What? Support for all versions of QuickBooks 2012 will be discontinued. This means that any add-on services won’t work anymore:

  • Payroll
  • Tech support
  • Payments
  • Online banking

When? Support ends after May 31, 2015.

Which? 2012 versions of QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Enterprise Solutions, Accountant Edition, Mac.

How? You can continue using your product, but any connection between your QuickBooks 2012 product and outside services (e.g. payroll) will stop working. You won’t be able to sign up for tech support, or any services, for your product.

Why? According to Intuit’s website, it’s because they are “committed to developing easy, straightforward financial tools that help you today and grow with you tomorrow. But it’s a balancing act – making QuickBooks better and easier to use while still supporting older versions.”

If you are using a QuickBooks 2012 product now, you can upgrade to a more recent version, and your data should automatically convert up when you first open your company with the newer version.

RELATED: What Are the Options Now for Enterprise Users?
Should I Upgrade to QuickBooks 2014…Now?     QuickBooks File Wouldn’t Upgrade…

 

According to this recent story by Michal Clements in ChicagoNow, QuickBooks has more than 80% market share of small businesses that use financial management software. That’s what you call market domination.

So is there any more growth potential for QuickBooks? Yes…among the self-employed. There are, Michal Clements says, 15 million self-employed individuals who have a “casual approach” to their books. (Shoeboxes, anyone?) These are folks who are have not yet used technology to address their self-employed bookkeeping needs. How will these entrepreneurs be reached?

Intuit wants to reach them through something called QuickBooks Self-Employed. This version of QuickBooks lets you record expenses and income, manage quarterly estimated payments (it can interface with TurboTax), pull data from your bank account or credit card accounts, write checks, and more. (They are working on billing capabilities now, according to their website.)

So it strikes me as an application that has more than personal finance (like Mint or Quicken) but less than general accounting (like QuickBooks desktop or Online). It is phone and tablet-based. It is licensed as a service, which is very much in line with Intuit’s recurring revenue model strategy. What would be the lifetime customer value of 15 million monthly subscribers? It boggles.

RELATED: How Many QuickBooks Users Are There?

Will Intuit succeed in signing up a good chunk of the 15 million shoebox entrepreneurs? What do you think?

Are you a user of QuickBooks Self-Employed? How is it working for you?

 

 

Almost everyone cheers for their home team. But who cheers for unknown strangers on an unknown team?

I was at a high school track meet in the Colorado Springs area. Towards the end of the day, in the 3200m (2 mile) race, all the runners had crossed the finish line except one. There were hundreds of spectators in the stands…and one boy on the track.

He was coming into the stretch a good minute or more behind the next-to-last finisher.

This runner was out of gas, in pain, but he had his game face on and was finishing with the best kick he could muster. He was finishing purely for pride.

As he passed our section of the bleachers, one of our track moms stood up. She started yelling, “Run! Run! Come on, boy in blue!” She started clapping. We all clapped and cheered for the boy in the blue jersey. We didn’t know him, didn’t know his school. But someone saw his courage and perseverance and cheered him on. And then so did a lot of the rest of us.

It’s a good thing to cheer for the home team. It’s also good to cheer for brave strangers.

What if you upgraded your QuickBooks Pro or Premier data file to QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions and now need to revert back?

There’s a way for it to be done. Here’s what real users have said:

“We used the downgrade service from QB Enterprise to Premier. It worked flawlessly. We got our company file back in less than 24-hours and couldn’t be happier. Thanks!” — Jonathan, Fresh Start Vitamin Co.

This service WAY surpassed my expectations!!  I received the converted file less than 12 hours after I submitted it for conversion.  WELL worth the money spent.  Also made me look like a hero to the nonprofit company we were helping.  Thank you so much!!” — Heidi Jennings, Watermark CPA Group, Inc.

I really appreciate how fast and easy you made the transition from Enterprise to Pro for me.  Thank You!” — Peter Garza, Scantech Utility Detection Service, Inc.

The process is simple. You order the service and upload your file to us. We convert it and email you a secure download link to retrieve your converted data. The file you get back from us is ready to use in Pro or Premier. The data will be as if it had been created and used in your version of Pro or Premier from the beginning. You don’t have to rekey, recreate, or export/import anything…it’s a turnkey service.

