Intuit, Inc. – QuickBooks Accountant 2013
Best Fit: Accounting practices providing write-up features for clients that use QuickBooks.
- Accountant version includes all industry-specific versions of QuickBooks
- Streamlined navigation and interface
- Batch and pasting of thousands of transactions at once
- Output to PDF, Excel and other formats
- Built-in client invoicing and electronic payment options
- Mobile apps
- Electronically receive and send data to clients
- No client portals, although Accountant Copy allows data file sharing
- Live tech support is only free for 30 days unless user is a QuickBooks ProAdvisor
From the February 2013 review of Client Write-Up systems.
QuickBooks is the most widely-used small business accounting system, and that makes it even more likely for small businesses to use it, since it is generally easy to find experienced users and training options. For accounting firms providing periodic account oversight, reconciliations, financials management and compliance, the Accountant version also is a common solution, since many of their clients are using the program, which makes data transition and management processes more comfortable.
QuickBooks Accountant 2013 is the latest professional version, and has undergone a significant redesign from previous versions. This includes new interface and navigation, as well as multiple new features geared toward write-up and multi-client management. Also in the program are several tools for finding and fixing client errors, one-step pasting of more than 1,000 transactions from Excel, emailing of journal entries, tools for troubleshooting inventory issues, and other functions.
Basic System Functions: 4.75 Stars
During initial setup of QuickBooks Accountant, the system provides wizards and other tools to help with the transfer of client files. New clients can also be quickly added using hundreds of chart of accounts templates for various industries, or users can copy existing settings from another similar client, or create a completely custom account setup. After installation, the system also provides a variety of wizards and tools for functions such as reporting, invoicing and banking functions.
When working within client accounts, QuickBooks Accountant’s home screen opens into a streamlined workflow view that displays general activities related to the client’s customers, vendors and employees, along with default client company settings. The system’s new menu ribbon, which is similar to the one in Microsoft Office, that groups functions such as invoices, estimates, sales orders and other forms.
A new optional icon menu on the left side of the screen offers additional quick navigation, allowing user to create custom shortcuts, links to common tasks, Snapshot dashboard overviews, and quick access to reports, client balances and the user’s to-do list. Users can also create automated alerts to notify them of items needing attention, such as client AR balances, credit limits or vendor issues. All of the client, vendor and employee selection screens offer multiple search, sort and filter options and users can easily move between summary and detail views.
The program’s data entry screens have also been enhanced, offering simpler, streamlined access to key fields, as well as additional customization options, smart selection lists and search functions. One of the most applauded new features in recent versions is that accountants can now open and work in two client company files at the same time.
As the master QuickBooks program, QuickBooks Accountant includes all of the client versions of the program, which allows users to view client data and transactions in the same view that the client sees it. The program also immediately recognizes the version of the program that clients are using, so that it automatically opens and saves data into the correct format for each client. QuickBooks Accountant 2013 can be used by up to five staff users at the same time, and has security and system settings that let management limit user access rights to specific clients, features, data and reports. It can be used to manage any number of client entities.
Core Write-Up Features: 4.5 Stars
QuickBooks Accountant 2013 includes full GL, AP, AR and check writing modules, plus an array of multi-client management tools designed for write-up and multi-client management. The program includes tools for entering client transactions individually or via a batch processes, and a new Excel feature can be used to copy/paste more than 1,000 transactions at a time.
The program’s client data review tools allow users to reclassify hundreds of transactions at once, and accountants can perform write-offs of invoices with only a few mouse clicks. Corresponding sales taxes on transactions are handled by automatically posting a credit memo instead of a discounted payment. For reconciliation, the program’s review tools include the ability to quickly find non-matching transactions, instantly match unapplied vendor and customer payments and credits, and clear the undeposited funds account all on one screen. Additional tools in QuickBooks Accountant 2013 include inventory trouble shooting that helps spot discrepancies between the balance sheet and inventory valuation summary report, with the ability to quickly drill down to inventory counts and make adjustments.
The Accountant’s Copy feature allows electronic sending of client files from the client to the accountant, and then back again, which allows the client to continue using the program even while the accountant is performing adjusting entries, reconciling accounts or performing other tasks. The files are encrypted and transmitted securely.
The program includes check writing features that allow multiple banks per client, while an optional third party add-on to QuickBooks lets users print to plain paper or check stock, including client logos. QuickBooks Accountant 2013 includes benchmarking, financial ratios and analysis tools from the Accountant Center home screen or from client snapshots.
Reporting & Financial Statements: 4.5 Stars
QuickBooks Accountant has more than 100 customizable management report options for areas such as revenue, budgets, cash flow and period comparisons, and users can easily add charts, graphs and pivot tables. Also in the program are customizable client communication templates for cover sheets, letters and other documents. The full receivables management and invoicing utilities in the system offer batch generation of client invoices that can be printed or emailed to clients from the program. Online payment tools are available as an option.
The system includes the QuickBooks Statement Writer, a utility that offers full financial statement generation with linked editing in Excel and Word, as well as a “live-link” feature that can automatically update on-screen viewed reports with the latest data with one click. Reports offer full drill-down to transaction-level details.
Also included in the program is a trial balance utility that provides beginning balances, current period transactions, period adjustments and ending balances for a user-defined time frame, with options for entering workpaper references and making adjusting entries.
Import/Export/Integration: 4.75 Stars
As noted previously, QuickBooks Accountant also includes all of the industry-specific versions of QuickBooks, making it easy to import client company files. The QuickBooks File Manager automatically recognizes the year and correct format to save the files into, so that client files aren’t inadvertently saved to the wrong format. The system can also import and export data from and to spreadsheets and CSV files, and has various wizards and guides to help with these tasks. Users can also save reports to Excel and PDF formats.
While there are no full portals for sharing and storing documents and other files, the Accountants Copy feature in both the Accountant and business-side versions of QuickBooks lets business users electronically and securely send their accountant a copy of their files for a defined time-frame, with just a few clicks. This allows clients and the firm to continue working within their own systems. When adjusting entries and data corrections have been made, the file is then sent back to the business and easily updated in their system.
QuickBooks Accountant 2013 offers direct integration with ProSeries, Lacerte and Intuit Tax Online professional tax systems for trial balance export, and can integrate with Intuit’s payroll systems, which include live and after-the-fact processing and reporting.
Help/Support System: 4.5 Stars
QuickBooks Accountant 2013 includes several assistive features, including task and field-specific help, wizards, tutorials, how-tos, topical guides and other resources, as well as the indexed Help utility. Online self-support options include a knowledgebase and additional tools, and an online user community includes forums for specific topics.
Live technical support is free for QuickBooks ProAdvisors, but for others it is only free for the first 30 days, after which users can opt for per-incident pricing or subscribe to support. The QuickBooks ProAdvisor program costs about $50 more than the QuickBooks Accountant software, and includes the software, which makes it nearly cost neutral and comes with many other benefits, including the free support and additional training options.
Summary & Pricing:
QuickBooks Accountant 2013 has many new features that aid in managing the accounts of multiple clients, with a variety of new tools specifically designed for write-up processes. These include batch and pasting for transaction entry, encrypted emailing of journal entries to clients, and Client Data Review tools. The system also includes intelligent import functions that recognize the year and version a client’s files are saved in and retains that format.
The system is best suited to accounting firms with small and mid-sized clients using any version of QuickBooks for their business management. Pricing for QuickBooks Accountant 2013 starts at $499.95 per year for a single user, and $1,399.95 for a three-user license. The system can also be purchased on a subscription basis starting at $49.99 per month. The QuickBooks Statement Writer is included with the program.
2013 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars