How to set up QuickBooks inventory scanner for your online account

QuickBooks inventory scanner is the ideal tool to save you hours of time and eliminate human errors, so you can be sure your inventory counts are accurate.

barcode scanner scanning a package
Last updated: 20.03.2023 9 mins

Many manufacturers begin their journey with QuickBooks Online. The cloud-based accounting software that tracks your finances and manages your inventory — a two-birds-one-stone solution to their problems.

It’s when the sales start flooding in do the problems rear their head. As good as QuickBooks Online is, there are limitations to be found, especially for manufacturers who need to track their inventory. Thankfully, there are third-party apps that can help you implement a QuickBooks inventory scanner.

This article will look at how to implement QuickBooks barcode inventory management software, why they’re important, and the benefits.

Getting started with QuickBooks inventory scanner

QuickBooks barcode is accessible for online users by integrating third-party apps.

We won’t overload you with the intricate details of how barcode scanning works. If you’re eager to learn, check out our ultimate guide to barcode inventory control for manufacturers.

But you need to know that QuickBooks comes in two versions — QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop. Both can be broken down into different packages and payment plans.

We mention this because, currently, you cannot use QuickBooks inventory scanner with the online version. If you’re already a QBO user, don’t close the page just yet, as we have workarounds for navigating the missing feature.

With QuickBooks Desktop, you get access to the barcode scanner for QuickBooks Advanced inventory,  it also comes with:

When looking into how to work with barcodes and QuickBooks, imagine you’re a large-scale manufacturer who prints unique artwork of several collaborating artists on t-shirts. You need to track WIP, raw materials, and finished goods.

QuickBooks barcode software allows you to track these items as they move along your shop floor and warehouses in real time, allowing you to keep all your inventory information centralized, removing the chance for human errors.

To do this with QuickBooks Desktop, log in to your QuickBooks account, and follow these steps:

  1. At the top of the screen, select Edit
  2. From the drop-down menu, select Preferences… to continue
  3. A new window will open where you can customize various aspects of your business. Here you will find a tab called Company Preferences — click on that
  4. Once here, go ahead and check the box to Enable my barcode scanner

When you have set it up, you can use QuickBooks Desktop barcode software for invoices, sales receipts, purchase orders, and inventory reports.

Want to make a shift from QuickBooks Desktop to Online?

Companies are abandoning QBD for QBO. But why? Intuit joined us for a webinar explaining why companies are switching and how you can get the most out of transitioning from Desktop to Online.

The importance of using QuickBooks inventory scanner system

QuickBooks inventory scanner system will allow you to handle a lot of aspects of your business. In some industries, a barcode management system is imperative, like for those managing perishable inventories and working in food production.

Having barcodes in place allows you to reduce human errors, improve inventory management discipline, and easily track products along your supply chain. Here is a list of 5 more reasons why having a barcode inventory system QuickBooks is essential for manufacturers.

1. Improve your infrastructure

Getting yourself a barcode inventory system for QuickBooks  allows you to manage your inventory better by giving you access to:

  • QuickBooks barcode generator
  • Barcode printing functionalities
  • Features to use scanners to decode barcodes
  • A centralized platform for storing decoded barcode data

2. Locate problems in your supply chain

A barcode inventory system compatible with QuickBooks allows you to find areas in your manufacturing route affecting your business, like bottlenecks forming along your production line. You can achieve this by collecting information and using your barcode system to analyze it to identify problems and make improvements.

3. Easily perform audits

No one likes doing them, but they have to be done. Otherwise, your inventory will run wild, and your business will hemorrhage money.

If audits are an unavoidable task, which do you think would be easier, counting and updating your inventory levels by hand? Or, pointing your scanner, clicking, and inventory levels updating automatically and in real time?

4. Distinguish your products

Having all your SKU variants set up is one thing, but having a barcode means storing as much information as you need with the barcode. This helps you easily find and differentiate your products — perfect for manufacturers who sell dozens of variants of multiple products.

5. Print and label your inventory

Finally, once you have your QuickBooks barcode scanner system configured, you can go ahead and start printing those barcodes and go on a labeling rampage. Theoretically, you don’t have to wait to set up a system. If you’re in the process of trying to find barcode software, you can, in the meantime, already make your barcodes with a QuickBooks barcode generator.

7 benefits of using QuickBooks barcode scanner in your manufacturing

Barcode for QuickBooks is an essential tool for manufacturers within specific industries, such as those who handle perishable goods.

Now you know the importance of having a QuickBooks barcode scanner, let’s look into the benefits you can quickly reap once you’ve set it up for your business.

1. Reduces the possibility of human error

Manually updating inventory levels, especially when using inefficient Excel spreadsheets, leaves you ample opportunity to make mistakes that will cost you and your business. With a barcode inventory system for QuickBooks, all you have to do is point and click to update inventory.

2. Reduces employee training time

With barcodes in place, when someone new joins, you don’t have to teach them about your pricing procedures or even the ins and outs of your inventory management. Hand them the scanner, teach them how to use it, and everyone will be well on their way.

3. Inexpensive to design and print

This mainly applies after purchasing equipment, paper, ink, etc. But, once you have the means to design and print your QuickBooks barcodes, the costs will be minimal.

4. Extremely versatile

Why do you need QuickBooks barcodes? Is it for For tracking inventory? Price? Lot or batch tracking? Barcodes can be printed on any surface and contain whatever information you need to be stored.

