If you have a gigantic QuickBooks data file, the classic approach is to recreate the file and start over. This approach works, but it takes a lot of effort and it opens the door to lots of data entry or importing mistakes.

One alternative, if your version has the built-in Condense command, is to try that command on a copy of your file and see what happens. Sometimes it works great, and sometimes it doesn’t.

RELATED: These are Large QuickBooks Data Files…and What Users Did

If the built-in condense doesn’t give you satisfactory results, you can have your file supercondensed. Some of our clients describe their supercondense experience:

“We are so pleased with our new Supercondensed QuickBooks file and the quick and professional service you provided. Our file was very large and over 20 years old. We were having many problems with the old file and were told by Quickbooks support to re-create the file and start from scratch. This would have required countless hours and days of downtime for our company. Also, we did not want to lose all of the transaction history and wanted to keep 2 years of history for comparison reports. We were thrilled when we found your service. We sent the file on Friday and the new file was here Monday morning. The instructions to upload the new file were very easy to follow and in no time we were using our new file. We highly recommend your service to other companies looking to condense their QuickBooks file. We plan on using this service every 3-5 years from now on. Thank you so much all your help!!!” — Sue Hamby, Motherlove Herbal Company

“Finished product came back just as advertised. Shannon and QuickbooksUsers.com reduced my file size by 70% and got it done and back to me in less time than expected for a weekday turnaround.  All questions were answered promptly and the process was very professional from start to finish.  Would highly recommend QuickbooksUsers.com and will use them again when my file gets too big again.” — John Clouse, Butler Color Press

“No down time. Massive data file repaired and condensed. We are thrilled that we did not have to start a new company file and were able to keep the data years our CPA recommended. Best customer service ever! Did what Intuit and 4 business days of down time could not achieve. These guys get it done!!” — Ann Mahoney, Bates Air Conditioning & Service Co Inc.

“We went with the weekend supercondense. Shannon explained the process up front and the entire project went exactly as planned – sent the file Friday and it was ready for first thing on Monday. Speed is greatly increased and we would definitely do it again.” — Rob Coleman, RCTENN

“We got our data back much smaller and ready to move to QuickBooks online.  So I was very happy.  Most importantly to me, Shannon was extremely responsive which was key for us.” — Cameron Struthers, Allen Print Ltd.

“100% satisfied. Best investment we made in getting our QB data file under control. We were able to get our supercondense done with no downtime. Very happy we used their service.” — Paul Perry, Precision Services

RELATED: Case Study: User with Big, Slow QuickBooks File

Have you evaluated recreating your company, versus condensing, versus supercondensing? What did you decide?

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It’s not that version 13 is unlucky in itself. It’s just that Intuit is about to retire that version, and you won’t be able to get Intuit support for it anymore, or get it to connect to online services anymore.

If you’re using version 2013 and you always upgrade to the latest version every three years — to stay within that 3-year support window — then your time has come to get a new version.

The sun sets on QuickBooks version 2013 on May 31, 2016.

Which editions are affected? QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Accountant, Mac, and Enterprise (although with Enterprise, you’ll be able to continue using what you have until the expiration of your service plan).

QuickBooks Online lives outside the world of desktop versions and does not face version sunset issues.

The online services that are affected include credit card processing, online banking, bill pay, QuickBooks payroll services, and Intuit tech support. (You will still be able to get data services support for version 2013 through AccountingUsers, Inc., however.)

If you get a new version of QuickBooks, your version 2013 data should upgrade fine just by opening it in the new version (but contact us if it doesn’t…)

RELATED: How to Transfer Files from Older Version to New Version of QuickBooks
RELATED: “QuickBooks File Wouldn’t Upgrade…”

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There are several scenarios where having a temporary copy of QuickBooks would be handy:

  • You’re thinking about upgrading from Pro or Premier to Enterprise, but you want to know what Enterprise looks like before buying it
  • You want to save money by downgrading from Enterprise but want to get a feel for what Pro or Premier is like first
  • You’ve got an old version of QuickBooks and you’ve been wondering if a new version would be worth it; you want to test drive it before taking the plunge
  • You need a later copy of QuickBooks in order to facilitate your data’s migration to QuickBooks Online
  • You used to use QuickBooks, but don’t have it anymore. You need to temporarily restore an old QuickBooks backup and run some company reports
  • You are shopping for accounting software, and are researching QuickBooks products

In answer to any of these situations, it might help you to get a free trial version of QuickBooks. Trial versions exist!

