Cannot tag balance sheet account to non-inventory items

Hello, is there an update to remove tagging of balance sheet account to non-inventory items?

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This was changed only recently (in February) and is discussed in the later portion of this thread:

I don’t understand the logic of not allowing balance sheet accounts to be selected in non-inventory items, especially since production order non-inventory costs was changed (January 17, 2021) to allow balance sheet accounts to be selected.

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I was hoping to see the ability to assign control accounts and subsidiary accounts to non-inventory items, but instead we get this downgrade to non-inventory items.

I don’t think this is the right direction to improving usability.

@lubos Please reverse this update, I’m just realising it. This update has introduced a serious restriction.
I for example use a non-inventory item for the line items I use to deduct withholding taxes. This helps me to avoid having to type details every time I do a deduction (I just copy and paste the name of the supplier at the end of the description sentence). I’m sure a lot of users use this for so many other things.

All the items are linked to a withholding tax payable Liability account.


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Any updates on this matter? Or did we just lose this feature forever?

The general idea behind non-inventory items is to enable the accounting team to set policies for accounting and tax treatment of specific types of transaction that will eventually be entered by non-accounting staff, i.e. cashiers, salespersons, purchasing staff, HR … etc.

As many might already experiences with more advanced ERP systems like Oracle, SAP, Odoo or smaller accounting packages like Tally or Quickbooks, the cashier has the ability to record down-payments by simply applying the correct item, without the need to refer to the accounting department everytime a customer wants to make a down payment.

Currently, manager fails to deliver on what it promises: Easy use for non accountants as non accountants would probably fail to record many essential types of transactions, including but not limited to:

  • Down payments
  • Subscriptions of customers and other unearned revenues
  • Withholding tax on purchase invoices
  • Purchases of items for capitalization
  • Settlement of employee benefits
  • Invoices of social insurance
  • Loan payments
  • Personal drawings

And I am sure other users could add to the list.

In order for Manager to be truly user-friendly for non-accountants, it has to enable accountants to set the treatment for all types of transactions using non-inventory items, so that the end user has to select “Printer” in the cash payment and that item automatically go to to fixed assets instead of leaving the line blank and dumping things in suspense.

That’s not unprecedented, it’s just simply to be on par with what most, if not all, other accounting packages already provide.

The edit screen for non-inventory items should load a full GL Transaction line similar to the lines of receipts and payments like so

The staff who creates the PO or Purchase Invoice, will only select “New Car” in the item field – as they should – and the whole line is filled for him. The accounting department can easily pick-up from there.


  1. Ease of use and less confusion of end users, especially since most business rely on non-accountants for document entry and creation
  2. Standardized accounting treatment
  3. Standardized tax treatment
  4. Less room for errors
  5. Suspense account is left for truly “Unknown” transactions
  6. On par with the most popular accounting packages
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@Ealfardan I merged the topics to concentrate all the comments on the recent changes to non-inventory items here. I personally think your topic sounds more like a feature loss complaint than an idea because we are yet to receive a comment on the reason why this change was made.

If the change was made to prevent amateur users/accountants from making mistakes (selecting real accounts instead of nominal accounts) then I believe it is the Non-Inventory Item settings interface that must be improved.

For example, we could be given the option to activate the type of General Ledger account we want to use for the Non-Inventory Item with a tick box.

Option 1: Profit or Loss Account.
Option 2: Balance Sheet Account

This could even be presented as:

Option 1: Income Account
Option 2: Expense Account
Option 3: Asset Account
Option 4: Liability Account
Option 5: Equity Account

@lubos I think it about time you commented on this matter.


It will also be a good feature to disable direct entry to accounts for some users, and to only have access to use Non inventory items.

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I think the biggest problem with Non-Inventory Items is the name is not intuitive as to it’s purpose. This has resulted in the removal of BS items in Non-Inventory.

