July 2000


By Paul D. Warner

The January 2000 CPA Journal published product information on QuickBooks Pro 99 and Timeslips Version 9. Shortly thereafter, both products were updated. Intuit released QuickBooks Pro 2000 and Timeslips was upgraded to Version 9.1, and Version 10 has just been announced. The following describes some of the new features in these updates.

QuickBooks Pro 2000

Information centers. QuickBooks 2000 includes a number of "centers," where information about a particular aspect or stakeholder class can be found, as follows:

* The new company center puts all business information about the company using QuickBooks in one easily customizable place.
* The customer center stores all customer information in one place. Phone numbers, the latest sales transactions, and outstanding balances are all accessible on one organized page. The QuickZoom feature enables the user to drill down to specific invoices, payments, or other transaction information.
* The detail center shows the name, phone number, latest transactions, and outstanding balance related to each vendor.

Report finder. With improved accessibility, users can preview exactly the information a particular report will generate.

Tax alerts. New QuickBooks tax alerts keep businesses up to date on important tax deadlines and changes in due dates.

Synchronized contacts. QuickBooks Pro users can synchronize contact information between QuickBooks Pro and ACT! or Outlook.

Site builder. The new QuickBooks site builder provides an easy way to build an Internet site. The service is free for the first six months and $5 per month thereafter.

Postage service. For an additional fee, QuickBooks users can sign up for an online PC postage account with E-Stamp. Any class of postage can be printed with address information from QuickBooks.

Merchant account service. For an additional fee, users can sign up for a merchant card account and use QuickBooks to authorize and settle credit card payments online.

Purchasing service. The QuickBooks purchasing service allows users to search hundreds of items from dozens of suppliers, find and compare products and services, order directly from suppliers, and pay by credit card. Tracking order status, payment history, and delivery information is also available from the QuickBooks purchasing service website.

Online banking. QuickBooks 2000 supports Open Financial Exchange (OFX), the new industry standard for online account access and banking services. There is an additional monthly service fee for enabling this feature.

Lists. Users can sort and search any column in any list, including the chart of accounts, customers, vendors, and employee master files, to find critical information such as overdue customer balances.

QuickBooks Payroll

QuickBooks Payroll is a flexible and affordable "do-it-yourself" payroll software system, integrated with QuickBooks. It enables businesses to use the Internet to stay current with changes in payroll tax laws and federal forms while maintaining full control over payroll data. There is an additional cost of $6 per month for this online service. Other new payroll features include the following:

* Schedule B form for 2000. Employers that file tax payments semiweekly must attach Schedule B when filing their 941 forms. Now QuickBooks Basic Payroll users have access to the Schedule B form online.
* Enhanced reporting. QuickBooks basic payroll provides a new employee state tax detail report for use in completing state tax forms. Users can add Social Security numbers to any payroll transaction report. Payroll report data can be sent to Excel to create additional customizable payroll reports.
* Enhanced sick time and vacation tracking.
* Payroll checkup wizard. This tool enables users to look for common errors and provides a report of potential problems and recommended fixes.
* Updates via the Internet.
* Direct deposit. This service is available for an additional charge.

Timeslips Version 9/10

The following features have been added to Timeslips:

Data verification repair tools. Data verification can detect and fix a significantly larger number of problems, including structural integrity errors, using a tool built by the developers of Paradox.

New "diagnose this computer" command. There are a number of station-specific conditions that can interfere with the operation of Timeslips and even cause data corruption. The station administrator has a new command, "diagnose this computer," which analyzes and attempts to repair many of these problems.

Changing classifications. Classifications (open, closed, and inactive) to organize name lists (clients, timekeepers, tasks, and expenses) can now be changed in one operation for all affected employees.

Balances displayed during transaction entry. The client funds and accounts receivable (A/R) entry dialog boxes now display client fund and A/R balances.

