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11 posts from August 2009

QuickBooks Enterprise: Intuit Business Analysis Being Discontinued

Another announcement from Intuit has passed through my in-box, and this one is about the same as the last one. Not good.

This latest update has to do with the future (or lack of one) for the Business Analysis module that was part of the Enterprise version of QuickBooks. Here is the announcement:

"Intuit Business Analysis ES – a reporting service that is provided at no charge alongside QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions – will be discontinued on October 31, 2009. This means after October 31st customers will not be able to access Business Analysis ES. To minimize the impact to our customers, Intuit is providing them 60 days notice in advance of this discontinuation. Also, we will no longer allow new customers to sign up for Business Analysis ES after September 1, 2009.

Why is Business Analysis ES being discontinued? We launched Business Analysis ES in November 2008 with the objective to provide custom reporting capabilities and easy-to-use performance dashboards that complement the standard reports in your QuickBooks software. However, the feedback we have received from customers indicates that Business Analysis ES is not delivering on this objective – and only a small number of customers continue to use the service. We have determined that it is not in the best interest of our customers to provide this service any longer. Instead, we will be actively exploring alternative ways to solve our customers' advanced reporting needs in a more effective manner. "

The previous announcement had to do with the discontinuance of the Sales Management module that was in heavy beta testing in QuickBooks Enterprise.

So what are your options for business analysis and an advanced dashboard for QuickBooks Enterprise? Stay tuned...I'm gathering more details and will post soon. We'll also have to wait and see what they include, if anything, in QuickBooks Enterprise 2010.

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Scott Gregory is a specialist with the  Pro, Premier and Enterprise versions of QuickBooks.

Got a QuickBooks question? Connect with Scott @ Bottom Line Accounting Solutions today.

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QuickBooks Inventory Assemblies: A Better Way

The manufacturing and wholesale edition of QuickBooks provides the ability to create inventory assemblies. This feature was a great addition to QuickBooks several years ago, and it has helped many businesses that have simple assemblies and reporting needs.Checklist

But what about those business who need something more advanced than what QuickBooks offers?

Consider CCRQBOM, an add-on for QuickBooks that takes the assembly idea and related reporting to a much deeper level.

CCRQBOM can provide these important and helpful features not found in QuickBooks:

  • Multiple level bills of material - QuickBooks only shows a single level.
  • Multiple level builds - issue a build assembly for all levels of a bill, not just the top level
  • Requirements reporting - a significant improvement over the reporting available in QuickBooks on this critical area for manufacturers.
  • Where used reporting - more visibility into your parts inventory to help identify area affected by engineering changes or part shortages.

At a price of $150 (which covers up to 5 computers per business location), CCRQBOM may be one of the best investments your manufacturing business can make. It may help you get the advanced inventory assembly functionality you've been looking for without moving into a more expensive option.

For a closer look at the CCRQBOM documention, click here.

To purchase CCRQBOM, click here.

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Need help with QuickBooks?

Scott Gregory has been helping businesses "figure it out" in QuickBooks for over 10 years. He specializes in QuickBooks, Pro, Premier and Enterprise.

Connect with Scott @ Bottom Line Accounting Solutions today!

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QuickBooks Enterprise: Why No 2 User License Available?

I don't get it...Confused

Why doesn't Intuit offer the ability to add an additional 2 user license to QuickBooks Enterprise after the initial purchase of the software? Instead, businesses are forced to purchase another block of 5 licenses.

As I have mentioned directly to Intuit, most businesses that I know of don't add QuickBooks users in evenly spaced 5 user chunks. In most cases, these businesses add 1 or 2 people to their accounting department at a time. Having a 2 user license option available for them would be a perfect fit (and an extra revenue generator for Intuit too!).

In fact, I have seen businesses resist purchasing additional licenses of QuickBooks Enterprise because they simply don't need 5 more licenses. They simply make do with their existing setup, forcing people to share computers or yell down the hall to "get off QuickBooks" so someone else could log on (I won't get into their potential violation of the licensing agreement in these situations though...).

Since QuickBooks Enterprise is designed for larger businesses than QuickBooks Pro or Premier, I can see why the minimum number of licenses that has to be purchased initially is 5. However, once we get past that, the lack of a 2 user add-on license makes no sense to me. I can't imagine there is any significant cost involved to Intuit to make this happen - in fact, they created 2 user versions of Pro and Premier starting with the QuickBooks 2009 version.

What are your thoughts on this requirement to purchase additional QuickBooks licenses in 5 user chunks - agree? disagree? Post your comments below - let Intuit know your thoughts!

RELATED POSTS: 

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Scott Gregory specializes in QuickBooks Enterprise, Premier and Pro accounting software. He brings comfort and clarity to frazzled QuickBooks users across the US.

