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?

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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?

 

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