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Use Serial or Lot Numbers

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

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

What's more, you now have the option to set up mandatory serial or lot number tracking for certain transactions. So, if you choose to make it mandatory, QuickBooks will now ask for the required detail before you can proceed, helping your inventory stay organized. We'll show you how.

Note:There is only one option for tracking. Before you begin, decide which one you want to track: serial or lot numbers.

Use serial numbers if you:

  • Buy and sell inventory items that have unique serial numbers
  • Keep track of which customers bought specific serial numbers
  • Want to know which serial numbers are in inventory
  • Need a report that shows the invoices related to 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 (such as which items are in inventory and which customers purchased them)

You will have the option to make serial and lot numbers mandatory for posting transactions for your invoices, sales receipt, item receipt, inventory transfer, and adjust quantity on hand.

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

Turn on serial or lot numbers to start tracking your inventory items.

  1. Select the Edit ▼ drop-down menu, select Preferences.
  2. On the left pane, select Items & Inventory, then select Company Preferences tab.
  3. Select Advanced Inventory Settings, then select Serial/Lot Numbers tab.
  4. Select Enable Lot or Serial Numbers, then select Serial Numbers or Lot Numbers.
  5. From Show serial or lot numbers on the following forms, choose what type of transactions you want to show the serial or lot numbers. QuickBooks adds a serial or lot number field to most purchase forms and sales forms including:
    • Item receipts
    • Bills
    • Credit card transactions
    • Checks
    • Invoices
    • Credit memos
    • Sales orders and pending invoices
  6. To make tracking mandatory Under Default settings for the inventory and assembly items, select Make it mandatory. This will make it mandatory to enter serial or lot numbers on these types of forms: invoices, sales receipt, item receipt, inventory transfer, and adjust quantity on hand.
    Note: If the serial or lot number is missed, it will result in an error message.
  7. Select the small arrow ▼icon and set your preferences for warnings for all inventory and assembly items.
  8. Select OK.

If you have a lot of items with serial numbers already in inventory, you may choose to not enter them all in QuickBooks right away. It's OK to continue your current method of tracking while slowly moving to QuickBooks by entering all newly purchased or assembled items with serial numbers as you acquire them. Then, your company file will have all your serial numbers.

Make sure you have all the info about the serial or lot numbers with your current inventory on hand.

You'll be using the Adjust Quantity/Value on Hand window 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 ▼ drop-down, then select Serial Number.
  3. Select the Adjustment Date.
  4. In the Item field, enter the item name, or select the small arrow icon 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 and 4 for each item.
  8. When finished, select Save & Close.
  9. To confirm the accuracy of your entries, run the Serial/Lot Numbers in Inventory report.

To save time, you can paste serial numbers from Excel or a comma-separated values (CSV).

Excel file

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

CSV file

  1. Copy the serial numbers from your .csv file.
  2. In the Item field, enter the item name, or select the small arrow icon and select it from the list.
  3. Select the Add Serial Numberscolumn.
  4. Select the small arrow ▼ icon and select Quick View for Serial Numbers.
  5. Paste the serial numbers directly into the Serial Numbers field.
  6. Repeat as required, then select Save & Close.

Lot numbers

  1. Go to Inventory then select Adjust Quantity/Value on Hand.
  2. Select the Adjustment Type ▼ drop-down, then select Lot Number.
  3. Select the Adjustment Date.
  4. In the Item field, enter the item name, or select the small arrow icon 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.
    Tip: To assign a different lot number to more of the same item, or to assign a different lot number to a different item, repeat steps 4 and 5 as needed.
  7. When finished, select Save & Close.
  8. To confirm the accuracy of your entries, run the Serial/Lot Numbers in Inventory report.

What does the Serial Numbers/Lot Numbers button do in the New Item and Edit Item window?

When you add or edit an item, QuickBooks adds a Serial Numbers or Lot Numbers button to the window. Clicking this button opens a window where you can override the global warnings you set in preferences.

How do serial/lot numbers appear on printed forms?

You can edit templates to add or remove serial/lot numbers on printed forms. Serial/lot numbers always appear on the screen. 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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