Unit of measure (U/M) allows you to show quantities, prices, rates, and costs for an item. There are two ways to assign a unit of measure in QuickBooks - single unit or multiple units of measure.
QuickBooks products and editions that support single and multiple units of measure per item
QuickBooks products and editions that support single unit of measure per item
Single unit of measure allows you to assign only one unit of measure for each item while multiple units of measure lets you purchase items in one unit and then sell. This means that you need to purchase and sell the item using the same U/M. Single unit of measure is available in:
The first unit defined in a unit of measure set. The base unit is usually the smallest unit of measure used for an item when purchasing, tracking in or out of inventory, and selling. In QuickBooks, the base units of items are used to count inventory, generate most inventory reports, and perform quantity-related calculations. When an inventory item is created, the cost, sales price, and quantity on hand you enter are all for the base unit.
A unit defined by the number of base units it contains. For example, if the base unit is inch, a related unit might be foot, which is defined as containing 12 inches. Another related unit might be yard, which is defined as containing 36 inches.
Related units make it possible to show quantities of the same item in different measurements in different places in QuickBooks. For example, you might purchase an item called cable in spools, count that item in inventory by the foot, and sell it by the yard. By creating a unit of measure set with a base unit of foot and related units of spool (containing 500 feet) and yard, you can enter a quantity of spools on a purchase order, show the item in feet on inventory reports, and enter a quantity of yards on an invoice.
Unit of measure set
Unit of measure sets are available only when Multiple U/M Per Item is selected as the unit of measure mode. A unit of measure set consists of a base unit and any number of related units. When you create a unit of measure set, you can specify which unit of measure appears by default when adding an item to a purchase form, a sales form, and a shipping pick list. You also give the set a name, such as Length by the foot. Once a unit of measure set has been created and assigned to an item, it can easily be converted to other units of measure within the set as the item is added to a transaction. Using the previous example, adding cable as an item to an invoice with a quantity of 10 yards, that quantity could be converted to 30 feet or 0.06 spools.
Turn on U/M
Single U/M per item
Select this mode only if you buy, stock, and sell each item using the same unit of measure. For example, you should select Single U/M Per Item if you buy an item by the foot, keep track of it in inventory by the foot, and sell it by the foot. Important: If you have even one item that you buy, stock, or sell in more than one unit of measure, you must select Multiple U/M Per Item.
Multiple U/M per item
Select this mode if you buy, stock, or sell any item in more than one unit of measure. For example, you should select Multiple U/M Per Item if you buy an inventory item by the gallon and sell it by the ounce, or if you buy an item that comes from a vendor 24 to a box or case but you sell each of the 24 items separately.
Add a unit of measure set
Important: After a Unit of Measure is added, it can no longer be deleted.
Change a unit of measure definition set
There are two unit of measure modes in QuickBooks; Single U/M Per Item and Multiple U/M Per Item. The way to change a unit of measure depends on which of these modes is currently selected. To see which unit of measure mode is currently selected:
If you see the Enable button instead of Single U/M Per Item or Multiple U/M Per Item, unit of measure is currently turned off. Select Enable to turn unit of measure on, then select a unit of measure mode.
What you should know before changing an item's unit of measure set
When changing an item's unit of measure set, under certain circumstances you should only change to another set with the same base unit. You can change the base unit of measure of a service, non-inventory part, or group item without affecting the accuracy of any information stored in QuickBooks. However, changing the base unit of an inventory part or inventory assembly can make the quantity on hand and cost information for that item inaccurate.
For example, suppose one of your inventory part items is rope and you currently have 600 feet of rope in inventory. If you change the item's unit of measure set to a base unit of yard, your quantity on hand will still be 600 but should be changed to 200 to be accurate (600 feet = 200 yards). Also, if the current cost of the rope item is 0.25 per foot, you would need to change the cost to 0.75 after changing the base unit to yard.
To prevent confusion and possible inaccuracies, if you need to change to a unit of measure set with a different base unit we recommend creating a new item with the quantity on hand and cost that are right for the new base unit and then hide the old item by making it inactive.
Note: If you change to a unit of measure set with different units, all old units will appear in brackets (such as [ft]) in the line items of all previously saved transactions to show that those units of measure are obsolete.
Change a unit of measure assignment in Single U/M per item mode
When Single U/M Per Item is selected as the unit of measure mode, you can assign only one unit of measure for each item. That single unit is then used for that item everywhere in QuickBooks. For example, if you have an inventory item called "rope" and you assign it a unit of measure called "foot," then that item must be purchased by the foot, counted in inventory by the foot, and sold by the foot.
Change a unit of measure assignment in multiple U/M per item mode
Change the base unit name or abbreviation
Important: You should only rename the base unit or give it a new abbreviation to correct a spelling error or to clarify what the current base unit is. We recommend that you never change the base unit to an entirely different unit of measure that would require a conversion of quantities and rates, such as changing from inch to foot. Such a change would require that you redefine all related units in the set, manually adjust inventory quantities, and change quantities and rates in every saved transaction that includes items with the current base unit. If you need to use a new base unit, we recommend that you create a new unit of measure set with the different base unit and then assign the new set only to the appropriate items for use from that point forward.
Note: If you're changing a time-based unit of measure for a service item used with QuickBooks time tracking, be aware that assigning any base unit besides hours will cause rate calculations to be inaccurate when tracking time for this item. In weekly time sheets and timed single activities, time is always tracked in hours. Add additional lines if necessary.
Add, change or delete a related unit of measure
Add a related unit
Change a related unit
Delete a related unit
Change the default unit of measure for purchases, sales or shipping units
The units of measure you select for Purchases and Sales are what will be shown by default whenever you add the current item to a purchase form or sales form. You can change these default units when filling out the form. The unit of measure you select for Shipping is what will always be shown on pick lists, regardless of what unit is shown on the purchase order. The person printing a pick list cannot change this unit of measure.
The units of measure you select for Purchases and Sales are what will be shown by default whenever the current item is added to a purchase form or sales form. You can change these default units when filling out the form. The unit of measure selected for Shipping is what will always be shown on pick lists, regardless of what unit is shown on the purchase order. The person printing a pick list cannot change this unit of measure.
Print the unit of measure set list