About Shannon Tucker

President, AccountingUsers, Inc.

QuickBooks Desktop 2018 was released to the public in October. What new features are being introduced? Are there some new capabilities you’ve been waiting for?

Here are some excerpts from online reviews by QuickBooks experts to help you get a handle on just a few of the most important 2018 distinctives. Click the links to read the full reviews.

QuickBooks 2018 Desktop: What’s New – Our Summary — William Murphy

Multi-monitor support (for up to three monitors) makes it easy to move a QuickBooks window to a different monitor than the monitor where QuickBooks was resident. It also means that pop-up windows associated with the working window will appear on the correct monitor. That means no more having to track down pop-up messages hidden behind an un-associated window.

Top 5 New Features Right Networks Customers Need To Know About QuickBooks Desktop 2018 — Mike Ferrigno, Right Networks

Past Due” Stamp — Nobody likes to think about a situation where they might not get paid on time, or perhaps not paid at all. But most accounting professionals and their clients can probably recall a time where they’ve written “PAST DUE” on an invoice… maybe you’ve even done it with a big, red marker – hoping that might help hurry things along.

With 2018, a neat new feature is available where QuickBooks can automatically add a “past due” notice onto overdue invoices for emailing or printing.

QuickBooks 2018 Security, Accountants and More — Charlie Russell

Merge Vendors. This provides you with the ability to merge up to 4 vendors at a time.

This is a change that will save you time and effort if you find that you need to merge multiple vendor records often. It isn’t something that I come across often (since I don’t do “cleanup” work), but apparently it is something that many accounting professionals have requested.

New and Improved Features in QuickBooks Desktop 2018 — Laura Madeira

Payroll Liability Payment Reminder. Helps make sure you and your clients are reminded of upcoming payroll liability payments. On the Home page, QuickBooks displays a red reminder badge seven days prior to the scheduled payment due date. This reminder prominently displays on the Home page, helping to increase peace of mind that future payroll liabilities payments are not missed.

Intuit Pushes Through Big Price Increases on QuickBooks Enterprise Desktop 2018 Edition — Scott Gregory

First wave of price increases starts October 2017. The list price of QuickBooks Enterprise Desktop 2018 was raised 10% for BOTH the monthly plan and annual plan options as of 10/1/2017. This is the first price increase on the subscription model since it was introduced in 2015. This pricing will apply to subscription renewals that come due in October 2017 or for new subscriptions that begin in October 2017.

So what do you think, users? Any of the new features particularly grab you?

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Last month we took a survey of what people liked most and least about QuickBooks. If you took the survey, thanks!

It is easy to summarize what people liked the most: More than half of the respondents said that they liked how easy QuickBooks is to use. Easy.

It’s a little harder to summarize what people didn’t like, so I’ll just list some categories of gripes:

  • Password requirements. Several people complained about being forced to use passwords. Kinda like seatbelts, I guess
  • Specific reporting limitations (e.g. Can’t print 1099-INT, G/L by class, no report totals)
  • Limitations on doing one thing in QuickBooks when someone else is doing another thing
  • Problems with crashes, freezes
  • Limitations on inter-company data transfers (can’t automatically split a trans across companies)
  • Limitations in functionality in QuickBooks Online compared to Desktop (e.g. backups, groups)

I can’t imagine anything relating to passwords ever reversing course and becoming more lenient until a new kind of security tech is distributed that makes the whole idea of passwords obsolete anyway.

A lot of those other things people complain about should improve over time.

Until then…ain’t QuickBooks easy?

Oh, one other thing. Almost no one complained about the price of the software itself. Nor did anyone commend the price of the software. Pricing perfection.

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I talk to people almost every day who report that a bunch of paid vendor bills or paid customer invoices have spontaneously become unpaid. This throws off balances for AR and/or AP, and it makes vendor or customer balances and agings incorrect.

The payments are still in the file, but they are no longer being correctly applied to the original transactions.

This problem is tough because it is usually not easily fixable. There are two solutions:

  1. Restore the last good backup that was made before the paid transactions became unpaid. Then run the Verify Data command on the company. If it verifies OK, then rekey from there to get caught up. If verify fails, then get your data repaired, and then rekey transactions to get caught up.
  2. For each bill or invoice that has gotten unpaid, edit each of the associated payments. Uncheck the bill or invoice that the payment is being applied to and save. Then edit the payment again and check the bill or invoice. Save. See if the bill or invoice shows as paid. If not, then delete the payment and reenter it from scratch. This technique can be effective if there are not too many transactions to fix.

CAUSE: This problem is caused when there is link damage in the file. But then the problem gets worse — paid transactions get unpaid — when the Rebuild Data command is run.  It also happens sometimes when people upgrade a damaged QuickBooks file to a newer version.