Advantages? Money saved on software and support and no mandatory annual subscription fees.

Have you found yourself in a position of wanting to revert from Enterprise to a lower edition?

QuickBooks 2015 collects data about you. It happens by default. It’s an opt-out arrangement, not an opt-in one. What do they want to know about you?

“We collect information about the features our customers use, how they navigate through the product, and other demographic and quantitative data. We also collect information about your license, product, system, or other technical data that help us direct you to the appropriate information or services. We don’t collect data that is identifiable to your employees, customers, or vendors.” (emphasis mine)

Why do they want information about you?

“We will use the data to improve your experience, to enhance our products and services, and to recommend products, services, and promotional offers that we believe will add value to your business.” (emphasis mine)

Oof. I don’t think I want Intuit (the maker of QuickBooks) recommending products, services and (especially) promotional offers to me. Opt-in marketing has been a marketing best practice for a long time (although browser-based marketing doesn’t practice it). Opt-out marketing is better than giving you no choice at all, but it doesn’t build many trust points with me.

So how do you opt out of QuickBooks collecting information and using it to serve up marketing offers to you?

Click Help / QuickBooks Usage & Analytics Study. You’ll see this:

Just say no

Click the Discontinue button. (Because, until you opt-out, you’re in!)

That’s it. You’ve opted out.

Anyone want to argue for the side of participating in the “Usage & Analytics Study”? I’d like to hear your point of view.

If you are in charge of your company’s payroll information, I’ll be you’ve asked yourself this question: “How can we prevent unauthorized people from seeing our employees’ Social Security Numbers?”

Here’s what you don’t want unauthorized people seeing:

prevent_ssn_view_0

This is an important issue, and fortunately, one with an easy solution as far as QuickBooks is concerned.

First, a technical note. Social Security Numbers have special encryption within your QuickBooks data file. Intuit added this a few versions back, and it’s a good thing.

But of course, it’s possible to see those numbers in QuickBooks if you have the correct permissions. And setting those permissions is the key to preventing unauthorized people from getting access to sensitive information like Social Security Numbers.

You can address this issue in any version of QuickBooks.

If you use QuickBooks Pro or Premier

When logged in as Admin, simply click on Company / Set Up Users and Passwords / Set Up Users… / Edit User… (these menu names may be a little different depending on the version of QuickBooks you use).

Move through the pages to the “Payroll and Employees” page. Select “No Access”, then click Finish. That’s it.

prevent_ssn_view_1

Repeat this process for all of your QuickBooks users for whom Social Security Number access is not necessary for their job.

When any of those users access the Employee Center and try to click on Edit Employee, where the SSN may be viewed, they will see this:

prevent_ssn_view_2

Likewise, if anyone tries to access employee/payroll reports, they will be locked out.

If you use QuickBooks Enterprise

In Enterprise, you have much more flexibility in allowing or restricting access to accounting information, so the process to restrict SSN access is a little bit different. In Enterprise, you define access roles, and then each user is assigned a role. So what you’ll want to do is make sure that all the roles have appropriate access to sensitive information like Social Security Numbers.

When you are logged in as Admin, click on Company / Users / Set Up Users and Roles, then click the Role List tab. When you set up a new role, make sure that Centers / Employee Center has an Activity Access Level of None. Or, if you want them to be able to see the main Employee Center screen but not payroll info (including SSN), then click Partial, but with View Payroll Info unchecked, as per below:

prevent_ssn_view_3

You should check out your existing roles to confirm the access being given. Go through them one by one and confirm that the employee/payroll access is turned off for roles that don’t need it. Those restrictions will automatically be applied to all the users to whom those roles have been assigned. When you create new roles, make sure that you turn off access to employee/payroll areas if the new role doesn’t need access to it.

If a user has a role that has no access to Employee Center, then they will not be able to get into the Employee Center screen. If you allowed access to the Employee Center but did not give access to View Payroll Info, then they can access the Center, but if they click Edit Employee, they will get a permissions error message and not be allowed to see the SSN or other employee detail.

There are permissions in Enterprise roles pertaining to employee and payroll reports as well, and you can modify those according the the needs of your users.

