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:


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.


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:


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:


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.


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.

Have you ever been anxious and then did something stupid that fed your anxieties even more? Have you ever done EXACTLY the wrong thing? Boy, I did.

When my family went camping in Yellowstone National Park, we were anxious about bears. Grizzlies had harmed other campers that summer, and we did not want to experience bears that way.

Almost all of the other campers in the Park were in hard-sided RVs. And there we were with our tent. Hmm.

So I gave strict instructions to my family about how we should handle food in our campsite: No food in the tent, no food left outside, no food smells on us or our stuff: we’d live by the book in bear country.

They got it. We were oh-so-careful during supper.

Then, while cleaning up afterwards, I tripped and — wait for it — sloshed a whole mess of chicken soup on the ground right next to our tent. OohhhNooo! I had soaked the ground with chicken broth, inches from where we’d be sleeping. “Dad, the bears!!!” I was so annoyed at myself, and my children were so terrified.


Bear Spray, QuickBooks, and Your Computer
Wifi in the Wilderness
Car Camping in Colorado: Things That Should and Should Not Be

We decided after supper to walk around the campground a bit, so we headed up the road. Every campsite had a trailer, truck, lawn chairs, folks enjoying the nice evening. After going just a little ways up our road, I started to smell something….chicken…fried chicken. Fried chicken?!?

A guy had a propane deep fryer out by his RV and he was cooking up a big batch of chicken. Everybody within 100 yards of his campsite, and every bear within probably three miles, was smelling that chicken. It was a strong smell, a very good smell.

Whew! We were saved! There wouldn’t be any bears interested in my chicken soup that night!

Sure enough, in the wee hours that night, I heard a car alarm go off, and keep going off, for a long time. Did the fried chicken guy hit the panic button on his key fob when a bear showed up? Did a bear try to break into his truck? Or had some other random camper gotten up for something and accidentally tripped his alarm?

Personally, I think a bear was making a late night chicken run.

QuickBooks 2015 has now been released. What’s new? What’s to like? Here are a few new things that caught my eye.

1. Better Dashboard. It’s called “Insights”, and it is a tab next to the Home Page. I like how it now shows a Net Income trend, and not merely total income and expenses. I asked for this feature in a 2012 blog post. The old “Company Snapshot”, which has graphs in it that “Insights” does not, is still available at Company / Company Snapshot.



2. Pinned Note for Customers. If you have a bunch of notes for a customer, this new feature allows you to specify which one shows up on the Customer screen. A small improvement, but if your customer notes are important, this helps you see what you want to see on the Customer screen. It keeps you from having to open up the Notes tab and scrolling around.



3. Comments on Reports. On any report, you can click “Comment on Report”.


The report will then show a little comment bubble next to each dollar amount. You can click on any of those comment bubbles and add text in a text entry window that will appear at the bottom of the screen. When you save your comment, it will number your comments and show them as footnotes at the bottom of the report. Nice!



4. Sorting Columns on Forms (Enterprise only). Another small change, but important if you need it. On your input forms, you can click on the column by which you want the line items sorted (in the screenshot below, “DESCRIPTION” has been selected for sort order).



5. Showing Cost on Sales Transactions (Enterprise only). If you want to show line item costs on your sales entry screens, you can now do so. You click the “Customize Data Layout” button, then the “Columns” tab, and check “Cost”. That will enable a Cost column on your screen, which will automatically be populated.



Have you tried QuickBooks 2015 yet? What do you think?

For one reason or another, you may find yourself in a position where QuickBooks needs to be reinstalled:

* QuickBooks won’t start anymore on your computer
* QuickBooks crashes because it can’t load pieces of its own program anymore
* Viruses or malware corrupted the QuickBooks installation on your computer.
* Your hard drive crashed and was replaced with a new hard drive
* You replaced your old QuickBooks computer with a new one

So you need to reinstall. Before you reinstall, however, there are two things you should do first:


Theoretically, reinstalling QuickBooks as per below shouldn’t do anything to your existing data. BUT, you can never be too careful, especially before performing system functions. So make a backup or your company data first. If you can’t run QuickBooks to make a backup, then make a copy of your company data with Windows, and copy it somewhere off your hard drive (a cloud drive, a USB drive, etc.) That way, if something goes really wrong with the reinstall steps, at least your data will not be lost.


