QuickBooks bill of materials: the secret to making it work

QuickBooks bill of materials gets tricky with the online version. Here we investigate how it all works and how 3rd party tools can bridge the feature gaps.

Spoiler Alert: This article investigates the limitations of your QuickBooks bill of materials (using online and the desktop version), the feature gaps which need to be bridged, and how to set up your online BOM.
Last updated: 31.03.2023 8 mins read

Let’s jump headfirst into this article with a hypothetical set in the pinnacle of popular culture — Hell’s Kitchen.

You have a fast-food background but are confident you can easily transition to a fancy restaurant’s working conditions. Before you start, you study the dishes, but unfortunately, as soon as you’re in the kitchen, Gordon Ramsay asks you for a risotto with scallops missing from the list of dishes.

Uh-oh, it turns out you don’t know how to make it.

As a manufacturer using QuickBooks bill of materials, you need to know how and where you can save your products recipes.

Maybe your QuickBooks BOM is saved in that entrepreneurial noggin of yours. But, if you don’t have it written down and stored elsewhere, just like the hypothetically inexperienced chef, how can you expect to scale your business if new staff needs access to those all-important QuickBooks bill of materials?

This article will overview what a bill of materials is, whether you can save a bill of materials in QuickBooks, and how you can get more control over your QuickBooks bill of materials.

So, if you want to avoid becoming the screaming, quick-to-anger, swearing Gordon Ramsay because your teammates are struggling to assemble a product, be sure to read all the way through.

What is a bill of materials?

bill of materials (often referred to as a BOM or product recipe) is a document containing the materials and components used to make your products and the manufacturing process these products pass through.

Recall the last phenomenon of an IKEA purchase you made. Remember the instructions it came with (that you certainly read like a responsible consumer before blindly starting to construct your item)?

That is basically a bill of materials.

However, a bill of materials comes in different forms depending on the complexity of the product:

  • Modular
  • Configurable
  • Multi-level

But we bet you already know this — you’re here because you want to figure out how to configure your QuickBooks bill of materials, so let’s get to it.

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How does QuickBooks bill of materials work?

As it stands, there isn’t a QuickBooks online bill of material. So to be able to save your BOM you will need to use spreadsheets or find a 3rd party tool which can integrate with your account.

Whether you can use QuickBooks bill of materials depends on what package you purchased:

  • QuickBooks Desktop — Bill of materials is available, but still missing some features, with certain versions
  • QuickBooks Online — Bill of materials is not available

Most manufacturing businesses start off with QuickBooks Online. And why wouldn’t they? QuickBooks Online doesn’t require installation, can be accessed on multiple devices, and allows anyone to access company accounts easily.

But don’t panic if you’re one of these companies that got set up with QuickBooks Online. You can still use a bill of materials, but you need to implement third-party software that integrates with QuickBooks Online.

Guide to inventory management

Regardless of if you’re using QuickBooks bill of materials or any other software for managing your business, configuring your bill of materials is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to manufacturing.

That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide to inventory management to help you take your business to the next level.

To get yourself QuickBooks Online bill of materials, instead of going all-in on one piece of software (in this instance, QuickBooks), you should marry it with another platform that offers those missing features.

Use QuickBooks for what it was originally designed for — tracking finances, and find something else to help you manage the rest of your business.

So, let’s see what you need to look for when choosing QuickBooks Online inventory management software.

How to get yourself QuickBooks Online bill of materials

By following the QuickBooks bill of materials tutorial above and below in the article will help you with getting more control and help you scale-up your business.

QuickBooks Online bill of materials is possible if you use manufacturing software that offers a QuickBooks integration.

The Katana cloud manufacturing platform is an inventory management software aimed at manufacturers. It gives manufacturing companies the live overview they need to make decisions.

But, it goes beyond improving your inventory management. It also:

  • Centralizes your business management
  • Gives you more control over your inventory
  • Helps you plan production
  • Gives you an option to easily save your QuickBooks bill of materials
  • Helps you improve your order fulfillment rate



Once you connect Katana to QuickBooks, you can close the gap between your manufacturing operations and finance tracking.

When using Katana, you can sync invoices by tracking your sale orders in Katana and generate invoices for QuickBooks once an order is fulfilled, with just a click of a button. You can also transfer purchases by taking your purchase orders for raw materials and pushing them into QuickBooks as bills.

Finally, once you have integrated your accounts, you can synchronize all your contact details so your customer and supplier information (their details, invoices, and bills) are pushed to QuickBooks.

But that’s just some of the many juicy features that come with integration. The headache cure for when using QuickBooks for manufacturing is the ability to save your QuickBooks bill of materials.

