Intuit, Inc. – QuickBooks Accountant 2013
From the Nov. 2012 Review of Client Write-Up Systems.
Best Fit: Firms of most sizes with clients using QuickBooks and who provide general write-up and reconciliation, along with other professional services.
- Newly streamlined navigation and interface
- New batch and pasting of thousands of transactions
- Reporting options include PDF, Excel output
- Client invoicing and e- payment options
- Mobile apps for client-focused work
- Electronically Send General Journal Entries
- No client portals, although Accountant Copy allows data file sharing with new Send Journal Entries Feature
- Support is only free for 30 days unless user is a QuickBooks ProAdvisor
Everybody knows QuickBooks, and since it’s the most widely-used small business management system in the world, virtually every accounting and tax firm has clients using the program. Intuit has recognized the relationship between firm and client, and has, over the years, taken steps to equally attract professionals to versions of the program that are more tailored to their multi-client management needs.
The latest incarnation of the professional version is QuickBooks Accountant 2013, which went on the market in the last week of September 2012. The program has undergone a significant redesign and includes multiple new features geared toward write-up and client service. These include 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: 5 Stars
When initially setting up the program, QuickBooks Accountant makes transfer of client files into the system simple, and new clients can be quickly added using hundreds of industry templates for charts of accounts and other system settings. Users can also create completely custom accounts, or can copy an existing client file as a template. Wizards and other tools help guide setup processes, as well as later tasks, such as reporting and banking functions.
The program opens into a streamlined workflow view home interface that show general activities related to vendors, customers and employees, as well as company settings and reporting, and banking functions. In addition to a new menu ribbon like the one used in Microsoft Office products that groups functions such as invoices, estimates, sales orders and other forms, Intuit has also added a new left hand icon-based menu.
This optional menu includes customizable shortcuts, links to common tasks, dashboard overviews called snapshots, and quick access to reports, client balances and the user’s to-do list. The program can also automatically alert users to items needing attention, such as client AR balances or vendor issues. Client, vendor and employee selection screens offer multiple search, filter and sort options and make it easy to move between summary and detail views.
Data entry screens are also improved, providing more streamlined access to key fields, additional customization options, smart selection lists and search functions. Another new feature in the 2013 version is the ability to open and work in two client company files at the same time. Since QuickBooks Accountant is the master QuickBooks program, it includes all of the client versions of the program, allowing users to view client data aand transactions in the same view that the client sees it. The program also automatically opens and saves data into the correct format for the year of the program each client is using.
QuickBooks Accountant 2013 can be used by up to five simultaneous users, and has functions for limiting specific users from accessing 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 includes full GL, AP, AR and check writing modules, and includes several multi-client management tools designed for write-up and multi-client management. The system includes streamlined tools for entering client transactions via a batch processes, and even a new Excel feature that can be used to paste more than 1,000 transactions at once.
Client data review tools include the ability to reclassify hundreds of transactions simultaneously, while professional users can perform write-offs of invoices from one screen with only a few mouse clicks. The system also now handles the corresponding sales tax by automatically posting a credit memo instead of a discounted payment. Review tools also aid in performing bank reconciliation functions, including quickly finding non-matching transactions, instantly matching unapplied vendor and customer payments and credits, and clearing the undeposited funds account from one screen.
Other new tools include an inventory trouble shooting function 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.
With the Accountant’s Copy feature, client users can securely send their compressed files to their accountant, while the accountant also works on it to adjust prior periods, allowing both sides to keep working. After reconciliation and client data fixes, the firm can securely email journal entries, which clients can import automatically by clicking the attachment.
Check writing features allow multiple banks per client and, with a third party program, can print to plain paper or check stock, including client logos. The system integrates with payroll programs available from Intuit, which provide for live and after-the-fact processing and reporting. QuickBooks Accountant 2013 offers financial ratios, benchmarking and analysis tools from the Accountant Center screen or the client snapshots.
Reporting & Financial Statements: 4.75 Stars
The built-in QuickBooks Statement Writer provides full financial statement generation with linked editing in Excel and Word, and the ability to automatically update reports with the latest data with one click of the “live link” button. When viewed on-screen, reports offer full drill-down to transaction-level details.
The system includes more than 100 additional customizable report options covering areas of revenue, budgets, cash flow and period comparisons. Reports can be enhanced with charts, graphs and pivot tables. Customizable client communication templates are included, for cover sheets, letters and other documents. Full receivables management and invoicing are included with the program, including batch generation of client invoices that can be printed or emailed from the program, and with online payment options for clients via a secure Intuit website.
A trial balance utility 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
Since the system includes all of the other versions of QuickBooks, it easily imports client company files, and the QuickBooks File Manager automatically recognizes the year and correct format to save the files into. The program also offers data import and export from/to spreadsheets and CSV files, and offers wizards and guides for performing these tasks. Reports can be saved to Excel and PDF formats.
Although the company doesn’t offer a traditional portal, the Accountants Copy feature allows for an online approach to data transfer, allowing users to 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. QuickBooks Accountant 2013 directly integrates with the ProSeries, Lacerte and Intuit Tax Online professional tax systems for trial balance export, and can integrate with Intuit’s payroll systems.
Help/Support System: 4.75 Stars
The help functions in QuickBooks Accountant 2013 are numerous, from task and even field-specific help, wizards, tutorials, how-tos, topical guides and other resources, as well as the indexed utility. Online support resources include a knowledgebase and additional tools, as well as a user community with forums for specific topics. QuickBooks Accountant 2013 is designed for PC users, but the new lineup of 2013 client-side systems include a redesigned Mac version.
Intuit offers free live technical support for only the first 30 days. Following that time, users can opt for per-incident pricing or subscribe to support. If an accountant becomes a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, which is essentially cost-neutral since it includes the QuickBooks Accountant 2013 system, then free support is also included, along with additional training options.
Summary & Pricing
The new navigation designs in QuickBooks Accountant 2013 help streamline access to many of the program’s features, many of which are new and designed specifically to speed up write-up processes. The Client Data Review tools, emailing of journal entries and particularly options for batch or pasting thousands of transactions at one time from Excel are great examples.
QuickBooks Accountant 2013 is best suited to firms with small business and enterprise clients using QuickBooks, even if they don’t have the latest year. Pricing starts at $499.95 per year for a single user, and $1,399.95 for a three-user license. Intuit has also started offering a subscription pricing method, with monthly or annual pricing. New for this year, the QuickBooks Statement Writer is included at no extra cost.
2012 Overall Rating: 4.75 Stars
See inside November 2012
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