Each year Intuit releases updated versions of the QuickBooks line of products.  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, QuickBooks Premier, and QuickBooks Pro.  We'll also be publishing another article on the new features of QuickBooks for Mac on Thursday, but stay tuned for future articles on the new features of QuickBooks Point of Sale 11.0 (2012) as the products is released, and the online editions of QuickBooks.  This year, Intuit added many minor enhancements to QuickBooks Pro, Premier, and Enterprise, but again added some significant brand new features in the upgrade.  See below for a listing of the new features and enhancements by product:

Enhancements to ALL QuickBooks versions: (QuickBooks Pro, Premier, and Enterprise)

  • Brand New Centers and Fundamental Interface and Feature Changes:
    • Lead Center (New) - The Lead Center is a move towards incorporating CRM functions into the software and has been a much requested feature for many years.  It facilitates the management of business leads in a separate list from the customer list and allows you to track what sales stage the leads are in, and provide notes on phone calls and other interactions.  It also allows you to keep track of multiple contacts and locations, and tracks to-do items for both.  It also allows contacts to be filtered for those needing follow-up on a specific day.  When the lead does become a customer, the system allows an easy transfer of the information to the customer center.
    • Global To-Do's (New) - This new feature is also a move towards incorporating CRM functions into the software and allows you to create new tasks to be completed in the future.  It also helps to keep financial tasks such as the creation of upcoming invoices and bills.  The to-do list refreshes the reminders list that we've been accustomed to and is available from several locations within the program.
    • Calendar View of Transactions and To-Do's (New) - This new feature provides a calendar view of all transactions and to-do items.  View all invoices, bills, payments, checks, etc. dated on a particular day from the calendar.'
    • Transaction Tab added to Transaction Panel (New) - This feature was actually added within release six of QuickBooks 2011 and updates the panel on the right of invoices, bills, etc. and now shows related transactions and summary information about the transaction.  For instance, this panel would show any related payments associated with an invoice when in the invoice screen, or would show bill payments linked to a vendor bill when in the Enter Bills screen.
    • Improved Excel Integration with Dynamically Updating Data (Improved) - For those who use Excel to prepare financial statements or to perform calculations for ratios, this feature will drastically improve this process.  Once a report is exported to Excel, the spreadsheet can be updated with current information without re-exporting.  Any Excel produced formulas remain in tact through the updating process.
    • Batch Input of Timesheets (New) - If you have several employees that work on jobs together and have the same time, you'll be able to use this feature to batch input all the employee's timesheets at once.  Construction companies or other service companies that have teams working on jobs will find this feature very useful.
    • Enhanced Memorized Transactions (Improved) - (Actually released in 2011 R6) This feature was also added within release six of QuickBooks 2011.  Instead of just giving a notification to enter the day's memorized transactions, it now lists all of the memorized transactions that would be posted and allows the option to select all, select specific transactions, or postpone until later.
    • Easy Access to Creating Related Transactions (New) - This feature adds a links to invoices and other transaction types to create related transaction types.  For instance, on the invoice screen you now have a dropdown menu that allows creating a credit memo, receive payments, memorize the transaction, and write letters.
  • Company File Utilities and Tools:
    • Period Copy/Archive Copy (New) - This new feature allows you to create a separate data file that contains only transactions within a specific date range.
    • Clean Up or Condense Company Data (Improved) - This improved feature allows you to archive older data and keep more current data to reduce file size and speed up the database.
    • Starter Copy (New) - Allows a new company file to be created based on an existing template or company file.
    • No Company Open Dialog (New) - This was actually added in release 7 of QuickBooks 2011 and allows you to edit and hide files within the no company open dialogue.
  • Other New Features and Improvements
    • Search and Help Features (Improved) - The search and help features in themselves have not been updated much, but the positioning of the search feature in the interface has moved to a more prominent place so I'd expect users to use the feature much more.  The search feature pulls together a variety of related help content such as actual transactions, list items, community discussions, knowledgeable articles, and how to documents.
    • Document Center (Improved) - You can now attach documents to lists or transactions and store your documents locally at no additional cost.  Previously, the document store was located on Intuit servers.
    • Contributed Reports (New) - This feature allows you to search by industry and rating and share report templates with other users and download reports that others have created.
    • Express Start (Improved) - This feature allows you to rapidly input basic contact information on clients.  information can be imported or added manually.
    • USPS Added to Shipping Manager - The United Stated Postal Service is now featured in the Shipping Manager along with FedEx and UPS.

Enhancements to QuickBooks Premier and Above (Premier & Enterprise)

  • Inventory Center - This feature provides a central location for inventory and tracking needs which in the past have been scattered across multiple screens. It also allows you to filter your inventory items which helps you manage stock fulfillment.
  • Batch Invoice for Time and Expense (New) - This feature was actually released in release 6 of QuickBooks 2011 and allows you to prepare invoices for multiple customers at a time from time and expense data.  Rapidlly complete billing tasks by creating multiple invoices, preview, select options for how the invoices will be transferred to the invoice and with a simple click, the invoices are created.
  • Accountant Edition Only: (Premier & Enterprise)
    • Accountant Center (New) - This feature provides a customizable center with the resources and tools accountants need to work with their client files. From this one place you are able to access memorized reports, customize your tools and resources, utilize the reconciliation panel, and stay connected to resources and training opportunities. (Accountant Edition Only)
    • Period Copy (New) - Features. (Accountant Edition Only)
    • Access to Client Data Review Tools (Improved) - This feature allows you to have better access to the resources and tools found in Client Data Review (CDR) as you no longer have to create a "review" in order to utilize the CDR tools.  (QB Premier Accountant)
    • File Manager (Improved) - This feature provides a tab with useful client file information. The features included are categorizing client files by type, storing of client file user names and passwords, automatically opens client file with correct year and version, allows you to batch upgrade multiple client files to the newest version at one time, and information tab that provides a view of critical information about a clients file. (QB Premier Accountant)
    • Accountant Copy Enhancements (Improved) - This feature takes unapplied vendor or customer credits applied, including those applied using the Client Data Review tool and incorporated them back into the client's data. (QB Premier Accountant)
    • QuickBooks Statement Writer (Improved) - Previously called Intuit Statement Writer, the QuickBooks Statement Writer now has a new name.

Enhancements to QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions Only

  • Enhanced Inventory Receiving (Improved) - This feature improves the accounting for receiving product, creating bills for the received inventory, and paying the bills.  Once the preferecne is turned on, item receipts are not the same transaction type as bills, but are separate transactions.  Item receipts will no longer be replaced or overwritten with bills.
  • Auto Sales Price Markup Preference (New) - This new preference allows you to have the cost of an item be updated in the item list when using a different cost on a purchase order or bill.
  • Images in the Item List (New) -Associate images with your items.
  • Increased Capacity for Price Level List (Improved) - The price level listing previously had a limit of 100 levels but now has a limit of 750.
  • Improved Multi-User Functionality - you can now Make Deposits, set the closing date, and resort lists in multi-user mode.
  • Find & Select in Sales Forms and Item List (New & Improved) - This allows you to add multiple items to any sales or purchase form using the find & select feature.
  • Advanced Inventory Only:
    • FIFO Inventory Valuation - you can now change the costing method from average cost to FIFO as your accounting needs dictate.
    • Serial Number/Lot Tracking - You can now track serial number or lot numbers, however you are not able to track both at the same time.
    • Physical Inventory Worksheet Filter by Site (Improved) - For those using advanced inventory, you can now sort the physical inventory worksheet by site.