Monday, December 31, 2007

Deals on New QuickBooks Software

As I’ve often said, it is possible to save quite a bit of money on the more expensive software, such as QuickBooks and Microsoft Office, by buying them from eBay sellers.  I have saved substantial amounts of money that way over the past several years, including some times where I bought an earlier version of a program in order to be able to buy the newest version from the manufacturer at their much lower upgrade price.

The most expensive version of QuickBooks is their heavy duty Enterprise Solutions (ES), which used to come only in a 10 user version that cost $3,500.  I have been using ES for our books here since it first came out, but only because I received a free copy as part of my ProAdvisor membership. For accountants who are not ProAdvisors and who have clients using ES, it could get expensive being able to support them.  Luckily, Intuit recently started expanding the flavors of ES, offering versions for 5, 10, 15 and 20 simultaneous users, costing as much as $9,000 plus another $2,000 per year for their service plan. 

The best aspect to this product line expansion, from a purely selfish sense, has been the introduction of a special single user version for professional accountants that allows us to work with client files from any of the other larger programs.  It retails for only $849.   

I am discussing this now for an even more selfish reason.  As a beta tester for the 2008 program, Intuit sent me a free copy of this special accountant version of the newest Enterprise Solutions program.  Since I already had a copy as part of my ProAdvisor update, this redundant copy has been put up for sale on eBay by Sherry at a huge discount off of the retail price.  The auction expires next Sunday, January 6, 2008. 


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sending smaller data files

From a client:

Kerry, I have completed my books on last year, 2007 for our corporation. I purchased a winzip file to send compressed messages but I am having a difficult time useing it. I have someone coming to help me in the morning if that does not work I will copy to a disk and drive it up to Harrison tomorrow myself. I will let you know.

My reply:

There is no need to use WinZip for QuickBooks files.  We used to use that for Quicken files because that program had a terrible backup function.  QuickBooks has its own built in compression tool when you make Portable Company Files (QBM) or Accountant's Review (QBX) copies.

Go into the "File" menu, then to "Accountant's Copy", then "Client Activities", then "Create Accountant's Copy"

Save the QBX copy to a folder on your computer where you can remember its location.  Then either attach it to an email to me or upload it to my online service.

To send the file to me, or upload it to my online server, check out the instructions on my website

Good luck.


From the client:

Kerry, I think I did what your inst. told me to do. If this is not correct please have Sherry let me know when we can get together on a phone call, and she can waik me through this process. At any rate thank you very much for all your help and info. Look forward to heraing from you.

I wrote back:

You sent the 15.3 mb full size QBW file. 

I will look it over.

Next time, please make either a Portable Company File (ending in QBM) or an Accountant's Review copy (ending in QBX).  Both of those are only about one tenth the size of the QBW, making for much faster uploading and downloading.

Thanks for your help with this.




Intuit Secuity Alert


Subject: verification


 I haven't downloaded this yet as it didn't come directly to me from intuit.



Can you verify it's for real?  I am thinking it is...



Surprisingly, I didn't receive that message myself.  I went to the Intuit website and it does look legit.

However, even though I have more Intuit programs installed on my computer than anyone I can think of, I am not planing to run this special patch from Intuit.  I do frequently run the Update function inside QuickBooks, as well as the Tuesday Microsoft patches via Windows Update; so I will let those patches take care of this issue.

If you're not experiencing any of those special problems with your QuickBooks, you should be able to bring everything the more natural way, as I am doing.

Thanks for checking with me before you accepted that Intuit patch.








UPDATE:  I was just going through my incoming email backlog and found that I had actually received this security alert directly from Intuit on 12/11/07.



Accepting Faxed Checks


We have faxed a check to you guys for our tax prep fee for several years now.  I would like to be able to receive faxed checks from my out of state clients, but we, and our bank, don't know how to get set up to do that.  Is that something that our Quick Books Program can do for us?  We would really appreciate any help or direction you could give us about doing that.

