Intuit QuickBooks is the most popular accounting software available across industry segments for smaller businesses. There are two ways to leverage QuickBooks for a manufacturing business and at least five third party options that allow manufacturers to extend QuickBooks with more sophisticated manufacturing features.
1. QuickBooks Job Cost for Job Shops & MTO Manufacturers
We’ve seen job shops do more than just get by using the job cost and job management features in some editions including QuickBooks Enterprise. Designed primarily for construction industries, there are many similarities with job shop manufacturing that may enable a make to order manufacturer to utilize QuickBooks Job Cost features for their business.
2. QuickBooks Enterprise Advanced Inventory for MTS Manufacturers
Manufacturers who are engaged in a make to stock environment should also consider the QuickBooks Enterprise product which offers bar code scanning, bills of material, assembly management, and optional third party EDI. It even offers lot and serial tracking albeit limited. Despite the advanced features, there are still many limitations with QuickBooks Enterprise in a manufacturing environment. Some of these include:
- Limited choice in manufacturing costing methods to average or FIFO (does not support standard, actual, or LIFO).
- Engineering Change Orders and limited manufacturing bill of material management.
- Virtually zero quality control functionality for inventory or manufacturing transactions.
- Minimal forecasting or material requirements planning (MRP) capabilities.
- There are many other reasons manufacturers outgrow QuickBooks including limitations on field lengths and restrictive database sizes that can cripple system performance. A handy article available from Better Bottom Line will help you identify some of the file limitations within QuickBooks.
The truth is that QuickBooks is a cheap alternative to a real ERP system and eventually every growing manufacturer will reach limitations and will need to move on to another product. To quote our good friend Scott Gregory of BetterBottomLine in his QuickBooks For Manufacturing Businesses And Job Shops white paper, “Whenever I hear QuickBooks and manufacturing in the same sentence, it gives me reason to pause. It should do the same for you!”
Scott knows QuickBooks better than almost anyone in the industry and he knows its limitations. Seek out a company like Better Bottom Line to get the skinny on the pros and cons of There are literally dozens of options available to extend QuickBooks. Here are our top five that companies should consider.
3. Fishbowl Inventory
Fishbowl Inventory is one of the largest third party add-ons for QuickBooks Desktop. Historically focused on distribution, they’ve expanded their manufacturing features and should be considered by any company who’s outgrown the manufacturing capabilities of QuickBooks. While not quite as advanced as other options on the market, Fishbowl Inventory is a great product for light manufacturers and you may be surprised at some of the features in the latest version of their product.
4. MISys Manufacturing
This is our personal favorite. MISys Manufacturing is a small company located in Woodstock, VT that knows manufacturing. They’ve been doing this a long time, have an impeccable track record, and have great products that integrate well with QuickBooks Desktop products (Enterprise, Pro, and Premier).
5. Other QuickBooks Manufacturing Extensions
If you use QuickBooks Online you are going to have limited options for extending manufacturing functionality. Some of your top options for QuickBooks Online are ManuDyn Cloud 9, cloudMRP, Manufacturing Operations & Inventory Management by DataNinja, and MRPEasy. If you use any of the QuickBooks Desktop products you will have a different set of options including E2 Bottom Line by Shoptech, pc/MRP, NumberCruncher, Acctivate, ManuDyn, ERPlite, Catalyst Manufacturing, Infor ERP Visual JobShop, and more. Need help? Pick an experienced QuickBooks ProAdvisor who specializes in manufacturing and they can point you in the right direction.
6. Upgrade to a Real ERP System
Eventually you will reach the limitations of QuickBooks altogether and despite adding on third party products you’ll need to move on to a real ERP system. When you do you should consider popular options including Sage 100 Manufacturing, Sage X3, and Epicor ERP – three great manufacturing-centric options that represent the next logical step in your manufacturing business. Consider e2b teknologies to help you on your journey as we represent these and many other great products to help you get more out of your business operations to manage your business more effectively.