What’s New in QuickBooks: Customer Payments

Posted January 13, 2014 by Paige
Categories: Features, payments, Tips & Tricks

We’ve made getting paid easier in the new QuickBooks Online. Taking payments in a way that saves you time and increases accuracy helps you spend less time worrying about your books and following up with customers on overdue invoices. Invoicing with payments provides clear tracking (when it was last viewed), quick communication via a messaging feature that works both within QuickBooks and your email client, and anywhere payments flexibility (customers can pay you from their phone, tablet or computer).

Getting Started is Simple

If you haven’t signed up for payments, click the gear icon in the top right and select Your Account. Click Upgrade and add Payments. We will ask some basic questions about your business and where you want your money deposited. Typically, you will be approved for payments the day you request the feature be enabled. Credit card processing should work immediately and bank transfer capability will be built into your account within two days.

How does it work?

Before you had to think about two payments solutions, QuickBooks Merchant Services and Intuit Payment Network. We’ve simplified things. It’s now just QuickBooks Payments. You can still get paid on your emailed invoices for just 50 cents via ACH (electronic bank transfer) and process credit cards within QuickBooks and QB Mobile. Check out our payment site for more details around pricing.

To top it off, we automatically update your books when your money settles and the funds are available. We use unique ID numbers to auto-apply payments to batch deposits, eliminating guesswork and missing payments. It means less work for you and improved accuracy.

You can:

  • Take a deposit, pre-payment or down payment on an invoice.

  • Let a customer pay an invoice online (from their phone, tablet, or computer).

  • Set up a automatic payment for your customers (simply select “Make Recurring”).

  • Take a one time payment (sales receipt) or payment against an invoice (receive payment).

  • Swipe cards or type them in.

Online Invoicing and Payments

If you have a payments account, you can send an invoice to your customer and give them the option to pay by ACH (electronic bank transfer) or by credit card. You can set your preferred payment method when you email the invoice (the complete control you asked for).

When your customer clicks on your invoice email to view it, this is what they will see.

The payment method(s) offered to the customer will be what you have set in QuickBooks. You can see that a customer can send you messages, and you can respond to them right in QuickBooks.

You will see a corresponding activity feed at the bottom of the invoice in QuickBooks.

You can also see when the invoice has been viewed and paid at a glance from your sales transaction list.

Note: If you aren’t using QuickBooks Payments yet, you can still use online invoicing, you just won’t have an activated pay button or the posting and matching of the payment to the invoice in QuickBooks automatically.

Deposit and Fee Reconciliation

If you process payments through QuickBooks or the QuickBooks Mobile app, you’ll soon discover the magic of the new QuickBooks Online.

Let’s say you take a payment from a customer in QuickBooks. You mark that invoice as paid and the money sits in Undeposited Funds.

Now, when we deposit your money into your bank account, we’ll automatically record a Bank Deposit with the associated transactions and record an Expense with any Payments fees.

Just think—all the payments you took through emailed invoices and QuickBooks automatically move from Undeposited Funds to your bank register while you sleep.

Already Using Payments?

If you already use the Intuit Payment Network (IPN) or QuickBooks Merchant Services, you don’t need to worry about bringing your account over to the new QBO experience. We will take care of it for you. There will be some noticeable differences between IPN and the new online invoices. All critical components will remain and new features like tracking and conversation functionality have been added. Please note, there will no longer be a link on the invoice PDF. The recipient must click on the invoice email to view your invoice. You can always add a PDF attachment of the invoice to the email if you wish to do so.

Are there payment features you want to see?

Want to see more? Have an idea for which payments feature we should work on next? Great! Visit our feedback page and vote on ideas or submit your own. It’s always best to search and vote on existing ideas that are similar, but if you can’t find anything feel free to add your idea and categorize it as Payments (if it’s payments related).

Not seeing this version yet?

