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What's the difference between a group item and an inventory assembly item?

You must have the Premier or Enterprise Solutions edition to create inventory assembly items. Learn how to upgrade your version of QuickBooks.

Group items and inventory assembly items are similar in that they both let you record a group of items as a single entry on purchase or sales forms, but they also have some important differences.

  • Group items are useful for quickly entering a group of individual items that you often purchase or sell together.

    Why use group items?

    If you often enter the same group of items when you record a sale or purchase, you can set up the items as a group item. Instead of entering each item individually when you fill out a form, you enter the name of the group item. QuickBooks then fills in the details for the items in the group.

    More reasons to use group items:

    • More detailed reports: Group items enable you to track the items that you sell in greater detail. For example, a construction firm that remodels houses could set up a group item that lists the significant components of a remodeling job: lumber, carpentry hours, markup, and so on. Sales reports for the company would then show income broken down by each component instead of a single lump sum for all remodeling jobs.

    • Less detail for customers: If you need to track a lot of detail about your items but you also want to give your customers simple, uncluttered invoices, you can use group items to do both. You can set up a group item so that the printed version of an invoice reduces a group item to a single line item and one amount. Yet when you view the invoice on your screen, you see a separate line entry and amount for each item in the group.

    • Fast data entry: Group items also give you a way to enter a great amount of line item detail quickly. On a sales or purchase form, all you do is enter the name of the group item—QuickBooks fills in all the details about the items in the group.

  • Assembly items let you combine inventory items and assembly costs into new, separately trackable items that represent the finished goods you produce and sell.

    Why use assembly items?

    Why use assembly items?

The following table compares group and assembly items to help you decide which item type is appropriate for your situation.

Group item

Inventory assembly item

Can include any item type except other groups.

Can contain any of the following item types: service, inventory part, inventory assembly, non-inventory part, other charge. Notice that you can include other inventory assemblies (subassemblies) within an inventory assembly.

Enables you to print on sales forms the individual items contained in the group.

Prints only the assembly name, not component part names, on sales forms.

No reports available specifically for groups.

Appears after inventory part items on standard inventory reports; Pending Builds report lists assembly builds in the pending state.

Quantity on hand of each item included in the group is adjusted in inventory at the time of sale.

Quantity on hand of component items is adjusted in inventory when the assembly is built.

Sales tax is calculated by individual items included in the sales tax group item.

One sales tax code applies to the entire assembly, even if component item sales tax codes differ.

Cannot be included in another group item (nested) or in an inventory assembly item.

Can be included (nested) in other inventory assembly items and included in group items.

For groups of inventory parts, QuickBooks tracks inventory of items in the group, not the group itself.

QuickBooks tracks assembly items in inventory.

Price of a group item is the sum of the items in the group (although you can include an item in the group for a discount or additional charge to adjust the simple sum calculation).

Price of an assembly item can be anything you specify.

Can include both taxable and nontaxable items.

Must be designated as either taxable or nontaxable.

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