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12 posts from October 2009

QuickBooks 2010: Faster Installation Time - A Good Thing!

It is pretty boring watching software of any type install on your computer, isn't it?

Speed Dial

Well, here's the good news - you'll be "less bored" watching QuickBooks 2010 install, as I have found the installation process to be faster with the 2010 version than in prior years.

In an unscientific test of the first 12 copies of QuickBooks 2010 I have installed at client sites, I have found the installation process to take anywhere from 20% - 25% less time that prior versions.

As you may know, there area lot of variables that play into the total installation time of any software, with the biggest ones being processor speed and memory/RAM available within the computer. All of the computers where I have recently installed QuickBooks have been running Windows XP (none of them have been running Vista), and all of them have had at least 1 GB (gigabyte) of memory/RAM built in.

Having plenty of memory/RAM available in your computer not only helps streamline the software installation process, but it also helps the overall performance of your computer on a daily basis. Memory is very inexpensive these days, so it can pay BIG dividends to add more of it to your computer. Your IT support group can assist you with the evaluation of your memory needs and the installation of it.

In addition, the installation screens within QuickBooks 2010 have been streamlined and simplified, making for an easier and less frustrating installation experience, especially in a multi-user environment.

Congratulations to Intuit on the improvements within this area of QuickBooks 2010!

What has your QuickBooks 2010 installation experience been? Please post a comment below to share your experiences with the installation process.

RELATED POSTS:

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Download Scott's free QuickBooks guides today!

Connect with Scott before you toss your QuickBooks out the window!

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How Do I Show a Profit and Loss or Balance Sheet for More than Two Years?

Lisa T recently submitted the following question:

"I'm trying to do a three-year balance sheet for my business. Please help! I'm stuck"

Lisa, you're in luck!

QuickBooks easily lets you show two years of balance sheet or profit and loss reports next to each other (hint - click the Modify Report button, then put a check mark in the "Previous Year" box), but there are a couple of tricks to get it to show more.

Here are the steps to see a multi-year balance sheet:

  1. Click Reports > Company and Financial > Balance Sheet Standard
  2. Change the Date range in the "Dates" box in the upper left hand corner of the report screen to "All" - this option is at the very top of the list so be sure to scroll all the way to the top.
  3. Then move over to the Columns area of the report, just above the report header. Once there, choose "Year" from the drop down list.

Your Balance Sheet will refresh, and you now have a column for each year in a side-by-side format as shown below:

Balance Sheet - Multi Year

To do the same for a Profit and Loss or other similar report, follow the steps above and substitute the report you need.

NOTE: As you can see, this option shows all the years. If you don't need all of them, you will need to export this report to Excel and delete the unwanted columns. This tip works in pretty much all versions of QuickBooks.

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Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise. Download his free QuickBooks guides today to help you get more comfort and clarity in QuickBooks!

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QuickBooks 2010: Registration Hassles Continue?

Oh boy, this is going to be great! Or so I thought...Frustrated Computer User on Phonel

When I saw some discussion about QuickBooks 2010 that referenced "an improved registration process", I was hoping that QuickBooks users everywhere would be rejoicing!

I immediately thought - full online registration capabilities and no more need to call the product registration desk in order to get QuickBooks registered. No more annoying sales pitches for other products and services while I was on the phone.

Well, I'm quite disappointed to report that I am 0 for 10 so far in being able to get QuickBooks 2010 registered online without having to call the registration desk.

I have asked Intuit to provide some additional insight into why the "black box" that is used during the software registration process has kicked me over to the registration desk all 10 times. Maybe I'm just unlucky I guess? To date, I haven't received any feedback or insight on my request. I hope to have some additional insight to report to you soon.

What has been your experience with registering QuickBooks 2010? Good? Bad? Really Ugly?

Post a comment and sound off below. The more Intuit hears from end users about their registration experiences, the more likely problems that are being reported will go toward the top of the problem resolution stack!

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Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise software. Download his free QuickBooks guides today to help you get more out of QuickBooks!

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A QuickBooks Question: What Do You Need to Manage Credit and Collections Better?

If you're in charge of the credit and collections management for your business, you probably have a wish list of what you'd like to see in QuickBooks that isn't there todayWishing for Something

Would you care to share your ideas on this topic? What needs do you have that are NOT being met in QuickBooks today when it comes to managing customers and credit?

As you may know, some of the existing features of QuickBooks to help you administer these activities include:

  • The credit limit field and related warnings if the customer is about to exceed that limit (but the order is not stopped from processing)
  • The use of the notes area to log your customer interactions and keep a good history of your communications
  • The various reports found in the Customers and Receivables section, especially the Collections Report and the Open Invoice Report
  • The 2010 version of QuickBooks allows you to attach documents to invoices, customer accounts, etc. to keep a handy digital record of important information relating to your customers

What's missing? What else might you need to better manage the credit and collection activities in YOUR business?

