What is an item?
In QuickBooks, an item is anything that your company buys, sells, or resells
in the course of business, such as products, shipping and handling charges,
discounts, and sales tax (if applicable). You can think of an item as something that shows up as a line on an invoice or other sales form.
Items help you fill out the line item area of a sales or purchase form
quickly. When you choose an item from your Item List, QuickBooks fills in a
description of the line item and calculates its amount for you.
QuickBooks provides 11 different types of items. Some—such as the
service item or the inventory part item—help you record the services and
products your business sells. Others—such as the subtotal item or
discount item—are used to perform calculations on the amounts in a
Note: Retail businesses: Set up your items according to
how you enter your sales, either every sale or sales summaries.
What is the relationship between items and income accounts?
Items handle the behind-the-scenes accounting. When you create an item for a service or product you sell, you associate it with an income account. When the item is used on a form or register, it posts an entry to that income account and another entry to Accounts Receivable or another appropriate account.
What item types are available in QuickBooks?
QuickBooks provides several item types to help you fill out
sales and purchase forms quickly.
For details about how to set up an item, click the
item type in the table.
Use this type
Services you charge for or purchase. Examples include
specialized labor, consulting hours, and professional fees.
Goods you purchase, track as inventory, and resell.
(Premier and Enterprise editions only)
Assembled goods you build or purchase, track as inventory, and
resell. Note: QuickBooks cannot track the costs
associated with the manufacturing process itself. In other words,
the cost of a built assembly item depends only on the cost of its
Goods you buy but don't track (such as office supplies), or
materials you buy for a specific job that you charge back to your
An asset you do not expect to convert to cash during one year of
normal operations. A fixed asset is usually something that is
necessary for the operation of your business—such as a truck, cash
register, or computer.
Miscellaneous labor, material, or part charges such as delivery
charges, setup fees, and service charges, bounced checks, late fees, opening balance, reimbursable expenses, retainers, surcharges, gift certificates, prepayments, retainers, sales tax, and shipping and handling fees.
Totals all items above it on a form, up to the last subtotal.
Useful for applying a percentage discount or surcharge to many
A way of associating individual items that often appear together
on invoices, purchase orders, and so on, so that all items in the
group can be added to the form at one time.
What's the difference
between an inventory assembly and a group? (QuickBooks Premier
or Enterprise editions only)
Subtracts a percentage or fixed amount from a total or subtotal.
Do not use this item type for an early payment discount.
Records a partial payment you received at the time of the sale.
It reduces the amount owed on an invoice.
Calculates a single sales tax item at a specific rate that you pay to
a single tax agency.
Calculates and individually tracks two or more sales tax items
that apply to the same sale. The customer sees only the total sales
Changing an item's
Troubleshooting item problems
QuickBooks items represent everything that can be a line item on
a sale or purchase form-for example, services and products you
sell, things you buy, discounts you offer, and assets you own. You
use items when you create invoices, fill out checks, create
purchase orders, or buy new equipment.
While they provide a quick means of data entry, a much more
important role for items is to handle the behind-the-scenes
accounting. When you create an item, you link it to an account;
when the item is used on a form, it posts an entry to that account
and another entry to the appropriate accounts receivable, accounts
payable, checking, fixed asset, or other account.
While items are easy to set up, you should spend some
time deciding how they can best work for you before you start
setting them up and using them. Use your current list of services
and products as a starting point. Consider how much detail you want
on your invoices or statements and set up your items with that
level of detail in mind. For example, if you are a seamstress who
creates and sells home accessories, you can set up a single item
and charge a flat rate for a certain size of couch pillow, or you
can break that pillow down further into labor and materials.
If you're a QuickBooks Pro
user, you can't create new inventory assembly items. You can view and edit
inventory assembly items from the Item list in any edition of
QuickBooks, and you can also view and edit the transactions that
use them. If you want to do more with inventory assembly items, learn how to
upgrade your version of
Choosing an item type and creating the
Examples of items for contractors