QuickBooks POS Inventory Adjustment Account and your QuickBooks Financials



One of the most important issues for a retailer is tracking and properly accounting for inventory. In this article will outline what happens when QuickBooks Point of Sale (POS) is not properly used, and some of the issues that this causes in QuickBooks Financial (Pro, Premier or Enterprise).

As a QuickBooks Point of Sale ProAdvisor, one thing I can count on when I go into a new client is seeing an amount in the expense account called POS Inventory Adjustment. Most clients don’t understand how these transactions occur and how to prevent unintended entries.

First of all, what is this entry?

Any time inventory is adjusted from something other than receiving, returning, selling, or issuing a credit for an item; QuickBooks needs to balance the transaction. Since these changes affect the value of inventory, the software uses the adjustment account to keep the books in balance. Sometimes these types of adjustments are necessary. For example, when you do a physical inventory, if you have inventory shortages, the correct entry is to post an expense to reduce the value of inventory. If something is damaged and you can’t sell or return it, you should also adjust your inventory downward and expense it.

What goes wrong?

QuickBooks Point of Sale allows you to enter an on-hand quantity from the item screen. While it will warn you that you are changing the value of your inventory with an adjustment memo, most clients say “Sure, I want to change the value of my inventory as I am adding inventory” and then chose to hide the message forever. What has happened is that an inventory adjustment has been created and it will post a debit to inventory and a credit to POS Inventory Adjustment upon the next synchronization with QuickBooks Financial. However, if the client actually intended to add inventory and create a bill for the inventory, this entry does not reflect the actual situation.

How do I prevent this problem?

Train your staff to NEVER, EVER change the on-hand quantity in the item list. Version 3 and earlier did not allow you to change this field and I have complained about this in every version since. If Intuit continues to allow this change, I think the software should display a message telling you to call your ProAdvisor to fix the problem that you are creating and type “yes” to agree to the charge. If you do need to adjust quantities due to damaged items that you are unable to return, go to Inventory menu and enter a new quantity adjustment. When you do this, you will be able to enter an explanation of why this occurred and when you see the adjustment, you will understand why it occurred.

But I need to get inventory in the system, don’t I?

Yes, but do it properly. If you have a new business, enter receiving vouchers for your entire inventory, let it create bills in QuickBooks Financial and match to the bills to payments. If you have an existing store, you have a couple of choices. If you have been using QuickBooks Financial to track your inventory previously and if your inventory item detail is correct, you could import the items from QuickBooks Financial into QuickBooks Point of Sale. This has its own set of issues that are beyond the article. Alternatively, you can use the data import tool to import the item list with zero quantities and then perform a physical inventory. I suggest zero quantities because the item data entry process can take some time and inventory changes each day.

Example: End-user has a negative $98,256.00 in the POS inventory Adjustment account, how do I fix it?

It really depends on several issues and the fix will not be the same for all. Here are some guidelines.

  • Remember what causes this problem. It may be possible to create your bills using the POS Inventory Adjustment account as your expense account. If all of the entries occurred within one accounting period and everything balances, this could be the simplest way.
  • Another way to correct the problem and the most complete would be to zero the inventory and start over correctly. This is easily accomplished by using the physical inventory function in QuickBooks POS. Check the box “Set all items not counted to zero” with the entire inventory list displayed. This should create an offsetting transaction to zero the inventory and POS Inventory Adjustment account. Then enter the receiving vouchers as if the client had a brand new file.

Again, every fix is different and your fix may be a combination of the above or something totally different.

A correctly setup and functioning POS installation is a thing of beauty. The client who properly receives inventory using receiving vouchers will have bills recorded automatically in QuickBooks Financial. When clients use receiving vouchers, the only entries in the POS Inventory Adjustment expense account should be adjustments for damaged goods or shrinkage. Make sure you correctly and consistently records transactions like this so that you never see a negative POS Inventory Adjustment expense again.

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