For the Owner
The owner always has a few
jobs which can’t be delegated.
QuickBooks handles the critical and essential
records of your business. The program
does this well, but needs support from the
general manager. You need to know what
is necessary to assure that your records will
continue to be there for your business, and
make sure that these things happen. A
few hazards exist. Here are the
suggested steps for controlling them.
On rare occasions files will develop
problems or even become
unusable. Backing up (making reserve
copies of your data) is your first and
foremost defense against file
damage. People who have learned cynicism
the hard way say there is no “if” about a
hard drive crashing, only “when.” This
is an exaggeration. With luck, the hard
drive will last until it is obsolete.
However many programs have access to the
disk, and may possibly damage files belonging
to other programs. QuickBooks has also
occasionally been known to put a problem into
the data. There are corrective
procedures (see Chapter 25 on File
Maintenance), but backups must be available
if you need them. Be sure that they are
a regular part of your procedures, and that
they are stored in a safe place.
Unauthorized access prevention.
QuickBooks provides a password
system which is relatively strong, and will keep out most unauthorized people. QuickBooks 3.1 and later have four levels of password protection:
password has authority to install, change, or remove other passwords.
password can only enter new transactions.
password can run payroll.
password has access to historical transactions, and is typically used during visits by your accountant.
The password system runs
as designed, but there can be no guarantee
that it will keep out a skilled hacker.
QuickBooks does not encrypt the data.
If a password is in use, QuickBooks only
refuses access to the data, until the
password is entered. The only sure
protection is control of physical access.
No field procedures are available for
removing passwords. Intuit will do it,
but only if the file is sent to Intuit, and a
delay can be anticipated. Passwords will not be removed over the phone. Some people make a business of recovering data from crashed hard drives, and they might be able to remove a password.
Any readers still using
QuickBooks 2 or 3.0 for Windows, or the DOS
versions and doing payroll will be using the
older separate payroll program. That
program has a password feature which is
seriously weak, and the same password should
not be used in QuickBooks.
: This was written in March, 1997,
as people along the Ohio River were
recovering from floods. Arkadelphia,
and other towns in Arkansas, faced the task
of rebuilding from a major tornado.
Insurance may replace property, but will not
cover your records or data. The only
insurance comes in additional backup copies,
taken to a location not likely to be damaged
by a common disaster. If your backup
drive is not a standard floppy drive, be sure
that, if destroyed, it could be
replaced. A data tape cartridge is of
little value if no matching drive can be
The File Maintenance chapter suggests a cycle of about five disks for backups, overwriting the oldest.
A few employees have been
extremely angry before departing and have
left their mark, either deleting files, or
installing a new “owner”
password. The best solution is the
same as disaster readiness: off-site
copies. If it is generally known that
the owner has copies elsewhere, negative
efforts will be less likely, and should they
occur, will have less impact.
These comments are
intentionally general. Specific
suggestions probably would not help much as
each businesss situation is unique, and
solutions need to be adapted to your own
knowledge and skill absolutely must be available to your company. If QuickBooks is not launched under the guidance of an accountant, a mess may be generated. Accountants can clean up messes, but they do not like doing so, and you can expect them to charge full rate for every hour needed.
QuickBooks does accounting
correctly. Where a business has unique
situations involving user discretion, the
program must allow exercise of the user’s
judgement. An accountant should work
these through. The program insists on
following the rules of double-entry
accounting. Many service calls are from
individuals in business who do not understand
accounting, and want QuickBooks to do things
that no accounting program should be able to
do. This is an observed fact, and is
one of the substantial reasons for writing
Accountants are coming to
accept QuickBooks. Intuit saw how to do
financial accounting without the time-tested
debit and credit tools. To people
unwilling to accept change, this is
wrong. QuickBooks allows clerks to do
the data entry. An accountant, who
accepts QuickBooks can visit periodically and
perform the tasks requiring professional
skill. The long term result should be
lower cost with improved quality of
“How much money have we made? Where is
it? Why are we short on cash?”
The QuickBooks reporting system is
excellent. It is extremely capable and
flexible, but the flexibility has the side
effect of complexity. The best results
are available only to people who understand
how the report system works. Because it
is so flexible, you have to know where to
bend it. I am aware of my
audience. People running small
businesses are busy. If short-cuts
could be had, they would take them. You
can take your accountant’s word for the state
of your business, or you can find the time to
master the reports, and see for yourself.
or multi-user operation is not available, and there are no workarounds. In the Compuserve QuickBooks Forum, this has been the cause for many emphatic complaints. Other than that, the general concensus is that QuickBooks is the best program in its class.
My hope is that, with the
help of this book, Quickbooks will soon
become a true business partner and loyal