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The Difference between QuickBooks Updates and Upgrades

October 30, 2013 by Ed Becker

Update or Upgrade?

About Updates

QuickBooks is an exhaustingly complex piece of software that relies on over 10 million lines of C++ programming code. Intuit has been developing QuickBooks since 1998 and constantly evolving the program with new trends in technology. With such a massive codebase, it is common for small ‘bugs’ and ‘glitches’ to arise. When Intuit identifies these errors, an update will be provided to solve the problem for end users. The update will not provide any new functionality or features to QuickBooks, but rather it will fix problems that have been found within the current codebase. In most cases, you won’t see any noticeable change in the user experience after applying an update.

When should you update?

If you’ve used QuickBooks for any length of time, you have probably seen the message, “Error: Unrecoverable Error XXX: QuickBooks has encountered a problem and needs to close”. This frustrating message is sometimes the result of an internal error within the software that can only be solved with an update from Intuit. If you experience this message regularly, a possible remedy could be a simple update to the software.

You have two options when it comes to updating QuickBooks software – automatic and manual. Most commonly, updates will be automatically downloaded and installed as they become available. From QuickBooks desktop, simply click on the Help Menu >> Update QuickBooks. This will display available updates and give you the option to install them. Alternatively, you have the option to manually install updates by downloading the install file and running it on the local computer. This is often the preferred option when you have multiple users on a local area network. All users will be able to update simultaneously to ensure that the entire company is operating the same version of the software.

About Upgrades

Upgrading QuickBooks is the equivalent to purchasing an entirely new piece of software. The cost to upgrade to the latest QuickBooks version starts at $199 for single user accounts. You will receive all of the latest and greatest features that have been integrated into the program. To put this into perspective, take a look at some of the new features in QuickBooks 2014…

  • Income Tracker: A new tool for keeping track of all income producing transactions and past due invoices on a single page.
  • Sales Rep Performance: The ability to run reports that will give you deeper insight into the performance of sales employees and vendors.
  • Custom Navigation and Shortcuts: A toolbar feature that enables user to create shortcuts and navigation links to their favorite pages and reports.

When should you upgrade?

There are two main factors that will influence the decision to upgrade. First, how old is the version you are currently operating? If you’re still running QuickBooks 2004 on Windows XP, it is probably time for a major overhaul. Intuit regularly stops providing server support for older versions of the software, which will disable features like credit card processing and synchronized bank reconciliation. You will still be able to perform basic bookkeeping functions, but dynamic features will be severely limited. On average, it is recommended to upgrade to the latest version every three years.

The second major factor is how useful the latest feature will be to your business. If you operate a company driven by high volume sales, the new Sales Rep Performance feature in QuickBooks 2014 may be able to provide a return on investment to justify the $199 price tag. It is wise to glance over the new features on an annual basis to see if an upgrade can make an impact on your bottom line.

QuickBooks Consultants

Did you know that OSYB is a QuickBooks consultant, certified by Intuit? If you still need help after reading this article, contact us.

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