What's New in QuickBooks 2009: Part I

From the Dec. 2008 Issue

Intuit recently released the 2009 version of QuickBooks. Each year, I poll members of our network who work in the trenches to help you think about the impact clients will realize from the new versions of QuickBooks. Here, in part one of a two-part column, I’ll discuss several of the new features including the new company snapshot, bank reconciliation improvements, multi-currency, external accountant user designation, improvements in multi-user functionality, list improvements, the backwards compatibility features, and the new Help and support features.

As part of Intuit’s new corporate look, the QuickBooks brand has changed to “Intuit QuickBooks.” All of the packaging, colors, logos, etc. have a completely new look.

Intuit QuickBooks comes in several different editions, each of which is targeted to a different business type. For small businesses just starting out, QuickBooks Simple Start Edition (free) is available as a single-user only, basic accounting product. This edition does not have inventory, accounts payable, budgets or multi-user capability, but it has great features for the small business just starting out. The free version allows you to track and invoice up to 20 customers, but there is also a $99.95 version of Simple Start that allows for thousands of customers. And if your client uses this product, you can work with their data using the Premier Accountant Edition. Also new this year, is an entry-level online version of QuickBooks called QuickBooks Online Basic. This single-user version is only $9.95/month.

Moving up the line is QuickBooks Pro, which adds multi-user capabilities, inventory, accounts payable, time tracking, estimates and budgeting. Next up the line is QuickBooks Premier along with all of the vertical “flavors” (industry-specific editions) of the Premier product. While each of the flavors is based on the same core features, each differs slightly by having different default settings, reports and Help screens. The edition all accountants should have is QuickBooks Premier Accountant Edition because with this edition installed, the accountant can “toggle” between all of the other flavors of the product. Essentially, the Accountant Edition is a superset of all the other editions.
QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions is at the high-end of the line. The versions are different (we’re now at version 9 while the Pro and Premier editions are up to version 2009). With the Enterprise Solutions product, you get all the features of the other editions in addition to having up to 20 users and an unlimited number of customers, vendors and items.

As I review the features of the product, I use the product name “QuickBooks” generically because, unless specified, the features or behaviors are the same or similar in the whole product line.

NEW FEATURES OF QUICKBOOKS 2009 AND ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS 9.0

COMPANY SNAPSHOT
QuickBooks Pro 2009, Premier 2009 and QuickBooks Enterprise 9.0 offer a new Company Snapshot for reporting company information and accessing critical QuickBooks tasks in a single window.
This view is a digital dashboard and offers real-time visual views of a company’s important information. The new QuickBooks Company Snapshot offers these details as shown in the figure to the right.

IMPROVED BANK RECONCILIATION
One of my longtime requests has finally been delivered! You can now sort by columns in the bank reconciliation window! This is a small addition, but it has huge benefits for the users, and accountants will really appreciate this new functionality.

MULTI-CURRENCY TRACKING
QuickBooks Pro 2009, Premier 2009 and Enterprise 9.0 now support all global currencies, making it easier for you to support clients with international business relationships. This new feature allows you to set your home currency and the currency for each customer, vendor, bank account, accounts receivable account and credit card. It includes a free downloadable update for worldwide exchange rates, and it reflects all currency conversions into the reports in the home currency. This feature is very well integrated into all of the workflows and reports in QuickBooks, and I think you’ll find it very easy to use.

EXTERNAL ACCOUNTANT USER
New for QuickBooks 2009 is a new type of user called the External Accountant shown to the right. You can now assign a user as an External Accountant. As an accounting professional using the Client Data Review feature (to be reviewed in next month’s column), you will want to request that your client create a user name for you and assign the new External Accountant Type. If you have the Admin login, then you can create a new External Accountant user type for yourself. Logging into your client’s QuickBooks data file as an External Accountant gives you:

• Complete Admin access, with the exception that you cannot create or edit users or view sensitive customer credit card numbers.
• Access to the Client Data Review feature in a client’s 2009 QuickBooks Pro, Premier (all editions), and Enterprise (all editions). You can access the Client DataReview feature using QuickBooks Pro 2009, Premier 2009 or Enterprise Solutions 9.0 using your External Accountant login. That means you can always have access to the Client Data Review whether you visit your client’s site or interact with them via Remote Access, even without the Accountant version.


IMPROVED MULTI-USER FUNCTIONALITY

Multi-User Backup
With QuickBooks 2009, you can make a QuickBooks backup (QBB file extension) in multi-user mode.

QuickBooks ‘In Product’ Instant Messenger
QuickBooks 2009 includes the QuickBooks Instant Messenger feature. This feature is available when you are logged into the same data file in multi-user mode. QuickBooks Instant Messenger does not keep a “chat log” at this time and can only be turned off by ending the process in Windows Task Manager.

Features of the QuickBooks Instant Messenger include:
• The ability to send a message to other QuickBooks users (who are logged into that specific QuickBooks data file).
• The ability to see which users are currently logged into the data file.
• The ability to close the QuickBooks file for currently logged in users.

QUICKFILTER LIST FUNCTIONALITY

QuickBooks Pro 2009, Premier 2009 and Enterprise 9.0 include the ability to search for customers, jobs, vendors or items within a list (See Figure 7). This is new functionality for the Pro and Premier product and was previously only available with QuickBooks Enterprise. In the Items List, you can filter the search results on Item Name/Number, Description (Sales) and Purchase Description, Preferred Vendor, Man. Part Number and any of the Custom fields.

CREATE DUPLICATE ITEMS

The Items List also has a new function to create duplicate items. Select an item on the Item List, right-click and select Duplicate Item. The result is a New Item dialog that displays with all the details of the duplicated item. Edit the name of the item or, by default, QuickBooks will insert DUP (for duplicate) in front of the name.

IMPROVED ACCOUNTANT’S COPY

The Accountant’s Copy functionality has been improved this year to prevent the problem when a single error caused the whole “import” of the accountant’s changes to fail. Also, the accountant can now adjust the 1099 settings and edit or merge classes with the accountant’s copy.

BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY WITH 2008 FILES

QuickBooks Premier Accountant 2009 software can access Pro or Premier 2008 and 2009 data using the Accountant’s Copy file sharing method, allowing you to perform your review and return the data back to your client in either 2008 or 2009 format. Of course, feature changes that are new for QuickBooks 2009 will not transfer back to a client’s 2008 data file.

LIVE COMMUNITY IN QUICKBOOKS
Live Community is a community Help function available within the software. Live Community acts as a real-time message board for asking and answering questions without leaving the QuickBooks application.

SUMMARY
The 2009 version has a few great new features for both accountants and clients. My favorite improvement is the Bank Reconciliation column sorting, and I think clients will cheer when they first discover this new capability.
See my column next month for part two of “What’s New In QuickBooks 2009,” when I’ll discuss the new Client Data Review feature and the Intuit Statement Writer (a replacement for the Financial Statement Designer).
In the meantime, if you’d like to compare the various editions of the product or dig deeper into the features, go to Intuit’s site at http://proadvisor.intuit.com/product/whatsnew/index.jsp.

 

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