Here are some insights to help clarify some commonly asked questions about 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?
- 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!
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