Friday, September 27, 2013

What’s New in QuickBooks(R) Accountant 2014

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What's New in QuickBooks® Accountant 2014

QuickBooks® Accountant (QBA) 2014 is full of new and improved tools to make what we do easier and more impressive to our clients.

With these new and improved QBA features – and accounting professionals supporting enterprise clients with the Accountant Edition of QuickBooks Enterprise – you will not only improve your efficiency; you'll also prove to your clients just how indispensable and responsive you are to their needs.

Some of the features are enhancements of previous functions and others are brand new.

New for 2014

New! QuickBooks Accountant Plus – including Client Collaborator

QuickBooks Accountant Plus is a new subscription offering that saves accounting professionals time by giving them the option to automatically obtain the latest QuickBooks Accountant version each year.

QBA Plus users (including QuickBooks ProAdvisors®) have exclusive access to the new Client Collaborator feature, a great tool designed to solve many of the challenges accounting professionals encounter when dealing with their clients.

For example, the accountant can now contact the client directly through the client's QuickBooks' file to inquire about a particular transaction. The interactions and conversations are tracked and linked to specific transactions, so the accountant always has a point of reference. These interactions between the accountant and client are stored on a secure server and accessed online, ensuring that nothing is lost. This new feature, which transcends the world of desktop accounting and touches on cloud computing, eliminates the need to keep track of disparate email strings and trying to remember what specific transaction was being discussed. All discussions are linked and accessible.

Here's how the Client Collaborator works: the accountant selects the Ask Question icon on the right of the menu bar to contact the client through QuickBooks. Selecting this icon enables the accountant to tie the question directly to this transaction within the client's file.

The client opens their copy of the company file in their-non accountant version (such as Pro) and then selects View Conversation List from the Company menu.

The accountant can document what he or she did for each transaction and view it all in the Transaction Conversation window. To close a Transaction Conversation, simply click the Close button.

The accountant's client will need a version of QuickBooks 2014 to use this feature; an Internet connection is required for both parties.

What's New in QuickBooks Pro and Above

Although this article is focusing on the new and enhanced features of QBA 2014, since QBA has all the features of QuickBooks Pro and Premier (and the Accountant Edition of QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions has all the features of all editions of Enterprise), I feel compelled to list at least some of my favorite new features in QuickBooks Pro and above.

New! Income Tracker

Select Customers > Income Tracker and you'll see this new dashboard view of all customer and sales-related activity. The Income Tracker includes a visual display that allows the customer to drill into each color block and filter the dashboard quickly for transactions like all open Estimates or unpaid Invoices. Also, the QuickBooks user can sort and filter the information provided in the Income Tracker and even take action, such as converting an Estimate to an Invoice.

New! Record Bounced Checks

I'm pretty impressed with this one, since I previously created my own workaround for dealing with bounced checks and put it on the Tips and Tricks page of my company website. This new feature makes my creative workaround obsolete.

If a customer bounces a check on your client, simply open the Customer Payment window where that payment was entered and select Record Bounced Check.

With just a few simple steps, QuickBooks will create or change all the necessary transactions, including marking the Invoice or Sales Receipt as unpaid, removing the deposited funds and applicable service fees from the bank account, and creating a new Invoice for any bounced check charges passed on to the customer.

Improved! Bank Feeds (previously Online Banking)

The enhancements to the Online Banking workflows for 2014 are so significant that the feature has been renamed Bank Feeds. This feature includes a simplified setup process, an improved visual presentation of bank accounts and transactions, and simplified and expanded matching rules. Bank Feeds are accessed by selecting Banking > Bank Feeds.

Bank Feeds offer all the following:

  • All bank accounts are in one list.
  • An overview of downloaded transactions.
  • A link to downloaded transactions.
  • A summary of items to send.
  • Matching of transactions is easier: rules are written in plain English for better understanding.
  • Better rules: a powerful rules engine is more flexible and automates matching more frequently.

Improved! Job Costing

Reports can now be filtered by Job Status. Also, QuickBooks now has a Rep field at the Job level, allowing businesses to assign a rep to individual jobs, rather than simply at the customer level.