These features are in the new version of QBO today, but for those of you who started out on the previous version of QBO, we are moving those companies to the new version over time. Our goal is to ensure a smooth transition for every customer. With over 500K companies on QBO, that is a tall order! See this post for more details: https://community.intuit.com/questions/791220-how-do-i-switch-to-the-new-version-of-qbo?jump_to=answer_1832181 For a better understanding of why all these changes were made check out our previous blog article outlining details around the changes: What’s changed in QuickBooks. QuickBooks loves saving you time and getting you paid faster and we hope this overview helps get you started. If you have additional questions on using QuickBooks Online please visit our Live Community where you can quickly get answers to all your accounting questions.

What’s New in QuickBooks: Search

Posted January 6, 2014 by markabasler
Categories: Features

The new QuickBooks Search has been enhanced to locate transactions using two different modes that offer a wide range of functionality. The Basic Search can be used to locate transactions quickly with a single piece of criteria. The Advanced Search can be used with 0-3 pieces of criteria, including ranges, to narrow the search results to a specific transaction sub-set.

The Classic Find provided a simple search with 1 piece of required criteria and didn’t have the advanced functionally to further refine the search now available. It also didn’t offer the feature to search the specific transaction line-items values that is extremely useful when working with transactions like Journal Entries.  The results were shown in a simple table with fixed columns where further refining and extended use of the results wasn’t possible (e.g. sorting, paging, printing & exporting to Excel). You told us you wanted a better find and we hope this is an improved experience.

Basic Search

The search is now a global element that is always available to you from the top navbar via the magnifying glass icon. This was a great suggestion from you and we think it makes searching anytime you want across the product much easier. The Basic search allows you to find transaction(s) quickly using a single piece of criteria.

Select Search from Top Navbar Magnifying Glass Icon

The format of the search value determines which transaction field is used for comparison.  If there is only one search result, the transaction is “opened” in the appropriate page.  If more than one result is returned, then the results are displayed on the Advanced Search page, where further critiquing to the search criteria can be completed.

The following 3 types of searches can be executed as part of the Basic Search:

Transaction Date Basic Search:
If the search value is in date format (locale specific), then transactions that have dates equal (=)  to the value are returned.  For example:

  • In the United States, mm/dd/yyyy (12/25/2012) or m/d/yy (1/2/13)
  • In the United Kingdom, dd/mm/yyyy (25/12/2012) or d/m/yy (2/1/13)
  • In the Canada, dd-mm-yyyy (25-12-2012) or d-m-yy (2-1-13)

Transaction Amount Basic Search:
If the search value starts with the currency symbol (locale specific) or contains a decimal point “.”, then transactions that have amounts equal (=)  to the value are returned.  For example:

  • In the United States & Canada, $## ($100) or ##.# (100.00 or 100.)
  • In the United Kingdom, £## (£100) or ##.# (100.00 or 100.)

Transaction/Reference Number Basic Search:
For any other basic search value, then transactions that have Transaction/Reference  containing (~)  the value are returned.  For example:

  • 1001, 100-1, inv-001


Advanced Search

For the times you need a more detailed search we have built an Advanced Search, accessible from the Basic Search box via a link below the search box. The Advanced Search can be completed across “All Transactions”, “All Transaction Lines” or a specific transaction type based on your role & product SKU.

Advances Search Page Types

Depending on the type of Advanced Search, different transaction fields can be used as criteria. For the “All Transaction Lines” & “Journal Entities” search types, line-item fields have been added in places to enable a more entity centric search.  For example, when using a “All Transaction Lines” search, the “Line Amount” has been added to help locate a specific transaction line.  This is every useful when trying to find a specific Journal Entry.

Advanced Search Line-item Fields Values

Each field has a specific set of operations (e.g. equal (=), contains (~), greater-than (>), less-than (<), etc.) that are deemed appropriate for the field.  Convenience operations for Date & facilitated value entry for Names (Customers, Vendors and/or Employees), Accounts & Items/Services are supplied to enable ease of use.  Each Advance Search can have from 0-3 pieces of criteria that are “AND”ed together to help narrow the results of a search.

