If you’re a small or midsize business on the hunt for a powerful and scalable inventory management software that won’t break the bank, Fishbowl is the way to go. We found it perfect for manufacturers with FDA or USDA audit requirements for traceability.
However, if you’re looking for a simple inventory management system to handle just a few assets, Fishbowl might be a bit too robust for your needs. And its seamless integration with QuickBooks means if you already have a full ERP solution in place, some features might end up being redundant.
Fishbowl Inventory is an out-of-the-box software which caters to a lot of different industries in need of inventory management tools. Specifically designed for growing businesses, this scalable software includes many ways to automate important processes like parts tracking and purchase order management. When integrating with QuickBooks, Fishbowl takes over all the inventory control functions.
|Usability - 8.3||The software at full capacity has many interconnected features, which can have a large cause/effect relationship without the proper training; lots of training videos and documentation to streamline the learning process; the user interface is a little dated and may be difficult for some users to navigate.|
|Support - 10||Includes dedicated account manager with unlimited support by chat, phone, or email; documentation includes training videos, getting started manual, and FAQ; training sessions are available.|
|Features - 9.0||Out-of-the-box features cover purchasing and sales workflow necessary for tracking inventory; integrations with eCommerce platforms and accounting systems make it possible to gain ERP-like features.|
|Security - 9.5||Accounting features are GAAP compliant.|
|Value - 9||Multiple plans available; cost is based on total number of concurrent users; 3 years of SaaS is about the same as paying for a perpetual license.|
|Performance - 8||Functionality is more expansive on the desktop version than the mobile app; can take a few seconds for different modules to load after an update.|
|Key Features - 8.5||Create purchase and sales orders; generate manufacture orders based on bill of materials; all these influence inventory tracking; reorder points make it easy to automatically restock; the accounting side interfaces with certain types of accounts to remain GAAP compliant.|
While evaluating Fishbowl Inventory, we focused on the areas most important to inventory management:
As an inventory management software, Fishbowl Inventory has ways to add and track raw materials for manufacturing, parts for assemblages, and finished products. Select the Part module and then click the plus symbol next to “New”. It’s easy to add important product details, such as SKU or price. Once entered, you can pick the best tracking method for that specific part.
Manually adding part details can take a while, so it’s best to import data from a spreadsheet if bringing over multiple batches. Thousands of items can be brought over at once using this method.
Once added, it’s easy to start tracking. Fishbowl automatically creates serial numbers to use. Select from either the Inventory, Receiving, or New Part modules to get to the part you want to track. Then go into the Details tab to find the tracking fields, like lot number and expiration date. There are even automated alerts notes whenever a part is added to a purchase order. I liked that there were multiple ways to do the same processes. Fishbowl Inventory also includes unlimited custom fields for each part or product you stock.
Purchasing transactions are also automated in Fishbowl Inventory. Generating a purchase order in Fishbowl is relatively straightforward. Start by selecting the Purchase Order module from the main dashboard, or either of the PO links from the side bar and top nav Purchasing tabs. Then, fill in the necessary fields with the relevant information. It’s as simple as that.
Overall, I found this an easy to follow process. If you need any help, the training documentation includes this handy flow chart showing exactly how to create and fulfill a PO:
Creating POs in Fishbowl Inventory allows the rest of the system to see demand and make adjustments. For instance, if a PO for a product requires parts to be manufactured or assembled first, the system can alert you to these needs.
The reporting options in Fishbowl are extensive. I generated a few sample ones, but you can also make reports for:
Reports can help you analyze data, such as comparing production costs month to month so your business can make process adjustments and save money. The finished reports can be exported to PDF or CSV for printing. They can also be emailed if you need to share them instantly.
There are over 200 advanced reporting options as well, covering everything from adjustment reports to work order summaries. They can be customized to be as in-depth as you need. Just submit a request or email Fishbowl Inventory with details of what the report needs to include.