Connect with Scott at Bottom Line Accounting Solutions to resolve your QuickBooks questions and concerns.

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QuickBooks Enterprise: 3 Reasons It Could Be a Wise Choice for Your Business

Did you know that QuickBooks also comes in an Enterprise version? Here are three very good reasons why QuickBooks Enterprise should be on your radar:Three

  1. Better performance compared to Pro or Premier- if you currently are experiencing poor performance in QuickBooks Pro or Premier when running reports, accessing the data file and other common tasks, Enterprise can help resolve that problem.

    You may not know it, but when QuickBooks Pro or Premier data files start to get bigger than 150 megabytes, they usually start to experience performance issues and in some cases, data corruption and other miscues. Quickly check your file size by tapping the F2 key while in QuickBooks and looking for the "file size" line - if it is more than 150000 (the equivalent of 150 megabytes), you may be entering the "red zone" with it and trouble may be lurking ahead.

    QuickBooks Enterprise is designed to handle data files much larger than 150 megabytes. As a result, you get better performance each business day and faster access to the information you need to run your business.

  2. Enhanced User Security and Permissions - QuickBooks Enterprise takes the entire concept of user security to a much deeper level. It provides the ability to set up roles and custom permissions to view, modify, delete and print that can't be found in Pro or Premier.

    The screen shot below shows the permissions assigned to a role called "Accounts Receivable"

    QBES Role Example

    You can see how the permissions of this role are set in the example above - a solid green circle means full permission, a half circle indicates limited permission, and a blank circle means no access. Even better, you can create completely custom roles, assign more than one role to an employee and also use a "View Only" role so that QuickBooks can be put in a "look but don't touch" mode. Many businesses move into Enterprise for this feature alone.

  3. Need for More Than 5 Users - No matter how hard you might try, QuickBooks Pro and Premier will never allow your business to have more than 5 people connected to a company data file at any time. QuickBooks Enterprise allows you to have up to 30 licensed users in a QuickBooks company data file at one time. This makes your growth path an easy one - simply move from Pro or Premier into Enterprise. No need to re-learn any new software since QuickBooks Enterprise uses the same familiar interface found in Pro and Premier.

    It's also important to ensure that your network and computer hardware be appropriately configured for the best performance in a multi-user QuickBooks environment. This is true whether you are using Pro, Premier or Enterprise.

It is true that QuickBooks Enterprise costs more than Pro or Premier. However, how much is it costing your business to have your employees sitting around waiting for screens to load and reports to run in your existing version of QuickBooks? While that cost doesn't show up directly in your checkbook, it can be quite large when measured during the course of a year.

In addition, the ability to tightly configure the user security and permissions in QuickBooks Enterprise can save businesses a bundle when it comes to their risk management costs.

Finally, what costs will your business endure when you simply outgrow your current QuickBooks Pro or Premier data file? If you are forced to start a new data file at that time (and that is often the case), you immediately lose access to comparative data and reports without a lot of extra work in Excel. If you opt to move from Pro or Premier into Enterprise, your transition is seamless, and your data remains intact.

One of the biggest worries I hear about making the transition into Enterprise is that your company data will not transfer. Put that worry out of your mind. Enterprise makes it easy to make the transition - there is a built-in data upgrade tool to take care of this process for you.

For more details on QuickBooks Enterprise, including white papers, and case studies visit my web site. Once there, you can also request a customized quote for Enterprise.

RELATED POST: The Differences Between QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise

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Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Enterprise, Premier and Pro software. He has been helping businesses with QuickBooks for over 10 years.

Connect with Scott at Bottom Line Accounting Solutions
if you have any questions or concerns.

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How Many Customers and Inventory Items Can I Have in QuickBooks?

It is critical to know that QuickBooks has limits to the number of customers, vendors, inventory items and related information it can store. While many businesses will never approach these limits, others need to monitor their QuickBooks usage carefully and plan an upgrade path. Limited Space

Here is a quick recap of selected list limits (full list here):

Pro and Premier versions:

  • Customers, Vendors, Employees and Other Names: Limit = 14,500. This is a combined limit - the total of ALL of these lists cannot exceed 14,500.
  • Items in the item list: Limit = 14,500. This is all types of items - inventory items, non-inventory items, inventory assemblies, etc.
  • Price levels: Limit = 100
  • Chart of accounts: Limit = 10,000

Enterprise version:

  • Customers, Vendors, Employees and Other Names: Limit = > 100,000*. This is a combined limit as mentioned above.
  • Items in the item list: Limit = > 100,000*. This is all types of items - inventory items, non-inventory items, inventory assemblies, etc.
  • Price levels: Limit = 100
  • Chart of accounts: Limit = 10,000

* According to the QuickBooks Enterprise web site, they indicate that you could add up to 1 million listings in these areas. In addition, they note that some performance degradation is likely as you approach this upper limit. In reality, I would plan on capping out your customers and item lists in the Enterprise version at 100,000 based on my observations of clients using extremely large lists like these. (I am quite skeptical that they have any clients running QuickBooks files with list sizes anywhere near 1 million).

