Finale Inventory Review
- Good customer service
- Easy to use
- Variety of integrations available
- Steep learning curve
What kind of company needs complete trust from customers? Healthcare, sure; firearms, yes; explosives? Definitely. You want a company that sells explosives to have exact knowledge of their stock: where it is, what it is, and how much of each item is stored. Finale Inventory was designed for just such a purpose. Originally intended for companies selling fireworks, Finale Inventory (as in grand finale. Get it?) is now one of the preeminent inventory apps available. Finale Inventory tries to do just about everything you might need an inventory system to do, from sorting and analyzing products and prices to generating barcodes, processing sales and purchases, and much more.
With a chunky features list and some impressive customer loyalty, it seems that Finale Inventory would be a great choice for your business. Is this enough to overcome an unattractive interface and complex design?
Table of Contents
Finale Inventory comes in five subscription levels, each of which adds locations, users, and integrations. Here are the major features of each one:
- Two users
- 1,000 orders/month
- Two integrations
- 100,000 items
- Inventory management
- Order management
- Two training sessions
- Email support
- Six users
- 5,000 orders/month
- Four integrations
- Four training sessions
- Phone support
- Eight users
- 10,000 orders/month
- Eight integrations
- Barcoding (four licenses)
- Six training sessions
- 12 users
- 20,000 orders/month
- Unlimited integrations
- Barcoding (eight licenses)
- API access
- Advanced training
- Priority email support
- Database import
- Dedicated account manager
- Price varies
- Custom configuration
- Up to 300 users
- Up to 800,000 order/month
- Up to 1.5 million items
- Master service agreement
- Advanced security controls
- On-site training
- Custom feature development
If you choose to subscribe for a year at a time, you get two months of your subscription for free. Additionally, if you need more user accounts but do not wish to upgrade your plan to the next tier, you may add them for an additional fee.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Finale Inventory is cloud-based and does not need to be downloaded in order to function.
Ease Of Use
Finale Inventory is one of those apps that have a steep learning curve and yet remains relatively easy to use. This may appear to be a contradiction in terms, but in reality, many other examples of business software fall under this category as well. The truth of the matter is that Finale Inventory sets out to do a massively complex job: tracking and organizing your stock. It is only natural that such an involved task would be equally involved to learn, and this is true. However, Finale Inventory does a number of things to ensure that, once you understand how the app works, day-to-day operations are a snap.
I would not describe the user interface as particularly beautiful, but it is certainly functional and, most importantly, logical. Navigating the ins-and-outs of this app is easy because everything makes sense where it is. The first thing you see upon logging in is your home page with a list of links to the various other sections of the app. Upon clicking one of these, you usually see a toolbar with different interaction options along the top of your screen. Here, you will also find the all-important search bar, which I found to be the key to using Finale Inventory. When in doubt, use the search bar to find the products you are looking for. What is helpful in this is the ability to create custom fields for your products, allowing you to sort projects at will.
I can’t give Finale Inventory full points for the ease of use of this app, but I applaud the measures they have taken to ensure it is as easy to use as possible. When combined with good customer support tools, you should get up and running in no time flat.
Customer Service & Technical Support
In terms of self-service, Finale Inventory is on par with the best business software I have ever reviewed. When other apps offer a “video tour,” what they usually mean is a 5-minute video that briefly touches on vague capabilities of the program. Not so with Finale Inventory. Truly, even the Oddysey would take less time to fully comprehend. Seriously, this video tour is not just one video but a vast list of videos, each detailing the minutia of using Finale Inventory. On the one hand, this kind of comprehensive coverage is fantastic. On the other, it might be difficult to find the specific information for which you are searching due to the plethora of options. I will leave it to you to decide which you prefer.
In addition to the vast uncharted depths of the video tour, Finale Inventory offers the industry-standard “knowledgebase,” with links to articles explaining even more details of the app’s inner workings. These serve their purpose adequately and put up no red flags for me. Again, I was impressed with the comprehensive nature of these self-service materials.
Of course, if you have an urgent need, with no time to comb through the nigh-limitless stacks of data between the video tour and knowledgebase, Finale Inventory also offers the option to submit a customer service ticket. From there, you will be contacted by their dedicated customer support team with solutions to your problems. This is probably the best option for urgent situations, as I mentioned above, and, of course, for those occasions where even the extensive self-service library lets you down.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
The reviews in general for Finale Inventory are overwhelmingly positive. Like any software, there are a few things that users wish could be improved in the future. No customer review that I found considered any of these issues “dealbreakers.” Rather, these ideas are the few minor quibbles that satisfied customers pointed out after leaving a mostly positive review:
- Report Customization: It seems that although Finale Inventory offers extensive reporting, with multiple avenues for customization, the process for creating those reports is both difficult to learn and challenging to maintain. One user described the system as “cluttered,” while others pined for a simpler overall process. It may be that you would find yourself confidently operating these reports, but equally, you may find that the system frustrates you as well.
- Learning Curve: As one might expect from a multi-channel inventory management system, there is a remarkably steep learning curve to go along with the complex features and systems that go along with it. After some time, you will likely stop noting the complexity, but at first, you may have to push through some frustration.
