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8 posts from September 2010

5 Frequently Asked Questions About QuickBooks Accounting Software

Here are some insights to help clarify some commonly asked questions about QuickBooks...

QuestionMark QUESTION #1 - Will I lose my data if I upgrade from an older version of QuickBooks?

Answer: No, you will not lose your data. The process of upgrading from an older version to a newer version is pretty easy. The upgrade process forces you to make a backup copy of your QuickBooks data before it begins, so you have that available "just in case" something goes wrong (i.e. power outage during the upgrade, etc.). In addition, I know you follow good backup practices and have other backup copies available (you do back up regulary, don't you?)

QUESTION #2 - Is payroll included with QuickBooks?

Answer: Let me just say this - the buttons for processing payroll are included with QuickBooks (i.e. Pay Employees, etc.). However, if you expect QuickBooks to actually calculate how much tax to withhold, be able to process your W-2's at year-end, etc., you will need to subscribe to one of the QuickBooks payroll services. If you want to process your payroll by consulting the paper guides to determine how much tax to withhold, etc., the payroll buttons in QuickBooks will work. Not recommended though.

Alternately, feel free to use a payroll service such as Paycor or Paychex to process your payroll. You can then make journal entries (sorry for the accounting-speak here) to post the payroll information into QuickBooks OR you can use their electronic data download app to get your payroll data into QuickBooks.

QUESTION #3 - How often do I have to upgrade my QuickBooks?

Answer: I have to provide a two-part answer to this question..

Part 1 - If you are involved with any of the QuickBooks connected services (i.e. payroll, credit card processing, e-mailing invoices through QuickBooks servers, etc.), Intuit forces you to upgrade at least once every 3 years. If you do NOT upgrade during that time, access to any of the connected services you use will cease to function. Keep in mind that QuickBooks software is supported for 3 years.

Part 2 - If you are NOT involved with any of the QuickBooks connected services, upgrading is completely at your discretion. Keep in mind that QuickBooks software is supported for 3 years. If trouble develops after that time and you are using a version of QuickBooks that is not supported, you will not be able to get support on the problem direct from QuickBooks (though consultants like me may be able to assist, depending on the nature of the probem).

A new version of QuickBooks is released each fall (assuming they continue with the schedule that has held true for 10+ years). You can assess if the new features and benefits are worth the cost of an upgrade.

QUESTION #4 - How does the licensing for QuickBooks work?

Answer: I am not a lawyer, so I can't dissect the 17 page license agreement you "agree" to when you install QuickBooks (that's right - it was 17 pages when I printed it out!). However, here is the easiest way to put it...

  • You need to have a separately licensed copy of QuickBooks for each and every computer where it is used on a regular basis. For example, if you have 5 computers in the office that use QuickBooks, but you choose to purchase the 3 user version and install that on all 5 computers, you are in violation of the license agreement.
  • Keep in mind that QuickBooks does offer various "bundles of licenses" (i.e. 2 user and 3 user for Pro and Premier and 5 user/10 user, etc. for Enterprise. These bundles are designed to save you money if your business needs multiple licenses. However, you still need to have a valid, licensed copy of QuickBooks for each computer where used by staff on a regular basis.

QUESTION #5 - How many people can use QuickBooks at the same time?

Answers:

  • Pro and Premier versions: No more than 5 people can access QuickBooks at any time
  • Enterprise version: No more than 30 people can access QuickBooks at any time
  • Online version: No more than 3 people can access QuickBooks at any time. Your accountant can also access it and not count against the 3 person limit.
  • Mac version: No more than 3 people can access QuickBooks at any time (beginning w/2011 version. Prior to that, only one person at a time).

I hope you found these tips helpful!

RELATED POSTS:

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Say Goodbye to Warehouse Management Module in QuickBooks Enterprise

Here is some breaking news especially for those using the Warehouse Management software that has been included with QuickBooks Enterprise.

