Here are the top five most-viewed topics on the QuickBooks Forums over the last two weeks, each being viewed hundreds of times:

1. Print Your Own Deposit Slip. This topic was posted originally in 2009 and has been well-viewed ever since. People spend over three minutes on this page, on average.

2. How to calculate commission. This topic was originally posted in 2005 and has been responded to periodically since. People also spend 3+ minutes on this page on average.

3. Customer Prepayments/Deposits. This topic was originally posted in the QuickBooks FAQ section by Lisa Peterson, one of our forum moderators. It has had Q&A replies ever since, and people spend almost 7 minutes on this page, on average.

4. Error: “3371 QuickBooks could not load the license data.” This topic was originally posted in 2007, and I’m a bit surprised that it still gets so many views — I would have thought that this issue would have been resolved in later releases of QuickBooks. Over 4 minutes view time per visitor on average.

5. Cash Basis in Account receivable. Another venerable QuickBooks FAQ thread posted a long time ago, with Q&A ever since. Originally posted by one of our forum heroes, Joe Williams, a retired QuickBooks senior support rep.

QuickBooks 2008 discontinued, unsupported, sunsetServices supporting QuickBooks Pro and Premier 2008, and Enterprise 8, were discontinued on May 31. It is Intuit’s policy to only support the current and prior two versions of their accounting products, and the end of May has been their cut off point for the last few years.

What is affected?

QuickBooks Payroll Services
For Assisted, Basic, Standard, and Enhanced Payroll, QuickBooks will no longer automatically calculate correct payroll taxes or provide payroll forms. Assisted Payroll will no longer send your payroll data.

Credit Card Processing
Merchant Service customers will no longer be able to process credit card transactions through QuickBooks, or download credit card transactions into QuickBooks if you use a terminal. Automatic credit card service will be discontinued.

Bill Pay
You will get an error and not be able to connect to your financial institution to pay bills.

Online Banking
You will get an error when trying to send online payments, download transactions, or conduct online transfers.

QuickBooks Email
You can no longer use the QuickBooks Email service to email sales receipts, purchase orders, etc. directly from QuickBooks. You CAN continue to email documents and reports out of QuickBooks by using Outlook, Outlook Express, or Windows Mail accounts, or by printing to PDF files and attaching those to emails outside of QuickBooks.

It would seem that the general pattern here is that QuickBooks 2008 will no longer be able to interface with much of anything in the outside world (through the internet).

If you are using QuickBooks 2008 with services that are now unavailable, the obvious, fast solution is to get a more current, supported version. Buying it new from Amazon seems to often be less expensive than getting an upgrade. The software is downloadable, so you don’t have to wait for delivery of a CD.

It is usually a painless experience to upgrade your company file from an older version to a newer version. You just open the company under the new version. But if your QuickBooks 2008 file will not verify, it won’t upgrade either, and the file may need to be repaired first, before it can be upgraded.

As far as I know, no company that makes accounting software supports old versions forever. It would be too expensive and would take technical resources away from development teams trying to make the product better for the future.

My company, AccountingUsers, Inc., will still continue to support QuickBooks 2008 and Enterprise 8 as far as troubleshooting data issues goes.

But for keeping Intuit services connected with QuickBooks 2008, the sun has already gone down.

I love my smartphone because when I’m not behind my desk, I can still do almost everything associated with my job.

  • Check and reply to business emails quickly
  • Take business calls, forwarded from my main desk phone number
  • Manage user accounts and jobs
  • Admin our QuickBooks user forum
  • Moderate blog comments, and reply to them
  • Tweet, reply, retweet, follow — anything Twitter
  • Follow LinkedIn discussions I’m tracking
  • Gmail chat my family (ok, that’s not a business thing, but is really cool)
  • Listen to Pandora (ditto)

My current phone of choice? Verizon’s Droid Incredible. It has JavaScript and Flash support; there’s really no website I’ve browsed yet that hasn’t worked.

So if I’m on the road or even just checking email in a restaurant parking lot after lunch, I’m just as connected as I would be at my desk. That makes for better business communication, faster responses, and quicker customer service. Rocks.

I think the biggest competitive advantage small businesses can have is faster and more personal responses to opportunities and customers. And that’s a door that smartphones can open. Smartphones make it *much* easier to stay connected to your online network.

How about you? Is a smartphone an important part of your business life?

Posted in IT.

If you like to interact with other QuickBooks users and some experts too, come join the QuickBooks Forums.

It’s the largest, most active independent QuickBooks online community out there, with about 45,000 members. That means more interaction and information for you to draw from.

It’s a great venue to ask questions, get and give advice, find FAQs, and connect with other users and pros. It’s an international community, too, which is fun.

There are some rants and raves, but it’s mostly people interacting together to figure out how to solve problems and make QuickBooks work better in their offices.

I’ve enjoyed making connections there with lots of small business people. Considering that its focus is accounting software, it’s a pretty fun and interesting place because of all the people who get involved and the variety of issues they are dealing with.

Oh, and it’s free too.

Join the conversation today!