ACTION POINT: When you upgrade to a new version, or if you have to run the Rebuild Data command on your company, make sure you look at a before-and-after version of your AR and AP aging reports. Make sure they are the same before and after. That’s the easiest way I know to detect when paid transactions incorrectly become unpaid.

If the problem occurs during a version upgrade or during Rebuild Data, contact us to see if the file can be repaired. Note: We can only repair a pre-rebuilt copy of the file. Once the Rebuild Data command has further corrupted the file, we can no longer repair it.

Have you ever seen this problem? How did you recover from it?

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Have you ever educated yourself on QuickBooks using Google’s search autofill?

I asked the classic journalistic questions about QuickBooks in Google’s search box. (That’s who, what, when, where, how and why questions, y’all.)

The autofilled questions that popped up must represent some of the most fundamental queries people make about QuickBooks today. Here are the “journalistic” questions people are asking about QuickBooks as of today:

WHO

who uses quickbooks

Top query: “Who to use quickbooks”. These are literal search phrases, so the slightly-off syntax there might suggest how quickly QuickBooks is growing in the international market where English is not the first language.

WHAT

what does quickbooks do
Most of these questions strike me as ones being asked by people without a whole lot of bookkeeping/accounting background. QuickBooks has long been marketed as the accounting solution for non-accountants. These questions make sense in that context.

WHEN

when to reconcile quickbooks

WHERE

where to learn quickbooks

Interesting question about where QuickBooks stores data. Might need to post a new blog entry on that.

HOW

how to make deposits in quickbooks

We’ve written a lot about that first ‘how’ question.

RELATED: Two QuickBooks Users Deal with Very Large Files
“I Was Told to Re-create My File and Start from Scratch…”

WHY

why use quickbooks
We’ve written a lot about these questions too.

Feel free to search our blog for lots of common and not-so-common topics in QuickBooks. The blog search is at the top of this page.

 

 

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We repair a lot of corrupted QuickBooks files. Naturally, people are often interested in the cause of the problem and what can be done to prevent it from happening again.

We don’t have a magic bullet for preventing re-corruption because the causes of data corruption are so varied and are oftentimes unknown.

But if my QuickBooks data file got corrupted, here are the things I would do to to minimize the likelihood of it happening again:

  • IT audit. A lot of times, IT problems cause QuickBooks data crashes. Unless I have an in-house full-time IT pro, I would bring in an outside IT pro to evaluate and bulletproof my network IT, including not only the server, but every workstation, every network component, internet access (which every QB workstation needs), and electrical power.
  • Security audit. This is really a component of an IT audit, but it merits special mention. I would evaluate for malware on every computer. I would also exclude the QuickBooks program and data folders from real-time scans so that QuickBooks can operate without impediment.
  • Consider streamlining the file. If your file is so big (or the lists are so big) that the file is sluggish, that should be addressed. A sluggish file is vulnerable to data corruption. The options to remedy this would be to try the built-in Condense command on a copy of your file (if your edition has the Condense command), or to create a new file and bring over selective information into it, or to get your file supercondensed.
  • Turn on Automatic Updates for both QuickBooks and Windows. If you don’t want to encounter bugs in QuickBooks, you probably want to be using the update that has the least bugs. And that would be the most current update, since Intuit – like every software developer – is constantly fixing bugs in their code. Some consultants recommend only updating Quickbooks once an update has been out there for awhile and has proved itself stable. But that means enduring known bugs that have already been fixed out of fear of unknown new bugs that may not exist. On balance, I want the latest stuff. Same philosophy for Windows updates. The only exception I would make to this strategy is if you are using a 3rd party app with Quickbooks that  might be susceptible to interruption under an untested new QuickBooks update.

There is one kind of data corruption that for some users seems currently unfixable: Balance sheet errors. We don’t know how to keep that from happening or from re-happening. Rebuild Data can usually fix a balance sheet problem, and we can fix it when Rebuild data cannot. But it seems like the problem pops up again – the balance sheet goes out of balance again – once the repaired file starts gets used again. It’s a repeat offender problem. Why? We don’t know. But we’ve talked to a lot of people over the last few months who have experienced this.

If my data got corrupted more than once in a fairly short period of time (e.g. corrupted twice in a month, say), I would do one further thing. I’d make full-verified backups almost constantly. Then if/when the data gets corrupted again, I can restore a very current backup that is quite likely to be undamaged (unless verify doesn’t detect the problem…a possibility, but what can you do?)

How often to make verified backups? Think about the maximum hours or days of rekeying you can comfortably do. So, as an example, are you OK with your team rekeying 8 hours of data? Then make a verified backup every 8 hours. If that sounds too painful, then make a verified backup every 4 hours, or every 2 hours. Identify your rekey pain threshold, and set up a verify/backup schedule accordingly.