From the Intuit news release:

"Beginning January 1, 2011, Intuit will no longer be supporting Warehouse Management.  To help prepare for this transition, as of September 27, Intuit will no longer be selling Warehouse Management.  Customers who wish to continue using the service after January 1, 2011 must purchase a subscription directly from AccuCode Inc.  

What does this mean for me?
AccuCode is the developer of the Warehouse Management service and currently hosts the product while Intuit markets and sells the product, manages the billing and provides technical support.   
 
As of January 1, 2011, Intuit will no longer be supporting Warehouse Management.  At that time you will benefit from a consistent experience with one service provider as AccuCode will continue to host and maintain the application, while also managing the billing and providing customer support.  

What do I need to do?

You do not need to do anything at this time.  Subscriptions to Warehouse Management ES will continue to work just as they have in the past.  Intuit will continue to manage the billing and provide your customer support through December 31st.  You can reach the Intuit support team by calling 866-340-7237.
 
Over the next 90 days we will provide you with additional information about these changes, including how refunds will be issued for Warehouse Management pre-paid service plans at the time of the transition and the steps to follow if you wish to continue using Warehouse Management after January 1, 2011." (end of Intuit news release)

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT

Intuit mothballs another highly touted "additional feature" of their Enterprise software, just as they did with the Business Intelligence module and the phase out of the Sales Management beta project that ran for nearly a year. Will we see the same fate for the Field Service Management module in QuickBooks Enterprise 2012? We'll have to wait and see on that.

WHAT SHOULD YOU REALLY DO NOW?

My suggestion is that you invest the time to review other advanced inventory modules that can serve as very good (maybe even better) substitutes for the Warehouse Management module. These software apps have complete integration with QuickBooks:

  • Acctivate - your contact at Acctivate is Ryan Moeller at (817) 870-1311
  • FishBowl Inventory - your contact at FishBowl is Chris Mann at (800) 774-7085 x. 4111

I'm sure you have invested a lot of time and sweat equity into getting the Warehouse Management module going. I think it will be in your best interest to compare other advanced inventory alternatives at this time as well, especially if you have found the Warehouse Management solution to be missing some key features or functionality.

Intuit is releasing a new "Advanced Inventory" module for QuickBooks Enterprise 2011. I'll have more details on that feature in an upcoming post. I do know that the cost for the software is $699 per year. I'll know more of the specifics soon. Given their history in relation to modules for Enterprise, I'd be wary of investing in this new program just yet.

If you find the prospect of evaluating new inventory software to be a daunting task, no worries! Contact me and I can arrange a consultation with you on your best plan of action from this point.

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Can the IRS Request Your QuickBooks File?

Yes, it is true that the IRS can request your QuickBooks file!

But make sure you read this entire post so you understand the implications of coughing it up.

Since I don't work directly with the IRS in my QuickBooks consulting practice, I paired up with a business associate, Tom Judge of Judge, Lauric and Pahoresky to review and break down this issue in more detail.

HOW IS IT THE IRS CAN REQUEST MY QUICKBOOKS INFORMATION?

There has been (and I'm sure will continue to be) a significant amount of buzz in the accounting and QuickBooks worlds relating to IRS Revenue Procedure 98-25.

This Revenue Procedure provides the authority for the IRS to request electronic records, and QuickBooks (as well as Peachtree, Great Plains, etc.) data certainly meet the definition of electronic records.

THE IRS IS GEARING UP

It has been reported that the IRS has recently purchased between 1,500 and 2,000 copies of QuickBooks software and has begun a program to train their auditors on how it works.

The actual rollout of these requests for QuickBooks files is still very unclear and may vary significantly from case to case. We'll definitely be hearing more about the issues surrounding these requests as time goes on.

CRITICAL THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOUR QUICKBOOKS FILE IS REQUESTED

In my discussion with Tom about this issue, he makes an excellent point...

