QuickBooks Versions and Support Options for PC and Mac: What You Need to Know

As fall of 2017 approaches, it is important to be reminded of Intuit’s software and support options.  Typically Intuit releases new versions of QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Mac and Enterprise Solutions in the fall of each year.  However last year was the first year that Intuit did not release an updated Mac version (QB for Mac 2016 is the last version available).  Intuit will no longer produce the Mac version and is banking on Mac users to use their QuickBooks Online products instead.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions regarding software versions and support:

1)      Can I still use the Mac version I have?

Yes!  Until your operating system no longer supports the software, the Mac version is fine.  However, if you have been using the Bank Feed option to import bank and credit card activity, that feature will no longer be supported once the three-year window closes.  In other words, if you have Mac 2016 the bank activity download feature will expire in 2019.  This is also true of any other add-on features like payroll and merchant services.

QuickBooks

2)      Do I have to upgrade my QuickBooks PC version each year?

No!  Support from Intuit is available for three concurrent year versions.  Currently, Intuit will answer questions regarding PC versions 2015, 2016 and 2017.  Bank feed, payroll, and merchant service add-ons will work with all these versions.

3)      What if I don’t use Intuit tech support or add-on features?

You may continue to use your QuickBooks PC version as long as the operating system you have supports it.  If your computer crashes and your new PC has an operating system (Windows 10, etc.) that does not support your version of QuickBooks you will be forced to upgrade to a new version.

4)      Can I buy an additional user license for 2015, 2016 or 2017?  Oddly enough, Intuit will let you purchase an additional user license for 2016 and 2017 only.  They do not sell licenses for the oldest of the three concurrent versions.

5)      What is QuickBooks “Pro Plus”?  Intuit’s desire for monthly income has encompassed not only their online software but their PC products as well.  Intuit encourages their sales team to sell “Pro Plus” and “Premier Plus” versions.  These are monthly subscriptions (rental) of the software that include online backups and tech support.  The advantage is you get the latest releases as part of the deal.  The disadvantage is that you do not own the software outright so if you wished to end your monthly “rental”, you would still pay full price for the complete software download.  QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions – Intuit’s mid-range package – is now only sold as a monthly subscription.

6)      What can I do if my office has both Macs and PCs?  If you have both Macs and PCs you have two options.  You can run the PC version on the Mac using a third-party software like “Parallels”.  That way both PCs and Macs can share the same data file.  Or you can consider paying to have your software hosted.  We like Harbour Cloud, but there is also RightNetworks and many local IT solutions.  This eliminates the need to have to buy an expensive server machine to have in-house.  It allows everyone to access the software via the Internet:  the hosted site holds the software and the data.

7)      Can I share my QuickBooks data file with other users? Yes! If you want to access your computer’s entire drive remotely (or have someone else do so), gotomypc.com and logmein.com are great options.  The disadvantage is that the remote user takes over your keyboard so you are left on the sidelines while they are using your computer.  There is also a wonderful program similar to “DropBox” called “QBox” by Coral Tree that shares the QuickBooks data file ONLY leaving you free to do all other tasks on your computer.  Unlike DropBox, the data file is locked correctly when another user is making changes to the data.  When the user leaves QuickBooks, the data is synched with all shared users.  QBox only works on PCs and requires the remote user to have the same version of QuickBooks installed locally on their computer (just like if you were to share a Word or Excel document you would need to own Microsoft products).

Best practice, no matter what version you are using, is to set up usernames and passwords for each user accessing your data file.  This way the audit trail becomes a helpful tool in determining who did what when.  It also allows you to limited access for the different users, keeping sensitive financial information private.

For Quicken or bookkeeping assistance or services, please visit www.dresslersantaus.com or call (203) 951-6214.

SCORE Free Workshop: Improving Your Use of QuickBooks™ to Manage Your Business Finances II

quickbooks training

Elizabeth Santaus will present a free SCORE workshop on “Improving Your Use of QuickBooks™ to Manage Your Business Finances II” on Thursday, June 8th, 2017.

The Southeastern Connecticut chapter of SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to the success of small businesses, offers a free workshop on “Improving Your Use of QuickBooks™ to Manage Your Business Finances II.”

In the first workshop on QuickBooks™, you learned the importance of regularly entering your data into an accounting system and utilizing chart of accounts specific to your business. In this follow-up session, you will compare features of QuickBooks for PC/Mac versus QuickBooks Online.

