Intuit has released the QuickBooks 2013 R3 update for the U.S. version of QuickBooks. At the time I’m writing this the release is available as a manual update from the Intuit support web site. I would expect this to be released as an automatic update within a week, if all goes well.
I’ve been playing with this for a few weeks, but I can’t say that I’ve done a comprehensive analysis. There are a LOT of small fixes that Intuit hasn’t documented clearly (or at all).
It is hard to make a good recommendation about this release. But, that has never stopped me before! So:
- If you are using QuickBooks 2012 or older: I’m still nervous about recommending the 2013 product until we see more people using it without problems. I wouldn’t jump into 2013 yet, at the very least wait a week until we see how the public release of this works out. This is the first big bug release, and there are a LOT of changes here. So far I haven’t heard of any widespread disasters with R1 (which doesn’t mean they don’t exist, just that I haven’t heard of them). If you DO decide to make the jump, wait a week to see if there are any reports of problems, and do NOT convert a file from 2012 or older to R1 first if you can avoid that – go directly to R3.
- If you are already using QuickBooks 2013 R1: Then absolutely you want to jump up to R3 soon, because if fixes a lot of R1 problems.
The short answer is do not use, or stay with, 2013 R1. Either wait in your older version for awhile, or jump to R3.
Please note that I was testing a “beta test” release of 2013 R3, so some things may be different in the final version. Intuit often beta tests a product and then makes changes (which is good), but doesn’t give the beta testers a “final” release to look at (which is NOT good).
Note: This article was updated on 10/26/2012
Let’s take a look at the changes that I am aware of:
- User interface changes (you tell me if it was enough).
- There were some small changes in spacing and the appearance of icons.
- Forms Changes (small change to spacing).
- Client Data Review has been updated to use the new QB 2013 user interface.
- Inventory Center has been brought up to the level of other “Centers”.
- Contact and Alt Contact conversion fix (BIG IMPROVEMENT).
- Send General Journal Entries has several improvements.
- Some inventory reports now have the option to suppress zero-quantity items (very nice).
- Updates to Batch Enter Transactions to allow you to use this feature with items when you implement multiple inventory sites.
- Several fields have been added to the Add/Edit Multiple List Entries feature.
- QuickBooks Enterprise Advanced Inventory:
- When using multiple inventory sites with bin locations, some inventory reports have an improved filter function.
- You now have the ability to select all specific item types you want to set up with barcodes in the barcode wizard.
- You can now see and edit the default bin locations in the Inventory Center, as well as being able to see the quantities on hand by bin.
- And a number of small, miscellaneous bug fixes.
If you are updating from 2013 R1 to 2013 R3 you will get a notice about an update to your file – the database is being changed (for the better!).
If you find that you need to go back to the R1 release (I don’t know of any reason for wanting to do that at this time) there isn’t any problem – as shown here when I opened an R3 database with the R1 program:
User Interface Changes
There has been a HUGE amount of discussion about the changes in the user interface with QuickBooks 2013. Some people were hoping for significant changes in R3 to change things that bug SOME people. Did they do that? Let’s see…
- There are miscellaneous small UI changes on sizes of fonts and such in the Centers. You have to look close to see them for the most part.
- They Increased the spacing between choices in the top menus (very minor changes).
- The “edit” and “attach” icons in the Centers have been resized to a standard size.
- Sometimes the balances section of the left icon bar would not show your balances. R3 fixes this.
- There are changes in the icons that are used in both top and left icon bars. In this screen shot, the new R3 icon bar shows at the top, the older R1 icon bar shows at the bottom. The changes here are, for the most part, making the icons simpler and easier to identify.
No big changes!
Changes in the Left Navigation (Icon) Bar
They added a “Add New To Do” Link in Do Today section of Left Icon Bar.
In the R1 release we had a Open Windows option in the Left Icon Bar as a “pane” like the others. This replace the Open Window List that you can see if you use the Top Icon Bar. You can now open this list in two ways OTHER than clicking on that icon:
- Select View in the menu bar, then Open Window List. R1 didn’t let you do this if you had the Left Icon Bar. This will open a pane for Open Windows on the left. This goes away if you select a different pane.
- Press the new keyboard shortcut ALT-V-W, which immediately opens the Open Window List pane. This is essentially the same as selecting the options from the menu.
Background change for Bills and Checks: This is subtle, the pattern in the background of the bill or check is toned back a bit, it is a lighter color. The difference is hard to show. I can’t even tell the difference when I take screen shots.
Footer changes for all the sales forms for Amount readability: From what I see, mostly spacing changes to move labels to the left(and adding the “Tax” label). Updated 10/26/2012: The “total amount” field can now support up to 15 digits.