Once you’ve integrated Katana, you can store your QuickBooks bill of materials in one place to speed up your production processes and easily access them in the future.

The great thing is, if you’re a manufacturing business with multiple variants of the items you sell, Katana is equipped to help you quickly generate each possible variation when creating your QuickBooks bill of materials.

However, not only can you save your raw material information, but in your bill of materials, you can also track:

To view and create a bill of material (or product recipe) in Katana, simply follow these 4 steps:

Step 1

Log in to Katana or sign up for the 14-day free trial if you don’t yet have an account.

Step 2

Once you have logged in, at the top of the screen, select Items to proceed.

Step 3

Here you can see all the products your store manufactures under the Products tab.

To access your bill of materials, simply select one of the products. Once you have accessed the Product Card, make sure to select the Product Recipe/BOM tab.

Step 4

From here, you’ll now be able to create, reconfigure, and edit the respective quantities on this bill of material.

And that’s it. Ooh, fun fact, the stock cost will automatically update, too (assuming the relevant fields have been correctly filled in).

If you’re more of a visual learner, this handy tutorial on how to set up a bill of materials on Katana will have you covered.



However, all of the above are steps you can take to get yourself a QuickBooks Online bill of materials.

As mentioned earlier, a bill of materials is available on some of the desktop versions, but there are some limitations, so let’s go over them.

Switching from QuickBooks Desktop to Online

Wondering if you need to get yourself set up with QBO? In collaboration with Intuit's Leah Hartman, Katana hosted a webinar on the benefits of QBO and how to make a smooth transition.

QuickBooks Desktop bill of materials

So, let’s investigate how to create a bill of materials in QuickBooks Desktop version, and then figure out together how to compensate for the feature missing in the online version.

Consider this chapter a quick QuickBooks bill of materials tutorial.

If you’re using QuickBooks Desktop Premier, Enterprise, or Accountant, you can find your QuickBooks bill of materials under the Inventory Assembly (sometimes called an assembly).

But what is an Inventory Assembly? Basically, it’s an Item in QuickBooks.

QuickBooks bill of materials contains labor, other assemblies (or sub-assemblies), and other components used to make a product.

When you select the Inventory Assembly, you can see your QuickBooks bill of materials report partially, which shows components, item type, quantity, and the total cost for the materials and product.

But now comes that special QuickBooks finish, tracking the finances behind manufacturing a product. QuickBooks calculates manufacturing costs by crediting raw materials used and debiting the cost of the finished product.

To see the entire QuickBooks bill of materials report, click the Full View… button.

If you look under the info area in the Assembly Item, you can find the Quantity on Hand, Sales Orders, and Quantities already allocated for Other Assemblies. You can also find your current Quantity Available at the bottom of the Assembly Item info.

Finally, if you look at the very bottom of the Build Assembly window, the QuickBooks bill of materials report gives you a calculation based on the number of components available, detailing how many products you can construct from your current raw material levels.

In the Inventory Assemblies, you’ll be able to :

  • Change items
  • Delete items
  • Add a new item
  • Change the quantity

However, since you need the Desktop versions, accessing QuickBooks bill of materials is quite expensive. It also still lacks a lot of features that are essential to help manufacturers get their production under control.

Here’s a video that explores QuickBooks bill of materials further to help you get a better understanding of how it works:



Whether using QuickBooks Online or the desktop versions, you may want to check out third-party integrations for more functionality and flexibility, depending on your needs.

So, let’s see your options if you need QuickBooks bill of materials software that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg but still has all the necessary features for manufacturers.

Try out Katana's bill of materials software

Katana integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks Online, making it a perfect package for manufacturers looking for QuickBooks bill of materials functionality.
*No credit card required

What’s next for your QuickBooks BOMs?

QuickBooks bill of materials doesn’t have to be the thing of legends, just simply find a Smart MRP Software that can integrate with your account and help you manage the manufacturing side of your business while also tracking your finances.

Even though the desktop version has it, QuickBooks bill of materials still needs many features necessary to organize and grow a manufacturing business to its full potential. Features such as production scheduling, manufacturing overview, managing multiple sale channels, and handling raw materials.

But considering many manufacturers go for the online version, which doesn’t even give you the capability of storing your bill of materials and forces you to use other methods such as inefficient Excel spreadsheets, using QuickBooks to manage your entire business can be problematic.

However, QuickBooks Online bill of materials doesn’t have to be a thing of fiction.

Simply integrate cloud manufacturing software, which can save your QuickBooks bill of materials and help manage your entire manufacturing operation from one easy-to-navigate platform, giving your business performance a massive overhaul.

Look at the video below and see for yourself how Katana is a perfect match for your business. And if you wish to test it out, sign up for a free 14-day trial and give it a go.


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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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