Difference between managed and unmanaged items

When setting up material items, you can choose to make them “managed” or “unmanaged.” This module explains the difference between the two, the benefits of each, and when they are most appropriate to use.

Step 1

Material items can be found in the Materials section of Global Settings

In your list of materials, managed items are indicated by the blue icons displaying a trio of boxes.

Step 2

Unmanaged items do not have any icon.

So, what’s the difference between the two?

Step 3

For managed items, adjustments to your stock levels and unit costs in Tidy are tracked in your Xero accounting system. Therefore, you can’t just go into the material item and directly adjust them.

This can be seen in the managed item, 15% Silver Brazing Sticks. When you click edit on the item, you can view the unit cost of $175.79, but cannot change it.

Step 4

Similarly, there is no option to manually edit the stock level. When you click on the pen icon, you can edit the stock reorder level and stock max level. However, the stock level itself remains un-editable.

Step 5

The purpose for this is to enable you to keep a complete and consistent audit trail of all transactions.

A material item’s transaction history can be fully tracked by clicking the blue rewind icon at the top of the item.

Step 6

Here we can trace all stock imports, transfers, purchase orders, and sales of this item.

Step 7

On the other hand, unmanaged items can be edited easily, but their transaction history is not recorded.

Grey Bench Rack is an unmanaged item so it does not have the blue boxes icon.

Step 8

When you click the edit button, you can see that – unlike the managed item before – you can now directly edit the unit cost and stock level.

E.g. you can change the unit cost from 60.99 to 65.99. You can also directly edit the stock level from 50 to 25.

Step 9

As an unmanaged item, these changes we’ve just made to unit cost and stock level are not recorded or sent to Xero.

You cannot view transaction history so there is no blue rewind icon along this top bar for the Grey Bench Rack.


Managed items are indicated by the blue boxes icon. Unmanaged items have no icon.

For managed items, unit costs and stock levels can only be changed through sales, credits, purchase order receipts and stock adjustment transactions.

For unmanaged items, unit costs and stock levels can be simply overtyped. This makes them easier to work with, but it also means that you don’t get an audit trail of that item’s transaction history.

On the other hand, managed items do have a full transaction history which is also mirrored in your Xero accounting system.


Posted: Wed 14 Dec 2022