What to expect: This workshop includes an overview of the accounting and reporting features in QuickBooks Pro/Premier for PC, QuickBooks for Mac, and QuickBooks Online’s three subscription levels.  Information on apps and third-party software that interface with these QuickBooks products will also be discussed.  Participants are encouraged to bring questions about their specific industry accounting needs as there will be plenty of time for Q&A with the presenter. Laptops are welcome but not necessary.

Register today! 

 

Workshop Presenter Elizabeth Santaus has more than twenty years of experience in the financial accounting software and bookkeeping industry. She has worked for a variety of software companies and is a certified trainer in many advanced software programs.  Since 2006, when Elizabeth founded Dressler Santaus, LLC, she has consulted, trained, and provided bookkeeping services for over 200 small businesses in CT and NY. As an Intuit ProAdvisor with advanced and point-of-sale certifications, Elizabeth has been a QuickBooks™ trainer for the Community Economic Development Fund’s Bridgeport location.

Workshop Sponsor Guilford Savings Bank (GSB) has been serving the financial needs of individuals, families and businesses on the Connecticut shoreline community for over 140 years.  Founded in 1875 by 17 local business owners, it has proudly stood as a trusted institution in the communities it serves.  Starting with a $17,000 investment and one branch on the picturesque Guilford Town Green, GSB has grown to a seven-office, $620 million bank. For more information visit www.gsb-yourbank.com.

About SCORE: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers free and confidential advice on starting your own business or improving and growing your existing small business. All 40 counselors in Southeast Connecticut are volunteers, receive no compensation, and are working or retired business owners, executives, and managers. SCORE’s nine counseling sites in Southeast Connecticut include Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Essex, Waterford, Middletown, Mystic, Norwich, and New London. For more information on upcoming free workshops and how to schedule a free small business mentoring session with our counselors, visit www.sect.score.org.

Would You Like To Become A Score Volunteer? Your business knowledge and experience can help others start or grow a small business. Learn more about becoming a SCORE volunteer at: www.score.org/volunteer.

SCORE To Host Free Workshop: “Managing Your Business Finances 2 (QuickBooks)”

Partner: Middlesex Community College  

DATE: Tuesday, December 9, 2014

TIME: 6:00pm – 7:30pm

LOCATION: Middlesex Community College, 808-D Chapman Hall, 100 Training Hill Road, Middletown, CT 06457

TO REGISTER NOW: Click here to register for this event

Old Saybrook, Conn. ~ The Southeastern Connecticut chapter of SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to the success of small businesses, continues its year-round series of Small Business Workshops with “Managing Your Business Finances 2 (QuickBooks).”  Once you have made the decision to use QuickBooks Financial Software, how do you get started? This seminar includes a step-by-step demonstration in setting up a company within QuickBooks.  Options screens that appear during the company set-up will be explained.  Presenter Elizabeth Santaus will cover company-wide versus user preferences and basic software navigation so you can start using QuickBooks right away.  Participants are welcome to have a laptop with QuickBooks loaded so they can follow along with the presenter.

 

Workshop Presenter Elizabeth Santaus has more than twenty years of experience in the financial accounting software and bookkeeping industry.  In 1990 Elizabeth started as a technical support representative for Great American Software’s One Write Plus.  In 1992 she started her own consulting company, On-Line Technologies, and received her certification in Great Plains Software. In 1994, when Elizabeth and her husband moved to Connecticut, she became the CFO for three small sister companies in Branford, CT. Since launching Dressler Santaus, LLC in 2006, Elizabeth has consulted, trained, and provided bookkeeping services for over 200 small businesses in CT and NY.  As an Intuit ProAdvisor with advanced and point-of-sale certifications, Elizabeth has been a QuickBooks trainer for the Community Economic Development Fund’s Bridgeport location.

About SCORE: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers free and confidential advice on starting your own business or improving and growing your existing small business. All 40 counselors in Southeast Connecticut are volunteers, receive no compensation, and are working or retired business owners, executives, and managers. SCORE’s seven counseling sites in Southeast Connecticut include Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Essex, Waterford, Middletown, and Norwich. For more information on upcoming free workshops and how to schedule a free small business mentoring session with our counselors, visit www.sect.score.org.

 

Fixed Assets – Preparing for October Personal Property Tax Forms

As October approaches, you can expect to receive a multi-page form from your city or town asking for a lot of information about the property that your business owns or leases. This information needs to be returned to your town or city assessor’s office by November 1st as they use this reported information to generate the annual Grand List and associated tax bills.

