QuickBooks has two versions that are specifically aimed at accountants and accounting professionals, QuickBooks Accountant (which is, essentially, the Premier level of product) and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions Accountant. If you are using these products you will find a new feature in Quickbooks 2012, the Accountant Center. If you work with client files, you will find this to be a helpful improvement. In addition, there is a change with Intuit Statement Writer.
I recently interviewed Jacint Tumacder, Intuit Product Manager for QuickBooks Accountant, and he outlined three major goals that Intuit has for the 2012 release in relation to accountants: Get more value by adding key accounting tools, get more customized insights into the data you need, and get time back by reducing the amount of time it takes to accomplish tasks. The Accountant Center is one of the new features that should help with each of those three goals.
The value of the Accountant Center is that it brings all of the tools and many of the reports that you use to support clients into one common location. Instead of having to poke around in a variety of menus and features, it is all here. This can be a major time saver.
There are four major sections, lets take a look at each.
This is a collection of the many tools that are available to accountants. Some of these are found in the Client Data Review, some in various menus. Up until now it could be quite a chore finding where a particular tool is accessed. Putting them all in one place is a big time saver. You can customize the list of tools shown here by clicking the link in the upper right, to get this window:
You have a summary of bank and credit card reconciliation information, which is very useful. You used to have to open each reconciliation window to get the information displayed here. Clicking on the account opens the account register (which I didn’t find particularly useful here). Clicking on the last reconciled date opens a window that lets you see the reconciliation report.
I like the summary information, but I wish I could add other accounts that I might work with in reconciliations. You aren’t limited to just reconciling bank and credit card accounts!
Most accounting professionals create a significant number of memorized reports. It is convenient to be able to access them directly from the Accountant Center.
My friend Jim Ernest (http://my246shop.com/Rustler/) commented that he didn’t like the “advertising” part of the Accountant Center. In fact, he doesn’t see a lot of value in the Accountant Center at all. However, it is fair to note, he isn’t an accountant or a ProAdvisor.
While it is true that the Accountant Updates section is “advertising”, for people who are ProAdvisors there may be value here. We’ll have to see what shows up. What I had hoped to see was the same kind of information that we get in the Notifications section of the new ProAdvisor web site. So far, that doesn’t seem to be true, which I find to be very disappointing. If all we have is advertising, the value of this pane is greatly diminished. Let’s hope that they update this to show the current notifications.I don’t log into the ProAdvisor web site that often. Make this more useful to me, Intuit!
Changes To Intuit Statement Writer
There is one other change here, although it isn’t strictly a feature of just the Accountant Center. Do you see that link I highlighted in the Memorized Reports section? Intuit Statement Writer is being renamed to be QuickBooks Statement Writer. What’s more, it is now included at no extra charge in the QuickBooks Accountant products. I was pretty excited about this until it was pointed out to me that Intuit also is raising the price of QuickBooks Accountant.
In addition there are some improvements to QuickBooks Statement Writer, which I hope to explain in more detail in a future article. In summary:
- You can turn off zero balance accounts as a global setting when setting up QSW. You can turn them back on in individual statements if you wish.
- You can select your custom statement and report group templates when creating a new report with a similar chart of accounts.
All in all, this is a nice improvements for accounting professionals. It should save time, and it may expose you to features that you didn’t know existed. The inclusion of QuickBooks Statement Writer is a welcome change.