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8 posts from August 2010

QuickBooks Advisory: Memorized Reports May Corrupt or Disappear

Do you use one or more memorized reports in QuickBooks? If so, please read this post completely. It could literally save you hours and hours of time.

You KNOW you're having a bad day when you reach for your memorized reports in QuickBooks...

and then find out they aren't there.

And...

you're not just missing one memorized report, but all 29 that you had in the list! What choice word(s) would you have to describe that?

IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED!

This twisted tale of woe is a true story that happened recently with a client of mine. We've been trying to get to the bottom of the problem with the QuickBooks support group (more on that a bit later), but here is what we know:

  • My client was experiencing periodic crashes and disconnects in their QuickBooks file.
  • As part of the standard QuickBooks troubleshooting process, the client first performed a data verification. That did not work, so they did a data rebuild. That process indicated that 4 payroll checks from nearly four years ago had developed some type of problem and had become corrupt and needed fixed.
  • When they went to access a memorized report a day after taking the steps above, they came to the grim realization that their memorized report list was completely empty. None could be found.

THE WORKING THEORY RIGHT NOW...

Based on what I have seen and discussed with the support group, it appears that the payroll checks that "went rogue" in turn corrupted one of the memorized reports. Then, when the data rebuild was performed, it not only knocked out that report, but ALL the others in the list as well. There weren't a lot of clues at this crime scene to help reconstruct what actually happened, but it definitely occurred after a rebuild of the data file.

Intuit is still taking a look at the behind the scenes issues involved in this problem at press time, so we'll see what they discover, if anything.

IS THIS A KNOWN ISSUE?

In talking with the support group, my sense is that the problem of memorized reports getting corrupted and/or disappearing is a "known issue" at Intuit. This means that they have had businesses report similar circumstances to them in the past. They would not confirm or deny that this is a "known issue", but my take is that is sure is.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF BEFORE THIS HAPPENS TO YOU

Unfortunately, I can't offer you a fool-proof way to ensure you never lose a memorized report. Here is what you can do to help minimize your pain:

  • Backup your QuickBooks data file frequently, and keep several of these copies around for safekeeping in case you have to restore it to...
  • Export the memorized report template from the backup copy into your "live" data file. If you click Reports > Memorized Reports List and then the "Memorized Report" button in the lower left hand corner of the screen, you'll see an "Export Template" option. You will be able to export some (likely not all) of your templates one by one to a safe place (i.e. My Documents, etc.). NOTE: You can export your templates at any time from your live file - you don't have to do it from a backup copy.
    Memorized Report Export Template

EVEN IF YOU DO ALL THAT...

You may find that not all of your templates will export. If you use custom fields in your reports, they will simply not export. You could run into this message:

Memorized Report Export Warning

My suggestion is that you keep a hard copy of the memorized report handy AND create an Excel or Word file that documents the settings you have chosen to build the report. If you're like me, you won't remember these settings for long once the report is created!

MORE DETAILS TO COME FROM INTUIT?

Intuit has promised to look into the issue where some reports won't export. If I pick up any more insight from them about this, I will be sure to update this post. I may not hear anything for several months on this issue though, as I believe the root cause of the problem has to do with the inner programming of QuickBooks.

This particular story happened with the Enterprise version of QuickBooks, but I have no reason to think it couldn't happpen in the Pro or Premier versions of QuickBooks either. Intuit would not confirm that theory either.

My hope is that you never experience a situation like this with your QuickBooks. But, if you take the proactive steps above, it will definitely be far less of a pain-in-the-you-know-where if it does!

HAS THIS HAPPENED TO YOUR COMPANY FILE?

Please feel free to post a comment below about your experience with memorized reports becoming corrupted or completely vanishing so we can compare notes!

RELATED POST: Creating a Memorized Report in QuickBooks

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Is Your QuickBooks Running S-L-O-W?

Doesn't it seem that on some days, computers have attitude problems, just like people do?

Turtle Is your QuickBooks having an attitude problem and running too slow for your liking?

In addition to my previous posts about QuickBooks running slow due to insufficient memory, and QuickBooks running slow due to a disorganized hard drive, there is another potential gremlin lurking in the works too.

Your QuickBooks data file may simply be too big for its' own good.

WHO SAID THERE IS A LIMIT ON THE SIZE OF QUICKBOOKS DATA FILE?

If you scour the product related information for QuickBooks, chances are you won't find any reference to just how big your QuickBooks data file can become before it runs into trouble (if you do find it, let me know. I've been looking for 10 years...)

Take it from me - the following information is critical to your success in using QuickBooks...

