If you’re in danger of something, you want to know. So I wish that QuickBooks had an early warning system. It would be great if QuickBooks would tell you, for example, that you are about to hit a hard capacity limit in the software. But there is no early warning, only an error when you’ve hit the limit.

This is a problem with Pro, Premier, and Accountant editions — Enterprise has much higher limits, and Online doesn’t have a hard limit. But for Pro, Premier, and Accountant, you can only have a sum total of 14,500 names. That includes customers, jobs, vendors, accounts, classes…any kind of name. And separately, you can only have a total of 14,500 items, including inventory, non-inventory items, service items, etc.

When you hit that 14,500 limit, you get an error message that says that you have reached the maximum number of names and you can’t add any more.

This takes people by surprise. We hear from them! They find themselves up against a limit they didn’t know they were edging up to.

It would be better, don’t you think, if you got a warning message when you reached 13,000 names? And another warning at 14,000 names? And another at 14,250? Then you would have time to take action to address the problem before it shuts you down.

Just a thought.

In the meantime, here’s what you should do, without delay: Press the F2 key in QuickBooks. Just do it! You’ll see in the right-hand column of information that appears how many total names you have in your file.

If you are pushing the limit, what can you do? Read on…

I’m About at My QuickBooks Limit for Customers. Help!

Are You Pushing the 14,500 Limit in QuickBooks?


It’s that time again…the beginning of football season…aspens turning yellow in the mountains… and a new version of QuickBooks gets released. QuickBooks 2016 was just released last week to end users.

Here is a quick cheat sheet of some of the best new features found in QuickBooks 2016:

  • Batch deletion is possible for checks, bills, and invoices (Accountant edition)batch_deletion_screenshot
  • Bill tracker dashboard to quickly see accounts payable informationbill_tracker_screenshot
  • Custom field filtering for many item reports now possible
  • Reset the “Email later” checkbox on transactions with one step
  • Report date range for This Fiscal Year to Last Monthdate_selection_snapshot

There are a few other enhancements, but these are, to me, the most useful of them. What do you think? Are any of these “must-have” features for you?

Here are some files that have been sent to us recently. They are pretty big! (You can find out how big your QuickBooks file is by pressing F2 in QuickBooks.) How does your file compare?

Enterprise 14. 5.7GB. File fails verify and needs supercondensing.
Enterprise 13. 1GB, but 61,000 customers. Sluggish.
Enterprise 14. 1.8GB. Repeat customer, file had grown large again after a couple years.
Enterprise 15. 3.2GB. 30,000 items. Footing errors.
Enterprise 11. 8GB. Sluggish.
Enterprise 15. 700MB. Not big, but unstable.
Enterprise 15 Canadian. 750MB. Bloated lists.

Premier 2014 Canadian. 390MB, pushing the 14,500 limit on items.
Premier 2015 Nonprofit. 2GB. Slow in saving transactions and reporting.

Pro 2015 Canadian. 750MB. Too big to migrate to QuickBooks Online.
Pro 2014. 420MB. Sluggish.
Pro 2014. 300MB. Customer and item list bloated.

And the biggest kahuna of them all: QB Pro 2013, 9GB. File fails verify. That’s right, this is a Pro file! This file had over 30 million transaction links in it — the most we’ve ever seen in any QuickBooks file.

RELATED: Interview/Case Study: QuickBooks User with Large File

What did the users do? They sent us the files to be supercondensed and/or repaired. Sometimes rebuilding and condensing files within QuickBooks works. When it doesn’t we can (most of the time) repair and supercondense a file even when the built-in tools in QuickBooks fail.

Is your file’s size of concern? How about list size? How does it perform?

We frequently hear from people that they can’t backup their QuickBooks file:

* The verification stage of the backup process fails

* The backup command crashes

* Regular backups can be made, but portable files cannot be created

The problem might be media related, but it’s most often caused by data corruption. Here are the DIY fixes:

* Rebuild your company data (File / Utilities / Rebuild Data) and try again. The Rebuild command can often fix things in the file that prevents a verified backup from being created.

* Try backing up to a local hard drive, instead of to a network server, cloud drive, external drive, or USB drive. All those kinds of drives, besides a local hard drive, could possibly have connectivity or speed issues that would prevent a successful backup being made. Try backing up to your Windows Desktop and see what happens.

