Each year around November, Intuit releases updated versions of the QuickBooks line of products. This article provides our opinion on the new features and enhancements, gives our opinion on which clients should upgrade, and discusses the new features you may want to stay away from, or those that you'll definitely want to check out as soon as possible. The article focuses on Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions, QuickBooks Premier, QuickBooks Pro, and QuickBooks Simple Start. Look for another article discussing the new features of QuickBooks Point of Sale. This year, Intuit added many minor enhancements but also included some significant new features in the upgrade. See below for a listing of the enhancements by product:
Enhancements to ALL QuickBooks versions: (Simple Start, Pro, Premier & Enterprise)
- QuickBooks Document Management - this brand new feature has been much requested over the years and we're glad that Intuit has finally added this capability. Right now, the feature is only primed for the smallest of companies though since it doesn't offer some key features that you'd expect to find in a document management system. The feature allows users to attach documents to many QuickBooks transactional documents such as bills, checks, purchase orders, etc. as well as allows users to attach documents to list entry items such as customers or vendors. Once attached, the actual electronic documents are not stored locally on the users computers or local server, but they are rather stored on Intuit servers. The feature requires additional monthly charges, and requires that you set up an Intuit account the first time you try and attach a document. Once the documents are uploaded, these documents are then available from within QuickBooks (when connected to the Internet) or from the Intuit Document Management website. Although this first attempt at including this feature in the software is welcomed, we don't believe this feature to be ready for prime time for the majority of QuickBooks users. The additional fee, as well as the lack of some features that are pretty standard in other document management systems leave this feature useful to only the smallest of organizations. Contact us for a more detailed explanation of the shortcomings if you are looking for a document management solution.
- Integrated Electronic Check Processing - This is an enhancement to Intuit Payment Solutions and allows users to scan or key check information into QuickBooks. QuickBooks then applies the payment to the appropriate invoice and handles the transfer of funds from your customer's bank account to your company's.
- GoPayment Mobile Payment Processing - this new service allows companies to use mobile devices to enter credit card payments by keying in the card number or swiping the card through with an optional bluetooth card reader. Once the card is approved, a receipt can be sent via text message or email.
- Form design Wizard Enhancements - the new version includes a new form design wizard that allows the customizing of forms with a much wider range of options. Themes can be selected and multiple fields can be updated at the same time.
- Improved bank and credit card reconciliation feature - the bank reconciliation screen now shades transactions that have been marked as cleared making it easier to locate uncleared items.
- Use Card Scan When Creating Customer Records - If you have signed up for Intuit Payment Solutions to accept credit cards, you can now scan customer information from a customer's credit card to add customer details when setting up the customer in QuickBooks.
- Print Checks with an Electronic Signature - QuickBooks now allows you to steamline the process of paying vendors by allowing a signature image to be uploaded to print on the checks. Please call us to discuss some security information relating to this new feature.
Enhancements to QuickBooks Pro and Above (Pro, Premier and Enterprise)
- Add/Edit Multiple List Entries - the new version provides an interface for updating customer, vendor, and items quickly and easily. Previously, you could import line-items in but updating only a few fields for all list items was problematic. Now, QuickBooks allows you to copy an entire column from a spreadsheet and paste it in to update all records.
- Improved Company Snapshot - there are numerous improvements to the company snapshot including user-level settings, an add content dropdown, the ability to reorder the content by dragging and dropping, and a number of additional available reports such as Previous Year Expense Comparison, Income Breakdown, Expense Breakdown, Top Customers by Sales, Best Selling Items, Top Vendors by Expense.
- Improved Report Center - the report center has been updated a view view similar to iTunesto scroll through reports, an improved list view, a grid view, a search function to locate a specific report, the ability to view recently run reports, and the ability to set the report date prior to opening the report.
- Improved Online Banking - You can now switch between the old interface (previously used in version 2008) and the new interface. The new interface is a side-by-side view while the old interface uses the register on the top and the downloaded transactions on the bottom. For a high volume of downloaded transactions, you'll want to utilize the old interface rather than the side-by-side view.
- Favorites Menu - the new version introduces a drop down menu where you can save the functions you use most often. Almost any function available (such as invoices, Bills, lists, etc.) are available to be included on the favorites menu.
- Installation messaging and Options - the developers replaced some confusing wording during installation which lead workstations to act like servers to host the datafile.
- Save Button - The new save button allows you to keep the current transaction open while saving the transaction. In previous versions, the transaction automatically closed (or produced a new, blank transaction) when saving transactions.
- Improved Pay Bills - you can now filter the Pay Bills window for specific vendors aloowing you to quickly locate bills and pay single vendors at a time.
- Payments Company Preferences - The preferences screen has now been updated to include a section for Payments and allows you to turn payment processing on or off, or allows you to enroll in payment processing. The receive payments preferences have appropriately been moved from Sales & Customers to the new Payments section.
- Detach Help Menu Desktop Preference - The new version now allows the help window to be detached from the QuickBooks window rather than being attached to the right side of the QuickBooks open window.
- Removed Report Preference for Collapse/Expand - The collapse/expand button is still available on reports, however the default cannot be set in the preferences. All reports where this feature is available now default to the collapsed view.
Enhancements to QuickBooks Premier and Above (Premier and Enterprise)
- Improved Client Data Review - The client data review tool is a tool only available in the accountant version of the respective products and now includes a few new features. Please give us a call to discuss these new features if you're interested in the accountant versions of the products.
- Improved Intuit Statement Writer - this feature is available in the accountant version of Premier and in all editions of Enterprise. There is an additional cost per license for users of Premier Accountant Edition but no additional cost for Enterprise users. A wealth of new features have been introduced including the ability to include cover pages, reports or letters, the ability to include up to 16 statements in a single workbook, new date range options including 4 week months and 13 week quarters, now create a statement of cash flows, now create a retained earnings statement, include financial data in supporting documents, filter statements by class or job, set cell-specific dates that are different from the statement date, automatically subtotal by statement grouping, add accounts of any type to any statement type (profit and loss accounts to a balance sheet), and send reports in PDF format.
Enhancements to QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions Only
- Improved Assemblies and Bill of Materials - The new version completely changes the interface for building assemblies and uses a form entry that allows for changes to the content and toggling between multiple templates.
- Improved Custom Fields - You can now add more custom fields per list (12 for customers, vendors, and employees and 15 for items) although a cap of 30 total custom fields can be used across all lists. The custom fields can also now be designated as a specific type of field such as text, date, multiple-choice list, etc. You can also make the use of a custom field required when recording specific transactions and/or list entries.