If QuickBooks is already installed on your hard drive, you should first uninstall the existing QuickBooks installation before you install the software again.

Where do you do that? There is no uninstall option under your QuickBooks group in your Start List. So you uninstall it through Windows.

(The following shows how to do this with Windows 7. Other versions of Windows may be slightly different.)

Get to your Windows Control Panel. Click on Programs and Features. You will see a list of every program installed on your computer.  Scroll down until you see your QuickBooks program in the list. Double-click it.


It will bring up the QuickBooks Maintenance Wizard. Click Next. You will see this:



Select Remove and finish.

QuickBooks will be uninstalled/removed from your computer.

[If your QuickBooks program was too badly damaged for the uninstall to work, then omit that step.]


Find your original install CD, or if you downloaded your QuickBooks program, the downloaded install file.

If your software is on a CD, insert it in your CD drive and follow the instructions to install it.

If you downloaded your QuickBooks program, then locate and double-click your downloaded QuickBooks install program and follow the prompts.


[If you don’t know where you downloaded your QuickBooks program to, search your computer for setup_quickbooks to find the download file(s). One way to search (with Windows 7) is to press the Windows key on your keyboard, and then enter setup_quickbooks in the prompt that appears.]

If you don’t have the CD anymore, and/or you can’t find your download install file anymore, click here for links to download install files from Intuit.

At some point in the install process, you’ll be prompted for your product code and license number in order for the install to complete. You should have received those codes with your CD packaging, or if you downloaded QuickBooks, with your download order. If you don’t have the codes, you’ll have to call Intuit to get them.

After your product is installed, you’ll need to register it. Most of the time, you can do that without having to talk to Intuit.

After you’ve uninstalled, reinstalled, and registered QuickBooks, how does it work? Great, hopefully.

If not, here’s one more tool that might help.

Sometimes you want to send statements to customers to remind them of overdue balances or to list statement charges a customer owes. There are two types of statements in QuickBooks. The first is called an open transaction statement. This shows only open transactions as of the statement date. This way, a customer knows exactly how much they owe you but doesn’t see the history of payments and credits.

The second type of statement is called “activity based.” This shows you the customer’s activity over a period of time, including payments and credits. In the following practice exercise, you prepare an open transaction statement and a list of the customer’s activity over a period of time.

Customer statements—Process an open transaction statement

  1. From the Home page, click the Statements icon.
  2. In the Select Statement Options section, select a type of statement, in this case, All open transactions as of Statement Date. This statement shows only open transactions as of a specific date.
  3. Under the Select Customers section, select One Customer.
  4. Click the drop-down arrow and select Brian Cook.
  5. Click Preview.
  6. Click the mouse to zoom in. This statement shows only what the customer owes you. The description shows the original invoice amount, and the Amount column shows the unpaid portion of the invoice. Prepare this type of statement if your customer only wants to see outstanding balances without the detail.
  7. Click Close.

Customer statements—Process a customer activity statement

  1. Brian Cook claims he sent a check that wasn’t applied to his account. Prepare a statement that shows his activity over a date range. In the Select Statement Options section, select Statement Period From.
  2. Enter a date of November 1st, 2015 to November 30, 2018.
  3. In the Select Customers section, select Brian Cook.
  4. Click the Preview button.
  5. Click the mouse to zoom in. An Activity-Based Statement shows all customer account transactions during the time period. Note that it only shows accounts receivable transactions that include invoices, payments, statement charges, and credit memos. It does not show sales receipts or cash transactions. Prepare this type of statement if your customer wants to see the transactions that make up their outstanding balance. This statement also shows the aging periods.
  6. Click Close.
  7. Brian Cook reviews his statement but can’t find the invoice you sent earlier, so he wants to see the detail of each invoice. Select the box next to Show invoice item details on statements.
  8. Click Preview.
  9. Click the mouse to zoom in. Now the statement shows each line item on every invoice. Use this if your customer needs to see the invoice detail as a reminder.

Today’s tip is a guest post by Tom Dahm from Real World Training. Catch one of their QuickBooks classes in New York, Miami and other great cities.