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 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.
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.
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.
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?