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Moving your stock over from Desktop

The most important thing to be aware of when moving from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online is that desktop versions of QuickBooks use average cost to calculate your stock costs. QuickBooks Online uses FIFO.

For most businesses, first-in-first-out (FIFO) produces the biggest gross profit and highest ending stock value on the balance sheet. It also shows how stock flows through your business more accurately.

Note: If you prefer not to use FIFO or enable stock in QuickBooks Online, select No, don’t turn on stock and don’t track quantity on hand. You can change these settings later, but if you do, you will need to set up new stock items. We recommend that you reach out to a tax professional if you need help to make this decision.

Set your stock start date

QuickBooks Online calculates stock costs from the stock start date using FIFO. Any existing transactions on or after this date are also recalculated under FIFO. Because of this, we recommend using the first day following your company’s last tax filing period to avoid filing amended forms.

Once you set the stock start date, you won’t be able to change it again, and any transactions prior to this date cannot be edited.

Complete this form and send it in by the due date for timely filing of your business tax return. For the current tax year, it must be filed by October 15 (the due date of your return with an automatic 6-month extension).

If you have questions about completing this form, reach out to your tax advisor or accountant.

Joe’s Burger Shack purchases produce twice a month. Produce costs change over time. Below is a record of purchase orders made for meat:

Purchase dateQuantity (lbs)Cost per poundCost to business
1/1/18100$0.70$70.00
1/15/18125$0.73$91.25
2/1/18150$0.78$117.00
2/15/18200$0.80$160.00
Purchase dateQuantity (lbs)Cost per poundCost to business
1/1/18100$0.70$70.00
1/15/18125$0.73$91.25
2/1/18150$0.78$117.00
2/15/18200$0.80$160.00
Totals575$438.25

In this example, we assume only 200 lbs. of meat were used to make sandwiches. See the table below on how Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) is calculated. We have also included the average costing method that desktop versions of QuickBooks use to provide a side-by-side comparison.

Average CostFIFO
Calculate the average cost per pound:

($70.00 + 91.25 + 117.00 + 160.00) / (100 + 125 + 150 + 200) = $0.76 per lb

Multiply the average cost by quantity sold to determine Cost of Goods Sold:

$0.76 x 200 lbs = $152

Calculate Cost of Goods Sold for the first purchase date:

$0.70 x 100 lbs = $70

Multiply the remaining 100 lbs by the cost per pound of the next purchase date:

$0.73 x 100 lbs = $73

Add the values of both purchase date to determine Cost of Goods Sold:

$73 + $70 = $143

You can see these changes on your balance sheet. We have also included the average costing method that desktop versions of QuickBooks use to provide a side-by-side comparison.

Average CostFIFO
Other Current Assets

Stock Asset

$286.25Other Current Assets

Stock Asset

$295.25

Now you can see the difference between Average Cost and FiFo accounting.

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