I’ll bet QuickBooks is a mission-critical application for your office. What would happen to your business if QuickBooks went down? Here are 7 ways to avoid that:

1. Maintain your network. Actually, get your IT guy or girl to do it. Nothing can take down QuickBooks like a flaky network.

Keep your server defragged and your whole network optimized for speed. Use the highest-performing server you can afford. Use the same kind of routers and connectors across your network. Have plenty of memory on every workstation accessing QuickBooks.

2. Be careful with your imports. Importing bank or other transactions into QuickBooks is a tremendous time saver. Except when they’re messed up. If you are getting ready to import transactions from a new source, make sure you’re well backed up first. After you import, check the results immediately. If there’s a problem, restore your backup. Otherwise, it can be really difficult to undo the effects of badly imported transactions, especially if there are hundreds of them.

3. Back up often and effectively. Global Data Vault is a great online backup service. Many small businesses have been greatly inconvenienced because their backups weren’t what they assumed.

4. Verify/Rebuild. Run these commands periodically to get early warning on data problems.

5. Schedule data work for weekends. Sending your data off to be supercondensed, repaired, recreated, or something else? Schedule it for a weekend so the wheels don’t stop turning at your office on weekdays.

6. Send Accountant’s Copies. Taking advantage of this QuickBooks feature lets you get your data to your accountant for corrections without you having to pause in the use of QuickBooks — you can keep working at the same time your CPA is reviewing your file.

7. If down, get up. If your file becomes unopenable or has fatal errors, get overnight data repair services to be up and running by the next morning.

Do you have another suggestion to avoid QuickBooks downtime?

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The Verify/Rebuild functions in QuickBooks are great at identifying and repairing a lot of different kinds of problems in a QuickBooks file.

But one problem they can’t fix is problems in your company’s list tables. Your lists are things like your chart of accounts, customers, vendors, items, sales reps, etc.

If list data gets corrupted in a QuickBooks file, you notice that all or most of your vendors or customers don’t appear where they should. Or invoices or payments get associated with the wrong accounts. Not good!

If you find yourself in this situation, you have three options:

1. Try making and then restoring a portable backup. The indexes and links are rebuilt when you restore a QuickBooks portable file and this sometimes clears up data problems.

2. Restore the last good backup you made before the data got corrupted. Make sure you don’t overwrite your current file with your backup, in case you end up needing that current file.

3. Get your data professionally repaired. Although list damage repair is more difficult than some other kinds of data repair, it is possible to do most of the time. A customer just wrote this note and told us we could share it:

AccountingUsers was a great company to work with. Our Lists in Enterprise became corrupted and we were not able to work with our previous back-ups. They received the file at the end of one business day and the repaired file was ready to go early the next morning. THANK YOU for your polite, quick, and expert service. We hope we don’t need you again, but we are sure glad to know you are there if we do.”

– Ken Bostrom, Universal Accounting

Thanks, Ken! Glad we could help.

Have you ever run into list damage in your QuickBooks file? What symptoms did you see?

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When my family camped in Yellowstone National Park last month, we were camping in bear country.

Yellowstone grizzly bear
A clover-eating grizzly I photographed on the shore of Lake Yellowstone

Unfortunately, there have been some bad bear incidents in Yellowstone this summer.

A friend of mine let me borrow his bear spray for our trip. Bear spray is like personal-defense pepper spray, except it’s grizzly bear strength. I took the spray and packed it when we were on remote trails.

A warning on the can’s label almost made me laugh: “Don’t intentionally provoke a bear”. I could just visualize some nut feeling confident with his can of bear spray and chasing a bear down in order to confront it, spray it, and earn some kind of moronic bragging rights.

To avoid bear problems, you are supposed to be careful to not leave food out, not to smell like food, not to surprise a bear, not to run away from a bear…the list goes on.

Bear spray is designed to be the last line of defense against bears.

My company provides data repair services for QuickBooks users, and those services could be considered the last line of defense against QuickBooks data problems. But they are not the only defense.

There are lots of things you can do to minimize the chance of having QuickBooks data problems in the first place:

  • Have battery backups on your server, your routers, and all your workstations
  • Have internet security software installed on all your computers
  • Keep Windows up to date on all your computers
  • Keep QuickBooks updated on your system
  • Use the same kind of networking equipment on all your workstations
  • Make regular backups to a location off of your server

If you do these things, you greatly minimize the chance of encountering data problems in QuickBooks in the first place. But we’ll be your bear spray if somehow it ever gets to that point.

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Posted in IT.