We have repaired many sets of damaged QuickBooks accounting data over the years and we are often asked “How did this happen?”

Good question! Here are some of the most common causes of QuickBooks data damage:

  • Network glitches. You are using QuickBooks across a network in multiuser mode. One of the workstations loses connection with the server for a moment and then reestablishes connection. During the disconnecting and reconnecting, the data stream gets changed a bit, and the database gets corrupted.
  • Performance bottlenecks. If your QuickBooks data file is huge and you have a lot of people in QuickBooks at the same time and your computers are old, QuickBooks is not going to be able to keep up with all the read and write requests to the database. The file will get damaged at some point.
  • Power blips. If the power momentarily goes out in your office, it can change data and corrupt the QuickBooks database. Most users have their server protected with battery backups, but many don’t protect their desk computers or network routers with battery backups. Uninterruptable Power Supplies (battery backups) are cheap insurance.
  • Disk crashes. Hard drives have moving parts, and like any mechanical device, they will fail at some point. If the only copies of your data are on your hard drive, that’s a recipe for disaster.
  • Bad software. Malware, spyware, viruses, worms, trojans…if your computer gets sick, it can affect QuickBooks and other applications you depend on.
  • User error. Just kidding! Users can’t really trash or crash their database unless they do something silly like unplugging the power or a network cable while QuickBooks is running. You can’t mess up the database by doing normal processes within QuickBooks itself.

To prevent data corruption in QuickBooks, you basically want to do whatever you can so that QuickBooks can read and write to its database quickly and without any interruptions. You also want to regularly backup your data to a location OFF your hard drive.

If you somehow find yourself with data errors in QuickBooks and no current backup, AccountingUsers Inc. provides fast, guaranteed data repair services.

What did I miss? Any other known causes of QuickBooks data damage you know of?

Businesses everywhere are looking for places to tighten the belt without harming the business.

One potential way to do this is to downsize your accounting program. This is possible to do if you are currently using QuickBooks Enterprise Edition but don’t need all the accounting horsepower found in Enterprise. You can downgrade.

The Premier Edition of QuickBooks offers most of the same accounting features, but at greatly reduced prices for software upgrades and annual support plans:

Cost of software upgrade (as of 9/2/11):

  • Enterprise (5 user)… $2,400.00 vs.  Premier (3 user)… $319.95

Cost for one year of Intuit support (as of 9/2/11):

  • Enterprise (5 users)… $850.00 vs.  Premier… $349.00

If you move from Enterprise to QuickBooks Pro, the cost savings are even greater.

There are three ways to move your existing company data from Enterprise to Premier or Pro edition:

  1. Export your lists from Enterprise and import them into a blank company in Premier or Pro. Then enter beginning balances and reenter open or pending transactions as of a certain date, and go forward from there.
  2. Do option #1, but buy 3rd party software to export and import certain transactions.
  3. Use the Edition Downgrade Service offered by AccountingUsers, Inc. It’s a turnkey service for under $500, and all transactions are retained, including payroll and inventory.

Any of these three options can result in significant long-term savings in your IT budget.

Wouldn’t it be great to start the new year with a clean, high-performing QuickBooks file?

Now is the time to plan for that.

One way is with a DIY reconciliation. Set aside a block of time in late December or early January to work on your books. Plan on reconciling all your bank accounts and credit cards (if you don’t regularly do this anyway!)

Plan some time to review your accounts receivable and accounts payable to make sure that balances are correct and flowing through to your balance sheet accounts as they should.

If you do payroll in QuickBooks, schedule some time to review your employee and employer YTD totals.

There is more you could do, but this is a start.

Another way is an accountant’s reconciliation/review. Make arrangements for your accountant to review your books at the end of the year and make whatever adjustments they think best. That way, your books should conform to accounting standards and be ready for 2011 operations and 2010 tax reporting.

Plan on sending them an “accountant’s copy” of your data. That way, you can keep working in the file while the accountant makes their changes. No data is then lost or has to be reentered when you get the changes back from them.

