If Intuit named its desktop versions of QuickBooks by the version number rather than the year we’d be in version 20-something by now. QuickBooks, still the preferred software for small businesses, keeps getting smarter in its annual upgrades. Rather than pile on tons of new features in its upgrades, for many years now, Intuit has concentrated on making it easier for you to access the tools and data that are already there.
QuickBooks 2014 is no exception. Its combination of small-but-effective changes makes it easier to get in and do what needs to be done quickly and then get out and move on to activities that will help build your business.
A Superior View
If you do upgrade to QuickBooks 2014, head first to the new Income Tracker (Customers | Income Tracker). QuickBooks offers numerous reports and other tools for following the progress of your incoming revenue, but this new feature provides the best we’ve seen in the software.
Figure 1: QuickBooks 2014’s new Income Tracker gives you real-time access to the status of your receivables.
You may find yourself spending a lot of time on this screen because it gives you a birds-eye view of your receivables that isn’t available anywhere else in the program. You can click on any of the four colored bars that run across the top of the screen –
Estimates, Open Invoices, Overdue and Paid Last 30 Days
–to change the data that appears below. Within each bar is the number of related transactions and their total dollar amount.
You’ll use the drop-down lists directly below these navigational bars to set filters that define a subset of transactions. These are CUSTOMER:JOB, TYPE, STATUS and DATE.
The last column in the table is labeled ACTION. Once you’ve earmarked a transaction or transactions that you want to work with by checking the box in front of each name, you can select an action you want to take. If OPEN INVOICES is active, for example, you can receive payment for the transaction(s), print or email them. Where applicable, you can open a drop-down menu in the lower left of the screen and batch-produce invoices, sales receipts and credit memos/refunds.
More Descriptive Email
If you regularly send invoices through email, you may have wondered how many of them actually get opened by your customers in a timely fashion. QuickBooks 2014 contains a new tool that makes the details of each invoice available within the body of the email itself.
Figure 2: You can modify this template or leave it as is: QuickBooks 2014 will fill in the relevant details for each customer.
To access this template, open the Edit menu and select Preferences. Click on the Send Forms tab, then Company Preferences. Open the drop-down list to select the type of form you want to view or modify (pay stub, sales receipt, credit memo, etc.). Click the Edit button to see the actual template, and open the Insert Field drop-down menu to see your options. When you email a form, QuickBooks will replace the text and numbers in brackets with the correct details for each recipient.
This is what is called a mail merge. They’re fairly simple to use, but one error will throw your message off. We can help you get set up with these.
Intuit has made many small-but-useful features to QuickBooks 2014, all designed to help you work faster and smarter, and simply to support more convenient operations. For example, the Ribbon toolbars on transactions now include a tab or menu that lets you open related reports.
Figure 3: You can now access reports directly from the Ribbon toolbar on transaction screens.
- QuickBooks’ color scheme has been changed.
- The program runs faster.
- You can now copy and paste lines within forms.
- We can communicate with you (and vice versa) via an email window that’s been embedded into the software. This tool even auto-pastes the transaction in question into the email window.
- There’s been some retooling of online banking (now called “Bank Feeds”), making it more accessible and understandable.
Upgrading to a new version of QuickBooks can be challenging, so we encourage you to let us know if you’d like to explore the process. New functionality and usability that improves your workflow and your understanding of your finances can be worth the time and trouble.