This article describes how to use Units of Measure for items on QuickBooks Desktop transactions.
The first unit defined in a unit of measure set. The base unit is usually the smallest unit of measure used for an item when purchasing, tracking in or out of inventory, and selling. In QuickBooks, the base units of items are used to count inventory, generate most inventory reports, and perform quantity-related calculations. When an inventory item is created, the cost, sales price, and quantity on hand you enter are all for the base unit.
A unit defined by the number of base units it contains. For example, if the base unit is inch, a related unit might be foot, which is defined as containing 12 inches. Another related unit might be yard, which is defined as containing 36 inches.
Related units make it possible to show quantities of the same item in different measurements in different places in QuickBooks. For example, you might purchase an item called cable in spools, count that item in inventory by the foot, and sell it by the yard. By creating a unit of measure set with a base unit of foot and related units of spool (containing 500 feet) and yard, you can enter a quantity of spools on a purchase order, show the item in feet on inventory reports, and enter a quantity of yards on an invoice.
Unit of measure sets are available only when Multiple U/M Per Item is selected as the unit of measure mode. A unit of measure set consists of a base unit and any number of related units. When you create a unit of measure set, you can specify which unit of measure appears by default when adding an item to a purchase form, a sales form, and a shipping pick list. You also give the set a name, such as Length by the foot. Once a unit of measure set has been created and assigned to an item, it can easily be converted to other units of measure within the set as the item is added to a transaction. Using the previous example, adding cable as an item to an invoice with a quantity of 10 yards, that quantity could be converted to 30 feet or 0.06 spools.
Single U/M Per Item: Select this mode only if you buy, stock, and sell each item using the same unit of measure. For example, you should select Single U/M Per Item if you buy an item by the foot, keep track of it in inventory by the foot, and sell it by the foot. Important: If you have even one item that you buy, stock, or sell in more than one unit of measure, you must select Multiple U/M Per Item.
Multiple U/M Per Item: Select this mode if you buy, stock, or sell any item in more than one unit of measure. For example, you should select Multiple U/M Per Item if you buy an inventory item by the gallon and sell it by the ounce, or if you buy an item that comes from a vendor 24 to a box or case but you sell each of the 24 items separately.
Important: After a Unit of Measure is added, it can no longer be deleted.
Note: If you see the Enable button instead of Single U/M Per Item or Multiple U/M Per Item, unit of measure is currently turned off. Click Enable to turn unit of measure on and then select a unit of measure mode.
For example, suppose one of your inventory part items is rope and you currently have 600 feet of rope in inventory. If you change the item's unit of measure set to a base unit of yard, your quantity on hand will still be 600 but should be changed to 200 to be accurate (600 feet = 200 yards). Also, if the current cost of the rope item is 0.25 per foot, you would need to change the cost to 0.75 after changing the base unit to yard.
To prevent confusion and possible inaccuracies, if you need to change to a unit of measure set with a different base unit we recommend creating a new item with the quantity on hand and cost that are right for the new base unit and then hide the old item by making it inactive.
Note: If you change to a unit of measure set with different units, all old units will appear in brackets (such as [ft]) in the line items of all previously saved transactions to show that those units of measure are obsolete.
The units of measure you select for Purchases and Sales are what will be shown by default whenever the current item is added to a purchase form or sales form. You can change these default units when filling out the form. The unit of measure selected for Shipping is what will always be shown on pick lists, regardless of what unit is shown on the purchase order. The person printing a pick list cannot change this unit of measure.