Submitted by Will on September 02, 2014

Q&A with Will English

Will is a member of a QuickBooks forum where member’s posts issues and questions. Colleagues provide information and solutions to help the consultant properly support their client. They explore and share ideas and advice.

Question from a colleague to the group: One of my client’s has many departments and now has items that are no longer active. They don't want to mark them as ‘Unorderable’ as that is not the case. The items are inactive simply because they no longer carry them, but could order again if needed. Is there a way to simply make items inactive or would it be a good idea to set up a new department for inactive items and move them there?

Will’s reply: You could do that, but they would still show up in the dropdown lists, etc. Assume that you don't want to delete them because they may be reordered. In the olden QuickBooks days when you couldn't make things inactive, we would add a Z to the name. Maybe something like that would work so that they wouldn't see them as they search for things, but they would still be there. By the way, if you do switch departments or change the name, it will not change prior transactions unlike QuickBooks so be careful.

Colleague: Correct me if I'm wrong but if we were to delete them, we would lose all history of them as well.

Will: In Point of Sale (POS) you can delete items without losing history. They will still show up on all of your reports and unlike QuickBooks Financial, you can delete items even if they are used in transactions.

Another group member: To tag onto what Will said, if you think about who POS is built for, it makes sense that you can delete items without losing the history. If you think of a ladies boutique, for example, they will never carry the same fall line of items again. So every item they had in for fall will never be sold again, so they certainly don't want them in the dropdowns or search functions but do still want them in reporting.

Will: You should also keep in mind that if you delete an item and then do something with a document that uses it, like copy a Purchase Order or a Receiving Voucher, it will add the item back in.

Another group member: Funny but true story. Had a client change department names and didn't exactly get the result you would expect. Changes you make to the Department list do not impact the items that are connected to that department. So while the reports will pull the same data as before, I will tell you that I don't delete or change department names for fear of making a mess happen. My point is that unless you are the one doing it, I would just discourage changes to the Department list altogether since as I mentioned and learned the hard way, changing names in the list does not give you the result you expect in reporting since it does not change the departments at the item level. So if you change the Cat department into the Dog department, the change does not occur at the item level so the items are still in the Cat department. Fun huh?

Will: So we have revamped a number of companies’ department lists. As you might imagine, we have seen almost every bad thing done in POS. You can export the item list, edit the department field and then reimport the list. Keep in mind, though, that there is the Before Change reports and the After Change reports, so doing the change at a natural break point, month end, etc., year end, etc. makes the most sense. Then delete any departments that are not needed.

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