“I’m using an old version of QuickBooks, and my hard drive died today. QuickBooks won’t give me the install codes – they say they don’t support my version anymore, and I have to upgrade. But I don’t want to upgrade! I just want to reinstall my old version.”

I have this conversation with users all the time. And it’s a shame. The solution would have been simple if they had only backed up their license keys and install codes.

This isn’t just about QuickBooks. It’s about any software you use that comes with registration/installation codes and keys.

The simple fix?

1. Make sure that you keep your license keys/codes with your original install CD. Write it on a label and stick it on the jewel case with the install CD. If you downloaded your software, see #2.

2. Create a document that contains your license keys. It could be just a Word or text file. Whenever you install new software, update the file with a new line that has your software’s name and version plus any registration keys or codes.

With QuickBooks 2010, you had to call Intuit directly on the phone to get a ‘verification’ number that was needed to complete the software registration. Make sure you keep that number with your other registration info.

Make sure that your registration information file is either backed up to an online backup service, or is an online document in the first place (like a Google Docs file.)

Why backup your license keys? Because before you know it, your software vendor won’t give them to you anymore. So take ten minutes and do this. Then, when the day comes and you need to reinstall your old software, you won’t need to panic or call anyone. You’ll just grab your keys and go.

Posted in IT.

Want some good DIY problem-solving for QuickBooks? Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information, and with their new interface there are several new ways to slice and dice the web’s information about QuickBooks.

Let’s say you are interested in exploring what options there are for check printing in QuickBooks:

The list on the left shows how you can subdivide your results.

Shopping for QuickBooks or related accessories? Click the Shopping link on the left.

Want some free video training tools? Click on Video and it will pull up YouTube and other content.

Want to know what’s being said real-time about QuickBooks? Search on QuickBooks and then click Updates and you’ll see the Twitter timeline. You don’t have to have a Twitter account to access it.

One not-so-new, but still valuable Google trick for finding DIY QuickBooks support is using the site: prefix in your search. Use site: at the beginning of your search to concentrate your search in an answer-rich environment. Searching within forums.quickbooksusers.com,  support.quickbooks.intuit.com and community.intuit.com works great.

google-for-quickbooks-solutions

Anybody else have a tip for using Google to find what you need for QuickBooks?

This error showed up over the weekend. It is associated with an update that came out in AVG’s anti-virus software. This update, 271.1.1/2832 (AVG v9.0.814) falsely detects QuickBooks as being infected with a virus.

The workaround to the problem is to set up an AVG exception so that the QuickBooks folder is not scanned.

Details are on a QuickBooks KnowledgeBase page here.

If additional help needed — a walkthrough of the process, for example — give us a call at 1-800-999-9209 or click here.

Folks want free support. There’s nothing wrong with wanting free. I want free. Everyone wants free!

But for QuickBooks, I think there are some particular reasons people want and often expect free support:

1. For most users, QuickBooks is pretty inexpensive software, and people want inexpensive (free!) support to go with it.

2. Free is quite attractive to small businesses or nonprofits who are struggling to keep their heads above water in a tough economy.

3. There’s often a do-it-yourself ethos with QuickBooks. I’m going to save money by doing it myself — it’s easy, right?! If you can write a check, you can do your own books with QuickBooks! And when you (almost) do it yourself, it’s supposed to be free.

To be sure, we have a free QuickBooks Forum where tens of thousands of questions and problems have been asked and answered. It’s free, no strings attached.

And Twitter is a place for limited free support. Limited, because it’s difficult to ask and answer questions in just 140 characters.

The Intuit Community is a free support resource.

Otherwise, support doesn’t come free. And there’s a good reason for that…the people providing the support have to make a living at what they do. Our forums are amazing because there are a lot of members who volunteer their time to help other people out. I am so impressed with the altruism of our members.

But if you want to talk to someone now to resolve your QuickBooks problem, whether it’s at QuickbooksUsers.com or elsewhere, well, that someone has to make a living. Don’t we all!

How do you feel about paying (or being paid) for software support?

Take care of your computer, and it will take care of you. Here are five easy and inexpensive ways to bullet-proof your PC.

1. Have each computer you use on a battery backup. Electric surge protection is not enough. If the power goes out when you have critical files open and your computer blinks off, you have a big problem. Battery backups are not that expensive.

2. Have every computer you use do Windows auto-updates. Access the settings through your Windows Control Panel. Auto-updates will make sure that you get critical service-packs, security updates, and Windows bug fixes.

3. Have every computer running security software. Symantec and McAfee are the big dogs for subscription-based solutions. But you can still get some free solutions, like AVG’s free edition. You’d have to be crazy to have a computer connected to the internet these days without some basic protection.

4. Be smart with your passwords. Don’t use your name or your address or your phone number, etc. Use numbers, upper and lower case letters, special characters, and nonsense words.

5. Don’t ignore warning signs. If your computer starts making funky noises, or getting intermittent bootup errors, or hanging up a lot, don’t wait around for it to get worse. Unlike the human body, computers aren’t self-healing. Get your IT pro to diagnose/repair, or just go get a new computer before the big crash.

Any other suggestions?

Posted in IT.