Thank you,


The ability to accept faxed checks to create new check drafts is just one of the various features that make the VersaCheck program a very handy tool.  I haven't had to buy any preprinted checks for any of our accounts for the last ten or so years.  I buy blank check stock from the same company that makes VersaCheck and use it to print up blank checks to hand prepare, as well as the check drafts.  It also comes with a driver that allows checks to be printed from QuickBooks right onto blank check stock. 

They also sell printers and toner with magnetic ink, but I have never used any of those.  I have always printed the checks and drafts on the same laser printer with regular toner that I use for all of my other printing and they clear the banks just fine. 

I actually had my first rejected check draft just a few weeks ago for a check a client had faxed in on an insurance company account.  All of the other check drafts drawn on banks all around the country have been accepted with no problem; so that was a fluke.

You can see more info and buy the programs via the company's website

While they have a growing number of versions of their program, I have been using their Gold one for the past six or seven years and it has been working perfectly.

Just like QuickBooks, there is a new version of VersaCheck released each year.  Also like QuickBooks, you don't need to buy the new ones and can make do with an older version for several years if you don't want the newest features.

Good luck.  I hope this helps.




Thank you so much for the information.  The only program I had found info about was from a company called CheckWriter.  It looks like the VersaCheck program does substantially more than CheckWriter, and even costs less.  This looks like the product we've been needing.

Thanks again for your help and the information.


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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Multiple Years In QB Files


Subject: Quick Books

I seen your page on QB and I was wondering if you know how many years I can use my QB Pro 2007?

Simply Accounting stated on the box that it can save up to 7 years.  Is there any limits in QB2007?

Kindest Regards,


None of the regular QuickBooks programs has ever had any limits on how many years' data you could keep in a single company file.  It's just a matter of your hard disk space.  I actually prefer to keep as many years as possible in the same file for easier reporting and comparisons of multiple year data.  I currently have the entire history of our first corporation, covering from 1994 to the present, in a single QBW company file and have every intention of letting it accumulate forever. 

I encourage all of our clients to do likewise.  I frequently need to look up older data.  This has especially been useful while preparing 2006 tax returns and locating the 2003 through 2006 phone bill charges for the special long distance tax credit.  Clients who didn't have those back years in their QB files had to accept the measly standard $30 to $40 credit, while those whose data extended back often received credits of over $1,000.

I have no idea of the space limitations present in the two crappy versions of QuickBooks that I advise against using, Simple Start and QuickBooks Online; but wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see limitations in both of them, especially the online version, where your files are stored on the Intuit servers and you have no control over how many years they choose to hold onto.

All of the desktop versions of QuickBooks, from the first one to the current 2008 versions, allow you to accumulate an unlimited number of years of data in a single company file.

I hope this helps.

Good luck.

Kerry Kerstetter



The best book on QuickBooks Premier Editions


Friday, November 16, 2007

Saving a QBX File


Subject: QBX File 06


Kerry I created a QBX file as requested but at the end it asks you to save it and I did but I don't know were it is now to send it to you. So were does it go after it is saved? Sorry.



You should set up a folder on your hard drive with a name such as c:\QBBackup or SendtoCPA.  When the program asks where to save the QBX file, browse to that folder.

When e-mailing that QBX file, browse to the folder while in your email program to locate  it.

Or you can upload the file to my online service per the instructions on my website

Good luck.  I hope this helps.




Thursday, November 15, 2007

New free QB 2008 guides

Courtesy of the latest Intuit Pro Connection newsletter, we can download the following free PDF files:

Sharing Data in QuickBooks 2008

Described here

PDF File  (36 pages)


Official Guides for:

Enterprise Solutions 8.0  (593 pages)

Premier 2008  (593 pages)  


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Posting Stock Sales In QB


Subject: stock sales on quickbooks


I read what you wrote regarding tracking stock investments in Quickbooks.  You make it sound very easy to record a stock sale and purchase for that matter.  And I am sure it is.  However, for the weak at heart or maybe the mind, I don’t get it.


For example,  say I buy 100 shares of IBM for $50 in June 2000.  I should have recorded that under Stock Account:  IBM  Other Asset          Correct?


