Finale Inventory vs. SkuVault: A Comprehensive IMS Comparison Tailored for SMBs

Efficient inventory management is pivotal to the success of your ecommerce business, and choosing the wrong one can have long-lasting impacts that can set your business back financially and competitively. For ecommerce sellers, two inventory management software front-runners are Finale Inventory and SkuVault, as both offer a range of tools to optimize inventory control, order fulfillment, and warehouse management processes across sales channels.

Let’s take a look at both companies’ core offerings and see where each fits your business’s workflows. 

Integrations

SkuVault Core and Finale provide integrations with popular ecommerce platforms, marketplaces, and financial software—a crucial feature for businesses selling on multiple channels. While SkuVault Core has more integrations in its larger ecosystem, Finale has more within the core categories: ecommerce marketplaces, webstores, and financial software.

IntegrationsFinaleSkuVault Core
Ecommerce PlatformsAmeriCommerce, BigCommerce, CoreCommerce, Magento, Opencart, PrestaShop, Shopify, Shopify Plus, Squarespace, Volusion, WooCommerce, Zen Cart, Zoey, Custom*AmeriCommerce, BigCommerce, Ecomitize, Kadro, Magento, Miva, Shopify, Shopify Plus, Volusion, WooCommerce, Yahoo, Zoey
MarketplacesAmazon, Back Market, eBay, Etsy, Faire, NuOrder, Overstock, Rakuten, Sears, Walmart, Wish, Custom*Amazon, Back Market, eBay, Etsy, Newegg, Reverb, Walmart, Wayfair
Financial SoftwareBookkeep, ConnectBooks, QuickBooks Online, Custom*QuickBooks Online, Zudello
Integrations comparison chart

Beyond the sheer number of integrations, Finale’s strength lies in comprehensively built connections that do more than “check the box” but rather solve the complete task at hand in a stable, reliable way. 

Kits and Bundling

Utilizing kitting and bundling techniques can significantly boost your sales approach and cater to customer preferences more adeptly. SkuVault Core and Finale offer additional features to improve seller capabilities further. 

Example of a kit.

Finale’s kitting and bundling features:

Finale offers two distinct approaches to kits and bundles, with a strong emphasis on monitoring at the component level.

  • Virtual Kits/Bundles: Virtual kits/bundles are individual items sold together, but they are not physically stored or pre-packaged as one unit. Instead, they are assembled upon order.
  • Alias SKUs: In this software, an Alias SKU represents each virtual kit or bundle. When a customer orders an item based on the SKU, the system automatically adjusts the inventory of every individual item within that bundle.

This approach streamlines order processing, as virtual bundles can be handled like any regular order despite their individual components. It also ensures precise inventory tracking for each bundle component and refines reporting by distinguishing bundle sales from individual product sales.

  • Pre-Packaged Kits/Bundles: Additionally, Finale accommodates pre-packaged kits/bundles, which are bundles that are pre-assembled and packaged before they are sold, typically as a single SKU.
  • Picking Efficiency: Finale facilitates efficient order fulfillment in cases where warehouse staff is responsible for picking. Using Finale’s barcoding app and specific sublocations, staff can be directed to the precise location of the products within the bundle.

SkuVault’s kitting and bundling features:

  • Kit Creation: SkuVault’s kitting and bundling features allow users to create kits, multi-packs, and on-demand, personalized kits/bundles.
  • Product Substitution Rules: SkuVault offers the ability to create personalized kits/bundles with product substitution rules, providing flexibility in bundle composition.

Shared Features:

  • Tracking Individual Components: Both SkuVault Core and Finale offer the important feature of tracking individual component SKUs in addition to the overall kit/bundle SKU.

Warehouse Management

In warehouse management, SkuVault Core and Finale offer automated, multi-faceted warehouse management solutions. Both SkuVault and Finale are designed to optimize and manage the operations and processes within a warehouse, such as inventory position tracking within a warehouse and across multiple warehouses, as well as order fulfillment across dropship and 3PL providers. 

SkuVault Core touts itself as a WMS that helps sellers to “Sell Faster. Pick Faster. Ship Faster.” However, in a recent assessment of WMS providers, Finale had the highest-ranked solutions of all companies included, in which SkuVault was not included.

Mobile barcode solution

Regarding warehouse management, Finale automates multiple warehouse inventory data synchronizations, barcoding, and picking methods, enabling more efficient order fulfillment, better quality control with fewer picking errors, and the ability to track your stock across multiple locations. Finale’s native, highly regarded barcoding system can save you hours with picking and packing.

