We asked users how their using QuickBooks saved them money. There seemed to be one common theme: I can do my books in-house. Here’s what some of them said:

“Quickbooks saves me money because it is so easy (and support is good) that my wife was able to figure it out.  Now I don’t have the expense of an additional bookkeeper.”

“Quickbooks is so easy to use that I do not have to hire an accountant to keep my firm’s accounting and financial data.”

“QuickBooks saves my business money by allowing me to do a lot of things that I would have had to pay a CPA for.  I do all of our payroll and payroll taxes.  This also saves us money by not requiring a payroll service that so many businesses use.”

“As a tiny business, payroll is my one of my largest expenses.  QuickBooks allows me do my own payroll and taxes to cut out the expensive middle man.”

(Sometimes it’s not a bad idea, though, to farm out just the payroll part and do the rest of books in-house. Depends on your experience and training.)

“I do not have to pay for a accountant to do my business paperwork each month”

(Yep, and you can run the reports — and change the reports — anytime you want.)

“I can actually do and manage my own accounting without depending on an outside accountant. This might not sound sweet to accountants but it is what it is as QB is easy, friendly to use.”

(You can do the main data entry and reporting, and just use outside accountants for periodic reviews and adjustments as needed.)

“When used in conjunction with a quickbooks professional bookkeeper it means the high-end accountant cannot justify charging me for work that is already done.”

(Right. Divide the labor for most cost-effective results.)

“When I need to get data to my tax accountant to prepare my income taxes, for corporate, franchise and personal, all I need to do is hand over a copy of my Quickbooks file.  It saves me hours of filling out my accountants questionaires and it saves me fees for time charges my accountant would normally charge to get the answers to the information he needs.   When providing an estimate of what it will cost to do my taxes, my accountant always asks, ‘Will you have a Quickbooks file available?’   It is a big savings!”

“Quickbooks is so easy to run I am not only Joe the contractor, electrician and yes the plumber but I can be my own Secretary and Accountant too. Amazing software. QuickBooks is the perfect name.”

(Joe, you’re a talented guy!)

RELATED: What Do People Love Best About QuickBooks?

 Thank you, QuickBooks users, for sharing your thoughts with us.

 

If this goes awry…

What happens to QuickBooks if the server crashes?

If the server hard drive physically fails, then your QuickBooks program and your QuickBooks company data files will likely be lost from that drive. Hopefully you have a backup.

If the server crashes, but the drive itself isn’t damaged and the server will still boot up, then you may simply be able to restart your server and your workstations, verify your QuickBooks company to make sure the company file didn’t get damaged, and go on.

Often, however, if the server crashes while QuickBooks was open, then the company file that was open at the time will be damaged. You won’t be able to open it in QuickBooks; you’ll get an error when you try.

Options: You can then either restore your last good backup, or get your data repaired.

Here’s what one client said about his experience:

After our server crashed you saved us from losing years of QuickBooks data!  In other words, you saved us from hours upon hours of re-entering data. It was a great relief in an otherwise stressful time.”  – Frank Orduno, JUST Steel, Inc.

If the data file is too badly damaged to be repaired — which sometimes happens in scenarios like this — then we can take your last good backup and your current TLG file and bring your old backup up to current condition. This is possible even if the old backup is months or a year old. (The TLG file is an auxilliary file that QuickBooks maintains alongside your regular QBW data file.)

RELATED: The Hidden Value of the QuickBooks TLG file

Restoring your last good backup is the fastest way to recover, as long as you have a very current backup. If you don’t, then data repair services are the next best thing:

You were was able to repair my company data file over the weekend and I was up and running on Monday morning. The database has been functioning well ever since.” — David Hayes, Hayes Handpiece Franchises, Inc.

 Read about QuickBooks file repair services here.

RELATED: How Do Power Outages Affect QuickBooks?

What is your experience when the server crashes? What happened? How did you recover?

This is a great time of year to prepare your QuickBooks file for 2014.

If your file has gotten too big, slow, or unstable, why not take action now so that QuickBooks will work better for you in the new year? Big files have a tendency to get slower and less stable over time. File size growth is an inevitable progression if left alone.