Then I sell it in June 2007 for $100.  I should record it under Stock Account:  IBM  Income account  ?  and then I don’t understand how I transfer the cost of the stock, the $5000 to a Cost of assets Sold contra-income account.  Is that a journal entry?  Don’t get any of that.


If you could make it even easier for someone like me, I would be very appreciative.

Thank you,


You are on the right track; and I'd be glad to elaborate in more detail.

First, you need to understand that there is no one perfect way to do this and any game-plan you use should be reviewed with your personal professional tax advisor to ensure that you are in synch with what works best for his/her needs in regard to tax planning and tax return preparation work.  My comments represent how I prefer to see these transactions entered to make it easier for me to have the critical data I need to prepare my clients' tax returns as efficiently as possible.

You should have an Other Asset account called something like "Stocks."  While some people do set up a sub-account for each stock they buy, I find that to be overkill that ends up making the chart of accounts and balance sheet too large and unwieldy.  One main account will work fine as long as you are thorough in the info you enter for each transaction.  For purchases, be sure the proper date is used for the QB entry and the Memo section is filled in with the name of the stock and the number of shares.

What many people overlook is reinvested dividends when keeping track of their stock investments.  To properly do this, you need to use the General Journal to enter the dividends as a credit to Dividend Income and a debit to the Stocks asset account.  Be sure to fill in the memo sections of both sides of the entry to record the relevant details, including name of the stock and number of shares purchased.  With most DRiPs (dividend reinvestment plans), the new purchases are fractional shares; so you need to be careful when entering this.

For the sale of stocks, you do use the General Journal to transfer the cost of the shares sold from the Stocks asset account to the  AssetCost contra-income account.  Again, be sure the date of the entry matches the sale date and that you fill in the memo section with all of the relevant data, including name of stock and number of shares.  If the number of shares sold is different than any single purchase, you will need to make an entry for each lot sold so you can keep track of which sales are long term (over 12 months holding) and short term (under 12 months).

I hope this helps you better understand how to record stocks in QuickBooks.  These comments are by necessity general in nature.  Your personal professional tax advisor should be able to give you more specific tips for your unique circumstances.

Good luck.

Kerry Kerstetter




Reconciliations in QB 2008

From a client using QB 2007:

Hi Kerry,


Any insight on the reconciliation changes in the 2008 version yet?


Thank you, sir!


My Reply:

I haven't had a chance to experiment with the 2008 QB program's reconciliation capabilities yet.  After I get some more tax returns finished, I'm hoping to be able to do more testing on it.  From the release notes from Intuit, I'm not really expecting much change from your perspective because they seem to have focused more attention on making it easier for us to perform reconciliations on the Accountant's Review copies of files that we receive from clients rather than the other way around.

I'll let you know how it looks.




Wednesday, November 7, 2007


From a client's bookkeeper:

The clients need their Personal first, We are still working on the other two accounts. They use Quick Books 2007 and we are still in the learning curve for it. Do you want a QBX File or QBM?  I am not clear on how to import changes from a edited QBM back into the master QBW or even if you can.  I really don't want to have another mess on my hands.

My Reply:

I'm not aware of any way to import changes from a QBM or other kind of file; so if you plan to continue working on their stuff while I have their data, you will need to send me a QBX copy of the file. 

If you won't be working on their personal stuff while I am, you can send me a QBM file that will make it easier and faster for me to make a lot more kinds of changes.  You will then have to use the revised QBM file that I will be sending back to you.

Thanks for your help with this.




Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007

Customizing Quicken


Subject: Quicken Home and Business 2007


I am trying to use Quicken Home and Business edition 2007.  I have a consulting business, which comprise of two business I invoice and get paid from, my wife has a small beauty shop and my personal accounts are in the same data file.  I doing a good job in inputting the data and keepping my account correct.  I doing a really bad job on the reports and making sense of the data.  I think I have my account set up wrong but they balance.  Do you hirer out to help people like me?  or know of someone that helps?  Let me know.


For various reasons, I no longer support the use of Quicken and haven't actually used it in a number of years; so I can't give you any specific tips on your 2007 program.  When the few clients who do use it send me their data in Quicken format, I just convert it into the more reliable QuickBooks format and work with it in that much more useful program.

