It’s that time of year again, Intuit’s annual “Sunset” of older versions of QuickBooks. If you are using QuickBooks 2012 (Windows and Mac) then you won’t be able to use certain services and features after May 31, 2015. I won’t editorialize (much) on why this is done of if it is a good practice, I’ll just discuss what the impact will be on your business.
What this means is that for the 2012 products:
- Any “add-on service” that you are using from Intuit (payroll, online banking, etc.) will no longer be available unless you upgrade to a newer product.
- Live technical support will no longer be available from Intuit.
- Intuit will not guarantee that you can register products or retrieve keycodes.
- Intuit will not provide replacement CD’s or manuals, although you can download older products.
This applies to the following products:
- QuickBooks Pro 2012
- QuickBooks Premier 2012
- QuickBooks Accountant 2012
- QuickBooks for Mac 2012
- QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions V12
Note that you can upgrade to a more current version to continue getting support.
Services Discontinued for QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Enterprise and Mac 2012
After May 31, 2015 you will no longer be able to use these services if you are using one of the 2012 products (Note that not all of these were available to Mac users):
- Basic, Standard, Enhanced or Assisted Payroll: After the cutoff, QuickBooks 2012 will no longer automatically calculate correct payroll taxes, provide updated forms, or send your payroll data.
- Employee Organizer: You will no longer have access to this information.
- 1099: You will not be able to launch the 1099 Wizard, which means (at the very least) you will not be able to use the 1099 E-File service.
- QuickBooks Merchant Service will no longer process credit card transactions through QuickBooks 2012 (you can still process outside of QB). If you are a terminal customer you will still be able to process credit cards through your terminal, you just can’t download them to QuickBooks 2012.
- Automatic Credit Card Billing: This service will be discontinued. You cannot download transactions, your customer profiles will be deleted.
- Check Solution will no longer process transactions in QuickBooks 2012 (you can still process outside of QB) .
- Bill Pay will no longer be available.
- Billing Solution will no longer be available. This service is being discontinued, if you upgrade to a newer version of QuickBooks you will be allowed to convert to the new QuickBooks Payments product, but it has different features (see this article).
- Intuit PaymentNetwork will no longer be available to process or download online payment transactions through QuickBooks 2012. You can still use this service by logging in through the website, but note that this is being replaced by the new QuickBooks Payments product (see this article).
- Accountant’s Copy File Transfer (ACFT) will no longer work with QuickBooks 2012.
- Online Banking , such as downloading transactions or sending/receiving online payments, will no longer work. If you try, it will show you one of several different error messages (depending on your download method) if you attempt to download transactions, send online payments or send online transfers. One example would be “QuickBooks is unable to verify the Financial Institution Information for this Download”.
- Enterprise Solutions Full Service Plan (FSP) – if you are on this then most likely you have already upgraded. Now you must upgrade to continue to get support past the end of your plan.
- Live Technical Support will no longer be available.
- Online Backup will no longer be available.
QuickBooks email (the internal QuickBooks mail service for emailing invoices) isn’t listed, but that generally is associated with one of the services listed above, so that won’t be available either.
Third party add-on products should not be directly affected by this – but you should check with your vendor to see what their policy is. Note that there are two kinds of third party add-on products:
- Products that use the QuickBooks SDK: There is no reason why these products would not continue to work, unless the developer chooses to discontinue service.
- Products that use the Intuit Partner Platform: Intuit’s statement on this is a bit vague – “We do not anticipate the discontinuation of QuickBooks 2012 and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions 12 to result in any disruption with the QuickBooks compatible software from the Intuit Partner Platform.” However, having said that, note that these types of products will stop working within a year as Intuit discontinues the desktop version of the Intuit Partner Platform for all QuickBooks desktop products (see this article).
What Should You Do?
If you are using QuickBooks, the standard answer is “now is the time to upgrade”. Many Sleeter Group Certified QuickBooks Consultants will be happy to provide you with an upgrade. For QuickBooks Pro you often can find the best deal from a mass marketer like Costco. Discounts are also available through The Sleeter Group’s Online Store.
Upgrading of your QuickBooks data should be relatively painless going from QB 2012 to 2015, although there can sometimes be problems. Before you install the upgrade, make sure you have a good backup of your company file. We recommend that you work with a knowledgeable consultant in performing your upgrade so that you don’t lose any time in working out the details. A bigger issue is the change in the user interface, which surprised many users when they moved up to 2013 from older versions. We have quite a few blog articles about the changes in various versions of QuickBooks since the 2012 release.
HOWEVER – keep in mind that your basic QuickBooks 2012 product will continue to work for your basic business needs as long as you aren’t relying on the services I listed.
If you are a QuickBooks consultant, you need to check with your clients so that they understand what will be changing in May. Don’t let them be surprised when things stop working – evaluate their needs and see if they will lose anything crucial to their operation. Keep in mind that sometimes upgrading to a new release takes a bit of time and effort. You want to make plans so that this can be done in an orderly fashion, rather than as a last minute scramble when they find that things aren’t working right.
My recommendation would be to talk to clients about this now, to prepare them for the changes. From what I can see, there is no reason to not upgrade to QuickBooks 2015 at this time, OTHER than some questions about the new QuickBooks Payments system. Don’t wait until May – there are so many issues to deal with in retraining and possibly some hardware changes (larger monitors, possibly) due to the change in the user interface. Also, if you run into any conversion problems (which can happen), you don’t want to have to deal with that in a hurry as things like credit card processing stop working.
There are alternatives, of course:
- Many of the discontinued services are available through other sources. There are payroll systems, merchant services systems that will continue to work with older versions of QuickBooks.
- If you subscribe to the QuickBooks Pro Plus and QuickBooks Premier Plus programs you are paying a monthly subscription fee, and therefore the latest version is available to you for no additional charge. Enterprise users have the Full Service Plan option, which provides an upgrade.
- Move to any online accounting product and you’ll always be using the most current version of that product. Unfortunately, this isn’t always a viable option for many desktop users, due to the smaller number of features provided by most online products currently.
What Do I Think?
Every year when Intuit sunsets an older version of QuickBooks we hear a great gnashing of teeth over the practice. How can Intuit disable the product that we bought?!
I’ve been a software developer for most of my life, so I may look at this in a different way than most QuickBooks users. I do have some sympathy for what Intuit is doing, but I don’t entirely agree with the policy when you look at the bigger picture.
QuickBooks itself won’t stop working – you can still print checks, manage your financial statements, and do the normal QuickBooks daily work on your desktop. What is stopping are all the services that rely on Internet servers managed by Intuit, as well as support services. In my mind, that is reasonable – QuickBooks is advancing, these services are being updated to provide new and better features to users of QuickBooks, so Intuit shouldn’t have to provide different versions of all of these services for every iteration of QuickBooks that is in use. That just isn’t feasible or practical.
I won’t be surprised if you disagree with me.
However, to balance this policy, I also believe that a software provider should make it relatively simple to upgrade your product to the latest version. This is where I think the Intuit policy fails. If you are using the older product and you must upgrade to the current product so that you can continue to use these services, Intuit should provide a low-cost upgrade path. As it stands now you essentially have to buy a new copy of the program. Sure, Intuit often provides a discount for upgraders, but it usually is insignificant. Their upgrade price usually is still higher than the “street” price for QuickBooks.