Avoid the Surprise

There are no advance warnings provided within QuickBooks (that I know of) to indicate you are approaching the list limits above. One day, you'll simply try to add another customer (or inventory item) and QuickBooks will say "sorry, can't help you". That is not the way you want your day to go!

Options If You Hit the Limit

If you max out a list, what are your options?

  • Delete - if you have items, customers, etc. with NO activity associated with them, you can delete them from your list and free up some capacity. BUT, if there is activity tied in, you cannot delete the item. Making it inactive does NOT free up any space in your list to add new entries.
  • Clean Up Company Data - this QuickBooks utility may buy you some extra space in your lists. Found under the File > Utilities menu, you can run this tool to see how much extra list capacity it buys you. Keep in mind that there are other potentially negative issues around the use of this tool (you are taking some of your accounting history out of your main QuickBooks data file and archiving it), so plan carefully.
  • Move up to QuickBooks Enterprise - if you are currently using QuickBooks Pro or Premier, the natural (and seamless) upgrade path to increase your list capacity is to move to Enterprise. In fact, that is one of the reasons why Enterprise was created - to give those businesses that are growing an easy and budget-friendly solution.
  • Move to a QuickBooks add-on -if you are already using QuickBooks Enterprise and still need more capacity, there is good news. You can use a QuickBooks add-on such as Acctivate or FishBowl Inventory to address the list limits, and still keep QuickBooks for your core accounting activities.

How Close Are You?

It is very easy to know just where you stand with your list totals in QuickBooks. Just tap the F2 key and you'll get an instant view:

List Status in F2

Need help determining your best plan of action if you are bumping up against your list limits? Contact me and we'll get a dialogue going.

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Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise. Connect with Scott @ Bottom Line Accounting Solutions or on Twitter.

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Upcoming QuickBooks Webinars - Join in the Fun!

I've just put the finishing touches on 2 new QuickBooks webinars for the fall:I Heart School


IMPORTANT: Use discount code QBE25 and save 25% on your registration fees!

If you've been looking for ways to learn more about QuickBooks, my webinars are a perfect solution. You don't even have to leave the office!


Got a QuickBooks topic you think would be a good one for a webinar? Drop a comment below and let me know!

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Need help with QuickBooks? Scott Gregory is standing by to assist.

Connect with Scott at Bottom Line Accounting Solutions or on Twitter.

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Duplicate Inventory Items in QuickBooks - With Ease!

The 2009 version of QuickBooks added a very useful feature to your toolkit - the ability to quickly duplicate an inventory item, non-inventory item, inventory assembly, service item, sales tax, and all others in the item list.

This sure beats having to type in all the details of each item you want to add to your item list by hand!

Here is how it works:

1) Highlight the item in your item list that you want to duplicate
2) Right click the item and choose "Duplicate Item" as shown below


Duplicate Inventory Item

3) QuickBooks immediately inserts a "DUP" in front of the part number on the following screen. Simply update any information you need to here and click OK. Repeat if necessary.

NOTE: You can also highlight the item to be duplicated in the item list and then click Edit > Duplicate Item in the menu bar at the top of QuickBooks.

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Like this tip? Scott Gregory has been helping businesses gain comfort and clarity with QuickBooks for over 10 years and he can help you too!

Connect with Scott at Bottom Line Accounting Solutions or on Twitter.

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Income and Expense Graph in QuickBooks

When it comes to your financial data, sometimes it is very true that a picture can be worth a thousand words.

QuickBooks provides you a quick and easy way to graphically view your income and expense data for any date range you desire (rather than driving your eyes buggy looking at the actual numbers on the standard income and expense report).

Simply click: Reports (or Report Center) > Company and Financial > Income and Expense Graph

The end result will look like this:

Income and Expense Graph

Even better...

Hover over any area of interest in the graph, and you will see the magifying glass icon appear. This is your cue to double-click and drill-down into the next level of detail.

In the example above, I hovered over the big green section of the pie called Job Expenses, double-clicked my mouse, and the following appeared:

Income and Expense Graph Detail

You can continue to use the magnifying glass icon to drill down all the way to the original transactions that created the values on the graphs above.

TIP: To quickly jump back to any other open window in QuickBooks, click Window in the menu bar. No need to close each new window to return to a previous one.

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Frustrated with QuickBooks? Scott Gregory has been helping businesses gain clarity and confidence in their use of QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise for over 10 years.

