QuickBooks® 2013 has a number of new features as well as improvements to existing ones. It also has a few problems as evidenced by the fact that they have already issued Release 3 to fix the bugs and it only just hit the retail store shelves in October.

Changes in the User Interface

There are major changes in the visual design of the program and how you navigate each of the screens. Fonts, spacing and colors have changed in just about every area of the program. This was done to try to standardize the look and feel throughout QuickBooks®. Change is not always welcomed by people who are used to things the way they were and it will take a little bit of getting used to in order to find where they put your favorite things.

Left Icon Bar

Instead of the top icon bar that we have been using since 2006, the navigation bar is now on the left hand side of the screen much like it used to be back in 2005. If you have a low resolution monitor, this icon bar takes up a great deal of real estate on your screen. You do have the option of moving this back to the top, but it’s not as pretty as it used to be and harder to read with gray on black.

More White Space, Smaller Labels and Scroll Bars

The Home Page and other screens have more white space which makes things less busy but it also shows less information – about 30% less information is displayed in the same size window. Some of the Labels are really small and the light gray color is too faint to actually see. The Scroll Bars are so small it can be difficult to get your mouse cursor on them.

Ribbons on Transaction Windows

The most commonly used transaction windows will have a new “ribbon” interface at the top similar to the ones in Microsoft Word 2010. This combines the features that relate to these transaction windows into one easy to use place. The content of the ribbon will change from form to form, but the general layout is the same.

Improved Centers

This is the most improved area as far as additional features for small business owners who use the software for their bookkeeping needs. In the Customer, Vendor and Employee Centers, Tabs have been added to quickly access Transactions, Contacts, To-Do’s and Notes. You can now have multiple Notes per record, instead of just one. There are now 24 contact-related field labels and you can choose which eight (8) to show on your screen. The To-Do list is much more convenient and can be filtered by Customer, Vendor or Employee.

Color Scheme Preference

In QuickBooks® 2012 we could set each QuickBooks® file to have a different color scheme in the Desktop View preferences. This was helpful when working in multiple company files. This has been removed in QuickBooks® 2013. If you don’t like the color settings in the new program, you can’t change it. You do still have control of some of the colors used in some individual windows and the colors are less intrusive.

QuickBooks® Accountant

There are a number of changes in the QuickBooks® Accountant version of the software. Send general journal entries to clients via email is a simple way to send the year end journal entries back to clients, batch enter transactions allows you to quickly enter (or import) large numbers of checks, credit card charges or deposits, Starter Copy is easier to find and work with, toggle to the Bookkeeper edition is available and the QuickBooks Statement Writer is now supposed to be compatible with 64 bit versions of Microsoft Excel. Client Data Review received a few improvements in converting the Other Names and Writing Off Invoices.

QuickBooks® Enterprise

There are a few improvements that are only available in the QuickBooks® Enterprise version of the software. We now have Automatic Purchase Orders, Default Classes and Larger List Limits. In the Advanced Inventory add on feature to Enterprise, we now have Barcode Scanning, Bin Location Tracking and FIFO Cost Lot History by item Reporting.


Look before you leap. If you don’t have to upgrade right now, don’t – It’s buggy at best and for the regular small business owner using the software for everyday bookkeeping needs, it has no real improvements over the prior year. QuickBooks® will be sun-setting the 2010 version of the software in May of 2013 and hopefully by then they will have resolved most of the issues and we can help you make a smooth transition to the latest version.

Jill Flint earned her designation as a Certified Bookkeeper from the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers in October of 2012.

Founded in 1987 and with a current membership of 30,000, the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) certifies bookkeepers who meet high, national standards.

In order to become certified, she was required to have 3,000 hours of experience in performing bookkeeping services, to pass a four-part national examination which included testing in the areas of depreciation, payroll, inventory, internal controls, error correction and adjusting entries and to sign a Code of Professional Ethics.

Jill has been employed by New Business Directions since December of 2006. She completed the QuickBooks® Certified User program in May of 2008 and has been helping small businesses with their bookkeeping needs since 1980. Over these many years she has worked with many area CPA’s and is presently an active Board Member and former Treasurer of the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust and now serves as Treasurer of the Pequawket Foundation.

“Most bookkeepers learn on the job” says Rhonda Rosand, CPA and owner of New Business Directions. “They are self-taught and have no formal training. This certification demonstrates a proven knowledge of accounting concepts and a higher level of competence. We are proud to have Jill as part of our team.”

