Special characters (like $^*%$& and such) have long been the bane of computer programs. And although programmers try to write their code to prevent special characters from messing up the program logic, things still slip through.
We just discovered a new variation on this theme in QuickBooks 2012, and it can mess up your accountant’s ability to access some of your QuickBooks data. It involves simply using an ampersand character (&) in your external accountant’s user name.
If you are setting up a user in QuickBooks as an external accountant and use an ampersand symbol (&) as part of the name, when you send the file to your accountant, they will have a problem.
They will be able to open the file fine. But if they try to do the Client Data Review, it will fail. No errors, no crashes. But when they click the command it will not launch.
If, on your side, you rename the external accountant user to something else that doesn’t have the ampersand symbol in it, it will be OK — your accountant will be able to do the Client Data Review with the next file you send them.
I tried some other accountant-specific functions when the ampersand was in place, and everything seemed OK. But I certainly didn’t test everything. I did test a few other special characters without encountering problems with the Client Data Review. It’s hard to say what the scope of the problem is without some serious testing.
The moral of the story is to NOT use special characters in your user names. I think it would be wise to not use special characters in ANY of your user names — external accountant or otherwise.
There are, of course, many other issues that can occur in a set of QuickBooks data that can prevent you making backups or accountant’s copies, and that require data repair.
Have you seen any instances of special characters causing problems in QuickBooks? Share your story.