Many businesses put off completing these forms because gathering the information is time-consuming and tedious. QuickBooks has features that help tremendously in completing these forms quickly and they include the Fixed Asset Listing.

calculatorFixed Assets are capital expenses including furniture, fixtures (shelving, etc.), computer equipment, machinery, and equipment. Inventory is not included as a fixed asset. Vehicles are taxed separately based on DMV records. Leasehold improvements are not taxed as personal property – they affect the value of the building and real estate taxes.

The important information that a business needs to keep regarding fixed assets is what it is, when it was purchased, if it was purchased new or used, and when it was disposed of or sold.

In order to make this simple in QuickBooks, here are the steps to take:

1. Update Chart of Accounts
Make sure that your Chart of Accounts includes Fixed Asset type accounts for each of the reported categories above: vehicles, computer equipment, furniture and fixtures, machinery and equipment, etc. so that these accounts correlate to the sections of the property tax return form.

2. Add to the Fixed Asset Item List
From the Home Page in QuickBooks, choose Lists/Fixed Asset Item List. Adding your existing fixed assets in this list will not affect your financials at all. Enter each item with a unique Asset Name/Number, just like when you add new items or services. You must enter a Purchase Description, date purchased, new or used, purchase price, and an Asset Account (aka the Fixed Asset type account from your Chart of Accounts such as “Vehicles”, “Furniture & Fixtures”, etc. as noted in the above paragraph). Any other information you wish to enter is up to you. You will note that the Vendor box does not include a vendor drop-down list of your QuickBooks vendors.

3. Run Reports
Once you have entered all your existing assets, you may run a report to confirm the totals closely mirror the amounts on your Balance Sheet. Choose Reports/Lists/Fixed Asset Listing. First you may want to run this report sorted by Account, export it to Excel and sum the totals for each Account to make sure you have all the computers, machinery, vehicles, etc. set up as a fixed asset. The totals by Account should mirror your Balance Sheet. If they do not, your Balance Sheet may be understated because you have acquired new assets that you posted to expense accounts instead of fixed asset accounts. Your Balance Sheet may be overstated because you have sold or disposed of some assets and the changes were not recorded properly. Either way, start with making sure the Fixed Asset List is correct and work with your CPA to correct your Balance Sheet.

Now that you have put in the past items purchased, as you continue to use QuickBooks, you can add a fixed asset item “on the fly” when you enter a check or bill or credit card transaction. Simply toggle from the “Expense” tab in the body of the transaction to the “Item” tab and click on the first line to “Add New” – this allows you to add a new item, service, or fixed asset. Once a fixed asset item is created, you can also sell the item through an Invoice or a Sales Receipt. Adding the asset when it is purchased and selling the item when it is disposed of or sold keeps your Fixed Asset Listing up to date. These transactions – bills, checks, sales receipts – do affect your Balance Sheet as well in order to keep the total fixed asset values correct.

Property Tax Forms

Each October, run your Fixed Asset Listing Report, modify the report to include the date ranges that correlate to the personal property tax form, i.e. 10/1/13 to 9/30/14, then sort these items by Account. Memorize each report by these date ranges for future ease: “Property Tax Form Report 2014” (dates 10/1/13 – 9/30/14, “Property Tax Form Report 2013” (dates 10/1/12 – 9/30/13), etc.

Keep your insurance company apprised of any changes to your total property value so that you are covered for full replacement cost. And of course, keep the list handy to send with your financial reports to your CPA at year end so that he/she may calculate the depreciation adjustments easily.

Some initial work on your part to get your fixed assets entered into QuickBooks will pay off in the long run in all three areas: your personal property tax return, your annual tax filing, and your insurance coverage.

Go to the Dressler Santaus web site.

SCORE To Host Free Workshop:Managing Your Business Finances 1 (QuickBooks) presented by Elizabeth Santaus

DATE: Tuesday, September 16, 2014

TIME: 9:00 – 10:30am

LOCATION: Old Saybrook Town Hall, 302 Main Street, 1st Floor, Old Saybrook, CT 06475

REGISTER NOW

The Southeastern Connecticut chapter of SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to the success of small businesses, continues its year-round series of Small Business Workshops with “Managing Your Business Finances 1 (QuickBooks).”

As a business owner, you have bill to pay, sales to track, taxes to file and more! This workshop will provide practical, easy to understand guidance and tips to help you manage your business finances. Learn tips to ensure that your Chart of Accounts gets you to the right financial information, and that it aligns with your use of QuickBooks. Participants are welcome to bring a laptop with QuickBooks loaded so they can follow along with the presenter.

