Fishbowl (and life), when it comes to receiving and reconciling the receipt of inventory against the vendor bill, there’s a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things.

Follow the right way to receive, and life in the land of Fishbowl & QuickBooks is joyful and wonderful. Do things the wrong way, and things can get ugly.

If you’re running a Fishbowl & QuickBooks environment, here are some important best practices for receiving inventory and reconciling it against the vendor bill:

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Never allow anyone to “fulfill.” In Fishbowl there’s a big, friendly blue check mark button labeled “fulfill.” 

After receiving inventory into Fishbowl, many people assume that the next step is to hit that button and complete the process of “fulfilling” the order. All I can say is, “NOOOO! DON’T DO IT!!!” Because once you press that button, you eliminate the ability for accounting to do any reconciliation of this order at all.This is such a big issue that you need to take action to prevent it from ever happening.



Customize your user permissions in Fishbowl to ensure that absolutely no one in the company—including the CFO—can push that button.

To do this, go to the user rights area within the user group, and uncheck the “receiving-fulfillment” box.

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Create a special User Group for reconciling. 

  • This User Group should be the only one with reconciliation rights. Assign all of the people in accounting who need to be able to do reconciliations to this User Group.
  • Use the correct “Reconcile” button. Just to make things more interesting, there are two different “reconcile” buttons within Fishbowl. Always use the big button that’s at the top left of the receiving screen. Never use the button that’s to the right of the detail item. 

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What happens if you use the wrong button?

The “Reconcile” button that’s to the right of the detail item will fulfill the order without giving you the opportunity to add freight,landed costs or the vendor’s invoice number to the bill. 

  • Force your vendors to bill you. As I explained in my article on this topic, getting your bills in so that you can reconcile them to your item receipts in a timely manner is critical.
  • Enter the right date on the vendor bill. When entering the vendor bill you should ignore the date that’s printed at the top of this bill and always enter the date that the goods were actually received instead. This avoids problems with your sub-ledger (which is in Fishbowl) and your general ledger (which is in QuickBooks) not matching up, as explained in my article on “the incredible dancing dollars.”

What if your payables folks are worried that doing this will cause them to not pay the bills on time? No problem. Simply change the bill’s due date.


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Jeanne Tarazevits
CPA, QuickBooks Maven, Fishbowl Guru

As a Top 100 QuickBooks ProAdvisor and Fishbowl Inventory Super Hero, Jeanne helps businesses change the way they do business by getting their inventory management, accounting and manufacturing systems all working together seamlessly. In providing these services Jeanne draws upon her knowledge as a CPA, her previous experience as an Auditor with Ernst & Young and long-time CFO of a publicly-traded medical device manufacturer, and the expertise gained in the 10+ years she has been working with Fishbowl Inventory.

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