Troubleshooting - Care and Maintenance - QuickBooks 2016 All-in-One For Dummies (2016)

QuickBooks 2016 All-in-One For Dummies (2016)

Book VII

Care and Maintenance


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Contents at a Glance

1. Chapter 1: Administering QuickBooks

1. Keeping Your Data Confidential

2. Using QuickBooks in a Multi-User Environment

3. Using Audit Trails

4. Enabling Simultaneous Multi-User Access

5. Maintaining Good Accounting Controls

2. Chapter 2: Protecting Your Data

1. Backing Up the QuickBooks Data File

2. Restoring a QuickBooks Data File

3. Condensing the QuickBooks Company Files

3. Chapter 3: Troubleshooting

1. Using the QuickBooks Help File and This Book

2. Browsing Intuit’s Product-Support Website

3. Checking Another Vendor’sProduct-Support Website

4. Tapping into Intuit’s Onlineand Expert Communities

5. Trying an Internet Newsgroup

6. When All Else Fails …

Chapter 3


In This Chapter

· Getting help

· Visiting Intuit’s and other vendors’ product-support websites

· Tapping into Intuit’s product-support system

· Browsing the de facto QuickBooks newsgroup

· Knowing what to do when all else fails

After writing about QuickBooks for more than 20 years, I’ve had a revelation of sorts. People want not only specific, step-by-step information about how to use the program, but also troubleshooting advice. They want techniques and tactics that they can use to solve the inevitable problems that they encounter while using QuickBooks in real-life settings. What follows is my list of the best troubleshooting techniques.

Using the QuickBooks Help File and This Book

I know what you may be thinking: You have some problem that you can’t solve by using Help, and it’s either a bug or some glaring error in the QuickBooks documentation. Of course, you’ve looked through this book, but it says nothing — absolutely nothing — about your question. In fact, upon further reflection, you may be thinking that you’ve encountered some problem that you can’t possibly solve by consulting the QuickBooks Help file or this book.

Maybe you’re right.

But in my experience (gleaned from talking with people who have problems), about half the time, the problem is lack of knowledge about QuickBooks. These users may simply be experiencing a mechanical problem. They can’t make the program work because they haven’t used QuickBooks enough to figure out the problem. Therefore, the right way to solve this sort of problem is to find out more about QuickBooks and try again. For example, if you’re having problems printing a report, just finding out more about both printing and reports may enable you to solve the problem.

In most cases, you should be able to find the information in this book by using the Index or the Table of Contents.

Also, you usually can find the information (perhaps in a slightly less-friendly form) in the QuickBooks Help file. To find information in the QuickBooks Help file, choose Help ⇒ QuickBooks Help to display the QuickBooks Help window, as shown in Figure 3-1.


Figure 3-1: The QuickBooks Help window.

Then enter the word or phrase that you want to look up into the search box at the top of the Help window and click the button that looks like a magnifying glass. QuickBooks then displays a list of clickable links (see Figure 3-2) that may help you with whatever problem you’re having.Figure 3-2 shows a list of help topics related to the issue of working in a multiple currencies situation.


Figure 3-2: The QuickBooks Help listing potential help topics.

Browsing Intuit’s Product-Support Website

Another really good resource for troubleshooting is Intuit’s product-support website for QuickBooks. This website, available by visiting or by choosing the Help ⇒ Support command within QuickBooks, is a rich database of troubleshooting information, as shown in Figure 3-3.


Figure 3-3: The QuickBooks Support website.

To use the site, enter your question or keywords from your question in the search box at the top of the window and then click Search. The product-support website displays a list of troubleshooting articles that may help solve your problem (as shown in Figure 3-4).


Figure 3-4: QuickBooks support articles about printing checks.

Checking Another Vendor’sProduct-Support Website

Keep in mind that your problem may not be a problem with QuickBooks at all, but a problem with your computer and its hardware or with Microsoft Windows. The Microsoft product-support website, which is phenomenally rich in information, is available at

If your problem stems from the hardware or the operating system, you can consult the hardware or software maker’s product-support website for troubleshooting information. Usually, you can find the hardware maker’s product-support website easily by using a good Internet search engine. For example, to locate Dell Computer’s product-support website, type something like Dell Computer product support in a search engine such as When the search engine searches on the phrase “Dell Computer product support,” it almost inevitably finds the URL (the address) of the vendor’s product-support web page.

tip You can find troubleshooting information about Intuit products at the Microsoft product-support website. If the solutions that the site offers aren’t very reassuring, at least you can find out whether other users have experienced the same problem. Microsoft may simply suggest that you contact the vendor (Intuit, in this case) or that you upgrade to a newer version of the QuickBooks software. However, simply knowing that the problem you’ve encountered is a real problem that Microsoft has logged into its product-support Knowledge Base and described in some technical detail is often useful.

