By Katie Bunschoten, Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor (Desktop)
OK guys, this is it. 2019 is out (and actually has been since September). Please note that we will be focusing on features that are in Pro/Premier and Enterprise today, and will add Enterprise-only features in an upcoming blog post.
On a completely unrelated note, we bought a new truck the other day (because, farm). Abby, my eldest daughter, was very confused as to why it was a 2019 truck. She thought we had traveled in time to next year. I don’t know, sweetie. They just get super excited and think we need stuff early, kind of like when you open a Christmas present before Christmas.
(I am sure the actual reason has something to do with fiscal years and testing and development schedules, but…moving on)
So, for those who don’t know, the 2019 version of QuickBooks did come out recently (early September in fact, and if life had not been a whirlwind, this would have been out earlier as well), and typically comes out around September or October each year.
Also atypical (but good) this year – QuickBooks for Mac has been revived and launched for 2019. Mac has never released every year, but adding to this was the announcement last year that QuickBooks for Mac 2016 was going to be the last Mac version released. One of the things that I respect and like about Intuit is that if their customers voice an opinion, it is heard. Obviously, they heard that we didn’t want to lose QuickBooks for Mac, and responded with QuickBooks for Mac 2019.*
Who is right for QuickBooks Desktop? Small business owners who rely on some of the more advanced features in Desktop currently are always strong candidates to continue in QuickBooks Desktop. This means price levels, multiple warehouse, progress invoicing, job costing and tracking, among others. While QuickBooks Online is an amazing software package, and continues to innovate year to year, it does not always touch on some of the more complex features that Desktop has supported for decades. You can workaround some of this in Online if you don’t mind workarounds.
I’m including comparisons from QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Premier 2018, and QuickBooks Premier 2019 wherever possible. I always like being able to visually compare, and not just to be told the general improvements, so I’m assuming you will, too!
First we will cover the new key features and enhancements in QuickBooks Desktop (Pro/Premier/Enterprise) (Screenshots are from testing General Company Premier 2019):
Invoice Status Tracker: This is a perfect example of continuing innovation. While the Invoice Status Tracker may have started in QuickBooks Online, this famously popular feature has been brought into Desktop.
Below is how the Invoice screen appears in the same file opened in QuickBooks Premier 2018. Note the lack of the “See history” button. Previously, your only option was to look at the transaction history tab, which did not show sent and viewing information.
Below is how the Invoice screen appears with the tracking window opened in QuickBooks Premier 2019. Note that the tracking screen is a pop up and will have to be closed in order to move to other windows. You will have to have an internet connection in order to see when invoices are viewed.
This feature is great for confirming a client viewed an invoice, when, and even at what time. Below is a screenshot of how it appears in QuickBooks Online (sample company):
Transfer Credits: While the Transfer Credits feature is super useful, you will want to use caution. You can’t “undo” the transfer of credits without journal entries. You will also see a new Other Assets clearing account show up, but the balance should always be 0 and it is only used to transfer the credits between customers. It is marked as an inactive account by default, so you should not post to it by accident (pro tip – never post to an account if you don’t actually know what that account is for). There is no equivalent of this feature in previous editions or Online. Previously, you could apply credits, but not between jobs. Below are the click by click screenshots for executing a transfer of credits.
First, we will issue a labor credit memo to Dunning’s Pool Deposit for the Big City job.
After we issued the credit, Dunning’s asked if we would apply the credit to another store. Sure! We go to Apply Credits.
We can see in the available credits button for an Angel City invoice that Dunning’s has a $3000.00 credit for Big City. We don’t need to use this for Angel City since the balance on this invoice is 0. Let’s keep looking. We end up transferring the credits to the Pool Depot job. Before completing this task, QuickBooks alerts us to make sure we know the impact of what we are doing. If we need more information on the ramifications, we can click on the “Find out how” button.
Check to Bill Pay:
When you accidentally start to write a check to a vendor with an open balance, QuickBooks now strongly encourages you to go to Pay Bills instead. Honestly, is anyone not guilty of writing a check to a vendor to pay an already open bill?
In QuickBooks 2018, you would get a Bill Pay prompt, but it did not highlight (and push) you to go to Pay Bills to finish the transaction. It encouraged you to continue writing your check.
