If you're still using the same QuickBooks you had B.F. (before Facebook, of course), it may be time to consider your options. Intuit has come out with some pretty substantial improvements for the 2012 version, so whether you upgrade now or wait for 2013 to come out, it's still worth the investment to take advantage of new functionalities.I'm often asked when is it required to upgrade your software? While I still know a few people eeking it out in the 2007 version, Intuit only promises to support 2010 and later. Not only does that mean no tech support, but it also means that downloading transactions from your bank account may not be allowed, either. That's enough to cause most people to upgrade, but given the list of new features available in 2012, I would recommend it for any user.So, what are the new features? I'm glad you asked. Perhaps the greatest new feature is the ability to create a Period Copy. Only those using the Premier Accountant's version have access to this, but in the case of an IRS or other government agency audit, it's priceless. The Period Copy allows you to choose a time period, most likely the calendar year being audited, then condense all transactions prior to that period and delete all transactions after. That way, the auditor can see the year in question, but doesn't have access to any transactions before or after. Now that the IRS is requesting QuickBooks files during auditors, this is Intuit's brilliant response to keeping them from nosing around where they don't belong.From a user standpoint, QuickBooks has added some new features to speed up the transaction flow. A few common transactions (creating payment from an invoice, creating a credit memo from an invoice, and creating payment from a bill) can now be done in one step, rather than requiring you to open a separate menu item. From an invoice or bill, simply click on the Create menu button at the top of the screen and it will display the new options. Also valuable to the transaction process is the ability to attach documents. As long as you have an electronic copy of a document, you can attach it to the relevant document in QuickBooks and it will be saved in the cloud.Users with very specific needs will find some new features such as entering batch time sheets, shipping directly through USPS in addition to FedEx and UPS, and updating Excel data in reports with one click, rather than having to reformat reports each time you need to export into Excel. Those who user reminders and tasks in QuickBooks will find a new approach in that To Do's can now be seen on a global level, rather than per user, and can be viewed on a monthly calendar for a more precise overview.In my opinion, if you need one or more of these functions, it's worth the cost of upgrading. Whether you upgrade immediately or wait until the 2013 version is released, usually in October, depends on just how much time these features can save you, but either way good things continue to come out of Intuit. The only sad news is that the Mac version is still years behind the PC version, and Intuit doesn't appear too concerned about that, so I don't see any substantial changes coming for a few years.Michele Knight, owner of Knight Accounting & Technology, is a CPA and QuickBooks ProAdvisor based in Dillon. For more info and to contact her, visit www.cpamichele.com.
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