BONUS: You might check your paper files to make sure that employee SSNs aren’t sitting around in a filing cabinet somewhere. You might also make sure that SSN’s aren’t in any of your unprotected Excel files.

DOUBLE BONUS: Use strong passwords for your Admin user and any users that are set up with payroll access privileges. Don’t have your passwords on sticky notes on your computer monitor! Don’t put your passwords in a file folder that everyone has access to! If you make it easy for your fellow employees to access your passwords, you are making it easy for them to access all kinds of sensitive accounting information.

Do you have concerns about sensitive identity information in the workplace? What actions do you recommend?

Ever had data corruption in QuickBooks? What did you do?

Since 2001, many QuickBooks users have entrusted their data corruption situations to us and have spoken up about their experience:

“Contacted them on a Saturday, paid for expedited service and had fixed data on Monday AM. Well worth it. Could not have been happier with service.” – M. Broussard, LeaseAll RentAll Inc.

“Shannon was unbelievably quick and very informative, totally responsive to all questions I had regarding our company Balance Sheet not balancing, (Assets not equal to Liab + OE), and were able to repair our QB file database for corrupt historical inventory items and corrupt bills and received file back at 5AM following morning (sent to them at 5.30pm central time prior night) so we didn’t have to re-key any data. It was much cheaper than all the labor to re-enter 2 days, which we would have had to do had we used the repaired file from the manufacturer (2-3 day minimum turnaround on repair file). The manufacturer’s support group did fix our file as part of our service plan but your overnight fix outside of operational time was invaluable to keeping all our transactional data accurate in company file.” – Dave Bryan, SVSi

“Your service was an amazing answer to our QB nightmare of corrupt data. Without any downtime for our business you were able to clean our files and get us back on track!” – Nydia Flores, Tri-Starco, Inc.

“Shannon and the entire team were so helpful! The service was extremely fast and helped to relieve a lot of anxiety about our corrupted file! Thank you so much. Everything is running great.” – Kate Gillespie, The Green Sheet, Inc.

“We had multiple complex problems with our file, but you were able to get it fixed, and now QuickBooks runs better than ever. Thanks.” – James Couperthwaite, Ecol Services Group

“You guys did an incredible job getting our data back up and running in a timely fashion. Thanks for the great work.” – Blake Richardson, Glasshouse

“Services were delivered exactly as advertised. Extremely quick turnaround and above average customer service left us with nothing but positive feedback. Hopefully we never have an issue with our Quickbooks data again, but if we do, QuickbooksUsers.com will be the first call we make.” – Chris Foreacre, Keystone Displays

“You did exactly what you said you would, exactly when you said you would do it. And you went out of your way to explain things easily to a non-techie. I couldn’t ask for more!” – Kerry McCoy, HRxpress

The best thing to do in a data corruption crisis is to restore an uncorrupted current backup. Sometimes, though, that doesn’t work out. At those times, we’re there for you.

Do you have two different copies of the same company data on your system? Maybe one is an old copy that you use just for historical reporting, and the other is your working day-to-day current file.

There is a potential danger lurking here: You could confuse the two copies and start entering data in the old one instead of the current one. I occasionally get a call from a user who says “All of a sudden, I have a nine month gap in my file — everything from January to September is missing!” This is almost always because they inadvertently started using an old file and putting current information into it. Then they didn’t discover their error until well down the road.

This problem is much easier to prevent than to fix. Basically, you need to make it so that the two copies look quite different from one another, and the old copy is password protected against accidental entry.

So here are the three steps you need to take to prevent confusion.

Let’s say that this is your working, current company file.

 

 

Now, say you have another copy of this company data on your system. And you DO NOT want to make any entries into the copy. You want it to be perfectly clear to your users which is the current working file, and which is a copy that is not to be altered.

So do the following steps on the COPY:

1. Open the COPY of your company and click on Company / My Company. Click the Edit button for Company Information. Change the Contact Name and Address to “DO NOT USE – ARCHIVE” or something of the sort. Save your changes.

2. Click Edit / Preferences / Desktop View. For Company File Color Scheme, change it to Red or some other color that will get your attention, and that is different from your normal color scheme. OK your changes.

It will look like this:

Pretty obviously not the same company, eh? That’s the point.

