Phantom entries from zero-quantity purchases

I have noticed that for some of our purchase invoices Manager adds sometimes a blank line with 0 quantity.

In this picture for example the added line is from the RRA purchase invoice which is related to import duties paid on each item. This type of purchase invoice is always with a 0 quantity as it is a way to allocate import duties to each item.

Why does it happen, and can we avoid it?

I had a similar symptom occurring for Sales Invoices, when the ‘Form Defaults’ functionality was new and hadn’t been officially released for Sales Invoices yet. It went away once that feature was properly rolled out to that tab.

So it is possible that it is related to form defaults in some way. However, I’m purely speculating here. And I don’t have any suggestions on how to resolve it.

What you have shown is not a list of purchase invoices. It is a list of all transactions affecting a specific inventory item. The purchase invoices you mention affect the inventory item, even if the quantity change is zero. Without such entries, the list would be incomplete.

Imagine you wanted to track down an apparent discrepancy in the average cost, knowing that you always purchased this product for 50, but the average cost shows 57. Without the zero-quantity purchase invoices, where would you start? You certainly would not want to open every one of your purchase invoices to examine individual line items.

I think I was not clear. For each item each time we buy it we usually have 3 purchase invoices. One for the item itself from the supplier, one for tranport costs, one for import duties. The latter last two are always 0 in quantity as we allocate to a specific item (whether we buy 1, 10, 100 pcs.) the total cost of transport and import duties, and Manager redistributes automatically that cost to the each unit of the item.

As you can see, the last line where the blue arrow points at has no indication of the item, the supplier (Contact) etc. It only shows the date (the same of the line above from RRA) and the quantity 0.

But this line does not appear in many other items when I go and check the transaction list. See here:

It is not clear to me why this additional line appears, and how I can remove it.

And yes, you are right @Tut, this is the list of transactions affecting the quantity on hand of a specific item.

Based on your written explanation, @mauroskov, I thought you were referring to purchase invoice C737. So, two questions:

  1. Why do you believe the entry in question is from purchase invoice C737? Your screen shot shows no reference to that invoice or the related supplier. Given that neither an Edit or View button appears, I suspect a corruption of your database. Try exporting that list to see if any other information shows. If not, look at sales invoices, all purchase invoices, receipts, payments, inventory transfers, etc. for that date to see if you can find a related transaction. Also check the Suspense account for any partially completed transactions (such as no supplier indicated).

  2. You wrote, “…this line does not appear in many other items….” Does it appear in any other items, or is this the sole problem? If so, that reinforces the idea of a database corruption.

If you can isolate the problem as being potentially related to that one purchase invoice, try deleting it and re-entering it.

The date is the same, therefore I think the issue is in that Purchase Invoice. In fact, I found out that 2 items in this purchase invoice have the same issue. And both items are included in Purchase Invoice 42202 listed above. I removed the lines related to the two item from C737 and the double line disappeared, but obviously also the line of purchase invoice C737 disappeared, which is not good as it contains the import cost related to these items. When I add back the items to the purchase invoice also the “ghost” lines reappear.

I remembered however another post about something similar. It was about an issue related to the dates of the different Purchase Invoices connected to an item. In fact, the date of C737 with quantity 0 is dated earlier that the one with the actual quantities of the items received i.e. 42202. I have changed the date of C737 to a later date and the problem has disappeared.

There must be something in Manager that somehow does not accept a 0-quantity purchase invoice that is dated earlier than the Purchase Invoice that actually contains the number of items received (if this makes sense). However, the very strage thing is that there are a total of 3 items with the same date problem in C737 and 42202, but only 2 show the “ghost” lines when the date of C737 is earlier than 42202.

Your additional information makes the situation clear. This behavior is related to Manager’s inability to calculate average cost when when the quantity owned is zero. You are, in effect, asking the program to divide the freight or customs charges by zero in order to distribute them. Such purchase invoices show up in Accounts payable, but when the quantity owned is zero, they do not contribute to Inventory on hand. Instead, the debit legs of the transactions are actually posted to Retained earnings.

As soon as at least one unit of the inventory item is purchased, the “ghost” entry disappears and the zero-quantity line item is distributed properly across units owned.

I can’t really say whether this is a bug, but it certainly is not what you would expect. The question is where else would post the debit? And why can’t it be posted to Inventory on hand? I am going to invite @lubos to join this discussion. I have also changed the subject to more accurately reflect what we are discussing.

Yes it makes sense. In the ordinary course of transactions you purchase the inventory first and then you have the subsequent transactions for the add on costs.

It is not normal for the transport costs to be invoiced on a date earlier then the date you purchased the inventory. It would appear that your Supplier is invoicing after the dispatch has occurred.

I think transactions can be very complicated sometimes. For example a supplier might decide to deliver some goods and wait with the invoice because of some type of existing deal.

Correct and that is why freight-in charges received prior to the inventory purchase invoice should be posted to a balance sheet clearing account, and subsequently cleared within the inventory purchase invoice once it has been received. This process then eliminates those “phantom entries from zero-quantity purchases”.