That’s no fun, I know! But until you get a good track record for awhile of operating without any new data corruption, that’s what I’d do. Once you get to the point where you feel that things have stabilized, you can relax the protocol some.

RELATED: What Damages QuickBooks Data?

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You buy a used Mustang. Cool. You buy a used TV. Great. You buy a used CD of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Greatest Hits. Awesome! (If you can find that old CD player!)

But you don’t want to buy a used copy of QuickBooks? Why? Because it won’t work, even if you know the original install codes. Actually, it might work for a little while, but you won’t be able to use it on an ongoing basis.

Why? Because you won’t be able to register it, and pretty soon the program will stop opening.

When you install QuickBooks software on your computer, you enter the install codes (the license number and product number) and that lets you open the program. To keep using the software, however, you have to register it. And if your copy has already been installed and registered by someone else, that’s a big problem.

Intuit (QuickBooks’ maker) knows who that copy of the software was originally registered to. When you try to register it (with the original install codes) on your computer, it makes you enter some of the original registration information. Then Intuit’s auto-verification system will confirm that it’s really you by sending you a confirmation code to the phone number or email address of record for that registration account.

And since that’s not you, you can’t get the confirmation code. So the QuickBooks registration process comes to a grinding halt. And so does the software.

That’s why almost all QuickBooks products for sale in the aftermarket are new, and any used ones are sold “as is”, with uncertain claims about registration history. QuickBooks doesn’t work used.

 

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Let’s say there’s a problem with your QuickBooks file. You get an error when trying to save an invoice or other information.

Or your balance sheet is out of balance. Or you verify your file and it says there are errors and you should rebuild.

How do you rebuild your file? What are the risks? Will it work?

Rebuild Data is a built-in utility in QuickBooks that can fix a lot of different kinds of problems.

It sometimes messes things up, however.

Therefore #1: Don’t run it as a routine procedure. (Running Verify Data routinely, however, is great.)

Therefore #2: Run it on a copy of your company data, not your live file. If you are having a data problems, create a copy of your file, or backup your company and restore it to a different name, and run the rebuild on the copy. It will be a test.

How do you rebuild your test copy? Log in to the copy of your company as Admin, then click File / Utilities / Rebuild Data.

 

It will close all open windows in QuickBooks, and then make you create a current backup (QBB file) of your data. (If you are set up to verify your backups, and verify fails, then you can check the “No Verification” option on the backup window. Otherwise, you’re in a Catch-22.)

After the backup is made, the rebuild will immediately commence.

To rebuild a file may take only a few minutes for a small file. But it sometimes takes a long time (hours) with a big file or a badly damaged file.

In older versions, you’d get a message at the end that says that the rebuild succeeded or failed.

With the 2017 version, you see this:

Click the View Issues button to see what happened. It will pop up a window with a report of what it fixed, or didn’t.

If rebuild succeeded and thinks it fixed everything, don’t pop the cork on the champagne just yet. Sometimes rebuild will significantly change account balances, or customer or vendor balances, without warning. So you should print out a balance sheet, a customer aging report, and a vendor aging report, and see if anything has changed.

Since this is a copy of your file, you can run reports from this rebuild copy, and then open your live file, run the same reports, and compare.

Pay particular attention to your balance sheet. Rebuild can change any account significantly, but especially check your inventory account, your accounts receivable and accounts payable accounts, and your bank accounts.

Check out your P&Ls also. They can sometimes get changed in unexpected ways.

Of course, it may be that the balances were incorrect before, and they are correct after the rebuild. But you want to be aware. Sometimes the rebuilt balances just don’t conform to reality at all.

Another fluky thing that rebuild can do, to your detriment, is to somehow disconnect transactions that should be connected. For example, a bill payment can get disconnected from the bill it paid. That reopens the original bill, and it throws off that vendor’s balance. That’s why you should check your aging reports and compare the rebuilt numbers to the original numbers. If a vendor bill got unpaid, as an example, then your aging buckets will be off.

If your review of the rebuilt file is favorable, then hooray! You can likely feel good about making the rebuilt file your main working file going forward.

But sometimes you might see this:

 

If rebuild did not succeed, don’t despair just yet. It means that you’ve got data corruption in the file that is serious, but you still have options. I suggest you approach your options in this order:

  1. Rebuild again, and yet again. It seems a bit strange, but if you run the rebuild command multiple times, it will sometimes fix problems that don’t get fixed in the first rebuild pass. I don’t know why. But many consultants in the QuickBooks world will confirm this by their own experience. Rebuilding three consecutive times seems to be magic sometimes. Again, do this on the test copy of your file, not your live file. And if it appears to succeed, check out the results per the paragraphs above before putting the file into production.
  2. Restore your last recent good backup that was made before the problem occurred. This would be a backup or copy of the file that verifies without errors, where the balances are correct and the transactions are linked together properly, and doesn’t generate any runtime errors. If this backup was made a day or two ago, perhaps it wouldn’t be too inconvenient to rekey a day or two’s data.
  3. If you’re still in a pickle, get professional help. We have provided guaranteed data repair services to Quickbooks users since 2001, and our success rate is high. Intuit and a few other outfits can help as well. The “contact support” link in the rebuild report, per the screen snippet above, will get you into Intuit’s system, if that’s where you want to go.

