Each year Intuit releases updated versions of the QuickBooks line of products which include updates and enhancements.  This article gives our opinion on who should upgrade, discusses the new features you may want to stay away from, and highlights those features that you’ll definitely want to check out as soon as possible.  The article focuses on Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions, QuickBooks Premier, and QuickBooks Pro.  If you're looking for the new features of QuickBooks Point of Sale 10.0, we published two articles a little while back, one discussing the new features of the version, and another discussing the features of release 5 which added even more features to QuickBooks Point of Sale.  This year, Intuit added many minor enhancements to QuickBooks Pro, Premier, and Enterprise, 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: (QuickBooks Pro, Premier & Enterprise)

  • Preferences:
    • Exclude Estimates, Purchase Orders, and Sales Orders from the Closing Date – Non posting transactions such as estimates, sales orders, and purchase orders often need to be updated even after the closing date has been set on the file.  With this new version, a preference has been added to allow non-posting transactions to be changed even though the closing date might be set to a date after the transaction date.  This has been a long awaited feature and we're glad that it has finally made its way into the product.
    • Option to Have the Program Continue to Run in the Background even after Exiting for Quicker Start Up - Since QuickBooks sometimes does take a long time to start up, an option has now been included to keep QuickBooks running after the program is closed.  If this preference is set, the current company file will be closed and the program will disappear from the taskbar when closed, however it will run in the background until the next time the program is launched.  When the program is subsequently launched, it will not need to fully load again.  Note that using this option will take up more resources on the computer even when QuickBooks is "closed" since the program does continue to remain open.
    • Send QuickBooks Emails through Gmail, Yahoo,  or other web mail providers – From QuickBooks you can now send invoices and other forms through web email accounts such as Google, Yahoo, or Hotmail instead of only through Outlook.
    • Separate Option to Auto-Apply Vendor Credits  and Auto Apply Vendor Discounts - Previously, the option to apply vendor discounts and vendor credits was just one option.  Now, this option has been split into two allowing us to apply bill credits automatically without requiring discounts to be automatically applied.  This has also been a much requested feature and will help many companies to manage the accounts payable process more efficiently.
    • No Change of Date when Printing a Cleared Check - The preference to change the date of a check to the current date when printing the check has now been updated to only affect non-cleared checks.  This feature will avoid the change of a date on reprinted checks that have already cleared the bank.
    • Spell Checker Updates - Preferences now allow the management of previously added words to the dictionary.  Previously, once a word had been added to the dictionary, there was no way to see this listing or remove the words in the dictionary.
  • Reports:
    • Backordered Column on SO and PO Reports - The program now allows us to add a backordered column to the Open Sales Order and Open Purchase Order reports and the default Purchase Order and Sales Order reports now include a backordered column too.  This has been a long awaited feature which will be welcomed by many companies.
    • Average Days to Pay Accounts Receivable Report - This new feature allows you to identify slow paying customers by enabling you to run a report based off of the average days it takes a customer to pay.  Note that the date paid column on this report has also been added to the modify report dialog on other detail reports as a column available to be added, however this column will not work properly on any other report besides on this new report.  While this is a great feature that was added, we'd like to see the column work on all detail reports as well as would like to see it as an option in the report filter options.
    • Enhanced Purchase Order Reporting - This new version enhanced the purchase order reporting of QuickBooks by correcting issues from previous versions.  Purchase order reports now allow us to have both amount and open balanced columns, quantities received and back ordered columns, as well as quantities and amounts subtotaled on the report.  All columns and balances are now also calculated and displayed correctly.
    • Sales by Ship to Address Report - This report was added to the report line up as a default QuickBooks report.
  • Transactions:
    • Batch Invoicing - This has been a much requested feature and a pain point in the past and is a welcome addition.  Property management companies and others who invoice many customers for the same product or service at the same time can now batch process these invoices rather than individually memorizing the invoices for automatic entry.
    • History Pane on Customer and Vendor Transactions - This feature, which is a collapsible history pane, allows you to see the history of a vendor or customer when creating a transaction.
    • Inventory Adjustments Input Screen - The new version updated the inventory adjustment screen by removing the items list.  Now the user doesn't have to scroll through all of the company's items to find the items needing to be adjusted.  The user now simply selects the items from a drop down, speeding up the entry of these adjustments.  Any user that uses this adjustment screen often will appreciate this improved screen.
    • Sorting Options in Payments to Be Deposited Window - Now the window showing payments to be deposited can be sorted by date or by payment method which will be a good time saver for those entering a  large number of payments from multiple payment methods.
    • Paid Stamp on Invoices now Includes the Date of Payment - The invoices paid stamp has been updated to include what date the invoice was fully paid.  In cases where multiple payments were made on one invoice, the date will appear as the date that the invoice became fully paid.
  • Lists and Other:
    • Customer Collections Center - a brand new customer collections center has been added to QuickBooks to help manage the collections process.  It enables QuickBooks users to selectively or in bulk, send emails to customers with overdue balances and allows notes to be taken on the collections process.
    • Customer Tab Added to Company Snapshot - The company snapshot has been updated to include a customer tab giving insights into recent payments and invoices, sales history, and best selling items at a customer level.
    • Shipped From Address for Vendors - This new feature allows you to track not just the billing address but also the shipping address for vendors.
    • Getting Started - The new company interview wizard has been updated to include less options and focuses mainly on QuickBooks preferences such as sales tax, inventory, estimates, etc.  The getting started screen has now been added to help companies new to QuickBooks set up their customers, vendors, items, and bank accounts.
    • QuickBooks Connect - This feature enables remote users to view, create, and edit new and existing customer data and transactions online without being connected to the QuickBooks data file.  QuickBooks Connect is an Intuit Workplace App Center application and so does require that your QuickBooks data be synced with Intuit central servers in its entirety.
    • Intuit Payment Network - A leading e-check solution is now even more integrated in to the products, however we'd still like to see the ability to set up automatic e-check charges.
    • Document Management Add On can now Store Files Locally - The document management add on now allows users to save the documents locally rather than upload the files to Intuit servers.
    • Search Feature - A comprehensive search feature has been added to the program that enables searching across all transaction types and lists.