THE "DANGER ZONE" FOR QUICKBOOKS DATA FILES

Based on years of field experience and reading stacks of articles about QuickBooks, your QuickBooks data file can begin to display signs of stress when they get into these danger zones:

  • QuickBooks Pro - between 150 and 200 megabytes (or 150,000 and 200,000 units as described below)
  • QuickBooks Premier (all versions - i.e. Contractor, Manufacturing, etc.) - same as Pro. Between 150 and 200 megabytes (or 150,000 and 200,000 units as described below)
  • QuickBooks Enterprise - between 1 and 1.5 gigabytes (or between 1,000,000 and 1,500,000 units as described below)

Be aware that these "danger zones" are NOT exact numbers, but just guidelines to follow. QuickBooks isn't going to pop up any messages alerting you to potential problems in your data file (unlike all the pop ups to cross sell their other products!). You may get away with using a file bigger than these guidelines with no problems or you may begin to have trouble with files smaller than these guidelines.

BUT WHEN THE TROUBLE BEGINS

Here are some warning signs that your QuickBooks data file has gotten too big for its' own good:

  • It seems to run really s-l-o-w on a regular basis
  • It takes a long time to run reports of any type
  • You experience unexpected error messages
  • You experience unexpected disconnections on the network
  • Your QuickBooks file will not verify or rebuild properly

HOW DO I KNOW HOW BIG MY QUICKBOOKS FILE IS?

That part is easy - just tap the F2 key on your keyboard and you'll then see a screen that looks like this (note the arrow pointing to the file size information):

File Size via F2

In the sample QuickBooks file above, the file size is 14,664, which is well below the 150,000 file size unit mentioned above. This is also known as about 14,664 megabytes if you are into the techie way to describe it.

Take a look at yours right now - how big is it?

SOLUTIONS IF QUICKBOOKS IS RUNNING SLOW

I've put together an extensive discussion of the various options you should consider if your file is getting too big. Each one of them has pros and cons associated with it.

Grab your copy of my "Danger? Danger! Your QuickBooks File May Implode" guide (along with other essential QuickBooks guides too) for more insight on your options.

You will want to plan on taking action of some sort when your file gets too large. Otherwise, QuickBooks may take action all on its' own one morning and refuse to start up for you.

A SOLUTION TO DEFINITELY CONSIDER

When my clients are having trouble with QuickBooks files, we enlist the services of AccountingUsers.com and their SuperCondense file service. They can take a look at your QuickBooks file to see if it can be surgically compacted to allow you to keep working along just as you have been in QuickBooks. Don't hesitate to contact them to see what they can do for your file.

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How to Combine Multiple Sales Orders into a Single Invoice in QuickBooks

If your business needs the flexibility to combine multiple sales orders into one invoice, QuickBooks Premier and QuickBooks Enterprise versions can handle it. (QuickBooks Pro does not offer the sales order feature at all).

There really is no button or menu command that says "combine multiple sales orders into an invoice", but once you see how it works, you'll see how easy it is.

Let's assume that you have a customer for which you have created two separate sales orders in your QuickBooks. It is now time to create an invoice, and the customer wants a consolidated invoice for both sales orders.

Rather than starting in the sales order screen and clicking the "Create Invoice" button at the top of the screen, you will start in the create invoice screen. Type in the name of your customer (for my example, my customer is Jenny Morgenthaler), and as soon as you do that, a window appears indicating that there are open sales orders on the account. It looks like this:

Multiple Sales Orders

From here, simply pick and choose which sales orders you would like to combine into one invoice. I'll select both sales orders from the screen above by checking them (or clicking the "Select All" option), and the sales order details are then loaded into an invoice:

Multiple Sales Orders into Invoice

Note that this particular invoice format has a column that lists the sales order numbers that were combined. In this case, sales order #7001 and #7003 were consolidated into this invoice.

I hope you find this tip handy for those customers that prefer to have consolidated invoicing!

RELATED POSTS:

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QuickBooks and Office 2010: An Update

In a prior post about QuickBooks and Office 2010, I shared the fact that QuickBooks 2010 was the only version that worked with Office 2010. Seems that information has changed.

Based on some recent chatter about this subject, I went back and took a look at the QuickBooks support site on this issue and came across some disappointing news - "QuickBooks is not technically designed to work with Microsoft 2010 products." My translation - if you have any problems trying to make Office 2010 work with QuickBooks, they will not help you resolve them. You may get lucky and get them to work together, but don't expect it.

The support site goes on to indicate that QuickBooks will work with versions of Office up through 2007. It also discusses known issues for those of you trying to muddle along using Office 2010 with QuickBooks.

Not a pretty picture at this time for Office 2010 users.

I'll post updated information about this issue once Intuit formally acknowledges their support of Office 2010. Is it possible that they are waiting for the release of QuickBooks 2011 for the integration with Office 2010? Time will tell...

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QuickBooks 2010: Registration Process Just Got Easier

Finally!

