First Look: QuickBooks 2009
QuickBooks 2009 has just been released and you’ll find a number of improvements that are sure to be helpful. Of course, the introduction of a new release also means the discontinuation of support for an old release. QuickBooks will end support for QuickBooks 2006 as of May 31, 2009. This means that after that date you’ll no longer able to request technical assistance from Intuit, and services such as payroll, merchant service, online banking, and so on will no longer be accessible. With that background in mind, let’s explore what’s new!
Three Long Awaited Improvements
Some users have been stymied by the fact that QuickBooks would not allow numbers of $100 million or above to be entered. QuickBooks 2009 extends this limit to numbers just shy of $100 billion. So, instead of being limited to 8-figure numbers, you’re now limited to 11-figure numbers. This increased limit is particularly helpful now that QuickBooks supports multiple currencies. As shown in Figure 1, you can configure QuickBooks to process transactions in just about any currency. Records will show both the foreign and converted amounts, plus Intuit now offers an international payment service that allows you to initiate wires and drafts for more than 100 foreign currencies from within QuickBooks.
Figure 1: QuickBooks 2009 supports multiple currencies.
A more universal improvement that you’ll appreciate involves the Bank Reconciliation window. Until now you couldn’t sort transactions, which meant you could spend a lot of time looking for a specific item when combined with the seemingly arbitrary grouping of transactions. As shown in Figure 2, you can now click on any column heading and sort the bank reconciliation columns any way you wish.
Figure 2: You can click and sort based on any column heading in the Bank Reconciliation window.
Multiple User Improvements
You may also have been frustrated in the past that you had to switch QuickBooks into single-user mode in order to back-up your company. For many offices, this involves tracking everyone down, getting them to log out of QuickBooks, and then letting them know when to get back in. Or, because of the hassle, some users just wouldn’t get around to backing up their data. QuickBooks 2009 addresses both of these issues:
- You’re now able to back-up QuickBooks while other users are logged into the company.
- The new Messenger feature allows you to instantly communicate with other users currently logged into the software.
The multi-user improvements don’t stop there: now one user can create an invoice while another is running a report.
Accountants Copy Improvements
You’ll also be glad to know that you can now reconcile your bank account at any time while the accountant’s copy is out. Previously you couldn’t carryout reconciliations after the dividing date until the accountant’s copy had been returned. In addition, accountant’s copy users can now map Form 1099 fields, as well as modify and merge classes. Further, accountant’s copy users can access both QuickBooks 2008 and 2009 companies, which simplifies the review process.
QuickBooks 2009 Other New Features:
- The new Company Snapshot provides an instant overview of your business, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: The new Company Snapshot serves as an executive dashboard.
- Online banking has been improved, meaning that QuickBooks should automatically match more transactions, resulting in less work for you to do by hand.
- The Item List window has a new search feature that makes it easier to find inventory items, as shown in Figure 4.
- A new Duplicate command allows you to replicate existing inventory items and certain transactions. As shown in Figure 4, this command appears when you right-click on an inventory item. It also appears when you right-click anywhere in a transaction window, as shown in Figure 5. Although QuickBooks enables you to duplicate existing transactions, the Memorized Transaction feature is a much safer way to do so. Duplicating a transaction means an exact duplicate, including invoice or check numbers and dates.
Figure 4: A new search feature helps locate items, while the new Duplicate command eliminates redundant keying.
Figure 5: It’s possible to duplicate transactions, but use this feature with care.
- QuickBooks 2009 users can have a free business web site (comprised of three pages) hosted for twelve months.
- QuickBooks 2009 is Windows Vista-certified by Microsoft, although previous versions should also work within without issue in Windows Vista.
- Adobe Acrobat Form templates can be imported into QuickBooks. Keep in mind that this requires that you purchase Adobe Acrobat Pro in order to do so, but this allows other employees or sales reps to generate invoices, sales orders, or estimates that can be imported into QuickBooks. This allows you to push accounting tasks out to the field, without granting direct access to QuickBooks.
- QuickBooks Enterprise Edition now supports up to 30 users, so you can stay with QuickBooks as your business grows.
- The Administrator password now uses stronger, 2048-bit encryption. Make sure that you don’t lose this password, as you’ll have a much tougher time revealing it through password recovery tools.
- A new Live Community feature allows you to see questions and answers posted by other QuickBooks users, as shown in Figure 6. You can even post questions on your own for free, but keep in mind that there’s no guarantee of a response to your question. If you find that Live Community takes up too much screen space, you can turn off the feature by choosing Edit, Preferences, and then clear the checkbox for Show Live Community in the Desktop view, as shown in Figure 7. You can then activate Live Community at any time by choosing Help, and then Live Community.
Figure 6: The Live Community feature allows you to see what questions others are asking about QuickBooks.
Figure 7: You can disable Live Community if you don’t find it helpful.
A Worthy Upgrade
QuickBooks 2009 offers solid improvement over previous versions. With new features like 11-digit number support, multiple currency support, and advanced sorting options, you’re sure to increase your productivity enough to more than offset the cost of the upgrade. Add usability features like enhanced security and multi-user support and QuickBooks 2009 looks like a winner.