There are trial versions of QuickBooks available for Pro, Premier, Enterprise, and Mac versions. You can download US, Canadian, and UK editions as of today.

NOTE: These trial versions expire after 30 days, and cannot be registered. Don’t rely on them to do your books, or any other mission-critical function!

Find links to trial versions of QuickBooks here.

 

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First, if you’ve been backing up to USB flash drives, you are to be commended for at least getting your data off your computer and onto a separate, removable backup drive. That’s better than keeping EVERY copy of your data on your hard drive alone. (Why? Because, of course, if all your backups are on your hard drive, and that hard drive goes down, you are in trouble!)

But you need to revise your backup strategy at least a little in order to be safer. Why? Because USB drives aren’t super reliable target drives for QuickBooks backups.

I talk to people all the time whose company file gets badly damaged somehow. They think they are OK — “I’ve got a ton of backups on my flash drive!” But when they plug in their flash drive and try to restore these backups, the backups are corrupted and unusable. Or the USB flash drive itself is dead. That makes for a bad day (and a day when people call me for QuickBooks file repair).

It’s better — more reliable — to backup to an external hard drive or a cloud drive.

But regardless of whether you want to have your backup file on a USB flash drive, external hard drive, or the cloud, do this: Backup to your Windows Desktop, then copy the backup file from Desktop to your ultimate backup destination through Windows.

Why do this extra step? Because writing data to your local hard drive (where Desktop lives) is fast and reliable. QuickBooks is designed to read and write data to hard drives very well. Writing data, especially large files, directly from QuickBooks to other kinds of drives, however, can be problematic. I believe that slower write times leads to file writing errors, which leads to restore problems later on.

RELATED: What Kind of Drives Can You Open QuickBooks On?

And if you make your backup initially to Desktop, it’s very easy to find your backup file when you copy it in Windows to your ultimate target drive, whether in the cloud, external HD or USB flash drive.

Bonus tip: If you try to restore a QuickBooks backup from a USB flash drive and the restore fails, try simply copying the backup file from the flash drive to Desktop, then try to restore the file from Desktop. This sometimes works when a restore directly from the flash drive fails.

Let’s face it….USB flash drives are as common as potato chips, and there is hardly anything more convenient than backing up to a USB flash drive and putting it in your pocket. But don’t rely on a USB flash drive as a mission critical piece of technology. And improve your odds by mediating the process through Windows Desktop.

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Problem: Inventory reports combine the item number and the item description into one field when generating reports. Also, parenthesis are inserted into the description. Sometimes, this is too much. You get this:

 

inventory_report_before

 

Solution: Go to Edit / Preferences / Reports & Graphs / Company Preferences and under REPORTS – SHOW ITEMS BY:  Click on “Name only”. Then you get this:

 

inventory_report_after

 

Problem solved! I picked up this tip from Deborah’s comment in another blog entry. Thanks, Deborah!

 

 

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Some say “Once in Enterprise, always in Enterprise”. But that’s not so! We convert Enterprise files to Pro or Premier all the time. What do our client/users say?

“We were using a hosted version of Enterprise 15 and decided to go back to 2015 Premier desk top. We sent our file on Friday morning and received the converted file back on the following Monday. The file loaded into 2015 Premier with no issues and all information looks complete and correct. QuickbookUsers.com has a simple and effective process. We are thrilled with the results.” — Jim Work, TCB Interiors LLC

 

“Fast and reliable service!” — Julie Bedard, Vie Luxe International

 

“The conversion from Enterprise to Pro went perfectly. I couldn’t be happier with the service!” — Bruce Coates, Cottages By The Sea

 

“Quick, easy, accurate!” — Denise Doak, The Laurel Group

 

“Quickly converted our data and very simple! Thank you!” — John Burghardt, Bizcompass

 

“Service exactly as described with excellent support after the conversion!” — Tim Kessler, CDLM Technology Services

 

“This is the third time we’ve used you for our clients and you’ve done a stellar job each time. I’ve referred you to others in the National Advisor Network (now Woodard Network).” — Jeff Cecchini, QBPros, Inc.

Learn more about our QuickBooks Enterprise Downgrade Service.

