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Use serial or lot numbers and expiration date in QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise

by Intuit Updated 5 months ago

Learn how to use serial or lot numbers and expiration dates to track inventory in QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise.

Important: Only QuickBooks Desktop 2023 offers expiration dates to manage your inventory.

QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise lets you track inventory with serial numbers, lot numbers, with expiration dates when you turn on Advanced Inventory.

In this article, you'll learn how to:



Decide how you want to track your inventory

Before you start, decide if you want to track serial or lot numbers.You can only choose one. 

Use serial numbers if you:

  • Buy and sell inventory items with unique serial numbers.
  • Keep track of which customers bought specific serial numbers.
  • Want to know which serial numbers are in inventory.
  • Need a report with invoices for a specific serial number. (This helps you track down a serial number's history for a warranty).

Use lot numbers if you:

  • Buy items in lots.
  • Keep track of which customers bought items from a specific lot.
  • Need a recall report in case you have to track all the items from a specific lot. (Like which items are in inventory and who purchased them).

Note: Make sure you enter the serial or lot number to complete the transaction to avoid any errors.



Turn on serial or lot numbers to track your inventory items

  1. Select the Edit ▼ dropdown, then select Preferences.
  2. Select Items & Inventory, then select Company Preferences.
  3. Select Advanced Inventory Settings, then select Serial/Lot Number & Expiration Dates (if available).
  4. Select Activate Lot or Serial Numbers, then select Serial Numbers or Lot Numbers.
  5. Go to Show serial or lot number in and select the transaction types you want to show serial or lot numbers. QuickBooks adds a serial or lot number field to most purchase and sales forms including:
    • Item receipts
    • Bills
    • Credit card transactions
    • Checks
    • Invoices
    • Credit memos
    • Sales orders and pending invoices

Make it mandatory to enter serial or lot numbers on invoices, sales receipts, item receipts, inventory transfers, and adjust quantity on hand. Go to For the selected transactions and select Make serial or lot number mandatory.

  1. Select OK.

If you already have a lot of inventory with serial numbers, you don't have to enter them into QuickBooks right away. Enter newly purchased items with serial numbers as you get them. Then, your company file will have all your serial numbers.

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Turn on expiration date

You can pick specific serial or lot numbers based on expiration and sell the stock that’s soon to expire . As you get items, you can stop stock from going bad. Make it mandatory to fill in serial/lot numbers along with an expiration date.

After you turn on serial or lot numbers, turn on the expiration date to track your inventory items.

  1. Select Activate Expiration date.
  2. From Show expiration date in, choose what type of transactions you want to display the expiration date. QuickBooks adds an expiration date field to most purchase and sales forms including:
    • Item receipts
    • Bills
    • Invoices
    • Credit memos
    • Sales orders and pending invoices
  3. Optional: Make it mandatory to enter serial or lot numbers on invoices, sales receipts, item receipts, inventory transfers, and adjust quantity on hand. Go to For the selected transactions and select Make serial or lot number mandatory.
    If the expiration date is left out, it’ll result in an error message.
  4. Select OK.

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Assign serial/lot numbers to existing inventory

Make sure you have all the info about the serial or lot numbers with your current inventory on hand. You'll use Adjust Quantity/Value on Hand to assign serial or lot numbers to existing inventory.

Serial numbers

  1. Go to Inventory then select Adjust Quantity/Value on Hand.
  2. Select the Adjustment Type ▼ dropdown, then select Serial Number.
  3. Select the Adjustment Date.
  4. In the Item field, enter the item name, or select the small arrow ▼ and select it from the item list.
  5. In the Serial number column, select Quick view for Serial Numbers.
  6. Enter the serial numbers.
  7. Repeat steps 3 - 6 for each item.
  8. When finished, select Save & Close.
  9. To check your entries for mistakes., run the Serial/Lot Numbers in Inventory report.

You can paste serial numbers from Excel or a comma-separated values (CSV).

Excel/CSV files

  1. Copy the serial numbers from your Excel file.
  2. In the Item field, enter the item name, or select the small arrow▼ and select it from the list.
  3. Select the Add Serial Numbers column.
  4. Select the small arrow▼ and then select Quick View for Serial Numbers.
  5. From Excel: Right-click and select Paste, then OK.
    From CSV: Paste the serial numbers directly into the Serial Numbers field.
  6. Repeat as needed, then select Save & Close.

Lot numbers

  1. Go to Inventory then select Adjust Quantity/Value on Hand.
  2. Select the Adjustment Type ▼ dropdown, then select Lot Number.
  3. Select the Adjustment Date.
  4. In the Item field, enter the item name, or select the small arrow ▼ and select it from the item list.
  5. Enter the lot number in the Lot Number field.
  6. In the New Count column, enter the number of items in that lot.
    Pro Tip: Repeat steps 4 and 5 to assign a different lot number to more of the same item, or to assign a different lot number to a different item.
  7. When finished, select Save & Close.
  8. To confirm the accuracy of your entries, run the Serial/Lot Numbers in Inventory report.

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Assign expiration date to existing serial or lot numbers

Use Adjust Quantity/Value on Hand to assign expiration date to serial or lot numbers.

Serial numbers

  1. Go to Inventory then select Adjust Quantity/Value on Hand.
  2. Select Adjustment Type ▼, then select Serial Number.
  3. Select your Adjustment Date.
  4. Enter the item name in the item field, or select the small arrow ▼ icon and select it from the item list.
  5. In the Serial number column, select Add multiple serial numbers.
  6. Select the serial numbers, enter expiration dates, and then select Yes, update .
  7. Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 for each item.
  8. To confirm the accuracy of your entries, run the Serial Numbers in Stock report.

Lot numbers

  1. Go to Inventory then select Adjust Quantity/Value on Hand.
  2. Select Adjustment Type ▼, then select Lot Number.
  3. Select your Adjustment Date.
  4. Enter the item name in the item field, or select the small arrow ▼ icon and select it from the item list.
  5. Select the lot number from the Lot Number field.
  6. In the Expiration date column, enter the expiration date and then select Yes, update.
    Pro Tip: To assign expiration date to a different lot number of the same item, or to assign a different lot number to a different item, repeat steps 4 and 5 as needed.
  7. To confirm the accuracy of your entries, run the Lot Numbers in Stock report.

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Use the Inventory Expiration Status Report

Inventory Expiration Status helps you track and monitor expired and expiring lots/serials in one place.

  1. Select Reports,and then Inventory
  2. Select Inventory Expiration Status

Note: To view inventory reports, turn on the Inventory and purchase orders are active checkbox in Items and Inventory Company Preferences.  

This report includes your inventory lot/serial numbers along with the expiration date and days left to expire.

You’ll also be able to filter for:

  • All items
  • Already expired items 
  • Yet-to-expire items
  • Custom date range

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Frequently asked questions

What do Serial Numbers and Expiration date or Lot Numbers and Expiration date do in the New/Edit Item window?

Select this option to make any adjustments to the global warnings you set in preferences.

How do serial numbers and lot numbers appear on printed forms?

You can edit templates to add or remove serial and lot numbers on printed forms. Serial and lot numbers always appear on the display. On printed forms, multiple serial numbers appear in the description separated by commas. The lot number appears in its own column.

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