QuickBooks 2012 will become available later this month. We received advance copies because we're Certified Pro Advisers and we think that some of the new features will be beneficial to Government contractors. According to Intuit (publishers of QuickBooks) 95 percent of small business enterprises choose QuickBooks financial software. Among small businesses with Government contracts, the percentage is very high as well.
One question we're frequently asked is whether to upgrade. The answer is not so simple. QuickBooks publishes annual upgrades and the changes from one version to the next may or may not be useful, depending upon the needs of the company. Additionally, many Government contractors use "add-ons" to QB that may not be compatible with new versions. As a general rule of thumb, if your using QB and it is meeting all of your needs, consider a three-year upgrade cycle. Intuit supports their products for three years. If you're using a version earlier than 2009, its probably time to upgrade. If you're using the "Pro" or "Premier" version, wait until it goes on sale at Office Depot or Staples. If you're using "add-ons", first consult the publisher of the add-on for compatibility. If the new version has a feature you can use, consider upgrading. For example QB 2012 Enterprise editions will, for the first time, support the FIFO (First-in, First-out) inventory method. Until now, QB has only supported the weighted average inventory method.
One feature that is new for 2012 which we think will be very beneficial to Government contractors is the enhanced Excel integration capabilities. If you export an Excel report and then make changes to it such as fonts and added information, you can save this as a template so that if you export the same report later, your modifications will continue to the newly export report. Additionally, you can update the data in your report from Excel itself without having first open your QB company file. So, for example, if you export data to Excel to calculate indirect rates, you must arrange data into indirect expense pools and their respective allocation bases. Now, once you've developed a template, you will be able to run the template thereby saving a lot of time whenever you need to update your indirect rates.