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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?
Track finished goods separately from individual inventory
items: When you build an assembly, an assembled unit is automatically
added to quantity on hand, and its component parts (inventory items or other
assembly items) are automatically deducted from quantity on hand. By using
assembly items, you always know how many assembled and component items you
actually have in stock.
Customize the price of assembled items: You can specify a
price for an assembly that's different from the sum of its component
Quick access to information about finished goods: You can
easily access the date that items were assembled, the quantity and cost of
assembled items, and a detailed list of component items.
Set reminders for future builds: You can set a build point,
and QuickBooks will remind you to build finished goods when stock is running
low. At build time, QuickBooks will verify that you have enough component items
in stock to build the specified number of assembly items.
The following table compares group and assembly items to help you decide
which item type is appropriate for your situation.
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
Cannot be included in another group item (nested) or in an inventory
Can be included (nested) in other inventory assembly items and included in
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.