Editor's Note: This is the first of an exclusive four-part series by William Murphy, Insightful Accountant's senior technical editor, on Intuit's product launch for QuickBooks 2017, which is slated for Sept. 19. The piece features some of Murph's own experiences in reviewing a pre-release copy of the software.
Intuit has begun the roll-out of QuickBooks 2017. While the formal product launch will take place on Monday, Sept. 19, they have made information available, so we can begin giving you the "scoop" on the new features, enhancements and changes prior to the time the product starts appearing via the various sales channels.
Over the years, we have noticed a trend with who QuickBooks targets with its new versions. One year, it will focus on enhancements for day-to-day users. In another year, it will key in on accountants (bookkeepers and ProAdvisors). In the third year of a three-year cycle, it will target technological changes.
This year's enhancements seem to target customers.
QuickBooks 2017 appears to be focused on helping small businesses "run their business" with even greater ease, as many of the enhancements are aimed at saving businesses valuable time on the things they do most often. It also means that users on earlier versions of QuickBooks will find it easy to transition. They should be just as comfortable with the new version, despite changes and enhancements, as they were with their older version.
In this series, we'll review the new and enhanced features in QuickBooks (desktop) 2017, beginning with this First Look at:
Scheduled Reports (New Feature)
Scheduled Reports, an entirely new feature for QuickBooks 2017, is intended to automate the sending of reports from QuickBooks in an effort to streamline your workflow and day-to-day business activities.
Scheduled Reports uses the Microsoft Task Scheduler. Rather than setting reminders to send reports from QuickBooks, Scheduled Reports enables you to set-up a report schedule in QuickBooks, which will generate and send the report automatically.
This new feature even works with multiple company files. In other words, your report schedule can take into account different company files with which you work.
QuickBooks 2017 appears to be focused on helping small businesses "run their business" with even greater ease.
Set-up Scheduled Reports
Step 1 – Log-in to QuickBooks on the computer from you want to email your scheduled reports, and open QuickBooks as "Admin" in single-user mode.
Step 2 – Access the "Scheduled Reports" feature from the QuickBooks menu bar, choose "Reports," select "Scheduled Reports," and then choose "Schedule Setup."
QB2017 Schedule Reports Fig 1
Step 3 – Select the reports you want to schedule from any standard QuickBooks pre-configured or user customized memorized report you want to email regularly, and then click "Next."
QB2017 Schedule Reports Fig 2
Step 4 – Give this schedule a unique schedule name, and select the frequency, start date and time that you wish to begin your report schedule. You must insure that your computer will be turned-on and "awake" at the time the reports are scheduled to run. Click "Next."
QB2017 Schedule Reports Fig 3
Step 5 – Compose the email message that will contain the scheduled reports. While Intuit’s literature recommends that attached reports be password protected, the feature actually requires them to be password protected. Now click "Schedule."
QB2017 Schedule Reports Fig 4
Note that you can "Edit" or "Delete" the scheduled reports from the Scheduled Report Center (shown below) using the action drop-down item at the far right column. You also can make the scheduled report "inactive" by unchecking the "Active" check-box.
QB2017 Schedule Reports Fig 5
Here are some things to remember about using Scheduled Reports in QuickBooks 2017:
- While Scheduled Reports will run even if QuickBooks is closed on your computer, your computer must be "on." It must not be asleep or in hibernation mode.
- The Company file from which the reports are scheduled must be set to use Outlook or Webmail. You cannot use the QuickBooks Email Service.
- If you're using Outlook for your email, it must be open at the time the Scheduled Report is sent.
- You can be working in QuickBooks when scheduled reports are set to run, but the file cannot be in "Multi-User" mode. You must be working in the same company file as the one your reports will be sent. You cannot have a different Company file open in QuickBooks at the time of the scheduled reports. So, if you have reports scheduled from multiple company files at the same time, you shouldn’t attempt to be working in QuickBooks at the same time.
- Reports may sometimes be sent a few minutes after their scheduled time. The scheduled report feature begins the compilation of the reports based upon the time you scheduled. If you have several reports scheduled and your company file is large, QuickBooks may take several minutes to complete the entire task of compiling and sending all of the reports. This means it's not uncommon or abnormal if your report goes out as much as 15 minutes after their scheduled time.
Other considerations and limitations when attempting to use Scheduled Reports:
You can only have one edition of QuickBooks 2017 installed on the computer you intend to use Scheduled Reports. In other words, you cannot have both Premier and Enterprise (2017) installed on the same machine. This poses a significant hardship on accountants, bookkeepers and ProAdvisors who would like to use this new feature to automatically send reports to their clients, while at the same time supporting clients using multiple QuickBooks desktop platforms.
This essentially means that trusted advisors must have 2017 versions of Premier and Enterprise installed on separate machines to make use of this new Scheduled Reports feature with their clients. And, because your Windows User Account cannot be a roaming profile, you will need to have a different Windows User Account so you can log-in differently on each of the two machines.
Because the Scheduled Reports feature makes use of the Microsoft Task Scheduler, there are several other conditions that must be meet to set-up and use the new feature. The requirements include:
- The Windows User Account must have "Administrator" privileges
- The Program must be "run as Administrator" via the right-click function for first use or UAC must be configured as "Never Notify"
- The Windows User Account must be a local, non-roaming profile
If you are unclear about any of these requirements or settings, contact a qualified Windows IT professional for assistance.
While there are some technical aspects and limitations of this new feature, the new version also has some valuable uses. Perhaps you need to send your banker a set of financials each month, or send your board members a variety of reports every two weeks, or a set specialized reports you have created to your consultant. In any case, these Scheduled Reports can be your best new friend.
Want more? Register for our QB Talks web seminar on October 12. We offer the same web seminar at 1:00 and 6:00 Eastern time. Click to learn more.