Workshop Presenter Elizabeth Santaus has more than twenty years of experience in the financial accounting software and bookkeeping industry. In 1990 Elizabeth started as a technical support representative for Great American Software’s One Write Plus. In 1992 she started her own consulting company, On-Line Technologies, and received her certification in Great Plains Software. In 1994, when Elizabeth and her husband moved to Connecticut, she became the CFO for three small sister companies in Branford, CT. Since launching Dressler Santaus, LLC in 2006, Elizabeth has consulted, trained, and provided bookkeeping services for over 200 small businesses in CT and NY. As an Intuit ProAdvisor with advanced and point-of-sale certifications, Elizabeth has been a QuickBooks trainer for the Community Economic Development Fund’s Bridgeport location.

Workshop Sponsor Liberty Bank was chartered in 1825 and has proudly dedicated itself for nearly two centuries to superior personal service and unparalleled community involvement. Today, Liberty Bank has over $3 billion in assets under management and serves more than 190,000 households with locations across central, eastern and shoreline areas of Connecticut. Learn more at www.liberty-bank.com/.

About SCORE: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers free and confidential advice on starting your own business or improving and growing your existing small business. All 40 counselors in Southeast Connecticut are volunteers, receive no compensation, and are working or retired business owners, executives, and managers. SCORE’s seven counseling sites in Southeast Connecticut include Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Essex, Waterford, Middletown, and Norwich. For more information on upcoming free workshops and how to schedule a free small business mentoring session with our counselors, visit www.sect.score.org.

REGISTER NOW

 

Go to Dressler Santaus web site.

Cleaning Up Your QuickBooks Data

Part 4: Managing the Chart of Accounts

The Chart of Accounts is the backbone of your accounting data. When the Chart of Accounts is set up correctly your Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss information can be used to give you a truthful snapshot of your company’s financial health.

The Chart of Accounts is composed of five major types of accounts: Assets, Liabilities, Equity, Income and Expenses. Unfortunately, if you are not versed in accounting basics, your chart of accounts may have loans (liabilities), fixed assets (equipment, vehicles, and computers), or owner draws categorized as expenses. You may also have added so many sub-accounts to your list that your chart of accounts has become long and unwieldy. Cleaning up your chart of accounts, like other lists in QuickBooks, can make a world of difference in helping you understand your financial reports.

QuickBooks Chart of AccountsDelete Accounts

First, if an account has never been used in a transaction, then you can delete the account. In the Chart of Accounts (Lists/Chart of Accounts), highlight the account you wish to delete. Click on the Edit drop-down menu and choose to “Delete Account”. QuickBooks will warn you that you cannot delete this account if it has been used in a transaction so don’t worry that you will delete transaction history.

If you have used the account in a transaction, attached it to an item, or it is tagged in the 1099 set-up, then your next option to get it off the list is to de-activate it. In the Chart of Accounts, highlight the account you wish to delete. Click on the Edit drop-down menu and choose to “Make Account Inactive”. Now the account will no longer be on the Chart of Accounts when you display or use a drop-down list. If you wish to see the accounts you have de-activated, in the Chart of Accounts, choose the pull-up menu in the lower left and click on “Show Inactive Accounts”. You may always reactivate an inactive account. Any financial reports that include activity that posts to the deactivated account will display the account regardless of it being deactivated. Deactivating closed bank accounts, old loans, etc. can keep your list up to date.

Merge Accounts

The third option, merging accounts, is a great tool for cleaning up duplicate accounts, say “Office Supplies” and “Office Expenses”. In order to merge accounts, be aware of the following rule: the accounts you wish to merge must both be the same Type (bank, current liability, expense, etc.). Remember that the transaction history for both accounts will be merged together under the remaining account – all activity going back to the creation of your QuickBooks data file (there is no way to merge only some data based on a cut-off date).

If Account A and Account B need to be merged together and Account A is the one we want to keep, we will change the “Account” name of Account B to match that of Account A exactly (case sensitive, spaces and punctuation). Note that if you use Account Numbers, all you need to do is make Account B’s number the same as Account A’s – no need to match the account names. Once you have changed Account B and try to save it, QuickBooks will tell you that an account already exists with that name/number and asks if you want to merge them. If you say “yes” there is no “undo” button, so be sure!

