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QuickBooks 2016: more changes to the CPA's favorite software.

QuickBooks is an amazing program and online service. And like all such programs, tweaks and modifications are to be expected. This article will explore changes to QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks desktop products and the QuickBooks Pro-Advisor Program for accountants and bookkeepers.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks online products command the bulk of Intuit advertising and dominate the QuickBooks websites. QuickBooks Online, developed by a separate team at Intuit, is quite different from the desktop versions in that it's designed to take advantage of applications (apps.intuit.com) from Intuit and other publishers. This, however, means it has less functionality due to the focus on the ability to integrate with apps that meet your specific needs.

New QuickBooks Self-Employed

QuickBooks Self-Employed Online (quickbooks.intuit.com/self-employed) is designed for independent contractors, consultants and solo businesses that do not have employees and file a Schedule C. This version targets small business that have not segregated personal from business expenses, and allows them to identify business expenses.

Entering transactions is easily done by connecting bank accounts and credit cards to import transactions, or you can enter transactions manually. Each transaction is identified as a business or personal expense.

Business transactions are categorized by business income or a pre-defined category list of IRS allowable Schedule C expenses. Reports are limited to Profit & Loss, Tax Summary and Tax Details. This version is limited, but meets the needs of businesses that just want to get the most basic information to run their business and file a Schedule C.

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New QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle

QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle (quickbooks.intuit.com/self-employed) extends the functionality of the QuickBooks SelfEmployed product and helps manage tax obligations and import annual tax information into Turbo Tax Schedule C.

QuickBooks Simple Start, Essentials, Plus

In the past year there have been many small changes that improve the service's speed and functionality. There also are many new apps that integrate with QuickBooks Online. QuickBooks Online comes in three flavors: Simple Start, Essentials and Plus (quickbooks.intuit.com/pricing). The versions help the user purchase the functionality that is needed for a particular situation, and reduces cost for functionality that is not necessary for a given situation.

New for 2016

QuickBooks Desktop products for 2016 were released in late 2015 with improvements that focus on areas users have specifically requested Intuit improve. If you have any requests, enter them by selecting the Help Menu > Send Feedback Online, then choose between Product Suggestion, Bug Fix or Help System Suggestion. Intuit spends a lot of time looking at these comments, and many suggestions have been used to make the software more efficient and user friendly for the 2016 versions.

Upgrade Process Made Easier

Upgrading company files to new versions has always been a long process that needs the user to respond to various, and sometimes confusing, prompts. In the 2016 versions, this is no longer necessary. The user prompts have been removed and the process will continue without having to babysit the installation.

E-Invoicing Improved

Customers not using Intuit Merchant Services are not affected by this improvement and can continue to email invoices.

Companies using Intuit Merchant Services can email invoices to customers. This new tool includes a customizable payment link to enable the customer to pay online using Visa, MasterCard, American Express or ACH Transfer.

The new customizable link gives users the opportunity to limit the payment options as desired for all customers or specific customers. This enables the company to get paid faster while deciding which payment options to offer individual customers.

New Bill Tracker

This screen (Figure 1) gives the user a dashboard of open purchase orders and bills (unpaid, overdue and paid) with links to take the desired action (view, pay, print). Items in this window can be filtered by vendor, transaction type, status, date or can be grouped. This screen is accessed by a desktop icon or by selecting Vendors Menu > Bill Tracker. The window is similar to the Income Tracker used for customer transactions.

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Improved Report Filters

The 2016 desktop version now includes a new selection under Date Filters that allows the user to select "This Fiscal Year to Last Month." This option was added to avoid having to enter custom dates each month when running reports for the previous month.

Improved Bulk Remove Outbound Email

In many transaction windows there's a checkbox that reads, "email later." If this box is checked, the transaction will appear in the Send Forms window (File Menu > Send Forms). In the past, users had to uncheck items that did not need to be sent every time they used this feature. Now, users can permanently remove items from the window. (Figure 2)

Unfortunately this feature was not enabled for the print forms windows. One workaround that I've used to clear the print queue is to print to a PDF file and then delete the file rather than wasting paper to remove items from the print queue.