Perhaps one of the best features offered by Fishbowl is integration with QuickBooks accounting products. Being able to handle accounting in Fishbowl makes it easy to balance the books after a sale or adjust accounts after an inventory audit. With accounting processes covered, Fishbowl feels more like an ERP than an inventory management system.
Sales orders data can be pushed to QuickBooks manually or on a set schedule, such as once a day.
While Fishbowl Inventory primarily pairs with QuickBooks, it can integrate with other accounting software as well. However, the 20 year relationship between the two companies means there are special discounts available for those who opt for both.
Although Fishbowl Inventory is comprehensive, a few extra features would have been appreciated, like:
||The individual per user cost goes down with additional users|
||The individual per user cost goes down with additional users|
||Includes the following features:
||Includes everything in Drive but:
Here are some frequently asked questions about Fishbowl Inventory software:
Fishbowl Inventory is described as an ERP system, though with a focus on inventory management and related functions. It works best as a light ERP. Additional integrations expand the functionality of Fishbowl Inventory.
Fishbowl integrates directly with QuickBooks Pro, Premier, or Enterprise. It can also integrate with other accounting systems, though not to the same degree as using QuickBooks.
Fishbowl Inventory can integrate with eCommerce platforms, including:
Users can import and export product details to and from these platforms.
Fishbowl Inventory takes some time to figure out, especially for users inexperienced with inventory management. There are demos and training tutorials to help during the adjustment period. The processes themselves are fairly straightforward, it’s just the more intricate details which can get a little confusing for new users.
Fishbowl Inventory isn’t free, though there are free trials available. There are several payment plans available, and you can choose to pay a continual subscription or a one-time license fee. The total cost is based on the number of total users. Fishbowl offers lower prices for more users.
Based on our experience, we recommend using Fishbowl if we had a growing small to midsize business which needed more than just QuickBooks to manage accounting and inventory. The sheer amount of features can be intimidating to start, but once you get the hang of things it’s incredibly useful for automating your business as you grow.
Fishbowl has both perpetual licenses and subscription-based plans. The total cost is based on the number of users, and requires a minimum of three users to start. Fishbowl Inventory is significantly more affordable than most entry-level ERP solutions, even when considering implementation and hardware costs.
Overall, Fishbowl Inventory is a comprehensive, light ERP ideal for growing businesses looking to expand their inventory management. This software is ideal for manufacturers or buy and sell companies which need to keep track of inventory ranging from raw materials to finished products.
We were looking for an inventory system to better understand where our inventory was going during our operations. After looking at a few, we ended up implementing the Fishbowl Inventory system.
Their sales team was helpful with setting us up with demos to really understand what our needs were from a program.
We felt Fishbowl was cost effective and allowed us to keep our current accounting programs which was a feature we wanted.
Strong inventory system
Works with Quickbooks
Still implementing nothing to say there.
We were seeking a software to manage the enitre supply chain of both the R&D and batch formulation, but that could also easily integrate with our existing software (Quickbooks and Shopify). After reviewing several options we found Fishbowl the most integratable, as well as flexible to meet our specific industry standards. The cost was also inline with our expectations.
Fishbowl has actual live people working support. That is becoming a rarity in the tech space. I truly appreciate the way Madison handled and corrected our situation.
Fishbowl is the backbone of our company. It offers a lot of extendable features and plugins which allow it to handle various different trading partners, e-commerce functions, web sales and even corporate EDI connections! The support and training staff are very knowledgeable and patient and they will spend as much time as needed to resolve any issue you may have. We have a mixture of Windows PC’s and MacOS computers and, though Fishbowl is mostly aimed at PC’s, the staff are able to support both platforms pretty effectively. It’s a great choice for an entry level Inventory Management system, but it can carry you through years of growth too!
We have used Fishbowl for 7-8 years now. It does everything we need to do and is fairly intuitive to use. The support team is responsive and is able to resolve most issues immediately. You can’t beat the overall value of Fishbowl compared to other systems.
