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?

inventory for quickbooks
Without the right tools, inventory management can seem impossible.

There are three important things you need to know about your inventory to be successful in inventory management:

1. How much inventory you have right now. Do you know how many products you have on hand? If not, can you find out how many in a few seconds or would it be a big ordeal to do that? These are important questions because you need to know how much you have in stock before ordering more.

2. How much inventory you need. It’s essential to know which products are selling and how fast they’re selling to decide how many to order. It’s not enough to make an educated guess. Having a detailed list of product sales helps you recognize trends and know when to order more or less to match those trends.

3. Where your products are. So you’ve got a product shipment coming in or going out. Do you know when it’s expected to arrive? It’s important to track orders to make sure the right products end up at the right place at the right time. If something goes wrong, you can immediately follow up to correct the problem.

These are nice lofty goals, but what’s a practical way to attain them? With QuickBooks inventory management software.

QuickBooks is, of course, a great tool for keeping track of finances. When you combine QuickBooks with inventory management software, you can update your inventory system and accounting software at the same time. This makes it easier to know exactly how much inventory you have at any time, when to reorder and where products are, both in your warehouse and in transit.

~ by Robert Lockard, a copywriter for Fishbowl Inventory.

I spoke with Brian Sweat of Alterity, Inc. about developing products for the Intuit Workplace App Center. The App Center connects QuickBooks users with a variety of optional software products.

Brian, tell me a little about your background and your company.

I’m the Product Manager at Alterity and have been working on the ACCTivate! product line for the last 9 years.  ACCTivate! is a full-featured inventory and distribution management system designed for QuickBooks® users.  We joined the Intuit Developer Network in 2003 and were in the first group of Gold Developers in 2006.

Alterity just released EZ Analytics for Inventory as a solution within QuickBooks’ App Center. Tell us how that product came to be and what business problems it aims to solve.

The Intuit Partner Platform was launched in late 2008 as a part of Intuit’s  “Connected Services” strategy.  We recognized this was a great opportunity for both Alterity and Intuit.

Advanced inventory management is a common need for many QuickBooks users.  We realize that many users don’t want to switch to a mid-market system for better inventory management.  EZ Analytics for Inventory provides simple tools to better understand their inventory without any changes to their business process.

Your inventory solution is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). And that seems to be a trend for QuickBooks add-ons starting with the new QuickBooks 2010 versions…user data moving into “the cloud”. What do you think the users’ experience will be like compared to using desktop software?

The experience is great!  You can sign up with just a few clicks using your Intuit account.  Intuit handles the entire sign-up and billing process.   Of course, there’s no software to install and updates are automatic.  The user interface is much more robust than traditional desktop software.

What technical issues did you run into in developing a web-based product that interfaces with QuickBooks? And what is it like supporting a web-based product?

There were a few major changes for us.  First, it required a new set of development tools (ie Adobe Flex Builder).  We also switched from using Microsoft SQL Server to the online Intuit Data Services.  There was definitely a transition for our development team, but we’re really happy with the changes.

Providing end user support is very different as well.  Intuit is responsible for synchronizing and storing the QuickBooks data.  EZ Analytics for Inventory is pretty easy to use, so we really haven’t had much additional support.

On a closing note, it seems to me that for both financial and technological reasons, the App Center approach could be a win-win-win for 3rd party developers, Intuit, and end users. Any final thoughts, Brian, about the QuickBooks App Center?

We completely agree!  We are very excited to see more users and developers discover the Intuit Workplace App Center.  EZ Analytics for Inventory is our first Workplace App and we have big plans for the future.  I really appreciate the opportunity to talk with you.

Thank you, Brian!