Tapping into Intuit’s Onlineand Expert Communities

In addition to the option of using the Intuit product-support website, you can get direct product support in at least two other ways:

· Online Community: Visit the website to connect with a huge group of usually friendly QuickBooks users. If you sign into the website using your QuickBooks sign-on credentials — the same ones you use to register — you can not only view other questions and answers, but also ask your own questions. (After you’ve used QuickBooks a while, you can even maybe answer some other users questions!)

· Professional advisor: You can contact a QuickBooks professional advisor via the QuickBooks website. In a nutshell, QuickBooks professional advisors are just people (often, accountants and consultants) who’ve signed up with Intuit in order to get copies of the QuickBooks software at a discount price, a listing on the QuickBooks product-support website, and access to special training. (Some of these people also take a test and pay extra money to be listed as certified advisors.) You pay these professional advisors their usual consulting fees, but let me suggest that this support option can be very useful when your problem isn’t so much a technical problem with QuickBooks as it is a problem with how to use QuickBooks to solve some accounting issue. To contact a QuickBooks professional advisor, visit

Trying an Internet Newsgroup

If your problem with QuickBooks isn’t really a program bug or can’t be easily solved by finding out more, you can sometimes find an answer by consulting other QuickBooks users. One of the easiest ways to do this is to browse the Quicken newsgroup (yes, that’s right, the Quicken newsgroup) or the QuickBooks newsgroup at the following addresses:

To browse either newsgroup — note that the Quicken newsgroup contains both Quicken and QuickBooks information — you use an Internet service provider that supports newsgroups and a newsgroup reader (such as Outlook Express). Assuming that you have these things, you can subscribe to the QuickBooks newsgroup and talk with other QuickBooks users about the problems that you’re encountering.

You may not need this background information, but I want to point out a few important things about newsgroups and community forums. In the case of the newsgroups, a specific organization doesn’t typically support or police newsgroups. For example, Intuit doesn’t maintain or support the Quicken or QuickBooks newsgroup. Newsgroups, including the Quicken and QuickBooks newsgroups, really amount to free-form — and sometimes unruly — discussions among users. You can’t always expect to have your question answered. Additionally, good newsgroup and forum etiquette suggests that if you ask questions, you should also try to answer questions.

When All Else Fails …

If you try at least a few of the preceding troubleshooting tactics and can’t get an answer, I have one other suggestion: Bite the bullet, call your CPA, and get him or her to help you through the rough patches.

I know. You’re going to pay $200 an hour or whatever. And you paid, what, only a few hundred bucks for QuickBooks in the first place? But here’s the deal: Your accounting system is an essential business tool. It must work smoothly and correctly to produce the information you need to operate your business successfully. Paying for an hour or two of expert, onsite, personalized accounting expertise can be a great investment.

And what if your accountant doesn’t or can’t provide this sort of assistance? Well, shoot, I think you should find somebody who does and can.




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Contents at a Glance

1. Appendix A: A Crash Course in Excel

1. Starting Excel

2. Stopping Excel

3. Explaining Excel’s Workbooks

4. Putting Text, Numbers, and Formulas in Cells

5. Writing Formulas

6. Scrolling through Big Workbooks

7. Copying and Cutting Cell Contents

8. Formatting Cell Contents

9. Recognizing That Functions Are Simply Formulas

10. Saving and Opening Workbooks

11. Printing Excel Workbooks

12. One Other Thing to Know

2. Appendix B: Government Web Resources for Businesses

1. Bureau of Economic Analysis

2. Bureau of Labor Statistics

3. Census Bureau

4. Securities and Exchange Commission

5. Federal Reserve

6. Government Printing Office

7. Internal Revenue Service

3. Appendix C: Glossary of Accounting and Financial Terms