QuickBooks 2018 Security, Accountants and More

Internet Explorer 11 Support

As I’ve discussed in an earlier article, you really should have Internet Explorer 11 installed on your computer. QuickBooks uses Internet Explorer for several functions, and version 11 is the only one that is supported by Microsoft.

QuickBooks 2018 will force you to have Internet Explorer 11 installed. If you have an older version, you can’t run QuickBooks 2018.

This is an important security update.

Internal Component Updates

Continuing with the process Intuit started a few years ago, they are updating several of the internal components to improve security. In this release:

  • QuickBooks will now use SHA2 for storing and encrypting user credentials, rather than the older SHA1.
  • Intuit is upgrading to Sybase version 17, a more up-to-date and secure version.
  • QuickBooks will now use the Microsoft .Net Framework 4.6.2. This is a very recent version, but not the latest. The most current is 4.7.0 (at the time I’m writing this), but that version came out after Intuit started the process for upgrading QuickBooks so there wasn’t enough time to get that tested. In any case, there have been some reports of compatibility issues with the 4.7.0 version, so it is probably good that Intuit isn’t using that version.

Encryption of PII Data

Personally Identifiable Information (PII), in general, should be encrypted in the database. Intuit has found a few fields in bank and payroll records that weren’t encrypted, so they are catching up on that in this release. This is not going to create additional problems for us relating to complex passwords. Last year’s updates to increase security when PII information was found created a lot of hassles for people. This is just a bit of cleanup.

Enhanced Security with Add-On Apps in Unattended Mode

Add-on applications can work with QuickBooks in several ways. One is unattended mode, where the add-on application has been given permission to access your QuickBooks data in the background. With this update, if you have an add-on that works with QuickBooks in unattended mode AND it accesses PII information, you will have to give an additional authorization. I assume that you have to be logged in as the Admin user to do this. If you don’t approve the app then it won’t be able to access your data in unattended mode.

QuickBooks 2018 SDK App Authorization

QuickBooks Payroll Liability Reminder

If you work with QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll (US only), you will see an additional alert on the Home Page if you get within 7 days of a Payroll Liability deadline. It is important to not miss those deadlines, but before now those reminders were buried within the Payroll Center (QuickBooks Home/Payroll Center/Pay Liabilities), and they only showed up 1 day before the deadline. It was too easy to miss a critical deadline.

QuickBooks Payroll Liability deadline alert

If you click that icon, you will be taken to the Pay Liabilities workflow so that you can work with them immediately and not miss an important deadline.

QuickBooks Payments

There are different levels of information that can be provided to merchant services customers. At some levels, your customers will get just a summary of the transaction. At a higher level they may be able to get details from the invoice.

With QuickBooks 2018 and QuickBooks Payments you will have the option of providing Level 3 data to your customers. This can only be done with commercial cards, not with regular consumer cards.

By allowing Level 3 data you are providing additional information to your corporate card customers. In turn, this may allow them to release funds to you more quickly.

Note that I’ve not been able to test this, as it is not enabled in my test system, and I don’t usually process these kinds of sales. As I understand it, there will be a check box at the bottom of the customer payment screen that will let you enable Level 3 data for a particular transaction. I’m not sure if this can be a preference stored along with the customer record, or in the merchant services system.

Allow Level 3 data with QB 2018 and QB Payments

What About QuickBooks for Mac?

If you haven’t already heard, QuickBooks for Mac (desktop version) is being phased out. As I mentioned earlier this year, Intuit has announced that QuickBooks for Mac 2016 would be the last version to be released, and support for this product will be ended in May 2019. The 2016 product will continue to work past that date, as far as basic accounting functions, but anything that uses an Intuit service will stop functioning at that time.

What Do I Think About QuickBooks 2018?

My view of Intuit’s goals for QuickBooks desktop is that:

  • They want to make incremental improvements to Pro and Premier, usually without adding significant new features.
  • Improving security and reliability is a big focus.
  • There is an emphasis on finding ways to help accounting professionals.
  • The focus for significant new features will be in QuickBooks Enterprise.

I think that QuickBooks 2018 meets those goals. There are multiple small improvements that will help with user efficiency, and many of those improvements are ones that will be helpful to accounting professionals. There definitely is a focus on improving security and reliability. I really like the improvement for QuickBooks web mail. And, the new feature in QuickBooks Enterprise, Enhanced Order Fulfillment, has me very excited. The next two articles in this series will focus on that feature.

All in all I am happy with this release.

So what do you think? Is there anything that you are excited about in QuickBooks 2018?

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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.

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


  • As usual, I will put off upgrading for at least 3 months.

    My (Enterprise) customers wonder if they must upgrade to 2018 since 2017 is not able to handle new AZ employment law about paid time off (Employers must maintain records of paid sick time, accrued and used, for at least four straight years). But if they are not fixing 2017 is there any reason to believe the fix is in 2018?

    • I believe that this is an issue in the particular Intuit payroll product you are using? I avoid working with payroll, so I’m not the best person to ask that. The payroll products are independent of the accounting product itself, to a degree.

  • I don’t see where you mention that Intuit is stuffing yearly subscription pricing down our throat. It gets very expensive with Enterprise every year in particular. A lot of people will be surprised when they try to upgrade. Once you get started you can’t go back to an old desktop version.

        • I would guess that you upgraded to V17 from an older version, and that you have been using Enterprise for a few years? People that were on the older “full service plan” were grandfathered when the pricing changed. That is, for awhile, Intuit didn’t convert FSP customers to the new pricing. When the new pricing started they said they would do that but made no promises that they would continue FSP’s forever. So, over time, people have been dropped out of FSP’s into the new pricing.

          There may be some other variations in how Intuit handled this in relation to special arrangements with some IRP’s.

          In any case, the price change isn’t specific to 2018.

  • Dear Charlie Russell

    I am working as a QuickBooks consultant in Sri Lanka, We are expecting following improvement in QuickBooks upcoming versions (even 2019).

    1) Receipt Number for received payment
    2) Editable Received payment template
    3) Deposit Number for Make Deposits
    4) Enter Bill Auto Generate Numbers
    5) Editable Enter Bill template

    Best Regards

  • It depends upon what she is asking the accountant to do. Is this for her business accounting? Is it for an income tax return? Is she seeking to qualify for some type of government assistance? Not knowing the purpose of the income / expense statement makes it difficult to answer your question. For starters, she should bring her checkbook. It will show cash deposits and expenditures. If some payments were made in cash she will need to bring receipts of payment.

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