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:
Now let’s look at the same report in QuickBooks 2015.
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.
Click on that green icon will open the “Comments” box for that line of the report.
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.
Note that in multi-column reports there is a comment box by each column element as shown below.
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.
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.
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.