It’s that time of year again, Intuit’s annual announcement of the “Disco” (discontinuation) of an older version of QuickBooks. If you are using QuickBooks 2014 (Windows and Mac) then you won’t be able to use certain services and features after May 31, 2017. I won’t address why they do it, or if I think it is a good practice, I’ll just discuss what the impact will be on your business.
For details beyond what I provide here see this Intuit support document.
What this means is that for the QuickBooks 2014 desktop products:
- Your basic QuickBooks 2014 product will continue to work after this date.
- Any “add-on service” that you are using from Intuit (desktop 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 CDs or manuals, although you can download older products.
This applies to the following products:
- QuickBooks Pro 2014
- QuickBooks Premier 2014
- QuickBooks Accountant 2014
- QuickBooks for Mac 2014
- QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions V14
Note that you can upgrade to a more current version to continue getting support.
Services Discontinued for QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Enterprise and Mac 2014
After May 31, 2017, you will no longer be able to use the following services if you are using one of the 2014 products (note that not all of these were available to Mac users):
- Basic, Standard, Enhanced or Assisted Payroll: After the cutoff, QuickBooks 2014 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.
- Worker’s Comp: You will no longer be able to process Worker’s Comp Payments through QuickBooks 2014.
- ViewMyPaycheck: You and your employees will no longer have access to ViewMyPaycheck.
- Live Technical Support will no longer be available. If you have an active QuickBooks Care Protection Plan, support will end when the plan is due for renewal (monthly, 90 day, or annual).
- Online Backup will no longer be available when your support plan expires.
- 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.”
At the time that I’m writing this article, Intuit’s disco notice describes in general terms which services are discontinued, but they don’t provide a specific, comprehensive list. The services I list above are specifically mentioned, but I believe that a number of other services will no longer be available. Intuit may be in the process of updating the website. Here’s my list of the other services that I expect will not be provided for QuickBooks 2014 after the disco date, based on what we’ve seen in prior years:
- 1099: You might not be able to launch the 1099 Wizard. You may still be able to use an add-on 1099 e-filing service, though.
- QuickBooks Merchant Service should no longer process credit card transactions through QuickBooks 2014 (you can still process outside of QB). If you are a Terminal Download customer you will still be able to process credit cards through your terminal, you just can’t download them to QuickBooks 2014.
- Automatic Credit Card Billing: This service should be discontinued. You won’t be able to download transactions, your customer profiles will be deleted, and you will not be able to access the data you entered there.
- Intuit Check Solutions should no longer process transactions in QuickBooks 2014 (you can still process outside of QB).
- Bill Pay should no longer be available.
- Accountant’s Copy File Transfer (ACFT) service should no longer work with QuickBooks 2014.
- Contributed Reports: You should not be able to contribute reports and you should not be able to access any new reports on that platform.
- QuickBooks email (the internal QuickBooks mail service for emailing invoices), which is generally associated with one of the services listed earlier, should no longer be available.
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.
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 a fee. For QuickBooks Pro you often can find the best deal from a mass marketer like Costco.
There are four areas of concern when upgrading:
What features have changed? Intuit is adding fewer new features every year, and moving from 2014 to 2017 isn’t going to be as traumatic a change as has occurred in some prior years. These articles can give you some idea of what to expect:
- Some QuickBooks 2014 users (Windows versions only) may see changes in how the password system works. Many people have already dealt with this, but not all. You might want to read my article on the security update for details. You can also read about a change to the security update that Intuit is testing, which should be released for QuickBooks 2017 in the near future.
- Have system requirements changed? This might be a problem for some people. QuickBooks 2017 isn’t supported on all of the operating systems that QuickBooks 2014 worked on. If you are using Windows 8, you have to move up to Windows 8.1 update 1 (you should be there already). If you are using Windows 7 you have to move up to Windows 7 SP1 (again, you should be there already). If you are using Windows Vista or Windows XP then you are not supported with QuickBooks 2017, but again, you really shouldn’t be using those old versions of Windows. Note also that QuickBooks 2017 only supports Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.
- Converting your QuickBooks company file. Upgrading of your QuickBooks data should be relatively painless going from QB 2014 to 2017, although there can sometimes be problems. Before you install the upgrade, make sure you have a good backup of your company file. You should do a verify of the database before conversion, to see if there are any glitches. If there are, they can interfere with the conversion. 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. However, essentially all you must do is to install the new program and open your old file with that new program. QuickBooks 2017 will handle the conversion automatically.
HOWEVER – keep in mind that your basic QuickBooks 2014 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 major reason to not upgrade to QuickBooks 2017 at this time. Don’t wait until May – 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 are on a subscription plan, which provides an upgrade.
- Move to any online accounting product and you’ll (almost) 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 currently provided by most online products.
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, and 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 has ever been released. That just isn’t feasible or practical.
I won’t be surprised if you disagree with me on this.
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 completely new copy of the program. Sure, Intuit often provides a discount for upgraders, but that discount usually is insignificant. Their “upgrade price” usually ends up higher than the “street” price for QuickBooks. A reasonable upgrade pricing plan would resolve a lot of issues as far as I’m concerned. But I just don’t see Intuit doing that.
Intuit has been moving to subscription pricing for several years now. You can subscribe to QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Premier as an option, if you wish. QuickBooks Accountant is essentially only available via a subscription plan (although there are ways to get around that). QuickBooks Enterprise is only available through a subscription plan. Subscriptions get around most of the issues of product discontinuation. I wonder, how much longer will QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier and QuickBooks Mac be available for purchase without a subscription?