QuickBooks 2009: Is it worth the upgrade?

By Mike Block

Susan Gunn is the author of many good QuickBooks books. She asks, "QuickBooks 2009: Is it worth the upgrade?" and says it has few features for professional practices.

Susan's big QuickBooks 2009: Is it worth the upgrade disappointment involves QuickBooks online banking problems. I agreed with her about these problems in my many articles and news releases.

On the other hand, this independent Fort Lauderdale CPA, has been an Intuit insider for 10+ years. I recently spent 30+ minutes talking about QuickBooks online banking problems and related matters with the amazing Intuit CEO, Brad Smith, DURING the Florida - Alabama championship football game, This followed a long series of fast e-mail exchanges and several phone calls with Brad, Terry Hicks (top QuickBooks executive), QuickBooks product managers, and Intuit Officers and Directors. Some e-mails were so intense that Terry twice asked me to take it easy, since programmers were spending time investigating my issues instead of working on assigned fixes.

I also saw and used the upgrades for QuickBooks online banking problems that we recently got and one due December 18. They, and one more update due soon, will more than solve our QuickBooks online banking problems. This actually will make QuickBooks much better in this area. Few know Intuit made these expensive changes because only about 4 percent of users were using online banking. This is one of the fastest, easiest, least expensive, and most accurate ways to save many times the QuickBooks upgrade cost. Intuit testing no doubt show that this percentage will greatly increase once we get used to new changes. They certainly are quickly fixing this one disappointing area.

Many QuickBooks 2009 changes make this the best QuickBooks in many years. I could not pre-release test QuickBooks online banking problems due to Bank of America (which has now fixed its problems). However, QuickBooks 2009 was faster, easier, and more reliable than any prior version in pre-release tests. Intuit later fixed many minor problems we have had for years.

QuickBooks new features, regardless of whether you have a professional practice, the QuickBooks Accountant Copy and Client Data Review changes will make an incredible difference in providing the fastest, easiest, least expensive, and most accurate accountant support. This is the only way to keep your books really accurately, more than one day a year, without wasting lots of expensive accountant time.

The new QuickBooks Live Community user-to-user forums, heavily backed by Intuit tech support, are absolutely revolutionary (though they too need minor fixing). There are thousands of QuickBooks 2009 links to specific threads in the forums, if you do not get instant answers to questions. The forums are Wiki- enabled, so users can largely write new documentation as needed. Intuit did this after finding out that users prefer answers from other users to answers from tech support. In initial TuboTax tests, users gave 40 percent of answers faster than Intuit tech support. They also, on average, gave clearly better answers. The first time I used these forums I quickly and almost accidentally found two answers to questions I had wanted for years. This all began with my 2002 QuickBooks Advisory Council suggestion, posted to my website in 2003. Intuit has since won international awards for related efforts. That, and the Inside Intuit book you can largely read free at Amazon or books.google, is how I know that your feedback could make the next big change in QuickBooks.

If your company has more than one QuickBooks user, QuickBooks 2009 is much faster partly because it no longer has many network locks. Far more tasks, including backup, can now be done in multi-user mode and without Server Busy messages. You can even remotely log off users when necessary. Now that QuickBooks Enterprise can handle 30 users (up from 20) you can increasingly benefit from using the free (to ProAdvisors) Enterprise Database Manager on your Pro or Premier network. If you are just getting started you alxo can now use the free QuickBooks Simple Start with your accountant and with free Simple Start data from prior years.

I cannot summarize all the QuickBooks upgrade changes here, as it took Intuit more than 35 pages to describe them (about 5 times more than usual). It also took me about 15 articles to list the most important. However, I can say that we feel the "QuickBooks 2009: Is it worth the upgrade?" answer is a DEFINITE YES. To us the answer is so clear that, for the first time ever, we will only work on prior QuickBooks versions to upgrade to QuickBooks 2009.

About the author
Mike Block of BlockTax provides QuickBooks, QuickBooks Add-ons, QuickBooks Terminal Server, and related user support and writing. Contact Mike Block at mblock@blocktax.com.

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