RELATED: “We Were Told Our QuickBooks File Was Corrupted Beyond Repair”

RELATED: Some Data Problems We’ve Seen in QuickBooks 2016

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Some Enterprise users find themselves wishing they could jump down to Premier or Pro without having to start over a new company. Why? Mostly because newer versions of Enterprise require you to subscribe and pay for the Enterprise software monthly or annually. Premier and Pro editions are not licensed that way.

That’s where Enterprise Downgrade Service comes in. Here’s what a few former-Enterprise users have to say about their experience in migrating down from Enterprise.

I was a little concerned about downgrading from Quickbooks Enterprise to Premier.  Concerned about losing data.  AccountingUsers made the process very easy and very successful.  It was simple to create a portable file which I uploaded to them and then they provided instructions how to install that data into the new Premier program.  The turnaround time to accomplish this was quick also so I did not have to worry about adding a lot of information on my own that was done in QuickBooks between the time I sent them the file and they returned it to me.  Great job.”
— Sarah Tavera, Western Florida Lighting

The downgrade process to QB Premier from Enterprise was fabulous.  I was able to speak with someone right away, send my file easily, and get it back the NEXT DAY……though I had been told it might be 3 days.  And nothing was amiss….Thank you so much!”
— Courtney Campell, CPA, PA

So far, soooo good!  It looks like all of our data converted, and I am able to access 12 of the 13 reports that I previously accessed in Enterprise.  I am both thankful and impressed!  I will let you know if I have any questions as I learn more in Premier.
— Debbie Hendrix, Pilgrim Lutheran Church and School

Never having done this before I was a little concerned about contacting a company, off the internet, who would be looking at our company documents. There are many bogus companies and websites out there. But when I called QuickbookUsers.com I reached Shannon right away – no waiting on hold for a long period of time, no multiple transfers and no automated menus with multiple choices and layers to reach a live person. Shannon explained the process.  I purchased the service and I did receive the portable file in the 2 days specified. Not being a savvy computer person I had to follow up with questions.  Shannon answered all of them and patiently helped me through my ignorance on certain aspects of the computer world.  We uploaded the file to our computer and everything went smoothly.  There were no hitches or problems of any kind. I highly recommend QuickbookUsers.com if you need to downgrade a QB file to a simpler version.”
— Judith Bolger

 RELATED: Can a QuickBooks Enterprise File Be Converted to Premier or Pro?

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What if QuickBooks crashed…your data corrupted…and you didn’t have good backups? What if Intuit says your file is unrecoverable? All is not lost…

“We were told by Intuit disaster recovery team that our files were corrupted beyond repair.   In combination with our backup company’s complete failure to copy our data file, we were in dire straits.  I chose the expedited service with AccountingUsers as we needed to know quickly how much trouble we were in.  After sending the files in, and a couple of phone calls, Shannon had our files fixed and back within hours.  We were ecstatic.  Thank you!”

Myrna Bittner, California Closets Alberta

“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.

“For a few years these problems have plagued us and we’ve spoken with other “Supposed” support companies who did not have the first clue what to do with us. Shannon was great in contacting me and responding to my questions and concerns (especially since it was difficult for me to explain some of them.) I cannot believe that we do not have the problems anymore and we are so grateful.”

Jennifer Szescula, Allegiance Technology Partners

“The data services and customer service received was excellent. I appreciated the quick responses, communication and turn around time of the file. Thank you for your assistance and efficiency during a crucial time of software repair.”

Marcy Ratcliff, C.N. Copeland Electrical Service

“I likes Shannon’s guarantee, if he doesn’t recover the file, you don’t pay!  I approached him regarding my quickbooks file that was damaged and I couldn’t open.  He was quick to respond and his turnaround time was amazing!  He was able to recover my file which saved me a ton of time re-doing work!  Thanks so much!”

Regina Jensen, J&J Consulting

“This is actually my 2nd time using your service and you’ve exceeded my expectations even more this time around.  I contacted you late in the afternoon PST and you had the file repaired within 8 hours.  That is incredibly fast service!!!  I can not thank you enough for the great service you provide, keep up the great work.”

Ed Lem, GLH Tech

“I am very satisfied with the repair service for QuickBooks Enterprise provided by Shannon Tucker. Our company file was repaired and returned more quickly than expected. It was very easy to restore. Downtime was kept to a minimum. Thank you.”

Nancy McClure

Find out more about guaranteed QuickBooks data repair services here.

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