Improved Data Integrity

In the last few years, more users are receiving in-program messages to verify and rebuild the data file while attempting to make a backup or perform other actions. Company files can become corrupted due to various issues regarding power outages, computer upgrades, conflicting software, etc. Rebuilding the company file is a feature that more users need as the data files grow, in addition to the previously mentioned issues.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

In the past, QuickBooks users would be advised to run the "verify" or "rebuild" features in the Utility menu if errors were encountered in the program. Often this feature did not resolve the issue and directed the user to the QBWin.log file.

If the user was able to find the QBWin. log file, there was a message describing the issue. Often users were unable decipher the message or did not know how to correct the issues listed.

Calls to technical support required the agent to rerun the rebuild utility again to get enough information to address the issue. This took precious time and frustrated users, since they had already performed this time consuming function and they knew it did not resolve the issue.

Intuit improved the Rebuild utility to solve more problems and revised the report so that users can easily identify the issue. They also added a button to the product information screen (accessed by selecting F2) that allows the user to view the last verify/rebuild report.

Other improvements include:

* Added printer options to enable Zebra compatible continuous feed single label printers.

* Added the ability to filter custom fields by a defined alphanumeric value.

* Auto-copy Ship-To Addresses when Drop shipping items on sales transactions.

New Batch Delete/Void Transactions

My favorite addition to QuickBooks 2016 can be found only in the Account Versions. This screen, accessed from the Accountant menu, allows the user to void or delete numerous invoices, checks or bills in one screen.

The feature requires you make a backup during the process since this action is not reversible. Transactions are filtered by type or by date.

The screen alerts the user to cleared checks and linked transactions such as:

* Bills: purchase orders, credit memos and bill payments;

* Checks: bills and credit memos; and

* Invoices: estimates, sales orders, credit memos and payments

QuickBooks Pro-Advisor Program

I've always been a huge fan of the Pro-Advisor program (quickbooks.intuit.com/accountants/ proadvisor). It gives accountants and bookkeepers a great discount on QuickBooks software and the ability to purchase software for your office at a discounted price. In the fall, Intuit enhanced the program with changes that allow participants to choose between three options to reduce the cost for those who only use Online or Windows Desktop QuickBooks.

Free Pro Advisor

This program is geared toward those who specialize in QuickBooks Online and do not need the QuickBooks Desktop software. It provides the opportunity to take QuickBooks Online certification exams, discounts on QuickBooks products and a higher level of technical support.

Pro Advisor Deluxe (Annual Fee Required)

In the past, the biggest objection to becoming a member of the Pro Advisor program was the cost. Intuit developed this option to reduce costs. The trade-off for a reduced annual fee is that a single-user version of QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions Accountant, QuickBooks for Mac and QuickBooks Point of Sale Multi-Store are not included.

The Deluxe plan includes the benefits of the free subscription and is geared toward those who want access to QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop Windows Product.

When purchasing this plan be aware that the software included is QuickBooks Accountant Plus, which is a subscription product that requires you to renew your deluxe plan or pay the QuickBooks Accountant Plus annual fee. This program also provides the opportunity to take QuickBooks Desktop certification exams.

Pro Advisor Premium (Annual Fee Required)

This option is similar to the original Pro Advisor program of the past and provides all the benefits of the previous two options with the additional software QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions, QuickBooks for Mac and QuickBooks Point of Sale Multi-Store. I believe this is an excellent option if you have very few clients on QBES and need access to the software on a limited basis or if you only have one QBES user.

Ilene Eisen, CPA, CITF) MBA is the owner/ operateor of ie Solutions and a member of the CalCPATechnology Committee. You can reach her at ilene.eisen@ie-solutions.biz.
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Title Annotation:software overview
Author:Eisen, Ilene
Publication:California CPA
Date:May 1, 2016
Words:1560
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