After years of having to endure the hassles (and in some cases nightmares) of the QuickBooks registration process, things are changing for the better.

I recently received notification from a high level executive at Intuit that anyone trying to register QuickBooks 2010 will now have the option to register either completely on-line or via the traditional phone system.

My understanding is that this process will be very similar to that when you register Microsoft Office. If so, kudos to Intuit for implementing this change. In addition, thanks to you for posting your comments and experience about the registration process on my post to the CEO of Intuit.

It's too bad that thousands of people had to endure the hassles of the phone registration system before this QuickBooks online registration option came to life. However, I am thankful the change has been made.

Just so you know, the ability to register online only applies to QuickBooks 2010 versions. In the event you have to re-register an older version of QuickBooks, the only option available is phone registration.

Have you had the ability to register QuickBooks using the new online method yet? How was your experience? Please post a comment below to let everyone know how it worked out for you.

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Dangers of Purchasing QuickBooks from "Secondary" Sources

I recently received an e-mail from a reader that went like this...

"I bought QuickBooks secondhand and called to register it (editors note - product registration is required). The rep on the phone asked me if I bought it at a retail store or someplace else. I told them "someplace else" and the rep would not register it for me".

So I wrote her back and told her that was a bunch of crap. She could register authentic QuickBooks software at any time, regardless of where it was purchased. Heck, I've sold hundreds of authentic copies of discounted QuickBooks software via my web site since 2003.

WE DIG A LITTLE FURTHER AND IT GETS BETTER... 

  Pirated Software

She writes back and says that she called Intuit to try and register yet again and relayed my message (not sure if she used my exact words or not). Now the plot sickens..

This time, she indicated the rep would not register her QuickBooks because it had already been registered to another company.

Now we've gotten to the bottom of it! This time, the rep was spot on - Intuit will not register QuickBooks to a new owner if it has been previously registered, even if the QuickBooks is "shrink wrapped, in a box, and looks like it was brand new" (as she described in her e-mail to me).

PARDON ME - DID YOU JUST ASK ME FOR A TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP?

In the event that QuickBooks software is changing hands from one business to another, Intuit will ask for the seller to complete a "transfer of ownership" form and then will review the details to determine if a transfer of the license to the purchaser will be approved or denied. This is typically the only way I know of that a license can be transferred - it just can't be sold on places like eBay, etc.

IS IT BOGUS?

In this case, my hunch is that my reader was duped into thinking this was a new copy of QuickBooks by the way it was packaged. To date, her attempts to get in touch with the seller have not been successful. For the moment, her only use for the QuickBooks CD she has is as a coaster. She won't be able to get it registered, and QuickBooks simply stops working after 30 days if it is not registered.

BUY FROM AUTHORIZED CHANNELS

I've always told anyone that asks about buying QuickBooks via secondary channels that it is "buyer beware". This particular case (and countless others I have read about) really drives home the point. What you think may be a great deal on QuickBooks turns out to be a raw deal. This warning applies not just to QuickBooks, but any commercial software where the lure of saving a few bucks may take you down the wrong road.

As an authorized affiliate for QuickBooks, I can offer you authorized copies of all versions of QuickBooks software. The software is shipped directly from the QuickBooks warehouses, and the software downloads come directly from the Intuit servers.

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Looking for Bookkeeping Courses or Online Bookkeeping Training?

Do you sometimes feel like "an accidental bookkeeper"?

You are not alone in that feeling.

In fact, I often hear clients saying "I wish I knew more about bookkeeping and tracking the finances for my business"

YOUR SOLUTION IS HERE

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I have created a webinar series, called "The Accidental Bookkeeper" just for you.

This online bookkeeping training series will help you learn more about keeping your books, understanding critical terms, getting your accountant the information they need and improving your financial picture.

MY "ACCIDENTAL BOOKKEEPER" WEBINARS

  • Sorting Out the Basics of Bookkeeping - in this webinar, you'll get an in-depth understanding of the chart of accounts and important bookkeeping terms and concepts; get a handle on the differences between debits and credits and why you should care about that; learn how to interpret and understand the differences between cash and accrual basis and more.
  • Handling Tricky Transactions, Why Reconciling is Critical to Your Success, and 5 Tips to Improve Your Internal Controls - in this webinar, I'll provide insight on how to deal with the things that drive you nuts. Things such as personal expenses paid by the business, business expenses paid by the owner, writing off customer balances, transferring money between accounts AND between businesses, handling petty cash, bartering, and much more.
  • Understanding the End Results of All Your Hard Work - learn about what financial reports to print, when to print them, what information your accountant needs, understanding a profit and loss report, ideas to improve your bottom line and much more!

BEST OF ALL

If you can't make the dates of the live events above, sign up anyway!

