Millions of people find themselves working from home now and are trying to figure out how to be both effective and healthy. Are you one of them?

I have been working from home for 25 years and I have five tips to share with you.

  1. Figure out your work time and space. Maybe your boss has made your work schedule decisions for you. Or maybe you have been given scheduling flexibility. Either way, you need to set some boundaries.

    Start and finish your work day by the clock and keep a regular schedule. Figure out when you want to have lunch and breaks and stick to your plan. I personally find that a short break every 1.5 hours helps me stay engaged and energized in my work tasks. Give your employer a full day, and talk through the expectations your boss has of you.

    And find your work space. A good physical work space helps you get in, and stay in, your mental work space. If you have a home office, great. A room with a door (and lock?) is necessary if you have children or noisy pets in your home. Just ask BBC Dad.

  2. Figure out your need to socialize. This is one of the toughest parts of working from home – you lose the physical presence of your co-workers, and the casual social support they bring you. Zoom, Teams, etc. give you some sense of your colleagues, but it’s just not the same. Plan extra time interacting with people before or after hours. In this era of ‘shelter-in-place’ and restricted socializing, choose to call or video call your friends regularly. Better yet, if it’s within the public health guidelines, go on a safe-distance walk with friends or family. Prioritize and work on staying connected.

  3. Figure out your stress relievers. The healthy ones, that is. Making the change from working in an office to working at home will bring some stress because it is so different. If others in your household are home too, the added concentration of people in the house is stressful. And the different equipment/tech/processes can bring problems and stress.

    So, deal with it. What are your healthy stress relievers? Maybe time at the gym before or after work? Or a couple of short neighborhood walks during the day? The dog will love you if you include her on that one! Something as simple as getting the mail is a welcome break for me. Go work in your garden for a little while. Take a yoga or exercise break. You know the activities that put energy into you…do two or three of those every work day.

  4. Figure out your time traps. What are your time traps? They probably involve a screen, right? The temptation to waste time at home can be pretty significant. Maybe time traps are unhelpful ways we try to relieve stress. Invest some time in healthy stress relievers, and maybe the draw of the unhealthy stress relievers — time wasters — will diminish.

  5. Figure out the unique opportunities. If you live with other people, working at home gives you a unique opportunity to interact a lot more with those people. And the sum of all those extra moments spent together over many weeks can count towards deeper relationships.

    There are other opportunities as well. You can cook your own lunch and eat healthier and less expensively. You can make yourself really great coffee for cheap. You’ll have opportunities to understand the mysteries of your pets. Oh, and that 15 minute work power nap you’ve always heard about? Say hello.

Let’s say you want to create a Profit and Loss report in QuickBooks to report multiple years, with each year in its own column, and the total in the last column. You can easily customize a P&L in QuickBooks to give you this report.

Start with a default P&L report by clicking Reports / Company & Financial / Profit & Loss Standard. It will display the report.

Now change the date ranges to encompass the years you want.

In this example, we are selecting three years to report

Now click the control to the right of “Show Columns”. The default will be “Total Only”. Change it to “Year”.

Click the Refresh button in the upper right of the screen, and you’ll have your multi-year, multi-column P&L.

Where else in QuickBooks would it be helpful to you to show multi-column, multi-period reporting?

I launched this blog ten years ago this month. I think that most of what I wrote in January 2010 still holds true….do you? I wrote:

  • Make a good backup plan, and implement it. Yep, still true, and still needed for Desktop users. The best backup strategies these days for most small businesses involve automatic backups to the cloud, which are not only a lot less expensive, they much less problem-prone.
  • Keep your versions of QuickBooks (Desktop), Windows, and computer hardware contemporaneous. I think this is still solid advice. If one or two of these elements are old and the remaining elements are new, you’re asking for trouble. Use a current version of QuickBooks under a current version of Windows, running on current hardware.
  • Get expert help with your accounting reports. Yes. Unless you have an in-house CFO or accountant, an outside professional accounting resource can deliver a lot of cost-effective benefits to your organization: Perceive audit, tax, or security risks before they bite you, see what parts of your business are paying for themselves and which are not, uncover potential tax savings, learn best practices for receivables, payables, payroll, inventory….

But I’ll take back one of the notions I wrote in January 2010. I opined then that if QuickBooks ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I told a story of a lady using an Apple II computer (ha), and a commenter on that post told of using QuickBooks for DOS, and how great it was. Ha.

