Too Many QuickBooks Items

QuickBooks items are one of its most powerful features, if used correctly and wisely. If you use QuickBooks, perhaps you have encountered one of the following issues with items:

  1. You have exhausted or are close to exhausting the list limits
  2. You have so many inventory or non-inventory item numbers that you are overwhelmed

Here are some thoughts on using items in QuickBooks that may save you some headaches.

Know the Limits of Items

Each version of QuickBooks has limits for list. For example, in QuickBooks Pro 2014 the limit for item lists is 14,500. That means that the total of inventory, non-inventory, sales tax, shipping and handling charges, and discounts combined cannot exceed 14,500. Now 14,500 may seem like a lot, but you’d be surprised how fast that limit can be reached if you are not careful about how you use QuickBooks items. But, remember that items make is easier to invoice customers as well as record purchases from vendors. So, how can you reduce the likelihood that the item limit will be reached?

Ask Is It Needed?

Before you set-up an item, such as an inventory or non-inventory part, consider whether that individual item number is really needed. For example, imagine your business repairs air conditioners. It makes sense to have unique item numbers for very unique parts. A compressor for one manufacturer may be unique to that manufacturer and model. On the other hand, miscellaneous bolts, nuts, etc. that you use may not need to be distinguished by individual parts. So, it may be perfectly adequate to have a non-inventory part called “Miscellaneous Bolts” or “Miscellaneous Nuts”, etc. So every nut or bolt that is not really all that unique may be recorded as one of these miscellaneous items and expensed as purchased, especially when there are not really that many on-hand. So, think, “Do you really need 10 different bolt non-inventory item numbers if one will suffice?”

Likewise, carefully consider how you use such things as Sales Tax Items. I’m in the state of Georgia and if a company is selling from one location, they will likely collect several different types of sales tax, such as state, local option, etc. But, if they are collecting 4 or 5 different taxes, it is all being remitted to the same agency at the same time, and the sales tax form provides a way to allocated the total sales taxes collected to the different types, perhaps one sales tax item sufficient?


The bigger your QuickBooks file gets the slower QuickBooks tends to operate. While it may take a while to notice appreciable impact, it is something to consider. So, don’t clutter your QuickBooks file with unnecessary QuickBooks items.

Wasted Time

If every little part receives a unique item identification (whether really needed or not), you may end up with a massive amount of parts, many of which were probably only used one time. Is that helpful? Probably not!

So, here is the bottom line. Be judicious in the way you use items in QuickBooks. Doing so you can make life simpler.

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.


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