How to Fix Negative Inventory In QuickBooks?

How to Fix Negative Inventory In QuickBooks?

Dealing with negative inventory in QuickBooks is a common challenge that, if addressed, can lead to various issues. Learn how to rectify and prevent negative stock occurrences in QuickBooks with the following insights.

Understanding negative stock in QuickBooks, its causes, and preventive measures becomes crucial in such circumstances. This article delves into these factors, providing fundamental insights for enterprises.

Understanding Negative Inventory in QuickBooks

Negative inventory in QuickBooks occurs when the recorded quantity of an item falls below zero. This situation arises when a company has sold more units of a thing than it currently has in stock. Identifying negative inventory can be done through regular reviews of inventory reports, comparing sales and stock levels, checking for incorrect data entry, and conducting physical inventory counts. The following are two instances in which you may see negative inventory in your Company's File:

Case 1: Sell the products in your company file when you sell them

You are selling products for the first time in your company's records. Here are the points:

  • As the company's file comprehensively logs both income and expenses, you generate profit and loss as well as expenditure reports that encompass invoices and sales receipts.
  • The Items Tab within an item receipt, bill, check, or credit card charge is utilized for acquiring items, where inventory is debited and either A/P, Cash, or Credit Card Payable is credited.
  • For the Balance Sheet (B/S) reports, you examine item receipts, bills, checks, and credit card charges as they document increases in inventory. In contrast, invoices and sales receipts are scrutinized for their role in recording declines in inventory.
  • When conducting sales, whether through invoices or sales receipts, you ensure not to exceed the available inventory.
  • The sales transaction involves two distinct actions:
    • The Sales/Receivable transaction reduces Accounts Receivable (A/R) and credits Sales.
    • The Inventory/COGS transaction, wherein Inventory is credited, and Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) is debited.

Case 2: Selling products that aren't recorded in your company's files

Here are the points that need to be taken into consideration in the second case where you sell products that have not been entered into your company's database:

  • The invoice accurately documents the Sales/Receivable transaction.
  • In QuickBooks, the system approximates the average cost of items that are currently unavailable for the Inventory/COGS transaction.
  • This estimated cost can either be the average cost of the products currently in stock or the item cost specified in the item list.
  • QuickBooks utilizes this assumed cost to record the Inventory/COGS transaction.
  • If the actual cost of a subsequent purchase differs from the estimated cost, an adjustment is necessary in the buy transaction to reflect the disparity in Inventory and COGS.
  • As the payment now impacts COGS, it is reflected in the Profit and Loss (P&L) statement and other expense reports.

Problems Caused by Negative Inventory

Having negative stock in QuickBooks can lead to several issues, such as inaccurate financial statements, stockouts, forecasting challenges, and supplier relationship problems. Resolving negative inventory is crucial to maintaining accurate records and preventing operational difficulties.

Tips to Avoid Negative Inventory in QuickBooks

Several measures can help prevent negative inventory:

  • Accurate Recording: Ensure all inventory transactions are accurately recorded in QuickBooks Online.
  • Regular Reviews: Periodically audit inventory reports to match recorded quantities with actual stock levels.
  • Physical Inventory Counts: Conduct physical stocktakes to reconcile discrepancies between actual and recorded quantities.
  • Automation: Use inventory management software integrating with QuickBooks Online to automate tracking and minimize data entry errors.
  • Monitor Sales Trends: Monitor sales trends and adjust inventory levels accordingly.
  • Set Reorder Alerts: Establish reorder points to receive alerts when it's time to restock, reducing the risk of negative inventory.

How to Resolve Negative Inventory Issues in QuickBooks Desktop?

Below are methods for resolving negative inventory issues in QuickBooks Desktop.

Method 1: Your First Item Transaction(s) are Sales.

To resolve negative inventory issues with QuickBooks Desktop, you need to make your first item transaction a sale.

  • Navigate to the QuickBooks Reports menu and choose "Inventory," then select "Inventory Valuation Summary."
  • Identify an item with potentially inaccurate data and double-click its name to open the Inventory Valuation Detail report, which displays transactions related to the item in chronological order.
  • To rectify any discrepancies, access the "Enter Bills" window and record the first bill mentioned in the report.
  • Modify the bill's date to a date preceding the first invoice mentioned in the detail report from Step 2.
  • Save and close the bill with the updated date to ensure accurate recording of the transaction.

Method 2: You Sold Inventory without Registering Purchases

Here are the steps to resolve negative inventory issues with QuickBooks Desktop: You sold inventory without registering purchases.

  • Consider categorizing Bills as accounts rather than inventory items.
  • Edit the Bills and move the entries from the Expenses Tab to the Item Tab.
  • Keep in mind that this adjustment may lead to a modification in your recorded inventory expenditures.

Method 3: You made purchases or made alterations before entering sales

  • Navigate to the navigation bar and select "Reports."
  • Click on "Inventory," followed by selecting "Inventory Valuation Detail."
  • Opt for the "Dates" option from the drop-down menu and choose "All."
  • Scroll through the report until you identify an item displaying a negative amount in the "On Hand" column.
  • If legally permissible, adjust the dates of the bills and/or invoices so that the bill dates precede the invoice dates.


Live inventory management software integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks Online, providing robust features for total inventory control. While QuickBooks Online may suit micro-businesses, Katana is ideal for SMB manufacturers, offering tools to scale operations and prevent negative inventory issues.

In conclusion, actively addressing and preventing negative inventory in QuickBooks is essential for maintaining accurate records, preventing operational disruptions, and ensuring a seamless business flow.

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