5. Improved control management

We’ve briefly touched on improved inventory management throughout the article. But we haven’t mentioned that you can also track assets with a barcode inventory system for QuickBooks. This means if items travel back and forth between locations, it’s easier to find said items.

6. Improved analytics

Have rapidly available data stored in a centralized platform and customize barcodes to display everything you need to get an overview of your inventory movements in real time.

7. Better decision-making in your business

Finally, having all this information readily available allows you to make better business decisions, saving you time and money in the long run.

That’s everything you need to know about QuickBooks barcode inventory. But, as mentioned earlier in the article. What about manufacturers using QuickBooks Online?

QuickBooks Online users can also access barcodes, but they will need to look for a third-party integration to help them achieve this.

Using barcodes with QuickBooks Online

A person holding a barcode scanner to scan a barcode on a package

QuickBooks themselves advise online users to head over to the Intuit Developers Forum, which has developers and coders who help each other with development, integrations, and programming for creating bespoke solutions.

Like any other forum, you submit a question following the on-screen instructions, and others in the community will reach out to you, providing solutions for implementing QuickBooks barcode inventory.

However, suppose you’re a manufacturer using QuickBooks Online for managing your business and don’t have the time or experience to develop integrations alongside other developers. In that case, you can use comparison sites such as Software Advice or Capterra to find third-party software with QuickBooks barcode managing features already built in.

But let us help you embark on this journey to finding the perfect platform for implementing a barcode inventory system compatible with QuickBooks.

Katana + QuickBooks — balance your books and manufacturing

Easily implement barcode scanning into your sales and manufacturing orders for improved inventory control and scalability.

Katana — the ideal barcode inventory system for QuickBooks

Katana’s cloud manufacturing software is an online platform for manufacturers looking to automate workflows, from sales to manufacturing to the shop floor and between warehouses, helping you manage your entire workflow in one place.

Katana comes equipped with barcode scanning functionality making it perfect for those looking for:

Getting started with Katana and QuickBooks is as easy as 1-2-3. All you need to do is follow the steps below.

Step 1

Sign up for the 14-day free trial.

Step 2

At the top of the Dashboard, select Settings and click the Integrations tab. Once there, choose QuickBooks, and configure how the two platforms will sync.

Step 3

Head over to the Settings screen and enable barcodes, and that’s it. You can now manage your entire business here.

To learn more about barcode scanning with Katana, check out the video below:


Barcode Scanning + QuickBooks Online = Success

Take QuickBooks barcode scanner for a test drive with a free 14-day trial and simplify your inventory management.

Implementing QuickBooks inventory scanner into your workflow

Inventory software compatible with QuickBooks are available online to give you access to barcode management features.

Using third-party software with QuickBooks allows you to start using barcodes, not just in your sales but across your entire manufacturing process.

Once you’ve set up everything, you can utilize your barcodes for the following:

  • Assigning barcode numbers to inventory items for improved tracking and analytics
  • Having all your barcodes saved in a central place
  • Identify inventory and variants by using barcodes

You and your employees can easily keep on top of inventory control while performing your inventory duties faster, reducing chances for errors, and identifying materials and items easier.

Streamlining your inventory management with QuickBooks barcodes

QuickBooks barcode system management is made easier with third-party integrations.

And there you have it, everything you need to know about QuickBooks barcode inventory and how to get it set up with the Online account. If you’re a QuickBooks Desktop user, you can take advantage of the native barcode management system, but be mindful that as a manufacturer, you need to track multiple inventory types.

This is why many turn to third-party software instead. Katana has been built specifically for manufacturers and can scale alongside their business, helping everyone from micro-manufacturers to large-scale factory owners.

Come try it out with the 14-day free trial to get a taste of what your optimized shopfloor could look like.

QuickBooks inventory scanner FAQs
Can QuickBooks do barcodes?

Barcodes are available on QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise when signed up for Platinum or Diamond subscriptions.

Alternatively, you can use 3rd party software like Katana, which has barcode scanning functionality and integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks Online.

How do I use a barcode scanner for inventory in QuickBooks?
  1. Choose a barcode scanner — You’ll need a compatible scanner that can read the barcodes you’ve created for your inventory items. Most barcode scanners connect to your computer via USB, and some may require additional software to be installed.
  2. Create barcodes for your inventory items — You can use barcode generator software to create barcodes for your inventory items. You can include the item’s name, SKU, and other details in the barcode.
  3. Set up your QuickBooks inventory — Make sure your inventory items are set up in QuickBooks and that each item has a unique SKU or item number. You can add a custom field to each inventory item in QuickBooks to hold the barcode data.
  4. Scan items into QuickBooks — Using your barcode scanner, scan each item as it comes into inventory. The scanner will read the barcode and enter the corresponding SKU or item number into QuickBooks.
  5. Review your inventory — QuickBooks will track your inventory levels as you scan items in and out. You can use QuickBooks reports to see which items are selling quickly, which items are low in stock, and other inventory-related data.
How do you track inventory with a barcode?

Tracking inventory with a barcode involves creating unique barcodes for each item, attaching the barcodes to the items, and using a barcode scanner to scan the barcode on each item as it is received into inventory, sold, or moved within the warehouse or store. The scanner reads the barcode and enters the corresponding SKU or item number into the inventory management software. By tracking inventory with a barcode, you can save time, reduce errors compared to manually entering data, and get more accurate and up-to-date information about your inventory levels and movement.

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James Humphreys

Senior Content Manager

James Humphreys has a background in creative writing and has been writing about the manufacturing industry for 3+ years.

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