BarcodingFinaleSkuVault Core
Mobile barcoding+
Simultaneous scanning+
App available on IOS and Android– (only available on Android) +
ShipStation integration++
Barcode scanner comparison chart

Quick view of barcoding

Finale’s solution supports various barcode scanners with a professional guide to help sellers get set up, providing a positive user experience. You can even buy barcode scanners with Finale’s app pre-installed. This range of compatibility makes it easier to integrate Finale into your existing operations without requiring extensive changes or investments in specific equipment.

SkuVault does have barcoding software within their software, but it is a bit more limited than Finale’s. That’s not to say it cannot be useful for your business. If you have a high rate of returns and the products arrive back at your warehouse, you’ll be able to easily enter them back into inventory with simple barcode scanning that will automatically update your stock count.

Picking methods and mobility

Finale Picking Types:

  • Single order picking
  • Wave picking
  • Batch picking
  • Zone picking
  • Pick and pack
A seller packing an order, getting it ready to be shipped.

SkuVault Core Picking Types

  • Wave picking
  • “Hyper picking” (a blend of wave picking’s saved filters and the single-item focus of batch picking for a versatile bin system)

Order Picking:

  • Finale and SkuVault Core: Multiple pickers can work simultaneously on different orders.

Note: For sellers, it’s essential to ensure that orders are packed correctly before shipping. That’s why Finale has a scan to verify functionality.

3PL Portals

Finale and SkuVault Core both offer 3PL client portals, but they differ in their features and capabilities.

Finale’s 3PL portal provides real-time inventory data access for clients, eliminating the need for manual data requests. Clients can track, edit, and oversee orders and stock levels while integrated shipment tracking and reporting tools streamline operations. Finale’s portal is continuously evolving with added features and customizable dashboards.

On the other hand, SkuVault Core offers a similar feature called “Business Hub” that enables clients to track stock levels in real-time, providing a high level of awareness. However, it doesn’t offer as extensive inventory tracking and management features as Finale’s portal.

Both Finale and SkuVault offer 3PL client portals, but Finale’s portal offers more inventory tracking and management capabilities.

Financial Management

SkuVault and Finale facilitate automated financial tracking and reporting across multiple sales channels, be it online marketplaces or ecommerce platforms. By syncing inventory with financial data, businesses can manage cash flow more effectively, simplify reconciliation processes, and make informed purchasing decisions. 

Purchase orders

Like SkuVault, Finale also supports the automatic creation of purchase orders (POs), which are synced to QuickBooks Online, offering the same level of convenience. Not only that, Finale Inventory tracks each product and updates the inventory value every time you have a transaction. Since not all inventory management systems are built the same way, it is important to look at your current processes and see which platform can help you blend your inventory valuation models and make a smooth transition into something that can provide your business with more transparency. 

Finale’s Weighted Average Cost Method:

  • Simplified Valuation: Finale employs the weighted average cost method for inventory valuation, providing sellers with a straightforward approach. This method calculates the average cost of all items in inventory and assigns this average cost to items sold or used.
  • Advantages: The weighted average method offers simplicity and smooths out cost fluctuations. It provides a general view of inventory costs, making it user-friendly.
  • Limitations: However, it may not be the most precise choice in cases of significant price fluctuations.
  • Reporting: Finale Inventory complements this method with valuation reports that allow users to view, print, or export both summary and detailed information about the extended value of on-hand inventory at any time.

SkuVault’s FIFO and FEFO Methods:

  • FIFO and FEFO: SkuVault uses the FIFO (First-In, First-Out) and FEFO (First-Expiry, First-Out) methods for inventory valuation.
  • FIFO: FIFO focuses on the order of acquisition, ensuring that older inventory is used or sold first. This is a widely used method for general inventory valuation.
  • FEFO: FEFO is a specialized variant of FIFO, tailored for industries where product expiration is a critical factor in inventory management. It ensures items with earlier expiration dates are used or sold before those with later dates.
  • Precision: Both methods contribute to accurate cost allocation and efficient inventory control, catering to specific business needs and industry requirements.

Purchase Order Generation:

  • SkuVault’s Auto-Generation: SkuVault offers an automated purchase order generation feature based on preset replenishment levels. This functionality saves time and helps maintain optimal inventory levels.
  • Finale’s Specified Approach: When stock levels dip, Finale can generate a purchase order, but it requires you to specify the vendor and set custom parameters. This allows for more personalized and precise inventory control.