As the operations manager of a fast paced and rapidly growing home services company, software of any kind is last on my list. However with the current state of the supply chain, inventory became something we had to have to keep moving forward. We chose Fishbowl as our inventory control software and I couldn’t be happier. The software works incredible and Madison and the team were great to work with.
We added Fishbowl Inventory and this was a huge solution to our problems. It is very user friendly and accurate. It doesn’t allow a transaction to take place without proper inventory. We have five offices, and each is responsible for counting their inventory. Fishbowl Inventory allows us to see how accurate each location is counting and helps us to better monitor inventory. Creating sales orders is so fast and easy. I’ve saved so much time by using Fishbowl Inventory. We love the new software and would highly recommend it to anybody with any type of inventory to be accountable for.
The Technical Support through Fishbowl is wonderful. Kevin helped us tremendously while we were setting up and training our staff. They were extremely knowledgeable and very considerate to our needs. The technical support department of Fishbowl made learning and understanding the program as easy as they could. They made sure you grasped the concepts before they moved on, and also worked with you to make sure that you used Fishbowl in a way that worked best for your company. Their Fishbowl forum is also a valuable tool to use, for many of your questions are asked and answered on the site.
We looked at Fishbowl Inventory two years ago and felt that it did not have the capacity for our needs. Instead we opted for a 100k plus enterprise solution. After an additional 20k in customization we still did not have a software solution to manage our inventory, needless to say we jettisoned our investment and reinvestigated the market. We demoed three different inventory management software packages and actually purchased the least expensive one…Fishbowl Inventory Fishbowl has the most robust and technical sound solution for our needs. We have several locations with thousands of different products. We have found the technical support superb and the training thorough. We paid less than 10% for Fishbowl than what we did for our “nightmare” experience with the other enterprise solution.
Fishbowl is the perfect answer for our business. Part of our business requires inventory tracking, storage and fulfillment so it is essential we are able to pull information at any given time about any item or order. The reporting feature in Fishbowl makes this so quick and easy and our clients love the fact Fishbowl allows us to offer them monthly activity reports in many different styles. The ability and the ease of being able to integrate Fishbowl with QuickBooks for billing and vendor payments is a BIG plus. Personally, the best thing about Fishbowl is the tech support staff. They really know their stuff!
We moved away from Netsuite - it was too big for us (15 people) and Netsuite is very difficult to work with. So many promises. Fishbowl is easier to get around. Easy to search and filter. Easy to research a part. The problem is that it hangs almost daily and while tech support is great when someone answers, it can take 1 hr for them to answer. The people are in the US which is a huge improvement from Netsuite. I still like Fishbowl better.
Inventory is accurate and it is easy to see what it allocated and committed. Reorder points are easy to set and the report on what to reorder is very simple.
The software hangs and it takes a long time to get a rep on the phone when you need assistance. our sales person requires 3 emails before we hear from him even when we are ready to buy something.
We purchased inventory software from Fishbowl and then had an exceptionally difficult time implementing the software. We paid for a number of items that we have not received months later, went weeks without receiving responses from them during the implementation process, and were verbally promised things that they have walked back or denied entirely. Wost of all, because of their lack of responsiveness, they claim that we are not eligible for a refund on the software because we are past the time limit for the satisfaction guarantee. Integrations, services, implementation support, and custom reports were paid for and never received. The server has been down for long time periods (days at a time), credit card systems won’t integrate properly and the software crashes regularly on our machines.
Rather than try to do what is right and work things through, they have opted to take a hard line on this issue with no flexibility at all. We are now currently pursuing legal action. If you are considering using their products or services I would recommend in the strongest of language possible to not do any business with this company.
It has some features that work some of the time.
The implementation process is horrible, customer support is almost non-existent, the software crashes, servers are down for extended time periods. Many features, implementation, training, etc. were paid for and never received.
The product is only for the simplest of businesses. It is extremely difficult to configure for anything non-standard. The reports are poorly constructed. For example, a report that should be only 2-3 pages is 10-15 with very little info on each page. Data input is cumbersome.