Each webinar will be recorded, and you will have 24/7 access to the contents of the webinar for a period of 30 days once the webinar has ended. You can play back the information as much as you like.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE QUICKBOOKS TO ATTEND!

It is not essential for you to have QuickBooks or Peachtree to attend these webinars. Everything will be presented in such a way that you'll better understand it regardless of what software you use to track your business finances. I will be using QuickBooks to demonstrate some of the concepts so you can see them visually, but you do not have to have it at the time of the webinar.

YOUR SATISFACTION IS GUARANTEED

Each of my webinars comes with a complete money-back guarantee. Not happy with the content or delivery? Just request a refund, and it will be delivered. No questions asked (other than to learn more about how I can improve things).

SEE YOU ON THE WEBINARS!

Whether you take one, two or all three of my online bookkeeping training sessions, I look forward to having you on the webinars and helping you boost your bookkeeping skills and knowledge!

 

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QuickBooks Enterprise 2010: What's Included In the Box?

As a certified reseller of QuickBooks Enterprise 2010 software, I'm often asked to explain what is included with the purchase.

So let's review a couple of things to help clarify some of the confusion:

  • QuickBooks Enterprise 2010 has the same interface as QuickBooks Pro 2010 and QuickBooks Premier 2010. So, if you have used the QuickBooks family of products, there is zero learning curve involved to make the move from Pro or Premier into Enterprise. Naturally, there are some additional features in Enterprise, but the core tasks (invoicing, paying bills, running reports) is exactly the same.
  • QuickBooks Enterprise 2010 has the ability to handle up to 30 users at a time. Unlike QuickBooks Pro and Premier which can handle up to 5 users at a time, QuickBooks Enterprise 2010 is designed to scale with the growth of your business. Right now, additional users/seats are sold in blocks of 5, so you could start with a 5 user QuickBooks Enterprise 2010 and then add another 5 users if you need more licenses.
  • The QuickBooks Enterprise 2010 download (and CD) contains all the versions (i.e. Contractor, Manufacturing and Wholesale, etc.) in one place. You simply choose which version you want to use during the installation process. This simplifies the ordering process - you don't have to worry about hunting down the right "version" - they are all shipped to you!
  QuickBooks Enterprise 2010 Specials and Promotions

DETAILS ABOUT THE QUICKBOOKS ENTERPRISE 2010 SUPPORT PLANS

Each purchase of QuickBooks Enterprise 2010 through me or other resellers carries a full service plan (FSP) for 12 months that includes:

  • Full access to the Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise 2010 technical support desk for a period of 12 months. As a Certified QuickBooks Enterprise Advisor, I am also available for setup, training and related needs, but my fees are not included in the deal. Compare this to the free support period for QuickBooks Pro 2010 or QuickBooks premier 2010 - which is just 30 days.
  • A complete upgrade (at no charge) to the newest release of QuickBooks Enterprise. For example, if you purchase QuickBooks Enterprise 2010, your FSP provides you with a full copy of QuickBooks Enterprise 2011 when it is released. This is NOT available when you purchase QuickBooks Pro or QuickBooks Premier.
  • A full 12 month subscription to the Intuit Online Data Backup Service. You can store up to 25 gigabyes (GB) of data as part of this plan. This backup service allows you to back up your critical QuickBooks data files as well as ANY other computer files (Word documents, Excel sheets, Outlook data, anything digital).

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MY FSP/SUPPORT RUNS OUT?

At the end of the 12 month period that comes with your initial purchase of QuickBooks Enterprise 2010, you will receive a renewal notice directly from Intuit. It is your OPTION to renew your FSP for another 12 months at that time, but it is NOT mandatory to do so. Your renewal is at the then current FSP renewal prices as published by Intuit. These are substantially less than the cost of buying the software again.

If you renew, all the features mentioned above reset for another 12 months. If you do NOT renew, you would then have to start over again whenever you do decide to upgrade your QuickBooks Enterprise 2010. Make sure to contact me to get a personalized quote to ensure you are getting the latest specials/promotions that are available.

AN EASY WAY TO BUDGET YOUR SOFTWARE COSTS

A number of my clients have mentioned that the QuickBooks Enterprise Full Service Plan makes it easy for them to budget their accounting software costs and keep current with the new release of QuickBooks Enterprise each year. Others have declined the renewal of the FSP, but appreciate the fact that it is an option, and not forced upon them as it is with other software packages.

GET A QUOTE FOR THE LATEST SPECIALS/PROMOTIONS

Don't hesitate to drop me a quick note. I'll be glad to get you a personalized quote on QuickBooks Enterprise 2010. It will be worth it!


RELATED POST: Download my guide to understand the differences between QuickBooks Enterprise, Premier and Pro.

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