I recently received my ProAdvisor copy of Quickbooks Pro 2006, Premier Accountant Edition. It seems to be a nice upgrade - new features are listed here, and it seems to be stable from my limited testing. While you might not notice it, Intuit has replaced the underlying database with Sybase SQL, which is a more robust solution than has been available in the past. This will result in larger files, but the software should handle them better as well.
While this new database offers more opportunities, any techie who has supported a CPA firm knows that changing database platforms is a potential area for new conflicts where things worked and played well together in the past. One issue which seems to concern many CPA/Technologists is the best way to set up QB 2006 in a networked environment. Intuit recommends setting up one user workstation as the "server" in a networked environment, and for those who don't have a dedicated server such as Microsoft's Small Business Server 2003, this will be the only option. With the new security emphasis at Microsoft, as well as the firewalls built into Win XP SP2 and Symantec's Norton Internet Security, this may make the job of setting up the new program a little more complex than you thought, what with the client/server architecture and other changes. For those who do have a dedicated server, Doug Sleeter, the CEO of Quickbooks Consultants "The Sleeter Group," has posted an article to his website on how to serve up Quickbooks on a server such as SBS2003.
One of the interesting dilemmas which will need to be addressed by CPA Firm Technologists is the way security is handled in the two programs:
- Quickbooks requires (pretty much) Admin access on the local PC to run effectively. (see Susan's post , and numerous others on her blog)
- MS Small Business Accounting - appears to have security tied into the Windows login. This excerpt from the Software Guide MS provides its partners through their Professional Accountants Network and the partner program illustrates the issue better than I can alone:
All members of the Windows Administrator Group have full access to Small Business accounting, including installation, setting up the company, managing user roles, installing add-ins, creating or importing an accountant's backup copy, setting up access for multiple users, and using any of the Data Utilities commands on the File menu (emphasis added)
The issue here is this: If your bookkeeper (or your client's bookkeeper) is supporting clients on QB and SBA, QB requires local admin access, which will then negate your ability to restrict that same users' rights on SBA databases. While this may not be a big deal at small shops, this does introduce a new internal control risk here. MS's approach is superior in the long run, and will be hopefully enabled by the upcoming release of Windows Vista, which places emphasis on restrictiing user rights wherever possible, but until QB changes its approach, there may be some risks here. This also creates problems for those running QB in a terminal server/Citrix environment. While experts such as Susan Bradley have workarounds, they are reported to still have some conflicts which require the use of admin rights for some activities.
BTW, the Sleeter Group publishes a text which I own called the Quickbooks Consultants Reference Guide - get 10% off by using code "K2" at the checkout on their site, www.sleetergroup.com. I own and recommend that you consider this guide, which includes all sorts of "real world consultant tips" with your clients). K2 also has a discount code for those in the ProAdvisor Program which will get you $100 off of the standard price for this resource. (and based on my blog's traffic reports, if you're here, you probably found out about me from a seminar through either K2 or AICPA) The code is 11089-07986.
Disclosure: I teach seminars for K2 Enterprises, who receives travel funds from numerous clients and consults with software and hardware vendors, including Intuit and The Sleeter Group. I don't personally receive any commissions, incentives, or other payments from these discount codes, and the only thing I get above fees for teaching classes is evaluation copies of software and other materials to use in preparing for seminars.