Nothing, really. It never worked.
Very simplistic. Cannot adapt to any sort of complexity.
Great overall product for mid-level Manufacturing & Distribution
The customer service is excellent. The software is well-built and secure. Built on MySQL. We’ve been using for 2+ years for light food manufacturing and distribution. Lot Tracking is fantastic. Integration with Quickbooks Online is almost perfect.
Many integrations are a one-time extra charge. There is no built-in reporting tool. Customization of the User Interface is almost null. Interface looks old.
My client purchased this software and it broke just about every day. DISCLAIMER: it is NOT compatible with Quick Books and they cannot be installed on the same server. Their support team is terrible and sales team is very predatory in nature. They are only after the money. As long as you paid, they will not help you and you will be stuck with them. There is no way to cancel the trial if you don’t like their product. Good luck if you give them your payment information.
Nothing about it is actually functional. It’s not user friendly at all.
I helped my CEO in selecting this product to replace our current software. Off the bat and because we know exactly which options we need to run our business, we listed some software requirements we couldn’t live without to the salesperson at Fishbowl. After he checked with his superiors, he assured us that they’re able to accommodate and if not, they will refund us our money if we canceled within 30 days. As the days dragged along, we were nearly into the third week without being able to test the system out after we had paid for it. We asked them to give us an extension on this trial period in case they couldn’t deliver on some of the necessities in the software. Long story short, they weren’t able to deliver on some aspects we needed, mainly, to have the previous balance for customers to show up on the invoices or receipts. Their fix was for us to download all the customer balances from QB, nightly, into a spreadsheet, remove all the parents, and upload that sheet into Fishbowl, etc. or for us to take payments in Fishbowl without the ability to apply a payment for multiple accounts. These two options, for anyone who does this for a living, knows that they’re not realistic. So one day before the 30 days were up, we asked them to refund out money as they couldn’t deliver on what was agreed upon. They started to play games, saying they already worked on a custom receipt and that would cost us over $3k. Please learn from our mistake. I will update this post routinely after we see our refund.
They have been horrible to work with. 3 months later and I still have a system I can’t use. They have done nothing they said they would!!!
This is overpriced and severely outdated! One problem after another this program disappoints. AND rather than fix the software, they “lease” you the software through a third party so you HAVE to pay in full even if you decide not to use Fishbowl. $20,000 down the drain. Don’t do it!! There are PLENTY of better options
You can call customer support and talk to someone. Rare these days. It didn’t help us but it was nice to be able to call and hear it from the horse’s mouth that there was no fix.
“leasing” the software through a “third party” (not buying that). Severely outdated and bug ridden.
It will connect with SolidWorks and with QuickBooks. It had all the features to be able to track source and certification of all parts, in order to satisfy the FAA about our Quality Control system.
We ended up going with FishBowl but are not overly satisfied with the outcome to be honest. It just has not been able to make things that much easier and has been a struggle to get the software to do what we need.
I don’t like that it doesn’t have templates so I have to manually enter in an item each time. It’s also not user friendly and doesn’t allow for easy searching by category. In fact, while it allows us to create categories for products, we can’t actually search by category. For example, I can’t search for categories such as medication versus office supplies The user license also doesn’t make sense because it kicks another user off if too many are on.
Fishbowl is a feature rich distribution and manufacturing add-on to QuickBooks. It’s an inexpensive robust solution for mid-sized companies.
I’ve been consulting Fishbowl users since 2006. The software has come a long way since then. In more recent years, I’ve seen an increased number of manufacturing companies benefit from Fishbowl Inventory. Fishbowl tracks costs well and forces the user to keep inventory accurate. It has a limitless reporting tool if you have the budget for custom reports. The biggest benefits my mid-sized (10-20 users/ 50-200 employees) clients realize are in the areas of job and production costing, improved inventory accuracy and visibility. The biggest benefits my small clients (3-10 users/ 5 - 20 employees) realize are the new uses of logical standard processes and automatic professional documents where there were none previously.