The third way is to recreate your company file. This option is for those who have a big QuickBooks data file, cluttered up with a lot of old information. Is QuickBooks slow or unstable for you? Or are the books just a big, unfixable mess? Then you should check out a company recreate.

You can do this yourself by creating a new company and exporting/importing your lists from your old company into the new one. You can clean them up in Excel between the export and the import steps. Put in balance forwards and/or pending and open transactions and you are ready to go.

AccountingUsers Inc. can recreate your company for you turnkey, with no downtime on your side. The recreated file is much smaller than the original, is completely reconciled, and has the amount of history you choose.

The recreate process can be scheduled at the end of the year or otherwise. Click here to find out more or get a free quote.

If you are contacted by the IRS about an audit, they may ask you to hand over your QuickBooks company data file. This comes from Revenue Procedure 98-25:

“All machine-sensible records retained by a taxpayer, whether retained under the provisions of a record retention limitation agreement or for other reasons, may be used for computer assisted auditing techniques…”  (IRS webpage)

There has been a lot of talk about this on some LinkedIn discussions and accounting blogs I follow. Reportedly, the IRS has purchased 1,500 – 2,000 QuickBooks licenses and is training auditors in its use.

There are a couple areas of concern for small businesses about this:

  • If your QuickBooks records are a mess, or don’t add up to what was reported on a tax return, that could spell trouble during the audit.
  • Most taxpayers don’t want auditors fishing around in years other than the targeted year. But with QuickBooks, there is no way to confine the file to one particular year.
  • A few ways you can help protect yourself in this scenario:

    1. Have clean books to begin with. Get a CPA or professional bookkeeper to review your books and help you make any course corrections. Your QuickBooks data should conform to good accounting principles. Do this before you file your next tax return.

    2. Run the QuickBooks Cleanup command on your data before you give it to the auditors, and specify an appropriate cleanup date. For example, if you are being audited for 2008, run the Cleanup through Dec. 31, 2007. That should at least close the door to the auditors having access to your transaction records before the 2008 audit period.

    3. Consult with a tax accountant if you get audited.

    What are your thoughts on the IRS having access to taxpayers’ QuickBooks data?

    QuickBooks Pro 2011QuickBooks 2011 is now shipping. Here are some of the new features for this version:

    • Customer snapshot — instant look at customer volume and payment performance
    • QuickBooks Connect — access your QuickBooks data through your mobile device or the internet (this is an optional, fee-based service)
    • QuickBooks Search — find any customer, account, report, or details with keyword search
    • Customer and Vendor History — details about past transactions for your billings and purchases
    • Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Integration — send invoices, estimates, other QuickBooks documents out of your favorite email service
    • Balance Sheet by Class (Premier edition) — balance sheet reporting by location, department, fund
    • Inventory adjustment enhancements
    • Collections Center — email past due or almost-due customers notifications through your Outlook, Gmail or Hotmail account
    • Multiple companies open simultaneously (QuickBooks Accountant 2011)
    • Batch invoicing for repetitive billing (QuickBooks Accountant 2011)
    • User permissions, 5 concurrent users, iChat support (QuickBooks 2011 Mac version)

    Any downsides to the 2011 version? The only major one I’ve heard of is a new limitation in the number of simultaneous users you can have in the Pro and Premier editions. Read about it here.

    My favorite blogs for detailed analysis of QuickBooks 2011? Check out

    Charlie Russell’s Practical QuickBooks blog
    Nancy Smyth’s Sunburst Software blog
    Scott Gregory’s Better Bottomline blog

    What do you think? Do the new 2011 features look compelling for your business?

    Do you know which version of Windows you are running? A lot of non-technical users don’t. But it’s easy to find out.

    Click the Start button in your lower-left screen. Then click Run, or All Programs/Accessories/Run.

    At the prompt, enter winver and click Enter.

    How to Find Out Your Version of Windows

    Windows should then pop up a window which shows what version you are running, and which if any service pack (SP) is installed.

    If you need to know which versions of QuickBooks work with which versions of Windows, here’s a chart.

    Posted in IT.