Connect with Scott at Bottom Line Accounting Solutions today!

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QuickBooks 2009 Update: Release 8 Now Available

As part of their ongoing effort to fix the problems with the online banking module in QuickBooks 2009, an update to the product has recently been released.

Here are a few of the updates that Release 8 offers:

  • Ability to use "Register mode" - this allows the online banking module to look like it did in QuickBooks 2008 and earlier versions. To make the change in QuickBooks, click Edit > Preferences > Checking > Company Preferences. None of your accounting data will be lost from making this switch, and you can change it as often as you like.
  • Enhancements to the "Side by Side" mode - QuickBooks 2009 offered a new look and feel to the online banking module, which Intuit has labeled the "side by side" view. The following fixes have been put in place with Release 8:
    • QuickFill now supports account numbers
    • Online banking remembers the last account used for all name types
    • Enter new names, accounts and classes using QuickAdd
    • Tab through fields on transactions using the "enter moves between fields" preference
    • Amount fields support "automatically place decimal point preference

A number of other fixes relating to other areas of QuickBooks 2009 are included in Release 8 - full details here.

You should be prompted to install Release 8 as a result of the automatic download feature in QuickBooks. However, if you want to force the download, simply click Help > Update QuickBooks > Update Now.

NOTE: To determine which update release of QuickBooks you are using, tap the F2 key and the product information section will let you know.

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Need help with your QuickBooks? Scott Gregory has been helping businesses gain clarity and comfort with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise for over 10 years.

Connect with Scott @ Bottom Line Accounting Solutions.






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5 QuickBooks Myths - The Real Story

When I'm speaking to groups about how to best use QuickBooks, it amazes me how many myths and misconceptions are swirling around out there. I'd like to set the story straight on a couple of them:
LochNessMonster

  1. MYTH - I have to upgrade our QuickBooks every year.
    REALITY: While the QuickBooks marketing done each fall when the new versions are released may lead you to think you have to upgrade, that is simply not true. You can continue using your existing version of QuickBooks as long as you like, except for...

  2. MYTH - I have to upgrade our QuickBooks every three years.
    REALITY: IF you are using any of the QuickBooks-based products such as payroll, credit card processing, or online banking, it IS true you have to upgrade at least once every three years.

    This phenomenon is known as the "QuickBooks Sunset Policy", where at the end of a products' life cycle (every three years), QuickBooks stops supporting that version and you are then no longer able to access the other QuickBooks-based products such as payroll, etc. However, the QuickBooks software keeps working after this three year window, but not being able to use the other services can be nothing short of a pain and force an upgrade.

    IF you are NOT using any of these QuickBooks services, it is NOT necessary to upgrade your QuickBooks software every three years. Keep in mind though, that you will be missing out on the new features and functionality that is built into the new versions if you don't upgrade.

    UPGRADE RULE OF THUMB I SHARE WITH MY CLIENTS: Plan on upgrading at least once every three years. It keeps your business using a supported version of QuickBooks. In addition, it allows you to take advantage of the improvements they make within the software during that time.

  3. MYTH - I will lose my QuickBooks data when I upgrade to a new version
    REALITY: This is simply not true. In fact, QuickBooks makes it exceptionally easy to upgrade your data to a new version. Your data should transfer quite easily to a new version of QuickBooks, under the assumption that you have been giving it the proper care and attention it deserves - see related post on "Why It Is Critical to Verify Your QuickBooks Data".

  4. MYTH - QuickBooks payroll is included with the purchase of QuickBooks software
    REALITY: It is necessary to purchase a separate, twelve month subscription in order for you to process your payroll within QuickBooks if you choose to have QuickBooks process it (see Myth #5 below). For example, the Enhanced Payroll service from QuickBooks. Unless you plan on looking up the deductions for each employee manually out of the printed tax federal, state and local tax tables for each payroll, you will need to get a payroll subscription. This payroll subscription runs on its' own twelve month schedule, and is completely independent of any QuickBooks software updates as mentioned above.

  5. MYTH - I have to use QuickBooks to process my payroll
    REALITY: Not true. You are free to use any payroll service you like to process your payroll. Other companies such as PayCycle (which was recently acquired by Intuit), Paychex and others can definitely process your payroll.

    Many businesses use journal entries to get their payroll data into QuickBooks from these outside payroll services. Even better, some of them like PayCycle have integration tools that permit the electronic linkage of their payroll data to your QuickBooks file.

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Got a QuickBooks myth that needs checked out? Post a comment below and I'll do my best to figure it out for you!

Scott Gregory has been helping businesses gain clarity and comfort with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise for over 10 years. He also provides part-time controller services for businesses like yours.

Connect with Scott at Bottom Line Accounting Solutions today!

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