As I discovered recently, creating a non inventory item for my installations “service” despite having no price, nor set details actually works out very well because now when I add the non inventory item Installations to a purchase invoice or sales invoice, it not only allocates installations to the correct COA preventing future mistakes with this, but secondly also ensures that 20% Vat is always added as this is something that I kept forgetting to add when doing quotes and converting to sales invoices. This example demonstrates why Non-Inventory Items is so important and useful even for BS items.

Non-Inventory Items really is about shortcuts similar to Auto Text in Microsoft Word or Quick Text in emails etc. I would recommend calling Non Inventory Items something like Quick Text Shortcuts or similar. This would help to define the purpose of Non-Inventory Items for both the developer and users of Manager. Although admittedly as I predominantly use Non-Inventory Items for selling IT Services, a name like quick text for my list of services is perhaps not that intuitive either.

Once that has been addressed, it become more clear that Balance Sheet as well as P&L accounts or as @Abeiku described with his list of options 1-5 should be included in this Quick Text Shortcuts section. I like the idea of having boxes to tick to enable P&L or BS items as I never use BS in Non-Inventory, but my accountant might for year end?

Simply removing BS items (particularly without any explanation) is not workable or desirable as clearly many users actually use the Non-Inventory for BS.

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This suggestion was made in another topic:
“discarded the title Non Inventory Item for Default Account Item - where the User allocates a default account for a particular transaction item regardless of it being for the P&L or the BS”

Another commonly used term for this is “Alias”.

There was also another term that was used in a finance program that I used some years ago but I cannot think of it.

I would much rather see discussion focus on functionality than potential name changes. This and related topics started because of functional changes some users perceived as downgrades of program utility.

Non-inventory items are named as they are because they behave just like inventory items on transaction forms, but are not inventory. That is what makes them so useful. They are not counted numerically and are not held as assets. But, whether goods or services, they can be purchased and sold, quoted and ordered. Changing their name would add nothing to what now seems a perfectly obvious label for them.

I agree that the name is not important but access to the balance sheet COA is.

A Custom report is able to show numbers purchased, sold, credited, etc over nominated period.

That is true but, by “not counted,” I meant their numbers on hand or owned are not tracked. That is related to the fact they are not held as assets.

@Brucanna - Default Account Item is actually quite a good name for it because this is essentially what I am doing for my installs account and what @Ealfardan is proposing. That Non Inventory be used to set tax codes and COA accounts for all the things he is listing above and the end user just has to type in the product. I had not fully understood what he was proposing until I re-read it another day and fixed my own issue.

@AJD I would not use the term alias as that could mean anything. I think Default account item comes closest.

@Tut the whole point of discussing changing the name is not arbitrary. Yes, Non-Inventory technically mimics Inventory Items without being inventory. But by defining it as Non-Inventory has created a situation where both developer and end users are not actually seeing the full potential of this form because we have boxed ourselves in to only think of it only as non-inventory items for example a list of services with a purchase price, selling price etc. A secondary (and possibly more important) goal is that it helps to automate correction allocation of COA and tax codes for all transactions reducing mistakes and complexity for non accountants as per the post by @Ealfardan

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It’s is descriptive but it’s kind of wordy. For me non-inventory items makes perfect sense, however, I am an accountant as you said, so I do not represent everyone.

However, you might have a good point here, the name might limit its usage so if the name should change, I suggest the term “Unstorable items”. To me it’s not as good as “non-inventory items” and It has it’s shortcomings like the fact that you can store fixed assets and consumables (which are non-inventory items) but at least it’s very straightforward and less confusing to non-accountants.

But I really think naming is always going to be a compromise so why even bother.

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You have items classed as Non-Inventory but which are in fact “storable” but which you not want to stock for one reason or another.

Non-Inventory Items is a fine name and is it clear that it is in opposition to Inventory Items.

We would hardly want Inventory Items renamed to Storable Items, would we ? :wink:


Ability to select balance sheet accounts on non-inventory items is again possible in the latest version (21.3.77). It was not intentional to remove this functionality.

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Great :+1:t5:

In general I agree with you. There will never be agreement on a perfect name. However, we should not aim for a perfect name but one that is more intuitive as to the purpose of the forms. Or re-design the form in question to help people make better use of it.