Dynamic resizing of the elements on the black bar: This is the area where you have several dropdown lists for selections. As you drag the transaction window wider, these fields will now resize or get wider also, where in R1 they just stayed the same narrow width. This is a nice usability improvement.
Restore issues while returning from the super max mode: I’m not entirely sure if what I found was what they are referring to, but with R1, if you have a QuickBooks window that is not maximized to fill your screen, and you switch in and out of “super max” (the full screen mode feature for forms), you aren’t always restored to the smaller window properly. R3 does a better job of restoring back to the way you started.
There are a few other minor changes that deal with the right panel, “tooltips”, and so forth. Most are minor adjustments to either clean up loose ends or to make things consistent – you would have a hard time noticing the changes unless you compared R1 with R3 on the same monitor.
Client Data Review
The Client Data Review feature has been updated to the new user interface standard for QuickBooks 2013. No real functional changes here, just making it look like everything else (which is good).
The New Tab layout for Transactions and Notes/Support for multiple Notes in Items: You now can enter multiple notes in the Inventory Center. Unfortunately, no “report” button at the bottom of the Transactions tab like we have in the Customer Center, but if you right click on the column headings you have a view as report option that covers that function.
If you edit an item, the Notes button is changed to New Notes.
Contacts and Alt. Contacts
This is a HUGE bug fix, correcting one of the main reasons why I didn’t recommend that people with older versions of QuickBooks convert their files to 2013 R1.
The problem – when converting an older file to QuickBooks 2013, your contact and alt contact weren’t converted to “contacts” properly, and there would be some confusion in reports or forms that used those fields. Let me show you what was happening, and what is changed in 2013 R3
Here’s a customer in QuickBooks 2012. Note that I have names in the contact and alt contact fields.
When you convert this file to QuickBooks 2013 R1 these two fields are moved to the Contact list.
If you examine the contact record you see that the full name is shoved into the first name field, which isn’t good. In addition, if you edit this contact information, any sales forms that use the contact or alt contact field will NOT show THIS information, they will show the OLD information that is still found in the customer record.
QuickBooks 2013 R3 corrects these problems by doing two things. First, the name is split properly into the appropriate fields. Second, there is now a designation of “primary contact”, “secondary contact” and “additional contact”, so forms (and reports) can put the proper contact in fields.
When you edit the contact you see that the fields are updated correctly and that you can define the contact type.
This should also work on any import functions that would read the contact/alt contact info (Excel imports, etc.), as well as with converting other name records into customer records. Intuit has done a good job with this fix.
Looking at the contact type field, what if I change a “secondary contact” to a “primary contact”? You get a warning, which is a BIT misleading.
The contact isn’t overwritten, just the contact type. You still have the original primary contact, but that one is now an “additional contact”.
If you have already converted your file to 2013 R1 you will still have some problems. The name was all shoved into the “First” name field during that conversion, and moving from R1 to R3 won’t fix that. BUT the “primary” and “Secondary” notation is added correctly.
However, If you edited this contact record with R1, they will be most likely be marked as Additional contacts.
Send General Journal Entries
I’m glad to see some changes here that I was asking for after the R1 release.
Send General Journal Entries is now an option in the Accountant menu, rather than having you first open the Make General Journal Entries window first and then clicking on a button. A small change but it makes it easier to find this function.
In addition, when the client imports the GJE’s on the receiving side, there is an option to display the details of the import. A new button is added to the confirmation window:
Clicking that will display a list of the changes that were posted. The GJE’s first, and then a list of any list items that were added (accounts, items, customers, etc.).
This is VERY nice, but in my test version the save as PDF and print buttons were usually not visible unless I scrolled to the bottom of the form. I would have liked these to be always visible in the window. This is a VERY useful report to have, so that the client can show proof to the accountant that these GJE’s were actually applied.
Another small issue with this – the Send GJEs feature allows you to apply the GJE file more than once (it warns you, that is an issue we already knew about), but if you do then this import details report does not indicate that these are duplicates. That could be very important to know.
Hide Zero Quantity On Hand
A new check box is added to the top of the Inventory reports – Hide Zero QOH. This is something that has been requested often. VERY USEFUL. This should be found in all versions (Pro, Premier, Enterprise).
Here’s a report, with “Frame 5X7” showing a zero quantity:
Here’s the same report, checking the Hide zero QOH button at the top. Note that “Frame 5×7” no longer shows, but all others do – even those with a negative quantity on hand.
Batch Enter Transactions
If you are using the multiple inventory sites feature that is a part of the Enterprise Advanced Inventory option, with the R1 release you would have seen this message when selecting batch enter transactions:
The R3 release now allows you to work with items when you are using multiple inventory sites – with the ability to customize columns to add the columns you would need.