Feel free to post your comments below. Others may be wishing for the same things you are in QuickBooks.

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Scott Gregory has been helping businesses figure out how to use QuickBooks the RIGHT way since 1999.

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Attention PayPal Users: Want to Test a New Product that Integrates with QuickBooks?

If you use PayPal and have been looking for a better way to get your data imported into QuickBooks, you may be interested in being a beta tester for a new product from GoLevel.

They have passed along the following information to me about the product:

"It is a PayPal integration solution using the PayPal API and the QuickBooks Web Connector. No downloads or uploads necessary to bring PayPal transactions into QuickBooks. Just set up memorized transactions, and then have an internet connection in place and your PayPal activity automatically appears in QuickBooks (practically in real-time) ready for you to work with and analyze with standard QuickBooks processes and reports.

Care to participate in their beta testing? If so, contact Ken Teasdale directly at (386) 295-6634 or via e-mail.

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Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise accounting software.



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Aligning Your Checks in QuickBooks

So the alignment of your check printing in QuickBooks is close, but not close enough you say?

Need to find a way to get the check printing fine tuned but can't find the right button to do it?

Your solution is here...

When you arrive at the normal window that appears when you go to print checks in QuickBooks, there are no visible options to align the checks:

Aligning Checks - Graphic 1

Quick tip: Note that you CAN change the font of certain areas that print on the check by clicking on the font tab in this screen.

To fine tune your check alignment, you need to visit another area of QuickBooks. That is found under the menu at File > Printer Setup > Checks/Paycheck, which brings you a screen that looks like this:

Aligning Checks - Graphic 2 

Once here, you can click the Align button, and then fine tune as you like. You can even print samples so you don't have to burn through check stock to ensure all is well:

Aligning Checks - Graphic 3 

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Visit ChecksForLess.com

Scott Gregory is has been helping businesses figure out QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise since 1999.

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QuickBooks 2010: Bank Reconciliation is Easier on the Eyes

One of the new features in QuickBooks 2010 is the ability to have any transaction you clear show up as highlighted on the reconciliation screen.

A new button in the lower left hand corner of the reconcile screen that says "Highlight Marked", when checked/activated, allows for the ability to see those cleared transactions easily, as shown in the graphic below (click on the graphic for a more detailed view):

Bank Reconciliation Window in QuickBooks 2010

Don't forget - you can also click on the top of any column of the reconciliation window and sort by that column. For example, if you wanted to sort the checks and payments listing by the Amount column, just click on the word "Amount" and the list will automatically sort in that order for you. This feature is not new in 2010 - it was introduced in 2009, and is a handy tool to help streamline the reconciliation process.

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Need help with QuickBooks? Scott Gregory has helped hundreds of businesses gain clarity and comfort with QuickBooks since 1999. Contact Scott at Bottom Line Accounting Solutions.

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Offer Your Opinion to Intuit - The QuickBooks Inner Circle

Ever wish you had a chance to vote on the potential improvements being considered for QuickBooks 2011 and future versions?
Intuit_logo

Now is your opportunity...

Sign up for the QuickBooks Inner Circle program, and let your voice be heard about future product development plans.

Once you're signed up, you have the ability to share insights with Intuit in a number of ways:

  • Idea Exchange - share ideas with other Inner Circle members and the QuickBooks product development team.
  • Insider Blog - learn about the latest QuickBooks news and read/comment on posts from QuickBooks leaders.
  • Discussion Forum - find new ideas to discuss and interact with QuickBooks product managers.
I have been a member of the Inner Circle for several months now. There are some terrific ideas and exchanges floating around within the community at this time.

There is no cost to join the QuickBooks Inner Circle program. Check it out today!

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


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Whaddya Mean I Have to $%# Upgrade My QuickBooks?

Don't shoot me - I'm just the messenger trying to give you and your budget plenty of advance notice.

If your business uses the 2007 version of QuickBooks AND you use one of their services such as payroll or credit card processing, the QuickBooks Service Discontinuation Plans (formerly known as the "sunset policy") indicates your support will end in the spring of 2010. Put simply, if this describes you, an upgrade to QuickBooks 2010 is definitely on the horizon. The sunset date is usually near the end of April or May.

If your business uses the 2007 version of QuickBooks but does NOT use one of their services, then an upgrade is optional and not mandatory. This link provides insight into what's new with QuickBooks 2010 so you can determine if an upgrade makes sense or not.

Naturally, if your business is using QuickBooks 2006 or an even older version, you no longer have access to any support for the software. That means if QuickBooks misbehaves on you and you attempt to call support for help, you then have two problems - the one that prompted the call and the fact that QuickBooks support will not be able to help you until you upgrade first. Ouch.

Use this link to save 20% on your purchase of QuickBooks 2010. It's the least I can do to help your budget!

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Need help figuring out QuickBooks?

Contact Scott Gregory, a specialist with over 10 years of experience with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise.