You can see more details on my experiences with both Quicken and QuickBooks on my website

Good luck.

Kerry Kerstetter



Thursday, November 1, 2007

Which kind of file to send to tax preparer...

From a client who uses QB 2007:

Hi Kerry,
I found that I did input the data for the corporate tax yr ended 03/31/06 into Quickbooks.
Would you like me to send an "Accountant's Copy"? 
Faxing a check ?   Can you receive color ?   Do I make a copy, then fax it to you, then mail the original?

My reply:

If you plan to be entering new data into your copy of the data file while I am working on the one you send me, you need to send me a QBX copy of your file.

If you won't be dig anything to your copy while I am working on my copy, please send me a QBM copy.

For several years, I have been using a program called VersaCheck that takes the bank info and produces substitute check drafts that I then deposit just like the originals.  It will go through your bank account just like a normal check.  There is no need to also mail the original check and any color is irrelevant.  I just need to be able to read the info on the check.

Thanks for your help with this.




Sunday, October 28, 2007

Line of Credit


Subject: Line Of Credit vers Proprietors Investment



Money to pay the business bills that is obtained from an equity line of credit, should they be entered in to the books as proprietors investment ? Or as a line of credit ? Which is the most beneficial? Is there any difference?



There is only one way to properly do this.  Running line of credit activity through the owner's equity account makes no sense whatsoever.

Each loan, whether it's a regular type or a line of credit, should have its own liability account set up in your QB.  The payments you make need to be split between the principal portion, which is posted to that loan's liability account, and the interest portion, which is posted to the Interest Expense account.  Use guesstimates of the breakdown when you make the payments and then correct them when you receive the bank's details on how they were applied.

On a periodic basis, the loan balance should be reconciled to the statement from the bank by using the Reconcile feature that is built into QB.

The same thing applies to credit cards.  Each one should be set up with its own account in QB and each charge and payment should be posted into it.  Each monthly statement from the credit card company needs to be reconciled with your QB to make sure everything is properly picked up.

I have discussed this in the QuickBooks tips I have posted on my website.

Good luck.  I hope this helps.



Business Plan Pro

Monday, October 22, 2007

(Click on image for full size)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More QB 2008 News

What's New in QuickBooks 2008 From Intuit

Accountant's Copy Rules for QuickBooks 2008 – PDF documents that can be downloaded from CPA911. Includes the following info on the most annoying feature of the QuickBooks 2007, the inability of clients to reconcile accounts while an accountant’s copy is in existence.

Bank Reconciliation QuickBooks permits clients to reconcile accounts (bank and credit card) while an Accountant's Copy exists, but when the reconciliation process starts, you see this message.

The reconciliation is undone when you import the accountant's changes whether or not the accountant reconciles the accounts in the Accountant's Copy. For clients who do not ask accountants to perform reconciliation tasks, this can be annoying (especially if the accountant doesn't return the Accountant's Copy in a timely fashion). We expect QuickBooks to change this paradigm during an update to QuickBooks 2008.

The best book on QuickBooks Premier Editions

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Critical bugs plague QuickBooks' online service, warns US-CERT – I have frequently discussed why using the online QB service is not advisable.  Here’s one more reason.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Setting up Chart of Accounts


I have than small business for septic company what chart of accounts I would need to enter into QuickBooks Pro.  If you would be so kind to help me out with this it would really help me to setup this company.

Thank you, for your time and cooperation with this matter


There is no such thing as a one size fits all chart of accounts that accommodates every business, even in the same industry.

The QB program comes with several pre-configured charts of accounts.  The best thing is to just start with the one that is closest to your industry and then modify it as you go.

You should be working along with your professional tax preparer to make sure that the Classes and Accounts in your QB data file dove-tail with your tax returns; so having him/her look it over and fine tune them will make everything go much more smoothly in regard to tax planning and preparation.

Good luck.  