Nuance is important in interface design. In the image above, a newer user may believe since the Continue Writing Check button is in bold, then that is the way to go.
The new Checks to Bills prompt is a great way to make sure that newer QuickBooks users realize that Write Check and Pay Bills are two different things as well. When I’m working with files that a newer user has made oopsies in, this is one of the major ones I see. Great feature!
Process in 2019 is below:
First, we start to pay Anderson’s. It asks us if we want to apply this to an open PO. I say no.
QuickBooks then tells me that we also have open bills. Is this check for one of them? Why yes, yes it is. We can select the “Go To Pay Bills” screen, which is now highlighted in dark blue, and you are pushed in the right direction. Please note: using Write Check when you actually need to use Pay Bills will mainly effect accrual-based reporting. Since the bill is posted on the bill date (unless you enter adjusting entries to move recognition of the expense), you will duplicate the expense if you then use Write Check. For cash-based reporters, the duplication will cause an overstatement of your open bills and you may accidentally pay the bill twice, but it will not affect your Profit and Loss reporting or Balance Sheet.
We are then brought to the Pay Bills screen, where I will continue writing my check, but this time will enter it correctly. QuickBooks to the rescue.
Data File Optimization (US Version Only):
This one confused me for a second. QuickBooks has had a condense function for a while, and we (as well as Intuit Support) have historically encouraged clients to start a new file in order to cut file size down. That is still an option, but the new Data File Optimization offers a much improved condense function, so new files will mainly only be needed in cases where history needs to be removed to further compress file size. Note: One of the issues we run into with the Condense function is around inventory. If you are decreasing file size by removing transactions, certain kinds of transactions, including inventory, will not be removed for costing and other reasons. In fact, many times data file sizes will increase by using the second option, so I strongly suggest that experienced users test out condenses and keep a backup copy of their file when using this function, and if you have questions or issues, email us.
Also, this feature condenses without losing data. However, you are removing the audit trail and some other logs, so make sure you save a copy of your audit trail before performing this function.
Below, we see that we have a 35 MB file. WOW. That’s pretty small already (this is a sample company). However, we want to make it small-er.
We click on File -> Utilities.
We then click on Condense. It brings us to the following screen:
You can see above that this will remove your audit trail info to date, and shrink your file size by about 35% per the screen. We click next and continue.
We now have a 15 MB file. You’re welcome.
Max Types Added to Sick & Vacation Pay (Must have QuickBooks Desktop Enhanced Payroll; US Version Only)
You can now set maximum values for sick and vacation time. 2019 screen is below:
In the 2018 version you will see that the maximum selection does not show up.
You can also see the available sick and vacation on the paystub. Keep in mind that you need to make sure the sick and vacation is set up to print in Preferences.
- Inactive Items in Inventory Reports (US Version Only): For our manufacturing clients, inactive items are always something you have to deal with. Now, instead of being confused when running stock and inventory reports, wondering why the valuation does not match your Balance Sheet, you can toggle and show inactive items as needed. Note: Always maintain your inactive inventory. Whether it is disposed, clearance sold, etc, make sure you don’t end up with zombie items (nice little Halloween reference for ya).
Other features and improvements are:
- Ability to accept EMV/Chip cards (requires Payments, contact us to learn more)
- Easy Upgrade and Move QuickBooks to another PC (US Version Only. Must have Plus subscription. If you aren’t sure what that is, ask us). This feature makes the upgrade process much easier.
- Intuit Data Protect (May incur fees; US Version Only) This is a user improvement mainly, and provides status updates when backing up data.
- Validated IIF Imports: Bad IIF imports are notorious for messing up data files and causing corruption. QuickBooks now will validate imported data and will provide an issue log as appropriate. For those of us who use Transaction Pro Importer, it is similar to the success and error logs we get when importing files.
*Please note that if you are using a Mac and are looking for your next accounting software, we heartily recommend evaluating QuickBooks Online as well.
So, net result: 9 hours of testing and writing, and hopefully my sore back and lack of sunlight results in a more tangible experience of how QuickBooks Desktop 2019 is a great upgrade year. Let us know if you need help, or if I can answer any other questions. I will add an additional post soon for Enterprise, but right now I need some coffee and my front porch and rocking chair!