QuickBooks

QuickBooks 2015 Report Changes

Written by Charlie Russell

We spend a lot of time looking at and working with QuickBooks reports, and Intuit has placed an emphasis on that this year with the QuickBooks 2015 report changes. They have implemented a number of changes in how reports display, updated some things that people have been asking for, as well as adding some interesting new features. These changes apply to all of the Windows desktop versions (Pro, Premier, Enterprise).

All in all, I’m happy with all of the changes here.

QuickBooks 2015 Report Appearance

When you look at a report on the screen in QuickBooks it can be difficult to interpret what you see. It is hard to follow a line of information horizontally, for example. Intuit has taken some time to review report appearance on screen and has come up with some improvements to make reports easier to understand.

To start, let’s take a look at a typical report in QuickBooks 2014:

Report in QuickBooks 2014

Now let’s look at the same report in QuickBooks 2015.

QuickBooks 2015 Report Improvements

The changes that I see are:

  • The use of background shading to highlight some levels of titles, when you have an indented report.
  • The use of both vertical and horizontal lines to make detail lines and columns stand out better, and easier to follow.
  • A slight increase in vertical spacing, so reports don’t seem to be as crowded
  • The “drag bars” that you use to adjust the horizontal spacing of columns have been changed to a symbol that is a bit easier to understand
  • The level of indentation has been decreased on some reports, although this isn’t always apparent.

Do you find this easier to follow? I do, and I think that this is a nice improvement. The only drawback will be that some people will not be happy that you may see a little bit less information vertically than before.

Comments on Report

Here’s a feature that people should really find useful – the ability to save “comments” on a saved snapshot of a report.

At the top of the report window in QuickBooks 2015 you will see a Comment on Report button. When you click that you open the comment view of the report. At the end of each line of the report you will see a box that you can click to add a comment about that line.

QuickBooks 2015 Report Comment View

 

Click on that green icon will open the “Comments” box for that line of the report.

QuickBooks 2015 Report Comment Box

As you add comments to different lines, each is numbered sequentially. The number shows on the report as well. You can delete any comment, or edit it, using the icons at the left of the comment list.

image

Note that in multi-column reports there is a comment box by each column element as shown below.

Comments with multiple columns

At the top of the report there are several buttons:

  • Save: This will let you save this report with a name. This will be a snapshot of the report along with the comments.
  • Print: You can print the report or save as a PDF.
  • Email: This will let you send the report as a PDF attachment. I’m not sure how good this is because email attachments aren’t secure. Using a secure portal is a better way to handle this. Intuit notes this in a popup window, also.

Keep in mind that when you click that Comment on Report button, the snapshot freezes the report. If you have any customizations that you want to make to the report make them before you click the comment button.

If you print the report (or save to PDF) you get the report first, with the comment numbers, and a following page with the comments.

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There is a Commented Reports option in the Reports menu, which opens a window listing your commented reports. You can display, email or print the reports, delete them, or change their name.

Commented Reports

I think that this is a great feature that will be very useful for accounting professionals.

I do have a few quibbles:

  • I don’t see a way to make a general comment on the report itself. I might have something that I want to say that isn’t tied in with a particular detail line.
  • The Commented Reports list is going to get long if you create a lot of them on a monthly basis. I wish there was an easier way to do a mass delete of a number of reports. They do have the ability to sort the reports by report date, which is helpful.
  • I wish there was an closer integration with a client portal like SmartVault or something similar. Sending reports via email attachment is not a good way to do business if you are an accounting professional. Of course, with something like SmartVault you just have to save the PDF to the client folder, so I guess this isn’t too bad of an issue.

About the author

Charlie Russell

Charlie Russell has been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70's, and remembers releasing his first commercial accounting software product when you had an 8-bit microcomputer with one 8 inch floppy disk drive. He has a special interest in inventory and manufacturing software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor with additional certifications for QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Enterprise, as well as being a Xero Certified Partner. Charlie started blogging about QuickBooks in 2008 (Practical QuickBooks) and has been writing for the Accountex Report (formerly the Sleeter Report) since 2011. He retired from accounting and QuickBooks activities in early 2018.

Visit his CCRSoftware web site for information about his QuickBooks add-on products. He is also the author of the California Wildflower Hikes blog.

33 Comments

  • “All in all, I’m happy with all of the changes here.” …If Charlie’s happy, I’m happy!

    Speaking of happy, it’s oftentimes the little things that make me happy, and REPORT FILTERS SORTED ALPHABETICALLY makes me very happy, indeed!

    Thanks for the article, Charlie!

  • I have noticed that now subaccounts appear on reports with an extra spacing even when collapsed when printed out. Will this be remedied or is this how Quickbooks 2015 will display their reports. The extra space seems unnecessary when I have already collapsed my accounts.

  • I like the Commented Reports feature. Maybe I am missing it, but is there a way to use the same tickmark (comment) # for several lines, as if you want to group accounts together for purposes of summing amounts that might show on a tax return, for instance. Seems like such an enhancement could be handy.