Handling Split Shipments:

  • Finale’s Versatility: It’s essential to note that SkuVault Core lacks a built-in feature for receiving split shipments or splitting purchase orders (PO) based on how vendors ship items to customers. In contrast, Finale Inventory allows you to receive POs in multiple shipments or pieces. This capability enables accurate recording and management of inventory as it arrives in different parts. It accommodates complex shipping arrangements, enhancing your inventory management capabilities.

Finale and SkuVault Core employ different inventory valuation methods, and depending on how you run your business, one may be a better fit for what you need, but remember that Finale allows for more customization, which can benefit your workflows greatly.

Quickbooks Online integration

Finale’s Advantages:

  • Frequent Syncing: Finale synchronizes with QuickBooks Online every 5 minutes, providing you with almost real-time updates on your inventory. This ensures that your financial data remains up-to-date with inventory changes.
  • Streamlined Procurement: Finale automates the creation of Purchase Orders (POs) and syncs them into QuickBooks Online, including all necessary line items. This streamlines the procurement process, saving you time and effort.
  • Detailed Transaction Summarization: Our newest feature, consolidated transactions, allows you to define how journal entries like credits and debits are grouped. This level of detail is crucial for precise consolidation, ensuring that individual transactions are incorporated accurately into journal entries.
  • Segmentation by Sales Source: Finale offers automatic source creation for integrated platforms like Shopify, Amazon, and eBay. This ensures that orders, whether imported or originated within Finale, are precisely categorized by their source. You can easily trace the origin of orders, whether they came in via phone, email, or online. Additionally, Finale enables individual summarization of each marketplace’s earnings and corresponding payouts.

SkuVault’s Capabilities:

  • Sync Frequency: SkuVault syncs with QuickBooks Online every 30 minutes, providing periodic updates to your financial data, albeit less frequently compared to Finale.
  • Transaction Consolidation: SkuVault allows you to consolidate transactions and segment them by sales source. However, there is limited flexibility in customizing how data is pulled, which could potentially pose challenges for businesses with specific needs when integrating with QuickBooks Online.

Additional Insights:

  • It’s important to note that SkuVault primarily concentrates on inventory management and warehouse operations, not financials.
  • On the other hand, Finale offers a more extensive financial and accounting tracking suite because of how essential it is to maintain accurate financial records that coordinate with your inventory and warehouse management suites. The financial suite includes the ability to understand landed costs, assess product profitability, and categorize income and COGS by sales sources. These features empower you to gain deeper insights into channel performance and financial metrics.

Reporting and Analytics

Both software companies have reporting capabilities, which allow businesses to pull data reports on warehouse operations, inventory, finances, and more. These reports give sellers and their teams actionable insights to help them maintain a profitable and successful business.

SkuVault Core’s reporting features allow you to get data on orders, transactions, location audits, and billing activities. While these reports are very helpful and good to have, most competitors will be able to run similar basic reporting. 

On the analytics front, Finale’s reporting and analytics capabilities are designed to provide a complete overview of your inventory, providing actionable insights to drive strategic decision-making. With Finale, you can track inventory changes over time, identify patterns, and make data-driven decisions about purchasing, sales, and warehouse management. This gives you a granular understanding of your inventory’s performance, allowing for more proactive management and strategic planning.

ReportsFinaleSkuVault Core
Reorder reports++
Stock reports++
Stock history reports++
Transfer reports++
Variance reports++
Build reports+
Purchase reports++
Sales reports++
Supplier reports+
Product reports++
General ledger reports+
Inventory accounting reports+
Transaction accounting reports+
Audit reports+
Custom reports+
Reporting comparison chart

Finale’s reporting capabilities are one of our best features to support our customers and their unique workflows or niche needs. If you need a report, no problem; we have preset reports for you to use that are available immediately when you create your account. But maybe those reports aren’t giving you the information you want/need to make the best decisions. Finale can create reports with custom fields based on your workflows, specific data sets, or products.

Procurement and replenishment

Another standout feature for Finale is our procurement and replenishment tools, which include demand planning. This feature allows you to look at historical data to predict reorder points accurately. Additionally, Finale will send you automated emails signaling when a product’s stock is low, enabling sellers to create a purchase order for their supplier. 

SkuVault Core has reordering report capabilities, as well, though not customizable. It can forecast future product demand and plan inventory accordingly, reducing holding costs and mitigating the risk of overselling. SkuVault allows for “simple viewing, exporting, or printing of easy-to-read reorder point reports.” The data is calculated based on a seller’s real-time sales data, and sellers can also automate the purchase and reorder process, much like Finale.