Enhancements to QuickBooks Premier and Above (Premier and Enterprise)

  • Open Two QuickBooks Files at the Same Time - The new version allows two 2011 data files to be open at the same time, however there are a few functions that cannot be performed in the second company file opened.  Most functions are available.  It is recommended that Sync manager or synchronization with integrated, third party applications NOT be done while a company file is open as a secondary file.
  • Enhanced Sales Order Reporting – This new version enhanced the sales order reporting of QuickBooks by correcting issues from previous versions.  Sales order reports now correctly show open balance amounts even when partial shipments have been made or some items are on backorder.
  • Balance Sheet by Class - This report was added as a standard QuickBooks report, however there are still many restrictions on the report.  In some circumstances, the report will run correctly, however in most cases the report will not calculate correctly due to many transaction types not being supported for the report.  Examples of transactions that are unsupported are: journal  entries with unbalanced classes, payroll transactions with multiple classes, payroll liability payments, sales tax payments, prepayments from clients, multiple currencies, etc.
  • QuickBooks File Manager - A file manager is now automatically installed with the 2011 version which allows companies managing many data files to find and organize files saved in different folders, and enables companies to quickly see which version the file was created in.  QuickBooks can be launched from the file manager and files can be open from here too.

Enhancements to QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions Only

  • Multiple Locations Inventory Tracking - This add-on feature has been added to give companies who have more advanced inventory needs the ability to track multiple locations.  There are other add on products  such as Fishbowl Inventory that add many more inventory features as well as the multiple locations tracking feature, however for those that have relatively simple multiple location inventory tracking needs, this feature may fit the bill.
  • Updated ODBC Utility - The ODBC utility has been completely revamped to enable quicker access to QuickBooks data from other applications, and enables more data to be accessed than before.  Look for better integration with third party products using this new ODBC functionality.
Companies using QuickBooks Pro or Premier 2009 or prior versions should consider upgrading to the 2011 version while companies using QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions 10.0 or prior should consider upgrading.  Always check to ensure that any third party applications used are compatible with the new version and check your existing hardware to ensure that it meets the new hardware requirements.