Intuit has enhanced the “Notes” feature in the client list in QuickBooks Online Accountant. This enhancement is now available to all QuickBooks Online Accountant subscribers around the world. Let’s take a look at how this update to QuickBooks Online Accountant Notes works.
QuickBooks Online Accountant Notes
Prior to this update you could add a single note to a client in your client list. You clicked on the note icon under the client name and entered your text. This would then show under the client name, without a date stamp or any indication of which team member created the note.
The updated version expands the notes capability significantly:
- You can add multiple notes (there should be no limit to the number).
- Notes are marked with the Team Member’s name
- Notes have a date and time stamp.
- You can “pin” selected notes so that they show on the right side of the screen.
The content of a note is just simple text. You can’t add text characteristics like bold or italic. However, you can add an active URL. Clicking on that link will open the web page in a new tab in your browser, which is good.
You also cannot attach documents to a note. It would be nice if you could add a link to documents stored in the Shared documents tab for this client.
“Pinning” a note will add it to the right hand column of the client display. If you hover the cursor over the note you will see several icons in the lower right corner, for deleting, editing and pinning. Click on the “pin” icon and this note is pinned to the right of the screen. The right edge of the note will show in green so that you can clearly identify which notes are pinned. You can pin multiple notes.
“Pinned” notes can be edited, deleted or un-pinned directly from the sidebar as well, which is very convenient.
Problems with Notes
There are some problems with the way that this works, some that may be fixable and some that probably aren’t.
Prior Note Date/Timestamp: If you had a client that had a note in the old format, that note carries over to the new format. That is good! However, the date and timestamp on that old note isn’t set properly. For example, here is the note for a client that was created in the old system. It appears to have a proper date and timestamp, right?
However, in my test system, as soon as I added another note for this client, you can see that the date and time changed in that older note to match the information in the newly added note.
This isn’t good, but it probably isn’t a disaster for anyone. You should be aware of this, though. Once this changes, it doesn’t change again when another note is added to this client.
Editing Someone Else’s Notes: I’m not too happy with how this works. If I have two Team Members that can access a client, any Team Member can edit any note. Even if the note was created by a different Team Member. The date and timestamp of that note changes to the time it was edited, and the Team Member name changes. There is no indication in the note of who originally created the note, or when.
Here’s the original note:
Here’s the same note, edited by another Team Member:
When looking at the individual notes you cannot see a history of changes to the note. I thought that this might show up in the Audit Log, so I examined that report. Unfortunately, not only do you not see an audit record of the note change, you see an incorrect Audit Log entry that is created for that instance.
To illustrate, I logged in to my QuickBooks Online Accountant account, selected client “CCRSoftware Sample Company” from the client list, and edited a note that had been created by another Team Member. I didn’t perform any other action. Here’s what I see in the Audit Log:
You can see that I logged in, you can see that I “edited” a customer. However, the customer that is listed is the wrong customer. I never touched “Scott Schiefelbein” at all!
I’m hoping that this will be corrected soon.
All in all, this is a nice step forward. The ability to add multiple notes and have them stamped with Team Member, date and time information is a nice enhancement.
I would like to see additional improvements:
- The ability to add links to documents stored in the Shared Documents
- Some way to search for specific notes by text search.
- The ability to filter notes by Team Member or date.
- Some way to keep track of the history of the note. At the very least the note should retain who the original author is, and the note creation date and time.
- I would also like to see a report that lists all notes for a client.
Of course, I want them to fix the bug regarding the Audit Log. I will admit that I haven’t examined other QuickBooks Online Accountant accounts to see if this bug exists there. It is possible that it is just a flaw in my one test account.
This is a new update, and Intuit is looking for feedback from QuickBooks Online Accountant users. If, for example, a large number of users request “rich text” editing of the note, they’ll consider that. What kinds of things would you like to see here?