Well, that time of year has come once again… the QuickBooks Model Year-End, as some of us like to think of it. QuickBooks 2013 is now the “old” version and 2014 has been released. For some clients, that may portend a software purchase if they haven’t upgraded in a while.
GunnChamberlain, P.L.’s official policies support the three most recent years of QuickBooks as of January 1. That means that, beginning on January 1, 2014, we will provide guaranteed support for QuickBooks files (.qbw, .qbx, .qbb) from the 2012, 2013, and 2014 versions only. If you are using the 2011 version or older, we may continue to provide unofficial support; however, not all staff will have licenses for the software and processing delays may occur. If you use QuickBooks Online, your software is regularly updated by Intuit and you are not affected by this release.
While the software has been officially released, the retail box is not quite yet available. Only a $249 downloadable version is currently available from Intuit. We expect the retail release to occur in the next couple of weeks and for pricing to be in line with previous years, meaning that initially the software will probably be available for around $200 after rebates.
So what differences can we expect? Well, first there’s been a bit of an update to the look and feel, which progresses from the significant overhaul that took place with the 2013 version. Users coming from 2012 and prior are likely to be a little thrown by it at first, much like what occurred when the last UI overhaul released back in 2007, but it’s pretty much all aesthetic; the overall functionality is the same. There have been some changes to coloration of sections, but again, these issues are minor.
Other aesthetic and general feature changes:
- There is now a cluster of icons toward the top right corner of the interface for “Reminders and To-Dos,” “Maintenance Alerts,” and the new “Client Collaborator.”
- You can now edit the “View Balances” tab.
- The “Reports” tab now updates to suggest reports that are relevant to the type of transaction being inputted.
- The “Search” window now makes search suggestions automatically to assist users in locating relevant information.
- “Company Information” is now a full-featured section called “My Company.”
- “My Apps” is now gone and replaced by “Your Apps.” It has been moved from the left navigation bar to the new “My Company” screen.
There have been some changes to the way QuickBooks handles e-mail, including the ability to see e-mails you’ve sent from QuickBooks to customers, sending customer receipts via e-mail, and some enhanced e-mail editing features.
Job costing has seen a couple of welcome enhancements. Now, sales reps can be applied to specific jobs in addition to specific customers (a default rep can still be assigned to a customer, but now it’s much easier to customize the applicable rep on-the-fly). You can also now filter numerous reports by “Job Status.”
QuickBooks 2014 has also improved the way it interacts with your banking feeds. The system now uses intuitive (no pun intended) color-coding to filter transactions and show visually what is synchronizing with the bank and what needs further attention. Additionally, users can set up a series of rules to govern certain banking transactions in order to assist QuickBooks in identifying items correctly, improve automatic posting, and prevent unwanted behavior. While this feature requires a good bit of setup on the part of the user, it appears relatively straightforward; further use will tell for sure. It is expected, though, that these features will assist users who synchronize their banking information electronically with QuickBooks greatly in speeding up the bank reconciliation process.
QuickBooks 2014 also does a better job of providing real-time consolidated information, such as summarizing unbilled items, outstanding receivables, and items paid. This information can easily be drilled-down to the transaction level to assist users in identifying specific items that require attention. While we’re still waiting for Intuit to provide more deeply customizable reports for automatically generating information regarding key performance indicators, this additional feature will be welcome by many users wanting a quick financial snapshot without having to dig very far.
In all, even if you’re using QuickBooks 2012 or 2013, the upgrade may be worth it to you if the changes noted appear to be of value. GunnChamberlain clients who still use 2011 and prior versions will notice numerous significant upgrades, a smoother experience, a fresher look, and most importantly, ongoing compatibility with and support from us.