Those days are so gone. One needs to be more proactive these days and stay current on versions and updates for QuickBooks (Desktop), Windows, security software, and hardware. It costs more and requires more effort too. The alternative, however, is to passively accept great risk.

That’s part of why the QuickBooks Online world has been exploding the last few years, while the QuickBooks Desktop world has been fairly static.

I remember talking with a CPA friend in the mid-2000s about QuickBooks Online. She said a lot of her clients didn’t want their data on somebody else’s server, “out of their control”. I’m sure there are still plenty of people that feel that way, but that mentality has greatly receded since 2010. Cloud accounting is where the growth is now.

What will QuickBooks users be doing, thinking, wanting….in 2030?

QuickBooks 2020 Desktop features a new way to automate payment reminders. This should save you time and potentially improve your collections and cash flow.

How do you set it up? Start by clicking Customers / Payment Reminders / Schedule Payment Reminders.

Now you get to set up a new schedule. Give it a name and define how late an invoice must be for it to come up on the reminder list.

Now you are going to create a subset of your customers that will receive these notifications. Give them a name and a description.

Select the customers you want to be added to the list. Of course, you can select customers with overdue balances. But if you can select or deselect customers as you wish.

Edit your email content for the reminder. Below shows your starting template.

That’s it. When you are ready to send out reminders, just click Customers / Payment Reminders / Review and Send Payment Reminders.

QuickBooks will pull up a list of relevant invoices to send, and you can confirm your selections. Click Send Now and you’re done!

The record of the sent payment reminders will be captured, and you can see that on the Sent Email tab of Customer Information for each customer.

We hear from QuickBooks Enterprise users all the time when they find that they’d rather be using Pro or Premier instead of Enterprise.

Our Enterprise Downgrade Service delivers your Enterprise file back to you as a complete Pro or Premier file. It’s as if the file had been created and used in Pro or Premier from day one.

What do people say who have gone through the process?

 I just needed my QB file downgraded from Enterprise to Premier.  I received my downgraded file the same day that I submitted it!  Keep up the great work! It’s not often that you can find a vendor that exceeds expectations, and I’m glad I found you.

Brett Whigham, WoundVision LLC

What about links to external sites?

Quick service, and I didn’t lose my IRS links. All data seems to be intact and I was able to immediately start using my system again. Thank you all so much!

Julie Anderson, Mikado/Watkins Restaurant Group

Can you save money by downgrading?

Our company was being charged $2,375 for a 1-year license on Quickbooks Enterprise and when we chose not to renew we lost the ability to even log in to use the check register or pay vendors.  Quickbooks offered no feasible solution.  I started researching online and found  You guys have saved us a lot of money!  It was a very easy process and the customer support was very fast to respond.  Everything I read was exactly what they did and now I have all my data back even though some were adamant that this could not be done.

John McElvaine, Granville LLC

Is it a difficult process?

When I found out I could not update my Quickbooks without paying a yearly fee to Intuit I was devastated. I feel very lucky to have found Shannon Tucker, he made me feel very at ease and that he could help me convert our data with no problem.

He was right, he did exactly what he said he could do and on time. I find this quality so rare these days. 

He made the whole process very easy, I was able to upload and download our files with no problem. He was also very helpful on the phone walking me thru it all. I highly recommend this company!

Sharon Grey, Innovation Dental, Inc.

What a seamless conversion!  Fast turn around and the converted file uploaded the first time.  No issues at all.  GREAT service!  Would highly recommend A+++

Vicky Hamlin, Nuvesse Skin Therapies

We have downgraded a couple of QuickBooks Enterprise company files to the Premier version with and they have delivered the files on time and perfectly downgraded. Everything was a mirror of the previous version. Thank you so much!

Joaquin Hernandez, Empowered IT Solutions

RELATED: Converting from Enterprise 2016 to Premier 2019
RELATED: Some Enterprise Users Step down to Pro or Premier

We’re getting a lot of inquiries about this as Enterprise 16 will be sunsetted at the end of this month (May 2019).

People who have been using Enterprise, but who don’t need the extra capacities of Enterprise, sometimes explore the possibility of moving over to Premier. You save a lot of money that way.

There’s no built-in way, however, to migrate a set of data from Enterprise to Premier.

