Amazon, A2X and Xero – Item Code Length Issue

Few days ago, I wrote a post based on the Xero’s inventory item code length restrictions.

I suggest you to go ahead and read this entire article in order to fully grasp the article below.

Coming back to the issue, the the problem seems to be trivial. I mean, what’s the big deal if one has to restrict the item codes of his inventory till 30 characters . How many SKUs do you think may have characters more than 30 characters in their codes?

Right?

Well, since I have faced this issue and have first hand experience pertaining to this matter, I’d want you guys to know this in advance and keep this in your mind before you suggest a solution to someone or for your own self in order to track inventory in Xero and import data from Amazon Seller account.

So here are the nitty gritties.

You see, the easiset way (at least that I know of by the time of writing this article) of connecting Amazon and Xero is through a third party app called A2X. The whole process is easy and does not span more than dozen of clicks but integrating these two platforms is not the topic of this post right now.

Coming to Amazon, it allows all types of items to be sold and provides SKU code (Stock keeping Unit ) to each item that is uploaded. In many cases, these SKUs can span more than 30 characters.

Now, in order to integrate Amazon with Xero, you need to use a third party app called A2X. Just to summarize, what A2X does is that it takes the sales data from Amazon, aggregates the information (based on a calendar month) and exports the data in Xero. Nice and Easy..!

Absolutely no problem whatsoever. However, the real issue arises when you want to track inventory in Xero. For those who are not sure what tracking inventory in Xero means, it just means you keep a check on the quantity of your inventory count which updates and changes after each and every inventory related transaction (purchase/sale).

If you have the “Track Inventory” option on in Xero, you’d want to import sales from Amazon to A2X based on the products which can be done in A2X very easily and doing so, gives birth to a problem for the inventory items having more than 30 characters in their item codes.

A2X, while exporting sales invoices in Xero, matches item codes with its own records (which is actually the record of Amazon) and if the codes do not match, it simply refuses to transfer data in Xero.

So if you have SKUs of more than 30 characters in length, in Amazon and you have recorded the same item with different item code in Xero because Xero won’t allow you the name of more than 30 characters, then it’s quite obvious that their sales information will fail to get exported in Xero.

So what’the solution?

Well, currently, I’m facing the same issue with one of my client. I’ve done some research and in fact, contacted both Xero and A2X support teams as well but to no avail.  However, this will not stop me to suggest a work around.

  1. If possible, don’t go for the tracked inventory option in Xero. This way you will have aggregated data (not based on the items you sell but the lump sum sales/cost amounts) from A2X where the sales invoices will not be affecting your inventory items. Hence, the issue is avoided in the first place.
  2. If you really do feel the urge of having your inventory tracked. In that case, the best course of action would be to export the A2X data in a spreadsheet and then organize the same data as a Xero invoice in a different spreadsheet following the sales invoice template rules. Make sure that you replace the inventory item codes of A2X with those in Xero. This solution is time consuming especially if you have tons of data from Amazon but it is the only viable solution so far that I know of.

 

Also do keep in mind that the data exported from A2X in spreadsheet does not give you the quantity of any particular item sold so you will have to add the quantity yourself which is always 1 (quantity) per line and secondly, you will have to see and confirm if there is indeed any item being sold on any particular line or is it just non product related information as there are tons of such information on different lines of A2X invoice like Shippping, Gift-wrap charges etc. that you need to account for as well.

As said above, I contacted A2X team regarding this problem and though they did offer me some sort of solutions, but those solutions were effectively importing data on aggregate basis thus not fit for tracking inventory. So the best course of action for me is of course, solution number 2 but I’d emphasize again, the problem with it is that it takes a lot of time.

So do let me know if this article helped or you had to face same difficulty with A2X and Xero and then you resolved it using some other cost-effective methods in the comments section.

I’d love to know that.

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