If you get your file supercondensed, however, your file’s size will drop by 60-80%. You’ll notice that your bottleneck processes in QuickBooks speed up, and that QuickBooks will be less crash-prone.

If you are using QuickBooks 2012, 2013, or 2014, you can try running the built-in Condense command and see what it does. When it works, it works great. We hear from a lot of users, however, who have problems of one type or another when trying to run the built-in condense command. That’s where supercondensing comes into play: We can supercondense files that fail a regular QuickBooks condense.

When we supercondense a file, you upload your file to us and tell us what cut off date you want us to use. We remove almost all of the closed transactions dated before that cut off date. This will reduce the file’s size significantly. The file we return to you is smaller, faster, and more stable.

Your balance sheets and profit and loss statements for the years after the cut off date will be correct and your customer and vendor balances will not change. Your file will be not only small, but healthy: it will pass verify and rebuild without problems, even if your file fails those processes in its current condition.

If you need to run reports or queries for transactions before the cut off date, you simply open a copy of your original file that has been left on your system.

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

Turnaround for supercondensing is over a weekend, so there would be no weekday downtime for your critical accounting operations.

Get more details about having your QuickBooks file supercondensed here.

 

Quick answer: A lot.

A power blackout can take down QuickBooks. So can a brownout. Or a power spike. Or a nearby lightning strike. A thrown breaker can take down QuickBooks. A user unplugging their power strip can take down QuickBooks.

When QuickBooks closes abnormally because of a power outage, then oftentimes you won’t be able to get back into QuickBooks, or your company, afterwards. That’s because various kinds of files on your computer get corrupted.

If you can get back into QuickBooks, but you get errors in your company file, then your company file probably got corrupted. You can try rebuilding the company and see if that fixes it. If rebuild doesn’t work, then you can either restore your last good backup, or get your damaged QuickBooks company repaired.

If you cannot get back into QuickBooks — you can’t even get to the QuickBooks log in screen — then you can do this trick to try to open QuickBooks anyway. If that doesn’t work, you can try this other trick to reconnect your QuickBooks program to the Windows registry. If that doesn’t work either, you probably will have to uninstall QuickBooks, then reinstall it.

Of course, if your hard drive or motherboard gets fried during the power surge, then you’re going to need to get a new drive (or new computer) and work forward from your QuickBooks backups. (You do make backups, don’t you?)

PREVENTING POWER PROBLEMS IN THE FIRST PLACE

If you can prevent your computer and/or network from going down during electricity incidents, then QuickBooks will be unaffected by those incidents and you don’t have to worry about recovery.

The easiest and least expensive thing to do to protect yourself from electricity-based catastrophes is to put a uninterruptable power supply (aka battery backup) on every piece of your network equipment: your server, every workstation, every router, switch, hub, monitor…anything connected to any of your computers.

Battery backups not only protect your equipment from power surges, but they also automatically engage and give power to your equipment until you can do a controlled exit from QuickBooks and power down your equipment. In other words, they allow you to exit QuickBooks and power down your computer(s) in a normal way.

The problem a lot of people have is that they put a battery backup on their server, and…that’s it. The rest of their network is unprotected. That vulnerability has resulted in the corruption of many a QuickBooks file.

How about you? Have you ever had power problems affect QuickBooks?

 

Here are some of the better reviews of the recently released QuickBooks 2014.

QuickBooks 2014 Has Arrived! Here is What to Expect – The Sleeter Group

Email Improvements - This has been an area where I’ve felt that Intuit hasn’t kept up with the times. Support and integration with email is just not very good. This year there are a number of changes in this area. Is it enough?

The Customer Center now has a tab for Sent Email, where you can see a history (of sorts) of the emails that you have sent to a client from within QuickBooks. You now have the ability to send a customer payment receipt via email.

(Note: Charlie Russell has posted a number of detailed blog entries at the Sleeter website above that analyze various aspects of QuickBooks 2014)

RELATED: QuickBooks 2014 Screenshots

QuickBooks 2014 Client Collaborator - Intuitive Accountant

Users of the the Accountant versions of QuickBooks 2014 can initiate what might seem like an ‘instant message’ to their client directly from inside QuickBooks.  While using a copy of your client’s data (either an Accountant’s Copy or a Back-up), should you have a question concerning a transaction, you can open the Collaborator and simply ask a question about the transaction.  