"Transactions need to be executed properly and accounted for appropriately in QuickBooks. QuickBooks is a wonderful tool to run your business efficiently, but the user needs to exercise care with how their transactions are entered and document why a certain position is taken. The IRS states in one of its' Revenue Procedures its purpose is to evidence the authenticity and integrity of the taxpayer's records. How they do this is by examing transactions and verifying items are accounted for properly  (record revenue when earned and record expenses when incurred and are legitimate business expenses."

THE DANGER OF HANDING OVER YOUR QUICKBOOKS FILE

When a business is undergoing an audit, the audit period is usually for a specific period of time (i.e. year). In these situations, you provide the auditor with the requested information that applies only to that year. This keeps the focus of the audit squarely on the period in question.

However, your QuickBooks file contains data for ALL of the years you have been using it. If you hand it over to the auditor, the auditor would then be able to "poke around" in periods outside of that being audited and potentially raise questions about various transactions that have nothing to do with the topic of the audit or the period being audited.

A POTENTIAL SOLUTION

Should your business be asked to provide its' QuickBooks file, you'll want to immediately get the input of your tax accountant about how they want to handle the request. It is very likely they will already have been involved in the audit process with the IRS before such a request is even made.

In addition, you will want to consider the possibility of creating a special "archive copy" of your QuickBooks file to present to the auditor. Using the "Clean Up Company Data" utility that is baked into QuickBooks, you can create a special version that does not have any transaction detail on or before a certain date (i.e. on or before the date of the audit). The "archive copy" doesn't help you with accounting data AFTER the audit period, but some protection is better than none!

 

THIS IS JUST THE FIRST CHAPTER

Much more will be written in the months ahead about this new program that is being launched by the IRS.

It is absolutely critical that you enlist the professional assistance of a tax adviser like Tom should the word "audit" and your business name show up in the same sentence.

I'd like to take a moment and thank Tom for taking the time to provide his insight and perspective on this issue!

What's your take on having the IRS request QuickBooks files?

Has your business already been asked for it? How did the audit go?

Please feel free to post a comment below - your thoughts are welcome!

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I'm Giving Away 2 Copies of QuickBooks Premier 2010! - Each Worth $400!

That's right...

I have 2 copies of QuickBooks Premier 2010 to give away! Each CD has a copy of QuickBooks Premier Contractor, Manufacturing and Wholesale, Accountant, Retail, Non-Profit, and the Professional Services versions on it. You simply choose which version you want during the installation process.

Each of these CDs is worth $400!

Here's all you have to do to enter your chance to win:

  1. Head down to the comment box at the bottom of the post below
  2. Answer this question:
    "What is the single most confusing/frustrating thing you find about keeping your books"? Feel free to be as descriptive as you like.
  3. Answer this question:
    "What is your favorite business-oriented web site"?

That's it!

GOOD LUCK! - Your entry must be submitted by 11:00pm EST on Friday, October 8, 2010

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • You MUST include your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win. Your e-mail address will NOT be displayed when you submit your entry.
  • These are fully functional, not-for-resale (NFR) copies of QuickBooks Premier 2010. This simply means that you have to use the software in your business or organization. You cannot resell it to someone else or you will be in violation of the license agreement.
  • This giveaway is void where prohibited.
  • Only entries posted on or before 11:00PM EST on Friday, October 1, 2010 will be considered. Two winning entries will be selected at random, and the winners notified by e-mail. If the winner does not respond to the e-mail within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.

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Where's the 5 User Version of QuickBooks 2011?

If you're looking to purchase a 5 user package of QuickBooks Pro or Premier 2011, don't waste any time looking for it. It doesn't exist.

A couple of years ago, Intuit abandoned the 5 user versions in favor of their 1, 2, and 3 user versions. Under this approach, you will have to purchase a 3 user + a 2 user of either Pro or Premier for your 5 user licenses.

However, it IS possible to get a 5 user version of QuickBooks Enterprise. In fact, that is the smallest size sold of the Enterprise Edition.