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The One QuickBooks Tip That Will Save Your Business Thousands

As a business owner, you know how you've said that you might have taken different actions at various times if "you knew what you didn't know"? (or said another way  - "I didn't know what I didn't know, so I didn't know what to ask!")

Hundred Dollar Bills

This tip is designed to share a critical idea with you to help you "know what you should know", especially when it comes to managing the accounting and finances of your business.

Here's the tip...

Don't let anyone touch your QuickBooks (or any other accounting software for that matter) unless they have demonstrated they know what they are doing with it. Not now. Not ever.

That includes you.

Some tough advice for sure, but advice that has been proven time and again to pay big dividends for small businesses.

It's a Crock

You see, this concept that "if you can write a check, you can do your own bookkeeping" (a concept made popular in an ad campaign a while back) is quite frankly, a crock of crap.

There is one key word that was left out of that campaign, but a very important one for sure...

"Correctly"

The question should really be - "If you can write a check, can you do your own bookkeeping CORRECTLY?"

The answer in far too many cases is, sadly, no.The required bookkeeping knowledge and experience simply isn't there (no matter how many classes are taken or DVDs reviewed) and "correct" becomes "incorrect" or "disaster" pretty quickly.

How Quickly The Excitement Fades

For the new business that is excited about "doing their own accounting", they run out and purchase the software, load the CD, and then often say "ok, what do I do now?" Especially when they are confronted with terms like "chart of accounts", "sales tax", "items", and "balance sheet".

The eyes soon begin to glaze over and the excitement quickly fades. Errant decisions are then made just to "get through with the stupid setup" so invoices can be created and checks written.

Unfortunately, the setup of the accounting software is one of the most critical junctures in the process. Loading the CD into the computer is easy. Getting it set up right beyond that isn't easy, no matter if the software says it is easy or not.

"We Had a Bookkeeper That Really Didn't Know QuickBooks"

For the existing business doing their own accounting, this is a phrase that I hear with startling regularity. The end result? Their books are either a moderate or full-blown disaster.

Common problem areas and "Tums Moments" that unskilled bookkeepers can cause:

  • Bank and credit card accounts not reconciled for months, if ever.
  • The chart of accounts showing customers and vendors in it, and is set up wrong.
  • The profit and loss report spewing out wrong numbers (True story - one business I worked with was showing 50% less sales in the income section of their profit and loss than they should have been because of a critical setup error).
And this list of common problems is just scratching the surface...

Would you let a mechanic that wasn't qualified perform service work on your car? Probably not.

Why would you let someone that wasn't qualified to work on your accounting software run the risk of turning your critical financial reporting system upside down? Without good financial data, it is extremely hard to make good business decisions.

You're Skeptical About the Magnitude of This Problem

Don't just take my word for it - connect with any of the 50,000+ QuickBooks ProAdvisors that have been working with QuickBooks for a couple of years. They will be able to quickly share with you similar tales of woe that they have seen at their clients. I guarantee it.

Think of it another way - why would there be 50,000 QuickBooks ProAdvisors out there if there weren't a lot of mistakes going on?

So How Do I Save Thousands With This Tip?

Here's a few ways for starters:

  • Your business will avoid the interest and penalties that occur from the mishandling of payroll taxes because you outsourced the payroll and didn't let your bookkeeper mess it up. Unfortunately, this issue is like a ticking bomb at many small businesses. Even worse, the extent of the problem isn't known until a year or three down the road because of the reporting delays inherent with many tax agencies. Just because you have a bookkeeper on staff doesn't mean he or she should be doing the payroll!
  • Your business will avoid extra fees that are paid each year to your tax accountant to untangle the mess they are given at year-end. These costs can add up rapidly if your books are in poor shape. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have my tax accountant figuring out strategies to lower my taxes than figuring out if the profit and loss statement is accurate.
  • Most importantly - your business will be able to make critical decisions based on ACCURATE financial data that reflect your true income, costs and expenses. The benefit of this is priceless.
Your Action Plan

There is no question that having someone unqualified keeping your books and working in your accounting software is truly a case of pay now or pay (a lot!) more later. Unfortunately, sometimes this lesson isn't learned until it is too late and the checkbook has been depleted.

If you have not set up your books or software yet, you're in luck - you can enlist the help of a professional to get you set up the right way and work with you to stay on track.

If you've been keeping your books for a while, it would make sense to stop and get a preventive maintenance checkup on them. Having a professional set of eyes doing a review of your setup should pay for itself in pretty short order. The insight you gain from that review will allow you to fix existing problems within your accounting and also learn ways to better manage your business finances.

Don't be fooled. Keeping your books is harder and more complicated than it looks. Resist the temptation to "hire cheap" when it comes to the handling of your business finances. Don't think of this cost as a budget-buster - rather, think of it as a budget saver! You won't be disappointed.

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Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier, and Enterprise. He has been called in to clean up the real-life disasters mentioned in this post many times during the last ten years.

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