Does QB do anything to update the cost of the items included in an assembly or is that something we need to do periodically? Do I need to update my items cost manually?

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"Back to Excel I go. Thanks Obama."

Uh...Conspiracy much? What has this got to do with anything you asked about? If I give you a hammer, and you use it to build a dog house or a hospital, but you are still learning how to use it, what does an ex-President have to do with the Tool you are using?

"So my "total bill of materials cost" as shown on my Inventory Assembly - Edit Item is the sum of the cost of the individual items in the assembly."

No.

It is your Projected Cost based on if you put Cost in the Edit Item of the component at all, as a Planning function. You can see this and test it in the sample file that is "product-based" = Rock Castle Construction. There is an Interior Door as Assembly. It uses One Door Knob. Edit that assembly item and evaluate the data presented here. Then: Edit that door knob and see the current Average Cost in Inventory is $27, but change the Cost on the item, as Notational, to be $25. Edit the assembly again and see the $25 is now presented here.

"The cost of those individual items in the assembly"

In your View when you Edit Assembly. Not in your Actual Costing, if you run a report On The Assembly item, to see Builds and Sales and COGS. Not Actuals. I showed this to you, as one item with 0 cost noted and with a typical or projected cost entered. Neither of these is the Purchase Details, which creates Actuals, so I also showed the actual Purchase using the Items tab = Actuals.

"is not the actual cost of the items but the "notational" cost from the edit item page. That means the "total bill of materials cost" can be way off"

This is Your Data. You need to Manage it properly.

"based on the actual cost of each item in the build."

That's the thing about Planning tools; they are yours to use to Plan and manage.

"I think what you are saying is - To get an accurate (or actual) cost of the assembly you have to build it first."

A Build can be set to Pending, or filled it and looked at, then Deleted or Not Saved, if you want to see Today's (or, per the date you put on the Build) Actual Cost. Otherwise, until you pull from inventory, you don't have Actuals. Edit Item is a Setup Function, not an Actual Function.

"So as an example I have an assembly with a BOM cost of $4815.

I built the assembly and the average cost is $4868."

Then something in stock is not Running at the cost you thought, and you have Controls for this.

"That seems like a problem."

No; it seems like, if you rely on this screen, you forgot to follow up on a number of functions:

When you enter a purchase with an Actual cost that is different than the item has in Edit, QB will offer to Update the COST field for you. You get to decide to accept that, or not, and if you told it to stop asking, you implied you intend to either do that manually, or the cost variation is not significant (not a large variance) or that you already have a Projected Cost in the item and like that for purposes of planning.

Example: I typically pay $15 for each widget, but sometimes I can get it for less. I would leave the Edit Item at $15, because I consider the ability to buy it at less is seasonal or fortuitous or only when I buy a larger quantity, which is not typical, so I decide not to change the Cost I put into Edit Item, previously, because I don't want to base my judgement on a "sometimes it is not this high" scenario, as the Decision maker.

You can test drive anything: Go to the No Company Open, and bottom right are Sample Files.

Honestly, I am glad to help with QB. Not with conspiracies.
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