About Shannon Tucker

President, AccountingUsers, Inc.

QuickBooks 2015 is a great version. But it’s quickly going away.

Every May, Intuit retires their oldest supported version, to keep their three version support window in sync. So QuickBooks 2015 (all desktop editions) will have “service discontinued” (AKA “sunsetted”) after May 31, 2018.

I thought version 2015 was an unusually stable version, from the point of view of one who sees a lot of QuickBooks data problems.

Note: If you are not using any add-on services to QuickBooks 2015, you will still be able to use the QuickBooks 2015 software. But there will no longer be live support available for it through Intuit.

RELATED:  Handling QuickBooks Upgrades and Updates
How to Transfer Files from Older to Newer Version of QuickBooks

Hasta la vista, QuickBooks 2015!

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For the last fifteen years, almost every day I’ve been in the office, I’ve talked with QuickBooks users who are struggling with data corruption.

There are common scenarios, common causes, common errors, common end results, and I’ve written elsewhere about those.

But what are the options when one finds one’s self in a data corruption mess? I tried to think of every option..

  • Rebuild your file. Make a backup first. Click File / Utilities / Rebuild Data. This built-in command can fix lots of kinds of data problems. Use with caution though…
  • Restore your last good backup. “Good backup” meaning a backup made before the data corruption occurred. Hopefully it is a recent backup, and not much data reentry will be necessary.
  • Manually fix the file yourself. This is easier said than done, but it is possible sometimes, especially if the corruption is limited to just a few records, and you can find out what those records are.
  • Start over with a new file. This is obviously an option with serious disadvantages, but it is an option.
  • Get the file repaired by a pro. There are options there too…
    • Your local IT pro. Depending on their experience on the technical side of QuickBooks, they might be able to help. Even if they can’t fix the file directly, they are a great resource if you are not comfortable restoring backups (many people struggle with this!)
    • A QuickBooks Pro Advisor. Ditto above. Find an advisor here.
    • William Murphy. An Advanced ProAdvisor (and good guy) who has fixed a lot of damaged files. Details.
    • Intuit Data Services. In my opinion, IDS does a good job, but they are slow in their turnaround. They also only work on currently supported versions.
    • Let us help. Overnight or weekend service, guaranteed results, very high success rate. Details here.

“You fixed the Quickbooks file completely and quickly. My client is very happy with your service because you saved them many hours of data re-entry.” – Peter Salzman, CPA

 

“Great experience, got our file working in one business day. We sent it off to Quickbooks and they are still working on it, after a week and 4 days. I highly… highly… recommend going with Quickbooksusers.com. Thanks guys!” – Hunter Eddington, DATCS

 

“I appreciated how fast everything happened and the few details at the end were followed up on quickly as well.” – Connie Dueck, Tristar Dairy Centre Ltd

 

“Shannon was extremely fast with both our data repair and file condensing. He also answered every question I had in an incredibly timely matter. We couldn’t be happier with the service.” – Blake Selover, Air Designs

 

“Our experience was wonderful. I was having an issue that two phone calls and 4 hours with QuickBooks tech support did not help. You looked after my situation in a few days and all was fixed.” – Carolyn Cameron, Noggins Corner Farm

 

“The best service ever. Delivered what they preach. Will use them again if any problem.” – Patrick Faup, The Restaurant Group

 

“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

 

“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.

Learn about guaranteed data repair services for QuickBooks files here.

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A friend of mine recently had her hard drive crash with QuickBooks on it. She thought she had a good backup on an external hard drive, and additionally, a good cloud backup.

Turns out she had neither. All the copies and backups of her file were copies of corrupted data.

Fortunately, an outside bookkeeper had put a QuickBooks backup on a USB stick three weeks earlier. So “only” three weeks of data had to be re-input, instead of lots, lots more.

What went wrong? In a nutshell: One-generation backups. That means there was only one copy of backups to restore from.

In her case, both the external hard drive and the cloud backup were being updated from files on her hard drive. That’s fine as far as it goes.

But when the hard drive went down and was recovered, a damaged QuickBooks company file was then backed up to all the backup systems. And so any previously backed up “good” data was overwritten by “bad” data.

There existed only one generation of QuickBooks data. That’s bad.

It’s true that there were IT protocol errors made in the attempted recovery, but the vulnerability was always there: If you have only one generation of backups, you can get burned.

The best way way to backup your QuickBooks data with current technology is to backup to a cloud-based system. And that system must both automatically backup your QuickBooks data in real-time and keep many generations (meaning days) of backups available.

For example, with Carbonite, you can set it up to maintain a rolling 90 day window of backups. It will make a backup every day for 90 days before the oldest file “falls off”. If you need to restore a backup, you can go back as far as 90 days to look for an uncorrupted file. That’s pretty great.

Have you been burned by one-generational backup systems? Or saved by multi-generational backups? Tell your story.

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What did QuickBooks users read about in 2017? Of the more than 300,000 views our blog will receive in 2017, here are the 10 most-read articles from this year:

  1. How to Transfer Files from Older Version to New Version of QuickBooks
  2. How to Open QuickBooks When It Won’t Open
  3. How to Restrict User Access in QuickBooks
  4. How to Transfer QuickBooks from One Computer to Another
  5. What to Do When QuickBooks Is (Not Responding)
  6. How to Create a Customer Statement in QuickBooks
  7. 13 Steps to Implementing Job Costing in QuickBooks for Contractors
  8. Windows 10 + Older QuickBooks = Fail?
  9. User Permissions: What Is Possible, Impossible to Restrict
  10. 10 Common Mistakes When Using QuickBooks for a Construction Business

Thanks for reading in 2017! Be seeing you in 2018!

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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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