Kerry Kerstetter




Wednesday, August 8, 2007

QB Update Notification


Subject: Running multiple versions of QuickBooks


Dear Mr. Kerstetter,


Your very helpful web page came up when I searched Google for my multiple versions question.  I have 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007 installed.  A few years ago, I ran into a problem when I allowed one version to update.  Whenever QuickBooks starts, it asks if I want to update the file.  I respond with "Later" now, because when I updated before the computer decided the version I updated was the only version installed and wouldn't run other updates.


Have you had a similar issue?  If so, how did you resolve it?  If not, would you recommend I continue to decline the updates?  Finally, if you recommend I decline to update, do you know of a way to stop the programs from asking to update every time?


Thank you for your time and information.


Best regards,


Unfortunately, such pop-up update notices are part of the experience of running multiple versions of QB.  Until a few years ago, when that happened, I would uninstall and the reinstall that version of QB and that annoyance would go away.

However, I am running so many versions of QB on my main computer that I stopped doing the uninstall & reinstall thing because it was taking up far too much of my time.  I just hit the "Later" button and the programs seem to work fine.  I'm not aware of any way to turn off that pop-up message, so I just live with it and still consider it less time consuming than having to frequently uninstall and reinstall the programs.

I'm sorry I couldn't be more help. 

Kerry Kerstetter




Thank you for your reply.  It is helpful to know that I'm not alone, nor am I doing something wrong by clicking that "Later" button.


Best regards,


 The best book on QuickBooks Premier Editions


Friday, July 20, 2007

New Blog

As I have mentioned on several occasions, the key to good tax and financial planning is good records. We in the tax profession can only do so much with what we are given by our clients. GIGO - Garbage In, Garbage Out. We have long required our business clients to keep their books using the QuickBooks programs, either on their own or with the assistance of outside bookkeeping professionals.

One of the most time consuming aspects for working on tax returns is cleaning up the QB data so that it provides what we need. This is the case with many professional bookkeepers, as well as people who do their own entry work. I am planning to post copies of many of the tips I send to other QB users on this new blog. I am also hoping to be able to post short mini videos that show how certain tasks are done.

I have to admit that one of the reasons I decided to set up a new separate blog for this topic was so that I could have a chance to play with the new features that the Blogger service has developed which are not available on my old style blog, such as the poll on the right side.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

QB Data Conversion

I recently took a survey for QuickBooks on their new Client Solution Center as part of their Certified ProAdvisor program.  While I like their new data conversion tool that allows people to import data from Peachtree, Microsoft Small Business Accounting and Microsoft Office Accounting, it does have a serious limitation, which I explained as follows in the request for additional feedback.

Your conversion tool should include the ability to convert from the QB Online format to the QB desktop format.  I have always advised against using your online service because of the inability to do this, and will continue to advise against your online service until it is possible to easily move data from the online program to the desktop one.



Saturday, June 23, 2007

Working On QB With Multiple Computers


Subject: transferring data

I use Quickbooks Pro 2005 and just got dsl at home. I have it on my work computer also and want to transfer data to my home computer via the internet. Can I transfer the data on the internet, I have been using pcAnywhere to transfer via phone line, but it takes forever. Thanks for any information.


I assume you are wanting to access your QB data from both your home and work computers. Trying to do that over the internet is going to be a slow and messy process. Even the official online QB service, which is designed for this kind of direct access, is much too slow for my tastes; one of my many complaints about the online service.

What you need to do is work with the QBW file directly on each computer. This will require that after each time you work in the file, from either computer, you backup the data into a compressed QBB file. There are several ways for you to do this and have access to the QBB file from both of your computers.

One way would be to backup the QBB file onto a portable storage medium, such as a CD-RW disc or thumb flash drive, which you can carry with you back and forth between home and work. You would then restore the data onto the computer you are using.

Another way, and the one we use with most of our clients, is to store the QBB file on an online storage service, such as XDrive or MyDocsOnline. You download a copy of the latest QBB file to the computer you are working on and restore it into your QB program and then work on it all you want. When you're done, you make a new QBB copy that you upload to your online storage. This gives you the speed of working on the file locally, with access to the data backup file from anywhere in the world.

These obviously aren't the only ways to work with a data file on multiple computers, but they are the ones that we have been using for several years.

Good luck. I hope this helps.

Kerry Kerstetter