Here is a quick recap of your options when purchasing QuickBooks software (save 20% or more on your purchase through my web site):

  • Pro/Premier - select from 1, 2, or 3 user versions. With either Pro or Premier, you can't have more than 5 people using QuickBooks at any time. Ever. 
    • Remember, - each computer that uses QuickBooks needs to have its' own licensed copy. For example, if you have 6 people that use QuickBooks in your office, you would need to purchase two of the 3 user packages to be sure you were compliant with the licensing agreement. Even then, you can only have 5 people in Pro or Premier at any one time.
  • Enterprise - select from 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 user editions. At this time, it is not possible to purchase single user licenses of Enterprise - 5 is the minimum number you can purchase. I have asked Intuit to consider creating a 2 user add-on license for businesses that don't need to add a full 5 users to their base package.
  • Mac - select from 1, 2 or 3 user versions. The 2 and 3 user versions are new in the 2011 edition.

 

Questions? Confusion about what is best for your business? Click the Contact button below and let me know how I can assist you.

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Key Difference Between Download and CD Versions of QuickBooks Software

If you purchase discounted QuickBooks software via my web site or other online location, you have the choice to either download the QuickBooks installation files or have them shipped to you on a CD.

A couple of things you need to know about this choice:

  • If you order the CD, it is likely that your installation will need to be updated with the latest patches and updates right away.

    For example, a client recently purchased a copy of QuickBooks 2010 and opted for the CD. When Intuit shipped the CD, it only containted the very first set of updates and patches (R1). At that time, we needed to download and update to the R8 level - 7 sets of updates had been issued since the CD was released.

    The installation process will prompt you to download and install the latest set of patches and updates. Be sure to click "yes" when prompted so that you start your QuickBooks journey with the software being completely up to date.
  • If you opt for the download of the QuickBooks installation software, it will be the most up-to-date version and contain all the patches and fixes in it. It is easy for Intuit to update the download software on their web site, but it is much harder (and expensive) to send out new CD kits to all the stores any time an update takes place.

    Bonus tip: Be sure to store the software you download AND the license number and product code in a safe place. It is likely you will need to access them again in the event of a computer crash, etc. Intuit provides the ability to order BOTH the CD kit and the download, but they charge an extra $9.95 to choose that option.

Many people prefer ordering the CD as it is easier to keep track of it that way. Just be sure to download the latest updates during installation. You'll be glad you did!

RELATED POST: Differences between QuickBooks upgrades and updates

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Special Webinar: "Understanding the New Hire Act" + "Employee or Contractor: Making the Right Choice"

Register for my webinar to get up to speed on two very critical issues facing small businesses:

  • Understanding the New Hire Act and how it impacts your business
  • Employee or Contractor: Making the Wrong Choice Can Cost You a Fortune

I am very pleased to have Molly Mulroy for Paycor on the webinar. She'll cover the New Hire Act and what it means to your business.

I'll be covering the "employee or contractor" topic with insight to help you understand what is involved in making the best decision on this important question.

IT'S FREE

The webinar is free!

In addition, it will be recorded for playback in the event you can't make the live webinar.

REGISTER NOW!

Take just a second to register for our webinar on the New Hire Act and Employee or Contractor issues.

Look forward to seeing you there!

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Looking for an Alternative to QuickBooks Enterprise Warehouse Management Software?

If you have been trying to find a more robust inventory solution than that offered by the Warehouse Management module that is built into QuickBooks Enterprise software, read on...

During the month of September, Acctivate is offering a trade-in program to move out of Warehouse Management and into their advanced inventory management add-on for QuickBooks.

Acctivate is offering a trade in credit of 75% of all subscription fees that a business has paid (verified by invoices paid) on the QuickBooks Warehouse Management software up to $3,000!

LET THEM KNOW I SENT YOU

For more details about this generous trade-in program and the Acctivate advanced inventory software for QuickBooks, please call Erik Moeller at Acctivate. His number is 817-870-1311x 126. Please tell Erik that Scott Gregory shared this deal with you.

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