(Note: William Murphy has posted a number of detailed blog entries at the site above that analyze various aspects of QuickBooks 2014)

QuickBooks 2014 – Payroll Center Enhancements – Sunburst Software Solutions

In QuickBooks 2014 the Payroll Center underwent a complete overhaul – which was badly needed in my opinion – and the outcome is both well-designed and useful, at least in my opinion.

For years, we’ve lived with a cramped Payroll Center, that was so full of “stuff” that it was often difficult for users to figure out what the heck they were supposed to do in it or how in the heck they were supposed to even use it.

 Bank Feeds in QuickBooks 2014 – Presti & Naegele

Bank Feeds is the new Online Banking feature in QuickBooks 2014. Compared to the 2013, the visual aspects of the online banking feature has been changed significantly, providing more room to work in and using color to highlight different transactions and features.

What’s New in QuickBooks Enterprise 2014? – Scott Gregory

Remember these key points as you consider an upgrade to QuickBooks Enterprise 2014/14.0

Currently on an active Full Service and Support Plan with Intuit? You will automatically receive a copy of QuickBooks Enterprise 2014 at no additional cost.Watch your e-mail – Intuit will be sending you notices about the upgrade.

The data in your current QuickBooks file will upgrade to QuickBooks 2014 seamlessly. You should not have any worries about that as you evaluate the purchase of QuickBooks 2014.

RELATED: How QuickBooks 2014 Installs and Registers

 Are you going to be getting QuickBooks 2014? What is driving your decision?

Intuit has streamlined some of the process of installing and registering QuickBooks 2014. The more streamlined and simple the better, as far as I’m concerned.

I downloaded and installed both QuickBooks 2014 Accountant (Premier) and QuickBooks Enterprise Accountant Edition 14. They both installed and went through the installation and registration processes in identical fashion. I would assume that the QuickBooks Pro 2014 version does the same.

When you install QuickBooks 2014, you start by entering your QuickBooks license number and product number. You’ve got to get that entered correctly before it begins unpacking itself onto your hard drive.

Once it does start installing in earnest, it begins the registration process while the installation proceeds. Here’s what you’ll see at one point in the process:

quickbooks 2014 installation
Register while installing

You enter three short screens of information, and that will be enough to complete the install and open QuickBooks 2014.

Now at this point, your copy of QuickBooks is still officially ‘unregistered’. If you click “My Company” in the navigation pane, you’ll see that (in big red letters!)

I don’t know why that is; you would think that the registration process that took place during installation would be sufficient. But it’s not. You’ve got 30 days to register your installation.

RELATED: Review – The QuickBooks Registration Process

When you click the link in QuickBooks to register your copy, it will bring up a window asking for your phone number and zip code. That has got to agree with the phone number and zip code in your Intuit account profile. Enter it and you’re in like Flynn. You don’t have to wade through any promo screens, or call an 800 number or anything unpleasant like that to complete your registration.

The registration process is not quite as streamlined as I think it could be, but it’s not bad. Have you installed and registered QuickBooks 2014 yet? What was your experience like?

There are a number of great reviews of QuickBooks 2014 already out there.

But for you visually-oriented folks, here are some screenshots that will help you get a quick fix on what the new version looks/feels like. Click on any of the screenshots below to get a larger image view.

RELATED: QuickBooks 2014 Menus
QuickBooks 2013 Screenshots

Let’s start out with the QuickBooks 2014 home page. Here’s what it looks like for a sample company. All screenshots are taken with R1 of QuickBooks Accountant 2014 (Premier edition).

QuickBooks 2014 Home Screen

qb2014_home

Note the different color scheme and navigation pane compared to the 2013 version.

RELATED: How to Make QuickBooks 2013 Look More Like Old QuickBooks Versions

QuickBooks 2014 Customer Center Screenshot

quickbooks 2014 customer center screenshot
Customer Center

Note the new “Sent Email” tab. That’s helpful to see the past trail of emails (emailed invoices, sales receipts, etc.) that you have sent to your customer.