At New Business Directions we help small business owners streamline the process of making money. If you would like to create order out of chaos and improve your bottom line, call us at 603-356-2914 or visit our website at www.newbusinessdirections.com

At New Business Directions we are always looking for ways to improve our efficiency. By pressing different combinations of keys on your keyboard, you can quickly perform common tasks within QuickBooks®.

Here are just a few of the things that you can do when editing a transaction:

Tab Move the cursor to the next field
Shift + Tab Move the cursor to the previous editable field
Return (Enter) Record the transaction (when highlighted)
Esc (Escape) Cancel editing and close the current window
Ctrl + A Open the Chart of Accounts
Ctrl + D Delete selected transaction or list item
Ctrl + E Edit transaction or list item
Ctrl + F Find a transaction
Ctrl + G Go to the other account register affected by this transaction
Ctrl + H Get the history (A/R or A/P) for the currently selected transaction
Ctrl + I Create Invoice
Ctrl + J Display Customer Center
Ctrl + M Memorize a transaction
Ctrl + N New transaction (Bill, Check, Deposit, List Item, Invoice)
Ctrl + R Go to the register associated with the current transaction
Ctrl + T Display memorized transaction list
Ctrl + Y Display transaction journal
Ctrl + W Display write check window

As always, if you have questions or would like more information about QuickBooks® Keyboard Shortcuts or any other QuickBooks® feature, please call us, we would be happy to help.

This article of QuickBooks Tips and Tricks was based on the 2012 version of QuickBooks.

QuickBooks® provides an Audit Trail feature that allows you to see every change that is made to each transaction in the file.

Each time you edit, void or delete a transaction, QuickBooks® posts the previous condition of the transaction to this report. As a result, QuickBooks® retains both the old data and the new data for the transaction.

In QuickBooks® 2005 and prior, this feature was optional and was available to be turned on and/or off in the Accounting: Company Preferences window. It also caused QuickBooks® to run much slower, especially in a multi-user environment and caused the data file to grow faster.

In QuickBooks® 2006 and beyond, the Audit Trail is always on and there is a much more powerful database that supports much larger files and allows you to track information on the Audit Trail without significant loss of performance.

To view the Audit Trail report, select the Reports menu, select Accountant & Taxes and then select Audit Trail.

As the consultant/accountant, it is best to create a user name for yourself so that QuickBooks® will tag all of your entries and edits with your name. After you work on the client’s data, export the Audit Trail report to Excel and save the details in your files. This allows you to refer back to the work you do at any time in the future.

The Audit Trail tracks transaction data only. It does not track changes to transactions that do not impact their accounting integrity. Specifically, it does not track edits to list items, edits to memorized reports, changes to memorized transaction or edits to user access privileges.

The Audit Trail allows you to determine which transactions the user changed or deleted, which user entered the change or deletion and when the user made the change or deletion. It does NOT tell you why.

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Any information about the transaction that has been changed is highlighted in Bold Italic type in the report. If there are multiple versions of a transaction, the earliest version will have no highlighting, but subsequent versions will highlight each value that differs from the previous version’s value in that field by displaying the value in bold italics. If a line item was added to the transaction, that entire line of the report will be highlighted.

If the Audit Trail Report displays “Unknown User” under the Last modified by column, the user has been deleted.

The Num column displays the user-specified number for each modified or deleted transaction. This field will be blank if a transaction is ready for printing and has not yet been assigned a transaction number.

The State column identifies whether you are looking at the most recent version of a transaction (the Latest) or an earlier version of the same transaction (a Prior). Transactions may have multiple Prior entries listed, but only one Latest.

This Status (Latest or Prior) is automatically assigned by QuickBooks as transactions are added, deleted, or modified. To view the most current version of the transaction, double-click any field in the Latest entry in the report.

By default, the Audit Trail report is sorted by the user who created or last modified the transaction, the transaction type, and the date the transaction was created or last modified.

To make this report easier to use, you may want to filter it. It is feasible to do this from within QuickBooks® by choosing a different date range from the drop-down list. This presents limited results and may not provide the information you need. For best results, you can Export the Audit Trail report to Excel and use the Find command to locate the specific information.

As always, if you have questions or would like more information about the QuickBooks® Audit Trail or any other QuickBooks® feature, please call us, we would be happy to help.

This article of QuickBooks Tips and Tricks was based on the 2012 version of QuickBooks.