- Orders & Returns: Inventory software needs to do more than just track what product you have. It should also offer sales tracking and returns tracking. This is one of the fundamental capabilities of any inventory tracking app, so it is a little disheartening that I have uncovered a few user reviews explaining issues with both PO processing and customer returns. Fortunately, these issues seem relatively limited; few users report them, and those who have in the past still choose to recommend the app on the whole.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
As I mentioned earlier, the user reviews for Finale Inventory are almost entirely positive; among the best that I have seen in my time reviewing business software. Here is what people like most about this software:
- Customer Service: Nearly every review I read from Finale Inventory users commented on the helpfulness of the customer support team. From onboarding assistance to general questions, it seems that assistance is just a few keystrokes away. This is heartening to hear and goes a long way to assuage any worries prospective users might have.
- Strong Integrations: It is always nice to be able to count on your software playing nicely together with other services. In the case of Finale Inventory, this is usually safe to assume. Users are pleased that the app integrates with “everything,” opening more doors for expanding your business.
- Ease Of Use: Despite the steep learning curve, Finale Inventory is a well-built, clearly-designed app that helps users understand the best ways in which to use it. This is not always the case; sometimes a hard-to-use app is just that: hard to learn. Sometimes, though, the app is poorly designed, badly laid out, and hard to use. Fortunately, that is not the case here. I especially noticed people praising the ease with which spreadsheets import into Finale Inventory.
- Reports: Finale Inventory has excellent search and reporting tools, giving you insights into the inner workings of your business. The degree to which you can customize these is remarkable and is a benchmark in the industry, as far as I can tell.
Here are a few excerpts from the reviews of satisfied customers:
Finale has helped my company make operations fast, efficient, and accurate so we can spend less time on operations and more time on sales and customer relations.
Overall I feel like Finale Inventory offers the most robust, powerful inventory management platform out there.
Finale is BY FAR the best software package I have ever used. Its functionality has virtually no limits, the team of engineers working on it are constantly improving, and you can have as many calls as you need to get set up at no charge. In a nutshell, the value it provides is unmatched.
Finale Inventory is chock full of features, all of which are designed to make managing your warehouse inventory as simple and useful as possible. Here is a rundown of how this app helps you:
- Inventory Management: Obviously, these features are the bread and butter of Finale Inventory. It is literally in the name and is the entire point of the app in the first place. Fortunately, Finale has you covered. The inventory tools here integrate with marketplaces and shopping carts across the internet and centralize information from all similar systems. You can import data from spreadsheets straight into the app, and when the time comes to audit your stock, Finale has those tools built in. On top of that, you can utilize the custom field capabilities of this app to ensure you tailor your inventory to your particular needs. Of course, you have access to a number of warehouse locations based on your subscription, and if customers order items stocked in separate warehouses, you have the ability to build multiple shipments from one order. Finale Inventory’s interaction with shipping, in general, is quite excellent, with the flexibility to work with “case-packed” items, inter-warehouse transfers, and more.
- Purchasing Management: Ideally, your business enjoys success and sees massive sales. When that happens, you will need to purchase new stock and get it to your warehouses in a timely, efficient manner. Fortunately, Finale can help. The app can generate purchase orders and send them to your suppliers, but more than that, it can predict when you are about to need a restock. Using this feature, you are unlikely to ever run into the awkward situation of having hot orders for out-of-stock items. Additionally, with an average unit cost algorithm backing you up, you will always keep tabs on the best ways to manage your profits.
- Barcoding: As you are likely aware, barcodes are among the more efficient ways of tracking and auditing inventory since each item has its own unique code. It can be a daunting task to synchronize barcodes with an inventory system…unless your inventory software generates its own barcodes. Finale Inventory has this capability, ensuring more accurate stock counts. Using mobile scanners and printers, you can assign items to specific locations in your warehouse, ensuring an organized approach that will save you headaches in the future. When generating these barcodes, Finale’s software can account for a lot number and the way products are packed. With this combination of features, Finale ensures that their custom barcodes do not conflict with either themselves or pre-barcoded stock.
- Bundling Features: If you want to sell different-but-related items in bundles (or “kits”), you might fear the complexity of ensuring the items ship together. Fortunately, though, Finale Inventory has a plan. By pairing items and coordinating their product ID numbers, you gain control over which items belong together both in stocking and shipping.
Integrations & Add-Ons
Here are the main apps with which Finale Inventory integrates:
- Spark Pay
- Zen Cart
So, should you buy Finale Inventory? To put it simply…yeah. If you are in the market for an inventory management system, especially one that can handle multiple locations, it will be tough to find a better one than this. With a dedicated user base and a robust set of instructional materials, as well as a hefty feature list, Finale Inventory is likely to meet all of your management needs. It is customizable, flexible, and fast, giving you the tools you need to not only keep track of your warehouse stock but expand your sales efforts as well.
Of course, there is the minor issue of the learning curve and outdated UI. Honestly, though, I don’t think these criticisms are strong enough to shut down enthusiasm for Finale. Yes, this app will take a lot of effort to learn but that is because it has a lot to offer. And while the design of the interface is a bit old-fashioned, it also manages to be logical, functional, and usable.
In the end, as always, you will have to make the final call yourself. Head on over to Finale Inventory’s home page and set yourself up with the free trial to see how well this app will work for your business. Once you do, come back and let us know your thoughts in the comments below! For now, though, get out there and manage that inventory.
To learn more about how we score our reviews, see our Inventory Software Rating Criteria.