Add/Edit Multiple List Entries
Three additional fields have been added to the Customer portion of the Add/Edit Multiple List Entries feature.
In addition, if you are using the unit of measure feature, then the unit of measure field is added to service, inventory and non-inventory items.
Enterprise Advanced Inventory
QuickBooks Enterprise has an optional Advanced Inventory feature which was updated significantly in QuickBooks 2013. The R3 release has a few improvements.
Report Filters with Bin Locations
A new feature in the Advanced Inventory option for QuickBooks Enterprise is the addition of bin locations for sites. A very useful feature for some businesses. However, in inventory reports, if you wanted to filter a report so that you would only show certain bins at a site, the filter mechanism was a pain in the rear to work with.
Let’s start off by looking at the Items by Bin Location report in my sample file. I have several sites (warehouses), and there are a number of locations within those sites.
If I want to filter this report in 2013 R1 so that I see just the bin location information for the “Main Warehouse”, for example, I have to customize the report and change the inventory site filter. This opens a selection window, and you have to click on each individual site that you don’t want to uncheck it. If you have hundreds of bin locations, that is VERY tedious.
When you look at this same filter in QuickBooks 2013 R3 you will see that the options have changed significantly, making things quite a bit easier. For example, the sites are now marked with an asterisk – if you check the click an inventory site to select or clear all its bin locations box you just have to click each site to turn off all of the bin locations. That can save QUITE a bit of time.
There are other variations that you can easily use here. Select just the Hide bin locations box, and all the location information is hidden. Very simple.
I haven’t played with all of the combinations here, or looked at how this works with all of the relevant inventory reports, but this is a big improvement from the R1 release.
Barcode Setup Wizard
Here’s another improvement that I was agitating for – the ability to specify which exact item types the barcode wizard would work with when creating barcode numbers. In QB 2013 R1 you could select “All” items, or specify inventory items, assembly items, non-inventory parts, services or other charges. I didn’t like the choice – I might want to set barcodes for group items but not for other charges, for example, and you couldn’t do that in R1.
With R3 you now have the ability to select each item type:
Another improvement here is that if you turn barcodes OFF, there is a message that tells you that the existing barcode numbers are not deleted.
Other Barcode Bugs
There are a couple of miscellaneous small bugs in the barcode feature that have been corrected.
- I pointed out before that if you manually enter the item code and then scan a serial number, the quantity would count negative instead of positive. That has been fixed.
- Some of the erroneous or confusing error messages that you might see when editing the barcode number field have been cleaned up.
- The keyboard shortcut for the item barcode has been corrected (updated 10/26/2012).
- The barcode column now shows automatically in the Add/Edit Multiple List Entries window if you enable barcodes (before this you had to “customize” the display to show this).
- Copying barcodes from custom fields has been improved to show the barcode and images.
- Recorded barcodes that are no attached to items will no longer display an error during a verify operation.
Default Bin Locations
When I reviewed the Bin Location feature initially, I DID like having the ability to specify a default bin location for each item. I did NOT like the place you had to go to for setting this up – by having to customize the columns of the Add/Edit Multiple List Entries feature. This was a really odd place to do this!
QuickBooks 2013 R3 changes this so that you can edit this information in the inventory center, which is a MUCH better place. A new “tab” is added here, and all you have to do is to place a check mark by the bin location that you want to use as a default for that item. Note also that you can see the quantity on hand at each bin location in this same view.
QuickBooks Merchant Services
Updated 10/26/2012: A QuickBooks Payments account is now included with this release of QuickBooks. When you create a new company file for your business (and there is not an existing Payments account with Intuit), you’ll have the ability to accept payments from your customers in a variety of ways:
- Credit and debit cards
- Online invoice payments
- Mobile payments
To turn on your Payments feature, just open the Receive Payments form and simply click the Turn On Payments button located within the yellow bar. You’ll then be asked to enter a few items of information. You are now ready to receive payments and have funds deposited directly into your bank account.
Miscellaneous Bug Fixes
Here’s a few things fixed in R3 that I haven’t always had time to test. Some of these notes may be cryptic, my apologies, unless you have run into that problem:
- A Class is no longer filled in when using a balance sheet account.
- When you modify a statement charge or inventory adjustment to have an item with a class associated, the class from the previously selected item is now removed automatically.
- Supplier is no longer displayed when it should be the vendor in the Add/Edit Multiple List Entries screen, when working with vendors.
- There was a problem when toggling between Bookkeeper edition and Accountant edition that has been fixed.
- Batch Enter Transactions now shows as a link in the Accountant Center (but, you could have added that in R1 yourself).
- You can now duplicate Batch Enter transactions with split information.
- This feature no saves data for auto-filling fields when the “automatically recall” preference is enabled.