Improved! Reporting Ribbon

The Reports tab in the Ribbon at the top of transactions now contains more reports such as Average Days to Pay Summary at the top of Invoices:

New! Customize View Balances

When you are using the Left Icon Bar view, you can click on Customize view balances at the bottom of the View Balances section:

This allows you to choose to view balances for accounts of all types, including revenue, cost of goods sold and expense accounts:

New! Copy/Paste Line Items

Line items on a transaction can now be copied and pasted within that transaction, simply by right-clicking on the row in the body of the transaction, or by highlighting any part of that row and selecting Edit. I've been waiting forever for this one!

Improved! Bill Payment Stub

In previous versions, if a vendor bill was paid 100% by a vendor credit at the time of the bill pay run, that bill and bill credit did not get included on the bill payment stub; now they do. Hooray!

Improved! Report Print/Preview Scaling

You're no doubt familiar with being able to scale a report so that it is a specified number of pages wide. That's been in QuickBooks for eons. However, now you can choose to scale the report so that it is also a specified number of pages long. You can combine the two scale options or choose only one when printing or previewing a report.

Enhanced features in QuickBooks Accountant 2014

Here are my top picks for the great enhancements in QuickBooks Accountant 2014:

Improved! Batch Enter Transactions now includes Invoices, Credit Memos, Bills and Bill Credits

I really like the Batch Enter Transactions feature, which was introduced last year. It was great for taking a client who recorded year-to-date company transactions in a different accounting system (or just in spreadsheet format) and bring them into the QuickBooks universe with very little effort or chance of entry errors. All you needed was to get the "old system" transactions in spreadsheet format and copy and paste columns from there. If everything in the client's old system was manual or couldn't be exported to a spreadsheet, at least you could enter transactions of the same type (the different types being checks, deposits, or credit card charges and credits) in a "heads down" fashion without ever touching a mouse in one screen and review them before recording them all. Bookkeepers, in particular, loved it.

Now for 2014, Batch Enter Transactions has expanded capabilities, offering a screen for entering bills and bill credits and another for invoices and credit memos. This offers up more ways to automate getting a client's old-system transactions into QuickBooks, either by copying and pasting columns from a spreadsheet or, if necessary, manually entering them into one screen without interruption.

Improved! Send General Journal Entries Now Support Mac Clients

Last year, we were introduced to the cool concept of QBA users sending journal entries (as a *.QBJ file attachment) to their clients by email;the email would instruct the client how to import the entries seamlessly on their end. This year, sending general journal entries to clients is even cooler, because QuickBooks for Mac clients can import those entries as well.

Imagine your QuickBooks for Mac client sent you a data file. You've converted it to Windows to open it in QBA. While your Mac client continues with business as usual, you work your year-end magic and create a bunch of general journal entries in your Windows copy of the client's data file. You select Accountant > Send General Journal Entries, choose your date range and the entries to send, (then decide whether you want to allow your client to choose specific entries to import or not) and then select Email as Attachment and follow the prompts.

Your Mac client receives the email with instructions for seamless importing of the entries, just as your Windows clients do. Presto! The entries are in. No fuss, no muss and no client entry errors messing up your skilled work.

Improved! Client Data Review Now Offers Reclassify Source Account Feature

Find and fix client errors quickly using the ever-popular Client Data Review (CDR) feature, enhanced yet again for 2014! CDR now has a Reclassify Source Account function, which handles all of the following, quickly and easily, without resorting to reports and drilling down on individual transactions:

  • Locate transactions written from a specific bank or credit card account.
  • Reclassify the source account of multiple transactions in just a few clicks.
  • Works if the two source accounts are of the same type (for example, two bank accounts).

Free! Accountant copy File Transfer Service

Here's a great bonus: the Accountant Copy File Transfer Service is free to QuickBooks Accountant users this year.

A Final Word

All in all, I really like the new features of QuickBooks Accountant 2014, and I'm especially excited for all of us to start using the Client Collaborator in QBA Plus, because we'll be even more indispensible to our clients than we were before. I'm also very pleased for our QuickBooks clients, because they'll reap the benefits of QuickBooks 2014's enhancements, and they'll also be benefiting from having indispensible accounting professionals – like us – supporting them.

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