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Manufacturing in QuickBooks for Mac?

So here’s a common question – “I am a manufacturer.  Can I use QuickBooks for Mac?”  Well, my quick answer is “Kinda, sorta, not really.”  Let me explain…

QuickBooks for Mac does not have inventory assemblies which is the “Not really” part of my quick answer.  For those of you who don’t know – Inventory Assemblies are what enable you to pull some parts off the shelf, assemble or process them, and end up with a new part.  This is the ideal tracking for a Manufacturer.  If after this article, if you are still convinced that you need this particular feature, you will have to switch over to the QuickBooks Premier for windows version.

With that being said, if you are married to your Mac version and you are a manufacturer, you may be able to use a workaround where you use Group items to help you track and sell your items.  Here is a list of features of a Group item:

  1. Group items contain a list of component parts. It is not called a bill of materials but it is very similar.
  2. The component list can contain more item types – all the ones available to an inventory assembly item plus subtotal, discount and sales tax items.
  3. You can only have 20 component items in a group item.
  4. When you sell a group item the sale decreases your quantity on hand of the component items at that time. The group item doesn’t have a quantity of its own, so there is no effect on the group item itself.
  5. When you add a group item to an invoice (etc.) QuickBooks will list each of the component items on the screen. You have an option to show all of the components on the printed version of the form, or just show the group item itself.
  6. You can change the composition of the group item at the time you sell it. Once you add it to the invoice you can add or delete component lines, change quantities, and so forth. This does not affect the list of components as they are shown in the edit item window.
  7. There is no special transaction for a group item – you don’t “build” it. There isn’t a quantity on hand for the group item itself.

Now, for the Kinda, sorta part of my quick answer. If you choose to use group items for manufacturing purposes, you can create your Finished Product as the group item and list your component items (Inventory Parts) as the pieces of the group. In this particular case, you also want to make sure to choose to only show the group item on the invoice.  When you want to sell the finished product, you can choose the group item on the Invoice and it will automatically pull the component items onto the invoice therefor reducing the on hand quantities of the components.  On the screen, you will see all the items from the group but once you print out the invoice, the component items will not show – only the Group item will. 

What’s the downside to this process?  This approach will not give you a way to track the finished goods inventory values.  Also, when looking at a Sales report, the group item will not show. You will only see the individual component items on the report.  

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2 Responses to Manufacturing in QuickBooks for Mac?

  1. Elin says:

    Is there any reason one cannot add the finished product item as a zero cost item – just so that the item will total on sales reports?

    • Ashley Wallace says:

      Hi Elin,
      I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t add the item at a zero cost. You wouldn’t be able to get any kind of profitability report on that one item but at least you could tell how many were sold. Thanks for the comment!

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