Billing functions. Useful changes in the billing area include the following:

* Electronic billing. Many of the modules, including legal audit services, professional fee management, and litigation management advice, support new electronic billing links.
* Cumulative history bill. Timeslips now provides a client time summary that presents all slips entered, A/R transactions, and fund transactions, whether billed or not.
* Progress and interim billing. Bills are primarily prepared based upon the charges on slips, using an hourly rate. Version 10 will allow the user to invoice for only a portion of accumulated timeslips by using the progress and interim billing procedure. Any amount can be billed and tracked against the total accumulated timeslip. The final bill will reflect balance due. (This feature is only available in Levels 2 and 3 of Timeslips.)
* Invoice listing includes adjustments. Previous versions provided a write-up/write-down report that showed adjustment values for each invoice. The invoice listing now optionally shows these values.
* Discounts on early payments. When bills are printed, the user can include the value of the discount and the amount due, if paid early. When the client sends a payment within the discount period, Timeslips automatically creates a discount transaction to cover the remaining balance (Levels 2 and 3 only).

Reporting functions. Timeslips has enhanced the reporting functions in the following ways:

* Slip listing offers a format with less detail. The detail listing of timeslips can now be modified to selectively remove fields for ease in reviewing data entry.
* Aged A/R report offers a one-line format. A new option on this report allows the report to display each client on one line.
* Accounts receivables. Activities such as manually computing check disbursements, filling out deposit slips, and coming up with "creative workarounds" for disputed paid invoices have been simplified.
* Report designer setup of user-defined reports. The initial field entry grid has been expanded and simplified to include a number of cells (like a spreadsheet). Add text field and Add data field commands are now available on the shortcut (right-click) menu.
* Special credit transactions. Version 10 will provide a special credit transaction, which allows the user to mark a credit against the affected invoice (which may have been paid in full) while actually reducing the charges on another invoice.
* Printing in rich text format. Timeslips Version 10 can print bills, reports, and documents to a rich text format (RTF) file, capturing the fonts and positioning information as designed within Timeslips. As a result, the formatting will approximately match the printed document generated by Timeslips, and it can be further customized.
* Enhanced reporting. The aged A/R balances report prints much faster and now can be formatted to fit into the preferred one-line format. The A/R transaction listing can subtotal payment distributions for a client. The invoice report can reflect total adjustments on the invoice.
* Designing bills and reports. Documentation providing sample bills and sample reports is available electronically from the Help menu.

Database management. New functions add flexibility and security to data management:

* Smart backup. Users can now be prompted to back up after a user-specified number of days. The prompt occurs when the user either starts or exits Timeslips.
* Security option to prevent assigning a different user to a new slip. Currently, users cannot view slips of other users, even if they are allowed to enter slips for other users. A new security function, "edit the timekeeper on a new slip," has been added to avoid the need to change an original timekeeper field.

Update rates wizard. The new update rates wizard automatically corrects slips that were entered at old rates after a new rate is entered into the table.

* Automatic station updates. Traditionally, large network installations of Timeslips required a lot of processing to update every station when a new Timeslips update was installed. After installing Version 10 for the first time, a user will be able to install any updates directly onto the file server. When users run their copy of the software, Timeslips will detect the change and automatically install the updated files.

Other feature enhancements. Several additional functions have been added and are planned for Version 10:

* Transferring money between projects and fund accounts. When a client sends in a check to cover several completed projects, there hasn't been an easy way to distribute money between all the projects. Version 10 will have a "transfer transaction" that allows the user to transfer money to other projects or fund accounts.
* Tracking deposits. Timeslips maintains a deposit worksheet that tracks check numbers and amounts as they are entered. When done, the "bank deposit slip" is printed and sent along with the checks (Levels 2 and 3 only).
* Sending payments to different bank accounts. Version 10 will allow unique cash accounts to be created for each bank instead of being restricted to a single cash account (Levels 2 and 3 only).
* Tracking WIP into the G/L. Slips that have not been billed are considered work in process (WIP) by Timeslips. Since these slips have an accounting value, Version 10 will allow the tracking of that information into the general ledger (G/L) software. As the slips are billed, their values are replaced in the G/L with the invoice transactions.
* Activity categories. Activity codes are designed to identify the type of work or expense being billed. Typically, clients' bills are printed showing slips by the associated activity. With Version 10, activities on the bill can be combined to match the level of detail agreed to with the client. For example, the client may not need a breakdown of expenses by type or source. In such a case, all expenses can be grouped into one total for billing purposes. *

Paul D. Warner, PhD, CPA
Hofstra University

L. Murphy Smith, DBA, CPA
Texas A&M University

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