The good news is that we can convert/downgrade your Enterprise file to Premier without any loss of data, or rekeying of data. It’s a turnkey service. We guarantee success or we’ll give you a complete refund. Our success rate with this process is +99%

The data file we return to you will be as if it had been created and used in Premier from day one.

See details, pricing, turnaround, and ordering information here.

You’re getting ready to install the latest version of QuickBooks, but you’ve got a prior version already installed. Can you have multiple versions installed on one computer at a time? Is this going to cause QuickBooks problems?

And if you can have multiple versions installed, should you?

First, let’s define the term ‘version’. A version in QuickBooks means a particular year’s release of one of the desktop editions of QuickBooks: Pro, Premier, Accountant, or Enterprise. So for example, QuickBooks Pro 2018 and QuickBooks Pro 2019…those are two different versions, same edition.

In most cases, YES, you can have multiple versions of QuickBooks installed on the same computer at the same time. In fact, you can has as many as your hard drive has room for. See caveats below, however.

On my own main work computer, I have all versions of QuickBooks Accountant (Premier) and QuickBooks Enterprise between 2012 and 2019 (the latest version as of this writing). No problem.

The only exceptions to this are…

  • Pro AND Premier. You can only have one or the other installed for a particular version (year).
  • US AND Canada (or other countries’ combinations). You can’t have multiple ‘region’ versions installed on the same computer.

So SHOULD you have multiple versions installed on your computer? It makes sense if…

  • You are a CPA, bookkeeper, or consultant who needs to support the files of clients who use different versions
  • You want to keep an older version (or versions) installed just in case you need to restore an old data backup associated with that old version. Of course, it should work fine to restore an old backup into a new version of QuickBooks — it should upgrade it as it restores it. But sometimes there are glitches there, and you need to restore it in the original version.

Otherwise, you can choose to uninstall the old version(s). In fact, when you install new versions, it will ask you if you want to uninstall an old version.

NOTE: Before you uninstall a version of QuickBooks, make sure that you file away the old version’s install CD (or download file if you bought it that way), your install codes, and your registration information. Just in case you need to reinstall it later for some reason.

Of course, the best option will be defined by what your business needs.

QuickBooks Desktop (Pro, Premier, Accountant, Enterprise) has the advantage of having the longest and deepest track record. QuickBooks Desktop editions have have been installed millions of times since they were initially released in the early 1990s. Some people need the extra horsepower that Enterprise has, especially in inventory reporting. Or some people need an industry-specific sub-version that isn’t available in QuickBooks Online.

The main disadvantages of Desktop editions: You’re in charge of the IT necessary to make QuickBooks run on your network (hardware, networking, security, backups). And, if your users are distributed across different locations, that is a challenge.

QuickBooks Online has been growing in its userbase much faster than Desktop editions over the last few years. QuickBooks Online has also been gobbling up some of the Desktop userbase as desktop users migrate to the online edition.

The advantages of QuickBooks Online are the exact opposite of QuickBooks Desktop’s disadvantages: Intuit does the IT work for you, and you are free from geographical limitations in your user team. The main disadvantage? The software currently doesn’t have some features that are only found in Desktop.

Some people also take philosophical exception to having their accounting data reside in the cloud, on someone else’s computer (on Intuit’s server).

RELATED: My File’s Too Big to Migrate to QuickBooks Online!

Hosted QuickBooks is, in a way, having your cake and eating it too. Companies like Right Networks offer a subscription service where you run QuickBooks Desktop that is hosted on their servers.

So you don’t lose any functionality associated with QuickBooks Desktop, but you are freed from the demands of running QuickBooks across your own local network, and you can run QuickBooks Desktop from anywhere that has fast internet access.

What about you? Are you planning on making a change of QuickBooks platform this year?

Make 2019 the year that you and QuickBooks become the “complete team.” How? By using QuickBooks to help you reach your business goals (offense!) while also avoiding accounting/IT catastrophes (defense!)


  • Make more money: Find out what parts of your business are most profitable and target that area more in 2019. Use P&L by Class, or inventory reports to determine where you are most profitable. Don’t know how? Get a QuickBooks Pro Advisor who is strong in managerial accounting, or a CPA who is strong in QuickBooks, to help you.

