Since we specialize in accounting database consulting, we’ve seen tens of thousands of data problem cases over the years. You can boil them down to three categories:

1. Lurking data problems. In these situations, everything looks OK to the user in their daily use of QuickBooks. They can enter bills, run reports, do payroll, and backup their company without incident.

But there is a hidden data corruption problem lurking in their database. It won’t be uncovered until a process is attempted that systematically accesses their whole file; in particular, when they try to upgrade to a newer version. That’s when it fails — when QuickBooks basically touches every piece of data in the file.

Running verify and rebuild can detect many of these kinds of problems in the file. When rebuild cannot fix the corruption, most of the time the file can still be repaired.

2. Function-specific data problems. In this scenario, there is one part of QuickBooks that fails, and it fails every time you try it. For example, there was some data we repaired recently where if you accessed one particular invoice, QuickBooks would crash. (It turned out to be a problem with an “inventory loop” in the data and there would have been other ways to crash the file, but the user hadn’t encountered them).

Some people think that they can limp by in this scenario and they basically try not to provoke QuickBooks into crashing; they avoid the problem area. That is living a bit dangerously, I think. Better to either restore a backup made prior to the problem occurring (sometimes difficult to do) or else get the data repaired.

3. In-your-face data problems. These are obvious. You cannot open your file. Or you open it and as soon as you try to enter any kind of new transaction, it errors out and closes the program. Or your customer or vendor list simply vanishes.

This situation usually results in a crisis if there are no good current backups available. And this often (it seems) happens at the worst possible time — when payroll is supposed to be run, for example. Nothing like a bunch of employees coming by your desk to pick up non-existent paychecks to get your adrenaline going!

If you have a good current backup in that situation, you can restore it and go on with your business.

Have you encountered any of these three kinds of data situations?

Google Analytics is a great (and free) tool available to anyone who has a Google account. It can help your marketing efforts a lot.

“To succeed in business, know what your customers want, and give it to them”.¬†Google Analytics can help you know what your customers want (and the rest is up to you!)

Here are some quick and easy parts of Google Analytics reporting that can help you help your customers:

* Map Overlay — see where your website visitors are clustered

* Traffic Sources / Search Engines report. See how people are finding you, and in the case of search engine referrals, what specifically they are looking for.

* Top Content. What parts of your website are getting the most attention from your visitors?

* Goals. This takes a little more work to set up, but if you design this right, you can tell where the bottlenecks are in your website — places where your website visitors get “stuck” and hindered somehow from taking the response actions you want to see.

There’s a lot more, but these are some of the ones that are most helpful to me.

Technically, all that’s required to implement Google Analytics in your website is to insert the code snippet that Google gives you into your webpages. Your web guru can do it in just a minute or two.

Anybody have another favorite part of Google Analytics that I didn’t mention?

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Your service saved me money and so much time.

We’re a very small business that was sold Enterprise by an unscrupulous bookkeeping firm, and the timing couldn’t have been worse when QuickBooks informed me that I needed to upgrade my Enterprise to continue to receive payroll updates.

I didn’t realize that meant payroll would cease to calculate.

With the downturn in the economy I simply didn’t have the money to pay for the upgrade, but without it I would have had to manually process payroll, opening us up to costly errors.

I could purchase a lesser grade of QuickBooks and be back to doing payroll but I would have to either toggle between the two QuickBooks files to view historical data or manually re-enter historical data into the new file — but where does a small business owner find time to do that?

Someone tried to deter me from using a service like yours by telling me data would be lost, but that wasn’t the case at all. The downloading of my file was extremely easy and the converted data quickly uploaded back into QuickBooks Pro without loss of any data.

In a very short amount of time with a relatively small amount of money and time, we’re now able to process payroll without having to start a new file and I have my historical data.”

~ Celeste F., Washington

I bought this printer about a month ago for home office use, and it works so well I had to write about it. This is the first non-HP printer I’ve had in memory, and I love it.

Like most of the all-in-one genre of printers, this one does these four things:

* print
* copy
* fax
* scan

Here are things I like about what it does:

  1. It’s fast. The pages shoot through the document feeder fast. The scans are done fast. The prints come out into the output tray fast.
  2. The software is good. Especially the scanning software. You can easily control the properties of the scan you are getting ready to do, and the end results are quite good — clear, clean, what you expect and want it to look like. You can scan directly to PDF format, which is what I scan virtually everything to. I use the text enhancement switch when scanning documents — it really crisps things up. Here’s what the main scan screen looks like:
  3. Super easy and reliable wireless networking. This Epson sits on a desk by itself and receives print jobs from computers all over my house. It doesn’t need to be connected to your router with an Ethernet cable, nor connected to any of your computers by a USB cable. I leave it turned on all the time, so anytime anyone in my family needs to print something, whatever computer they are on can print on the spot. (You do of course have to install the printer drivers on whichever computers you want interfaced with the printer). This just works great. We’ve never had a connectivity problem.
  4. Affordable, long lasting ink cartridges. I am still on my original ink cartridges (there are four of them) but I expect them to last a long time, and the replacement cartridges look reasonable inexpensive. They break out black, cyan, magenta, and yellow ink into their own cartridges. The black cartridge has twice the capacity of the others — great when text printing predominates your printing habits.
  5. Bells and whistles. There are two that stand out: Dual paper trays, and double-sided scanning and printing. I don’t use either of these often, but they are nice when needed.

I bought mine from Amazon because of the price; here’s their listing:

Anyone else using this fine little printer?

Posted in IT.

Ever wondered what the browser landscape is like in the QuickBooks world?

Here is the breakdown for the last 50,000 unique visitors of this blog (presumably QuickBooks users!)

* Internet Explorer: 48.80%

* Firefox: 27.63%

* Chrome: 14.84%

* Safari: 6.86%

* Other: ~1%

This matches up pretty well with the browser use pattern seen in our QuickBooks Forums too. The incidence of Chrome was slightly higher there, coming at the expense of Internet Explorer.