3. If you really want to lock down the COPY so that no one gets confused and starts entering transactions into it, click Edit / Preferences / Accounting / Company Preferences. In the Closing Date box, click Set Date/Password. Enter a Closing Date that is very far in the future. Then enter a Closing Date Password.

It will look like this.

Click OK.

So what you’ve done here is make it so that in order for a user to enter a transaction in the COPY, they will have to know a special password. Don’t tell anyone what this password is. It is supposed to be unknown, so that no one can make entries to this COPY file.

So between the company name change, the color change, and the transaction lockdown, it should be clear to your user team: this file is not the current working file.

[My thanks to David Warlick, a blog commenter, for the tip on color coding files.]

Do you have any advice to share on avoiding confusion with your QuickBooks files?

Most users of QuickBooks Enterprise have heard about the changes in Intuit’s licensing model. As of October 6, 2014, new users of Enterprise are required to pay an annual subscription fee to use the software. Depending on the number of licenses you have, and which level of support you want, the cost is in the thousands of dollars every year.

So what are the options for users? A lot of it depends on whether you bought Enterprise before or after October 6.

If you bought Enterprise before October 6, 2014: Keep doing what you’re doing, for as long as you can. Intuit is not forcing pre-October 6 users to use the new pricing model. In fact, the new pricing model is not available to pre-October 6 users at this time.

If you have a support plan with your existing version, you can choose to renew that or not when it comes due. If you don’t have a support plan with your existing version, you can continue that way too.

Prediction: Within three years, all pre-October 6 Enterprise users will have to sign up for the new licensing model in order to get any support at all for their product. Why? Because that would be in line with Intuit’s trend towards prioritizing subscription based revenue streams, as opposed to standalone desktop software sales. And after three years, all existing users of current versions will have to upgrade to a newer, post-October 6 2014 version anyway to get support, as the older versions will have been sunsetted.

If you bought Enterprise on or after October 6, 2014: You’re in the new system, and you can’t choose the old system. What you can choose is the annual subscription level you want. There are three subscription levels to pick from, depending on whether you need payroll (Gold) or payroll plus advanced inventory/pricing capabilities (Platinum), or just a core subscription (Silver).

You cannot opt out of this subscription system. In particular, if you don’t stay current with your annual subscription, your software won’t work anymore. This will not be popular with budget-minded users who like to use their software with minimal or no support for three years, then upgrade to the current version. Under the new protocol, you have to pay every year.

The only other option for companies with 5 or fewer users is to downgrade from Enterprise to Premier or Pro. This is a good option for users for whom Enterprise is overkill anyway. It is not a good option in larger-volume situations.

RELATED: Is It Possible to Convert an Enterprise File to Premier or Pro?
                        “Data Migrated from Enterprise to Pro with 100% Accuracy”

How do you see it? What are you going to do?

 

If your QuickBooks file seems to be getting more and more sluggish, or if it has suddenly gone from fast to slow, here’s something you can try. This might speed up your reports. It might even speed up transaction saving, if that is taking awhile for your company file.

The nice thing about this tip is that you don’t lose anything you use. And you don’t have to cajole the cooperation of your users.

All you have to do is get rid of memorized reports that you don’t need anymore.

This can make a significant difference. A lot of users save memorized reports and then kind of forget about them. So the list of memorized reports keeps growing over the years without ever being pared down — or even used.

QuickBooks can really get sluggish when you have lots and lots of memorized reports. We don’t know why, exactly. We just know anecdotally that sometimes there are performance increases when one significantly pares down the list of memorized reports.

Sometimes memorized reports get corrupted or contain no-longer-valid accounts or names, and that might affect performance too.

It’s an easy fix.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Make a backup of your data before deleting reports.

 

Click Reports / Memorized Reports / Memorized Reports List.

memorized_reports

Right click on any unneeded report and select Delete Memorized Report.

Delete any and all obsolete Memorized Reports. Then log out of the company, log in again, and see if it speeds things up.

RELATED:  Interview/Case Study: User with a Big, Slow QuickBooks File

This tip won’t help if your file is huge, or if you have tens of thousands of customers or items (these situations create their own bottlenecks and a different solution is required). But it might help otherwise. And the worst that can happen is that you have a cleaner memorized reports list than you had before.