If you need to move a group of accounts and subaccounts to a different Type, you cannot move the main account and have all the rest come with it. You must first edit the subaccounts and detach them from the main account (uncheck the “subaccount of” box and re-save). Once the main account is unencumbered by subaccounts, you can change its type. Then you can change the type for each of the subaccounts and reattach them to the main account.

Account Numbers

Finally, if you use Account Numbers and the numbering scheme seems illogical or messy, you can change the numbers of the accounts to order them as you wish to see them on your reports. Using GAAP standards, usually that means that all Assets begin with a “1”, all Liabilities begin with a “2”, Equity accounts start with “3”, Income with “4”, Cost of Goods Sold (a sub-class of Expenses) with “5”, and all Expenses with “6”, “7”, “8”, or “9”. It may start as a Shell Game if you have to renumber an account to 9999 to free up a number you need for another account. But soon your list will be numbered succinctly and in the order that makes the most sense to you and your company.

Return to the Dressler Santaus web site

Photo credit: Intuit QuickBooks Support

QuickBooks Products: QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions

QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions is a higher-end small business accounting software package that looks and functions like QuickBooks Pro and Premier.  It is designed for use on a networked system.  It has powerful reporting capabilities, larger list limits, and expanded permission customization features.  Because it is server-based, it allows companies with several sites to collaborate and share important business information more efficiently.

qbenterprise

What is nice is that QuickBooks Pro and Premier data can be seamlessly “converted” to Enterprise Solutions.  Employees that are familiar with QuickBooks Pro or Premier will need minimal training in Enterprise Solutions to get up and running quickly.

With a different programming architecture, Enterprise Solutions can support much larger list sizes – it handles up to 1 million names and items combined.  It also means that it can handle up to 30 simultaneous users with customized permissions and roles (with 115 levels of permissions available).

Enterprise Solutions users have the following additional features to Pro and Premier:

  • Up to 30 simultaneous users
  • Increased security options and permissions
  • Larger list limits
  • Automatic price markup, enhanced inventory receiving and attaching of pictures to inventory items
  • With Enterprise Advanced Inventory:
    • Track inventory by location and bin
    • Track inventory by FIFO (first in first out) or average cost
    • Allow barcode scanning
    • Track inventory by lot number and serial number
    • Integrates just the same as Pro/Premier with Payroll and Merchant Services
    • Has industry-specific versions for Retail, Construction, Non-Profit, Professional Services, and Manufacturing & Wholesale

QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions integrates with QuickBooks Point-of-Sale software.

Return to the Dressler Santaus web site.

QuickBooks Products: QuickBooks for Mac

In this posting I will discuss the features of QuickBooks for Mac.

apple

The most important thing to know about QuickBooks for Mac is that you cannot use it for the same data file as QuickBooks for Windows.  In other words, if you have both PCs and Macs on a network, or a PC at work and a Mac at home, they cannot share use of the same data file – the file is not interchangeable between platforms.

Although you cannot share the same file, you can use QuickBooks for PC on a Mac by running QB in a “Parallels” environment (Parallels is a software for Mac that allows you to run your Mac as a PC).  In this set up, PCs and Macs can share use of a Windows QuickBooks file.

The Mac data file can also be sent as a Windows file to your CPA for his/her use, but it cannot be sent back to re-import into the Mac version.  You can convert a QuickBooks for Mac file to a QuickBooks for Windows version if you wish to change platforms permanently.

Most of the basic accounting features are the same between the Windows and Mac versions of QuickBooks.   QuickBooks for Mac allows you to do the following:

  • Multi-user functionality:  allows up to five users at a time (you must purchase licenses for additional users)
  • User profiles and permissions
  • Redesigned report customization
  • Mileage tracking by job and billable status
  • Register sorting
  • Export reports to spreadsheets
  • iChat integration to communicate between co-workers
  • Improved Layout Designer for form customization
  • Additional templates for ready-to-use forms
  • Web access:  Sync Manager allows web applications you choose to exchange information with QuickBooks
  • Progress Invoicing

Just from personal experience, the Mac version has less functionality and preferences than the Windows version.  For instance, in the bank reconciliation screen in the Windows version, you enter the statement ending date and can hide the transactions that are dated after that ending date, you can sort the transactions by date or amount or check #, and you can save the statement ending date when you need to leave the screen and come back later.  None of these options is available in QuickBooks for Mac.

QuickBooks for Mac does not integrate with QuickBooks Point-of-Sale software.

Return to www.dresslersantaus.com