RELATED: How to Find a QuickBooks Expert Near You

  • Make even more money: The flip side: Find out where you are unprofitable and scale that area back or out in 2019. Same strategy as above, but looking for the weak areas.
  • Gain efficiencies by using the cloud. This, of course, is one of QuickBooks Online’s strongest suits. You can distribute your QuickBooks operations geographically when your data is centrally located on Intuit’s server.But if you can’t do without the special functionalities of Desktop editions, you can still take advantage of accounting in the cloud. Use a hosting company (like Right Networks) to get your data into the cloud on their server, while still maintaining all the functionality of the Desktop editions of QuickBooks.

RELATED: How Do You Migrate to QuickBooks Online?


  • Protect from data loss. Make sure your backups are being done right.

RELATED: Are You Sure Your QuickBooks File is Backed Up Right?

  • Protect from fraud. Initiate an accounting audit using an outside auditor. I frequently read news stories about bookkeepers embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from their employers by doing tricky, hidden things in QuickBooks. An external audit can expose this and potentially save the business.

RELATED: How to Restrict User Access in QuickBooks
RELATED: How to See What Your Users Have Been Deleting

  • Protect from IT disasters. Small office IT is something that is often ignored until something really bad happens. Most small business owners don’t prioritize a proactive IT audit, but they should.
  • Protect against accounting vulnerabilities. Do payroll and taxes right. If you have an in-house CPA, experienced in-house payroll clerk, and experienced in-house IT guru, consider yourself fortunate. If you lack any of these, consider bringing in a an outside resource in 2019 to do the heavy lifting. Payroll and sales tax liability are tricky, and many small businesses are not equipped to know all the ins and outs. Why fight it?
  • Stay within the limits of QuickBooks. If you are using Pro, Premier, or Accountant (Desktop editions), then make sure you’re not about to bump into the 14,500 names/items limit. If your file is getting so big that it’s starting to feel sluggish, consider getting your file worked on so that it performs well again.

RELATED: I Wish QuickBooks Had an Early Warning System
RELATED: I’m About at My QuickBooks Limit for Customers. Help!
RELATED: These are Large QuickBooks Files…and What Users Did

How else can you play offense or defense in your business using QuickBooks? Share your comments below.

Thinking about getting QuickBooks 2019 Desktop? There are new features like invoice status tracking, multi-monitor support, and an easier, more efficient way to pay bills.

What choices do you get when installing the software, and what is required at install time?

Here’s an installation walk through and the new feature list you’ll see when installing. (These screenshots were taken from QuickBooks Enterprise 2019, but the process is the same for Pro, Premier, or Accountant 2019.)

Do you have another version of QuickBooks running in another windows? Or another memory or CPU-intensive program running? Close them down so that the QuickBooks install will have plenty of elbow room

You’ve seen these many times. Click the checkbox to activate the Next button

These codes came with your software. If you can’t find them, you’ll need to talk with Intuit support. NOTE: Even after you enter these codes, you’ll still need to register your software after installation is completed

Here you set up some back end network settings that QuickBooks will use to tell where your data will be located

QuickBooks knows what its default program location should be. Don’t change it unless you have a good reason to. You DO NOT have to remove older versions in order to install the new version, so keep the old version out there unless there’s a good reason not to. (If you ever need to run the old software, it will be easier to have it already in place than having to reinstall it)

Click Install to commence the process. The installation will take several minutes

Off to the races! You will not be asked for any further input until installation is complete. And now you view the new feature slideshow…

quickbooks 2019 new features
New vendor management feature in version 2019

quickbooks 2019 new features
New efficiency improvements in version 2019

quickbooks 2019 new features
New features to help you find the account you want

Almost home! QuickBooks 2019 Desktop requires a computer reboot to finish its setup. If anyone is logged into a program using data from your computer, make sure they get out before you reboot!

You’re in like Flynn! You’ll now have QuickBooks 2019 Desktop installed on your computer. Of course, if you are operating QuickBooks from multiple computers on your network, you’ll need to install QuickBooks on those other computers too. You’ll be able to open QuickBooks 2019 either from your Start menu or from a Desktop icon that QuickBooks created Even though QuickBooks 2019 Desktop is installed on your computer, you’ll still be required to register the program. QuickBooks will walk you through it once you open the program.

When you first open QuickBooks, it’s a good idea to check for updates. It is likely that there will be updates, and you want to be using them when you create or upgrade your company file. Click Help / Update QuickBooks Desktop to find and install any available program updates.