Still having problems? Then your data is probably corrupted to the point where the Rebuild command can’t fix it. If that is the case, you have three options:

1. Restore your last good backup and go forward from there. That might or might not require a good bit of data rekeying.

2. Get your current, damaged data repaired.

3. Ignore the problem. There are some obvious risks with doing this, but sometimes data can be damaged enough to prevent a verified backup being made, but that otherwise doesn’t cause errors in the operation of QuickBooks. If you choose this option, you can turn off the verification option in the backup command so that you can still make backups. Please note, however, that you are backing up damaged data.

Any other thoughts on this? Any other options or workarounds to consider?

Thinking about migrating from QuickBooks desktop to QuickBooks Online Edition? What if your file is too big?

There is a way around this obstacle, but first, a little background.

It used to be that if your QuickBooks file was bigger than 200MB, it wouldn’t migrate to QuickBooks Online…too big. You’d get an error when you tried to create the QuickBooks Online export file.

Then the limit changed, and it was a limit on the total number of transactions that your file contained.

As of today’s writing, the limiting factor is on how many “targets” exist within your file. A “target” is basically a line of detail within a transaction. If your file has more than 350,000 targets in it, it’s too big to migrate to QuickBooks Online.

You can find out how many targets your file has by opening your company in QuickBooks and pressing the F2 key.

F2 screen in QuickBooks
F2 screen in QuickBooks

In the screenshot above, the total targets is less than 6,000. This is from a sample set of data, and an actual working set of data — particularly with lots of inventory or jobs transactions — will have a high total targets figure.

So if you have a ton of transaction detail in your file — move than 350K lines — but you want the advantages found in QuickBooks Online Edition, what can you do?

The first thing to try would be the built-in Condense command in QuickBooks. Try it on a copy of your file. If the Condense command is found in your version of QuickBooks, it’ll be in the File / Utilities menu (the command is not in all versions).

Why would you want to run Condense on a copy? Because sometimes the Condense command will freeze and you’ll have to exit QuickBooks abnormally. If that happens, you don’t want it happening on your live data. But when the Condense command works well, it works well, so try it and see what happens.

If the Condense command succeeds, then you can strip out lots of old transaction lines, and possibly bring the file down to the point where you can successfully create the export migration file.


If the Condense command doesn’t work, or doesn’t get enough reduction to make the data migration possible, then you could consider getting your file prepared for migration. This is an external process we provide that can reduce your file’s size (and targets) by 50-80%. We remove all but the last 1-7 years of data (your choice), and create the export file (OE.qbw) that is ready to send into QuickBooks Online.

Learn more about the file preparation service here.

QuickBooks permissions let you permit — or restrict — your users’ activities in QuickBooks. If you have more than a couple of employees’ who use QuickBooks, you probably take advantage of this feature.

When I posted “How to Restrict User Access in QuickBooks” a few years ago, it elicited scores of questions and comments. My thanks go out to all those commenters. Here’s a summary of those comments and answers:

What is possible to restrict in QuickBooks (partial list):

You can restrict…

  • Access by module (Sales, Payroll, etc.)
  • Reporting
  • Ability to change or delete existing transactions
  • Access to especially sensitive information like bank accounts, customer credit cards
  • Access to financial reports

What is impossible to restrict in QuickBooks (any edition):

You cannot restrict…

  • Name-based access (e.g. you can’t allow transaction entry or reporting for some customers / jobs / employees / vendors / sales reps, while restricting others)
  • Changing other users’ entries, but allowing you to change your own entries
  • Access to only selected reports (as opposed to whole categories of reports)
  • Access based on payroll group, weekly vs. bi-weekly, for example
  • Date-based access (e.g. running reports or viewing transactions only data before or after a certain date)
  • Account-type access (e.g. able to view P&L accounts but not BS accounts)
  • Viewing of the item list
  • Access to bank accounts without access to paychecks
  • Field-level access, e.g. disallowing a sales rep from changing the sales rep field, or disallowing access to inventory cost while retaining access to QOH
  • Allowing the entry or reconciliation of some bank accounts or credit cards, but not others
  • Entering a transaction without being able to see the previous entries also

There are many examples of restrictions that are possible in Enterprise edition but not in Pro or Premier editions. Here are a few differences that came out of the comments.

What is possible to restrict in Enterprise, but impossible to restrict in Pro or Premier:

  • Preventing the viewing the Employee Center’s list of employees
  • Allowing access to estimates without also giving access to other sales/receivables functions
  • Allowing access to payments without also giving access to invoicing
  • Allowing creation of purchase orders but no other A/P entries
  • Creating classes
  • View-only mode for non-financial reports, without also giving the ability to enter transactions (e.g. you can’t keep access to A/R reports without also giving access to A/R transactions)

Which of the “impossibilities” listed above do you think Intuit should definitely address in a future version?

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?



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.