Something else new on the Customer Center is the “Income Tracker”. When you click on it, you see this.

QuickBooks 2014 Income Tracker Screenshot

quickbooks 2014 income tracker screenshot
Income Tracker

This is a great dashboard-style tool that allows you to get both high level and detailed information about your accounts receivable. You can filter the kind of information given on this screen.

The transaction entry screens in 2014 sport the same look and feel of the 2013 version, with the “Office-style” ribbon at the top of the screen. Here’s what an invoice entry screen looks like.

QuickBooks 2014 Create Invoice Screenshot

quickbooks 2014 create invoice screenshot
Create Invoice screen

Not too different from the 2013 version invoice entry screen.

If you have the QuickBooks 2014 Accountant edition, here’s what the Accountant Center looks like.

QuickBooks 2014 Accountant Center Screenshot

quickbooks 2014 accountant center screenshot
Accountant Center

The batch entry feature is new.

There are, of course, many other screens in QuickBooks 2014, but this gives you an idea of some of the most important screens.

Now that you’ve seen what the QuickBooks 2014 screens looks like, you might also check out the QuickBooks 2014 Menus

Tweet Here are all of the menus found in QuickBooks 2014 Accountant (Premier). Click on any of them to enlarge. With this version/edition, you even get to customize your own Favorites Menu (see below to see how you create it). And although not technically a menu item, there is a reminder widget out to the… Continue reading

QuickBooks users spend 124% more online time reading about QuickBooks when they are using an iPad or other tablet.

How do I know that? I was curious and ran a query in Google Analytics on whether visitors to our QuickBooks Forums differed in their visiting behavior according to the device they were browsing from.

I looked at about 400K visits to our forums over the last few months, and looked at the breakdown by device.

The vast majority of our visitors were browsing from a desktop computer. They spent an average of 51 seconds on the forums per visitor.

Visitors accessing our forums from their phones spent less time: 40 seconds per visit.

But visitors reading our forums from tablets (e.g. iPads) spent 1:54 minutes on our forums on average.

Wow! Over 100% increase in average visit duration for tablet users, compared to desktop users. The number of pages per visit was higher too, though only fractionally. Their bounce rate was lower as well.

The pattern holds as well for visitors of our blog; the average visit duration was 44% higher for tablet users than desktop users.

Why do tablet users engage more deeply? Maybe it’s what you could call the Starbucks Effect? If you are using your iPad, you are not at your office desk. You might be at your kitchen table, or your living room sofa, or on the commuter train, or in a coffee shop. You’ve got some time, and maybe even something good to drink in hand. More time = more engagement.

Or is it something else? What do you think?

“Yeah, we have too many customers!” That’s what the harried checkout clerk said.

This was back in the 1990s, in a big retail store in Texas. I don’t remember what city it was in, or what I was buying. But I do remember that the store was crowded. The checkout lines were long. There weren’t many lines open; there were a number of closed checkout stations.

When I finally got up to the front of the line, I made a casual remark to the checker: “Kinda busy here today…” The checker didn’t look at me; she was starting to ring me up. But she said, “Yeah, we have too many customers today!” She wasn’t smiling.

I was speechless. How do you respond to that? Was she essentially saying, “I wish you and a lot of other customers in my line would just go away”? Hmm.

Here’s what she didn’t choose to say:

“I know, I know! I’m hoping they open a few more registers here in a minute.”

Or, “Yes, and I apologize for the wait. Thanks for your patience.”

Or at least, “I know, it’s crazy! Happy Holidays!”

That was a time in the history of retailing when the universe was changing: Walmart was just beginning to take over the world.

Have you ever heard a “too many customers” line from a Walmart employee? Or a Target checker? Or anyone at The Home Depot? Me neither.

Now in all fairness to that checker on that day, the store management hadn’t done a good job of resourcing the checkout stations. Maybe that store’s checkers weren’t trained very well. At least some of that comment probably wasn’t her fault. And maybe she was just having a bad day and said the first thing that came to mind, like we all do sometimes.

Even so, my wife and I made that experience a code phrase for bad customer service. Ever since, whenever we have a bad employee interaction in a store, restaurant, airline counter, etc., nothing more need be said between us than “Too many customers”.