- The vendor phone number no longer displays with the area code at the end of the number (this happened only in some screens).
- Vendor names now show at the proper time in the advanced find results page.
- Enterprise Advanced Inventory:
- QuickBooks will now filter the Inventory Item QuickReport correctly when it is produced from the Items by Bin Location report.
- Bin Locations will no longer be displayed in the Current Availability window.
- When Track Locations within Inventory Sites is enable, the Default bin columns (sales and purchase) will automatically appear in the Add/Edit Multiple List Entries window (before this you had to “customize” the display to show these).
- You will no longer get a “Runtime Check Failed” error when a line item is blanked while building assemblies.
- The Items by Bin Location report now shows items that have sub-items correctly.
- The Item Receipt transaction will no longer use the wrong default location if the site is filled down from the first line.
- The “quantity more than estimated” warning will now be displayed when using a barcode scanner to complete a progress invoice transaction.
- You can now save batch transactions with inventory items when Advanced Inventory is enabled.
- Locations on inventory transfers will no longer refresh unless the site has been changed (updated 10/26/2012)
- Editing an Online Banking renaming rule will no longer result in the rule being deleted.
- QuickBooks will now correctly display the Payee drop down menu when entering a transaction directly in to the register.
- A shortcut, “Shift-Ctrl-D” has been added to let you delete obsolete Online Banking alerts.
- This release fixes a problem where pressing the “Next” button on a blank check would make the “Pay Online” box show twice in the ribbon.
- You will now be prompted, after changing the class for a name or item on a transaction, to save the change to the name or item.
- There is now a warning when you associate a list element with an inactive class.
- QuickBooks will no longer remove the Opening Balance of a customer without warning when the home currency is changed (multi-currency).
- New payroll liability payment checks now use the next check number for the account.
- QuickBooks will now correctly update the vacation accrued on paychecks when hours are changed.
- Sick and vacation hours earned during the pay period will no print on the paystub.
- You can now print the paystub directly from a paycheck.
- You can now filter the select pay stubs dialog for a single employee name.
- Deleted paycheck information can now be sent using the Send Usage Data menu item, instead of waiting for a future payroll to send.
- QuickBooks will no longer display the warning that “I.EMPSIT tag is missing” when sending payroll.
- On a Windows Server 2008 64 bit computer, QuickBooks will no longer fail with an “unexpected error” when creating a PDF.
- A QuickBooks Payments account feature is now included. This is a new optional feature.
- You will no longer see an “Internet Explorer script error” when navigating in the Online Backup browser window.
- The QuickBooks Billing Solution feature has been restored to the Create Invoice form(this was left out in R1). If you are using this service then you will see an “Allow Online Payment” checkbox. I’m not clear at this time if this will be in the ribbon (where it should be) or if it is in the lower left corner of the form.
- Detail reports now display the correct target memo for each transaction.
WILL YOU SEE THESE BUGS?
Some bugs are hard to reproduce. Here are some things that I ran into with QuickBooks 2013 R3 that you may see, or you may not. These were seen in some beta test situations, I don’t know if they have been resolved before R3 was released.
Create New Company
In an Accountant or Enterprise Accountant version, select File then New Company. In the Setup window click the Create button. This should start the process to create a new company file based on an existing file. However, I get this error, and no new file is created.
PDF Setup Bug
You might not run into this, depending on your situation. You won’t, for instance, see this if you are upgrading a computer from QuickBooks 2012 to QuickBooks 2013.
When I installed QuickBooks 2013 R3 in a “clean” Windows 7 test system (no prior QuickBooks installation), the first time I ran the program I ran into this error message:
Looking at the Windows devices, I see that the ABS PDF Driver was installed, but the Microsoft XPS Document Writer is not showing.
I can exit QuickBooks and then enter again, and that same error message appears.
There are several ways to correct this problem, but the simplest fix is to just save an invoice as a PDF file.
When you do that, QuickBooks installs the Microsoft driver, and the error message no longer shows.
Something I Missed in 2013 R1
OK, so this isn’t a change in the R3 release, I just missed it. Karl Irvin (author of the Data Transfer Utility) pointed this one out to me. It is a change in the R1 version that I overlooked.
In Bills QuickBooks Enterprise V13 adds a Class field in the bill header. This doesn’t appear to affect the balance sheet by class, but it does control the class shown on the Unpaid Bills Detail and detail transaction reports.
In addition, the write checks window has a similar addition.
Whew! That is a lot of changes! This just reinforces what I tell people every year, the R1 release has lots of bugs and should be avoided. So, now we have R3, and things should be settling down. I’m still waiting before I convert my OWN company file, at least until this goes out on “automatic update”, as I want to let OTHER people find out if there are big problems hidden here.