Traveling by car to a client’s office was inefficient. While a lot could be said regarding “face time” with a client, travel time to and from a client’s office made this process time consuming. Then, backing up client data and restoring it on your office computer was the next best thing. Although this seemed to be a great solution, there were still drawbacks. The first problem was getting the data to your office. If the data file was too big to e-mail (not recommended because e-mail is not secure), we would still have to go to the client’s office and put the data on a jump drive.
Intuit’s® Portable Company helped solve data size issues, but even if we had electronic vaults to upload the data, you would still have to get the corrections back to the client. That meant that you were working after hours while the client was not working on the file. You then had to send them a backup to restore.
Remote access or logging into a client computer is yet another way of changing a client’s data file. However, there is a problem; unless the client has a dedicated computer for you to log in to, you will still have to work after hours to make changes.
Inuit’s solution offering immediacy and security to this age-old problem is QuickBooks’® Accountant’s Copy in which you use a version of your client’s company file to make changes – all while your client continues to work. While there are some limitations, Accountant’s Copy is the most efficient and timesaving way to update a client’s file.
To send an Accountant’s Copy, the client simply chooses “Send to Accountant” on the File menu, along with a dividing date. The dividing date is crucial in determining what you can change and what your client can change. After you enter a password (which your client will provide), the file is sent to you through the cloud via Intuit’s secure server. You will receive an e-mail instructing you to download the Accountants Copy or .QBX file, and convert it to a .QBA file.
I recommend downloading the file the day you receive the e-mail because there is an expiration date on access to the file. After converting the file to a .QBA, it’s time to start working. When you are finished with your adjustments, you simply send the changes to the client. This will send them, via the cloud, the file with changes (.QBY). As a bonus for using this method, you will even receive an e-mail letting you know that the changes were successfully imported. You can also do this process via vault or jump drive, but I recommend using the cloud because it is more efficient.
While Accountant’s Copy is a great time saving tool, there are some limitations. The first and main limitation is the dividing date. You will not be able to enter transactions that will go back to the client on or after the dividing date. As a result, carefully plan the dividing date you ask your client to enter. A good rule of thumb would be to select a dividing date a couple of weeks after the last day of the month, quarter or year you will be adjusting.
In addition, you will not be able to adjust payroll liabilities or add liability payments. If you must make payroll adjustments, you will have to convert the Accountant’s Copy to a company file. Before doing this, make sure you coordinate with your client which one of you has the primary file. Hopefully, adjusting payroll will be available in the next evolution of this tool. You may also want to train your client on this process. I have had clients cancel Accountant’s Copy by selecting “remove restrictions” or when they restore a backup. This led me back to updating their file manually.
Although there are some limitations, QuickBooks’ Accountant’s Copy is one of the most efficient tools to adjust your client’s books. For more information, visit our QuickBooks Accountant 2011 page.
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