“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things”1
So did you really think that I would begin my 2016 version of what I like best in the new QuickBooks any different than in prior years? Of course not! These lyrics from the ‘Sound of Music’ are still the perfect way of thinking about my favorite things in the new versions of QuickBooks for 2016.
So the ‘other guy’ got the scoop thanks at least in part to Intuit, who didn’t bother to send me the official notification that they were ‘releasing’ QuickBooks on Tuesday 9/8. I’m not saying that ‘he’ doesn’t do his homework, we all know that he keeps his eyes and ears to the grindstone and is always maximizing his ‘war-n-peace like writing style’ into a feature or series of them that detail every little detail. I on the other hand always try to give you my ‘picks’ and ‘tips’ and so once again we here at Insightful Accountant will be giving you a set of short ‘one act plays’ covering the individual changes, enhancements and new features of the 2016 desktop product line.
In a lot of ways you might consider this the 'year of the file', in terms of related features, and certainly when it comes to 'my picks.' Those features that give you greater control over your QuickBooks Company file, and/or resolving common file-related problems, make up my 'favorite newbies'.
Favorite Newbie # 5 - Bulk Clear 'Send' Forms
How many times have you found that you have hundreds, if not thousands, of QuickBooks forms marked 'send later'? Over time these just got worse and worse because there was no way you or your client were going to go down the long list and click the 'remove' button for each one of the transactions from the Send Forms window. Well new for 2016 is a feature that allows you to clear these transactions 'in mass'. This new feature is available in all 2016 versions of QuickBooks desktop products.
Access this feature from the File menu, and then select Send Forms. You can easily select multiple forms using the checkmarks on the left, when you have identifed all the transactions you want cleared, simply click "Remove". You can even check the checkmark in the heading column to select the entire range of transactions in the list.
Favorite Newbie # 4 - Batch Void/Delete Transactions
I was in a 'chat' with QuickBooks developers about 18 or more months ago where we debated over this feature; and I must say that I have mixed emotions about this functionality, perhaps even more than I had 'back then'; yet I also view this as an essential feature that hopefully will be 'tempered by users'.
Fortunately this is a new 'accountant level' feature, and is NOT available in QuickBooks Pro or Premier; however, you will find this tool included in the Accountant ToolBox within those versions for active ProAdvisor Members. You will find this new feature in QuickBooks Accountant and QuickBooks Enterprise Accountant (as well as other Enterprise versions), but is accessed only by the Admin and External Accountant users.
The new Batch Delete/Void Transactions feature is accessible in QuickBooks Accountant from the Accountant menu; and in QuickBooks Enterprtise from the Company menu, under Accounting Tools.
There are a lot of reasons you might need to 'mass-void' or 'mass-delete' transactions, for example you might have downloaded multiple copies of data during manual imports, or even via a 3rd party importer. You could also import credit-card transactions only to find that an employee keyed them in manually.
This function offers multiple filters and selection prompts to provide control over what is made available to void or delete. At present the new feature only permits you to deal with Invoices, Checks and Vendor Bills. There are also a significant number of limitations in this new feature; for example, transactions that are linked to other transactions will not void or delete the linked transactions.
I certainly am going to recommend to everyone I know that this new feature should be used in 'void' mode only, rather than 'delete.' As you know, I am no favor of ever deleting transactions from the Company file (database) unless absolutely necessary. Insightful Accountant will covering this feature in far greater detail within the new few days.
Favorite Newbie # 3 - QuickBooks Statement Writer Support for Microsoft Office 2013
What I can say about this is, "it's about time Intuit". I don't do financial statements, but I support a lot of clients who are Accountants and Bookkeepers who do prepare financial statements, and who happen to like QuickBooks Statement Writer, and have since it's initial inception (under all the name renditions it has undergone). The problem is that Intuit has at times seemed to abandon this tool, especially when it comes to providing the essential integration for Microsoft Office (especially Excel and Word) which the product needs to work properly. We now, for 2016, we finally have a version of Statement Writer that supports Microsoft Office 2013 (who knows when they will have support for Microsoft Office 365).
This feature is found only in QuickBooks Accountant and QuickBooks Enterprise (all versions), it is accessed from the Accountant menu in QuickBooks Accountant, and from the Reports menu in QuickBooks Enterprise.
Favorite Newbie # 2 - Streamline Company-file Upgrade to New (2016) Version
This is a feature that worked in the early testing I did of the 2016 product, but my question is should you be using it right now. I am always squimish about suggesting that users upgrade to the newest version of QuickBooks until there is some 'time on the books' in order to identify if the Alpha-Beta Testing Process did the job and found all the problems prior to production release.
While Intuit has streamlined (and reduced the upgrade time) the process of updating to the new version, which includes making an integrated back during the upgrade process, I will simply caution you and suggest that you may want to perform your own round of testing of a copy of your file before jumping into the 'deep end' and converting without really knowing if it is all going to work the way you think it should, or would want it too, even if Intuit didn't design it that way.
Favorite Newbie # 1 – Improved Verify / Rebuild
Since most of you know that I am a ‘database techy’ how could this not be my number one favorite for the new year, even though I still am not sure exactly what all these changes do other than present the results in new formats. All new version of QuickBooks 2016 desktop software include these features which are accessed from the Utilities sub-menu of the File Menu.
The ‘post-verify’ messaging has changed, if errors are identified during Verify, you will now have the opportunity to obtain additional data easily, no having to search for the QBWin.log file and then research those errors using an Intuit website search.
The Verify Utility has a new look that provides more information without having to go to the QBWin.log file. There appeared, during my early testing of this feature, to be a few new ‘sub-routines’ being checked during the verification process.
Another feature of this new ‘Verify’ results display is a direct link to Intuit Knowledge Based Articles (when available) for the various errors identified. The link also provides a direct path to the Rebuild Utility when applicable.
As you know I am a big fan of the QBWin.log, and in the past many people have had difficulties locating the log for one reason or another. New for 2016 is a link at the bottom of the Product Information window (accessed via F2, or Ctrl+1 from within QuickBooks).
The new verify and rebuild routines should make QuickBooks repair information more easily accessed, streamline the research to find repair procedures, and hopefully improve the extent of automated repairs. (I will be keeping an eye on this new functionality, probably more so than any other one new feature.)
Official Training on 2016 QuickBooks Products
Be among the first to receive official training on the 2016 QuickBooks Products by registering for, and participating in, the "free" Intuit QuickBooks Accounting Virtual Conference, next week on September 16 and 17. Click HERE more information, or to register, for the VCon.
PS - Here is a link to a short video on the 2016 QuickBooks Accountant Version.
1-"My Favorite Things; Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music (1959).Composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein.
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