Usability and Accessibility

In terms of usability and accessibility, Finale and SkuVault present different propositions. SkuVault lacks a free trial period. Additionally, SkuVault does not support the import of products via copy/paste, an oversight that can significantly slow down the process of product uploading and updates.

In contrast, Finale Inventory takes pride in its flexibility and accessibility. In addition, Finale offers a 14-day free trial that allows sellers experience the software as they are onboarding before they have even spent a dime. Finale supports the import of products via copy/paste, which is Finale’s original concept. 

Dean Hook is a former SkuVault user and the Warehouse Operations Manager for CBC Industries based out of South Carolina. “We’re not locked in [to a set workflow] like I was locked in SkuVault,” Hook said. While he tried to make the best of the situation in working with SkuVault, he feels empowered using Finale:  “With Finale, I can create any view I want with a simple 2-minute process.”

Pricing Comparison

See the breakdown of each software’s pricing below.

PlanFinaleSkuVault CoreSkuVault Core + Enhanced Warehouse
Starter – 500 orders per month$99 per monthXX
Bronze – 2,000 orders per month$240 per month$449 per monthCore + $99
Silver – 5,000 orders per month$420 per month$849 per monthCore + $249
Gold – 10,000 orders per month$649 per month$1349 per monthCore + $499
Platinum – 20,000+ orders per monthCustom PricingCustom pricingCustom pricing
Pricing comparison chart

When comparing the pricing of SkuVault and Finale, Finale edges out its competitors in this area. Firstly, Finale allows more users per plan, making it an attractive choice for businesses with larger teams or those looking to scale. Furthermore, Finale offers flexible order overages, providing businesses with more leeway in managing their inventory and fulfillment processes improving customer satisfaction. Finale also offers add-on features such as our 3PL module at $200 per month and our barcoding app at $300 per month.

SkuVault’s cost may be a sticking point for some customers. Based on some reviews, SkuVault’s setup costs, user pricing, and overage charges can be prohibitive, particularly for smaller enterprises or businesses with tight budgets. SkuVault charges for onboarding services, whereas Finale offers this benefit for free to all customers, prospective and current. 

To learn more about SkuVault’s pricing, click here. To learn more about Finale’s pricing, click here

Customer Support

Support may be the most important factor when choosing between Finale and SkuVault because issues are bound to pop up, and when they do, you want to be assured that your team will be assisted quickly to resolve them.

Here’s a table summarizing the key differences in support and onboarding between Finale and SkuVault:

FinaleSkuVault
OnboardingFree onboarding for new and existing usersOnboarding packages for new users
Average Timeline2 weeks on average3 months on average
Response TimeWithin 2 hours48 hours on average
A chart detailing customer support differences

Finale’s free onboarding service ensures that your team is well-equipped to use the software right from the start (even during the trial period), reducing the learning curve and enhancing operational efficiency from day one. 

SkuVault’s costly onboarding packages have limits to how much they can help and can cost upwards of $10,000 for additional training. When past sellers were working with SkuVault’s customer service team, they reported it would take weeks or even months to hear back or resolve their issue.

Finale invests time to help users because we are vested in our sellers’ success and truly care about helping others with their business and in solving challenges. On average, Finale’s tickets get resolved within two days from the ticket being submitted to the issue being solved. Even further, you’ll get a response to your ticket within an average time of 15 minutes during business hours. 

Who Emerges as the Better Choice for Growing eCommerce Sellers?

While SkuVault Core and Finale Inventory offer robust and feature-rich inventory management solutions, Finale truly shines in several key areas. Finale offers superior flexibility, particularly its barcoding feature, user-friendly interface, and customizable multi-channel sales management.

Beyond a robust feature set and highly rated support team, Finale Inventory remains proudly bootstrapped. Since our company’s founding in 2009, we value our stability and independence when meeting customer needs. SkuVault was acquired by Linnworks in 2022, which means due to them being a part of a larger conglomerate, there will be set rules and boundaries for the software that cannot be flexed to fit customer needs.

Couple this with the generous user allowances per plan, flexible order overages, free onboarding, and transparent pricing; it’s clear why many businesses prefer Finale. When all factors are considered, Finale Inventory presents a compelling option as an IMS solution that’s powerful, versatile, customer-focused, and value-driven, making it the best choice in inventory management.

Editor’s Note: SkuVault has been rebranded into SkuVault Core as of October 2023.