    • Well, Jacob, I guess that is because I don’t see any ugly black line under the header. Which report are you referring to, or do you see it on all? You may have a report setting set up improperly, or an issue with a particular printer. I don’t see anything like that.

      • He is referring to the bold line under the header information that appears on the printed report only. See your examples above showing commented reports.

        • Ah, yes, just on COMMENTED reports. I was looking at regular reports, which also had some formatting changes. Thank you, Paul.

          This is the first time I’ve heard someone comment about that. Best I can say is to send feedback to Intuit through the option in the help menu.

          Personally, I don’t see that as a problem, the reports are going to look a bit ugly with all the numbers for the comments added. The initial intent was for people to use this to exchange questions and comments. Then you would use the standard report to present the finalized version, which doesn’t have that line.

  • One really annoying change you didn’t mention is that you can no longer drill down a report to open up another report. For example if I do a quick report on an item in my item list and it shows all the sales for that item, I can no longer click on a line to open up the specific invoice for the line. Very annoying. Is there something I am missing to enable this back to the way before. I have searched help and google and have found no comments on this.

    • Greg, I’m running the 2015 R5 release on a PC, and the report drill down works the same as before for me. Using your example, I open a QuickReport for an item, and as I hover the mouse over a transaction like an invoice the “spyglass” cursor appears. Click on the transaction, that transaction opens. Same as before.

      • Strange as it is not working for me. I used this extensively before upgrading to 2015. There must be a setting somewhere that I am missing. I’ll keep searching. I wonder if it is related to a browser setting or something distantly related. Howerver, It is good to know that it hasn’t been removed. Thanks for that info.

        • I haven’t heard of that happening before, so I don’t have a suggestion. I doubt that it would be a browser setting, but again I don’t have a clue. Try doing a “repair” of your installation through the Windows Control Panel.

          • Hah found the answer! A posting in the quickbooks community suggested that when using multiple monitors (I have 3) to use QuickBooks in the primary display. It worked by simply dragging QuickBooks to the primary display. As murphy would have it, it also works in the secondary display just not in the third display where I have been accustomed to using QuickBooks. So I will just have to rearrange my work habits. Thanks for your help in this!

          • Interesting, Greg. I hadn’t run across that. I have four monitors on my system, and the drill down works on the first three, just not on the fourth. I never put QB on the fourth as it is smaller and out of the way. Just tried it now, and no linking on the fourth. Strange! Thanks for getting back to us on this.

  • Has anyone else run across pdf reports in QB 2015 that are missing total lines? It looks OK on screen, and if you print it out it’s fine, but if you save the report as a pdf, then some of the total lines are missing. For example, on my balance sheet on screen, I would normally see a single total line right above the “Total Checking/Savings” line. When I save as a pdf, I see no line there. Also, I would normally see a double line right underneath the “Total Assets” line, but in the pdf, I only see one bold line.

    Anyone know of a fix?

  • The new features seem to be great if you need them. Just wish the old features still worked like they used to. Not sure why they would change a printing format intentionally.

    The extra line on a collapsed report is very frustrating. Especially after using the same 1-page summary (collapsed) reports since 2001. Now these same reports are difficult to read and often both take 2-pages for the same information.

    I was glad to see a discussion from Alex about this ‘phantom line’ showing up for subaccounts. Also Hoping an update fixes the issue soon. It makes an upgrade to 15 a bigger hassle than it should be.

    Bruce

  • I have not used QuickBooks 2015’s new reporting features yet. Ofcourse the implementation of these changes will surely help the users and make their life a little easier.

    Ashlee

    • Ashlee,

      Not sure what you are referring to. I must have missed something or do not understand how to use this venue to discuss specific issues.

      If you have not used QB 15 yet why are you even commenting about the issues here?

      Bruce

  • Hi Bruce,

    My views are based on my past experience with a Qucikbooks as a product and my current understanding about the features of QB 2015 that I have read in this article

    • Oh I understand-

      When you do end up upgrading or using 15.0 it will probably be more apparent what I am referring to. The issue was not a problem up through 14.0.

      Charlie did a good job of explaining partial uprades as part of problem in his comments to me too. Intuit may be addressing it as we speak.

      Thanks

      Bruce

  • Everyone is entitled to their opinion, Bruce. And articles like these are sometimes the first place that people get to see the changes.

    Intuit did a user interface makeover a few years ago but not all aspects of the program were updated then. Some features have taken time to get the UI update. And, then, Intuit got a LOT of feedback about those UI changes and have been working on tweaking things based on that.

    I can’t say if these changes are just the natural progression of their UI concepts, or if they are based on customer feedback. I do know that they are always working on creating some extra white space in places that were dense, and then add other clues to help you figure out how things line up.

    I find that upgrading users generally have more trouble with these kinds of changes than new users. But, sometimes, I just scratch my head as to why a particular change was made.

    • Thanks Charlie – Still have my fingers crossed that they catch up to keeping some of the reporting process simple and clean.

      Bruce

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