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Thinking about moving from QuickBooks desktop editions (Enterprise, Premier, Pro, Accountant, Mac) to QuickBooks Online? How does the data move from the one to the other?

QuickBooks has changed the process recently of getting data from your desktop file into QuickBooks Online. These days, you export your data from your desktop version with the help of a command in the Company menu, and you are then presented with the QuickBooks Online log in screen to import that data.

Here are guides (with screenshots) provided by Intuit for migrating from different desktop editions to Online:

QuickBooks Desktop

QuickBooks Enterprise

QuickBooks Mac

That gets your data into the Online system. You might encounter some issues getting your Online data connected correctly to other online services. Ed Lieber discusses this issue here.

How about coming back the other way? That’s another story, perhaps for another article.

Did you migrate from QuickBooks Desktop to Online? How did it go?

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What did QuickBooks users read about in 2015? Of the more than 230,000 views our blog received in 2015, here are the most-read articles from this year:

  1. How to Transfer QuickBooks from One Computer to Another
  2. How to Open QuickBooks When It Won’t Open
  3. How to Restrict User Access in QuickBooks
  4. What to Do When QuickBooks Is Not Responding
  5. Can Older Versions of QuickBooks Open Newer Versions’ Files?
  6. How to Change an Email Template in QuickBooks
  7. My QuickBooks File Is HUGE! What Can I Do?
  8. 13 Steps to Implementing Job Costing in QuickBooks for Contractors
  9. A Hidden QuickBooks Tool for When Reinstalling Doesn’t Work
  10. How to Transfer Files from Older Version to Newer Version of QuickBooks

Thanks for reading us in 2015!

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Who are they? Increasingly, they are cloud users.

Intuit posted their latest quarterly results a couple of weeks ago, as reported in BusinessWire. There were some interesting details that the company shared.

  • Subscribers to QuickBooks Online grew 57 percent in the first quarter
  • Of the new subscribers to QuickBooks Online, over 80 percent were new customers to Intuit
  • Total subscribers to QuickBooks Online are now at 1,159,000
  • Intuit’s president and CEO, Brad Smith, said that their momentum comes as the company’s “intense focus on our global cloud strategy takes shape.”

Do the math backwards. In three months, the number of QuickBooks Online users grew by around 421,000. That’s amazing. And those aren’t one-time software purchasers…those are monthly subscribers. And 80%+ of them were new customers gained in the market, not customers cannibalized from the QuickBooks desktop user base. Just imagine the expansion of customer lifetime values going on there.

   RELATED: Self-Employed? Intuit Likes You

So that’s great for Intuit. What does it all mean for QuickBooks users themselves?

Well, in my opinion, it would be logical that Intuit’s “intense focus on their global cloud strategy” would include an intense focusing of their development resources. And therefore, more development for cloud services (including, of course, QuickBooks Online), and less development for desktop products. And therefore, more innovation in QuickBooks Online, and less innovation in the QuickBooks desktop editions. Again, this is just my opinion, but that line of thinking makes sense to me.

Another thing. Earlier this year, Intuit announced that they were putting their Quicken product up for sale and were seeking the right buyer. But Intuit said they would retain Mint.com, their cloud-based personal finance solution. Sell the desktop division, keep the cloud division. To me, this seems like more realignment towards the cloud and away from (even successful) desktop products.

From the desktop users’ point of view, maybe a focus shift — even an innovation shift — is not altogether a bad thing, as long as maintenance and support continue. I have heard over the years a lot of people say “leave well enough alone” when it comes to QuickBooks desktop editions. Well, what if that happened? What if Intuit left well enough alone?

Even if the desktop products stay largely the same in the years to come, I am wondering if their desktop licensing will stay the same. You probably know that Intuit changed their subscription model for Enterprise users last year, making it so you have to pay an annual subscription fee in order for Enterprise to keep working. I’m wondering if a time will come when Intuit brings all their desktop editions (Pro, Premier, Accountant, Mac) to a subscription based model like Enterprise (and like QuickBooks Online).

   RELATED: What Are the Options Now for Enterprise Users?

If they got to that point, all their accounting products would be subscription-based and lined up in the same direction from a strategic revenue model point of view. Tidy.

So, who are QuickBooks users these days? Increasingly, they are QuickBooks Online users. And even when QuickBooks users aren’t cloud customers, more than ever, they are recurring subscribers.

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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?

 

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