Advanced Search Operators and Convenience Values

The Advanced Search can be triggered in multiple ways:

  • Criteria are entered and the “Enter” key is hit.  This action clears the previous search filters and executes a single filter search.
  • Criteria are entered and the “Search” button is clicked.  This action clears the previous search filters and executes a single filter search.
  • Criteria are entered and the “Add Filter” button is clicked. This action adds a filter to the previous search filters and executes the search.  If more than 3 pieces of criteria exist, a warning will be displayed.  To add the criteria one of the existing filters must be deleted.
  • A filter breadcrumb is deleted by clicking the “X” to the right of the filter

Advanced Search Executed

Range Advanced Searches

Range searches can be performed on date & numeric fields to help refine a search.  For example, if searching across “All Transactions”, the following steps would add a date range for all transaction dates in  2013:

  • Select the “Date” field.
  • Select the “After” (>=) operator
  • Enter a date (e.g. 1/1/2013)
  • Click “Add Filter”
  • Select the “Date” field.
  • Select the “Before” (<=) operator
  • Enter a date (e.g. 12/31/2013)
  • Click “Add Filter

Advanced Search Range Executed

Other Advanced Searches

Exact or Contains searches can be performed on fields with facilitated values.  For an exact (=) search, choose a value from the provided list and execute the search.  For a contains (~) search, enter an partial value and execute the search.

For example, if searching across “All Transactions”, the following steps would search for “Name”(s) that contain the value “test” (case insensitive):

  • Select the “Name” field.
  • The operator defaults to “Contains or Equals”
  • Enter a name “test” (the list box will show values, but don’t select them, if you do an exact search will be done)
  • Hit Enter or click “Search” or click “Add Filter”

Advanced Search Name Entry

Advanced Search Name Entry Executed

Advanced Search Results

Most search types return transaction level values in a grid where the results can be further refined or can be used in different ways  (e.g. sorting, paging, printing & exporting to Excel). For the “All Transaction Lines” & “Journal Entity” search types, line item values are returned in the grid, so the proper line-item can be identified more quickly.  Clicking on the a result row will open the transaction in the appropriate page. If a Contact name is clicked on, the user will be navigated to a contact centric page.

The advanced search result grid (and most grids within the new QuickBooks) has the following features:

  • The results can be sorted by enabled columns by clicking on the column’s header (1).
  • When more than one page of results is returned, the results can be paged through by clicking on the icons on the bottom right corner of the grid (2).
  • The results can be printed by clicking on the printer icon on the top right corner of the grid (3)
  • The results can be exported to Excel by clicking on the export icon on the top right corner of the grid (4)
  • The result columns presented can be altered by clicking on the settings icon on the top right corner of the grid (5)

Advanced Search Name Results

Not seeing this version yet?

These features are in the new version of QBO today, but for those of you who started out on the previous version of QBO, we are moving those companies to the new version over time. Our goal is to ensure a smooth transition for every customer. With over 500K companies on QBO, that is a tall order! See this post for more details: https://community.intuit.com/questions/791220-how-do-i-switch-to-the-new-version-of-qbo?jump_to=answer_1832181

For a better understanding of why all these changes were made check out our previous blog article outlining details around the changes: What’s changed in QuickBooks

This concludes our brief overview of QuickBooks new search functionality.  If you have additional questions on using QuickBooks Online please visit our Live Community where you can quickly get answers to all your accounting questions.

End of year questions? Check out Community for the answers.

Posted December 19, 2013 by aimeecharlton
Categories: Uncategorized

If you have questions about what to do to close out your books for the end of 2013, Community is a great place to get your answers. We’re sponsoring several upcoming events specifically for year-end questions.

When: Dec 20, Jan 10, and Jan 24, 9:00am PST – 1:00 pm PST
How:
1. Go to https://community.intuit.com and login. (If you don’t have an account, click Sign In and then “Create an account.”)*
2. Post a question and use the tag EndofYear (found at the bottom of your post) and what Intuit product and version you’re using.

Accountants, Intuit employees, and other small business owners like you will be waiting to answer your questions. We’ll send you an email when your question has been answered.

Other Year-end resources to check out:
Preparing Year-End Finances for Seamless Tax Filing
How to Get Organized for Filing 1099s

*P.S. For those who haven’t participated in our Community yet in general, now’s the time!  It’s THE place to go for any question you might have about the New QuickBooks Online. Once your profile is all set up, you can search for answers or ask a new question anytime! When you search just make sure to filter your results on the left by product, you can use this link to start already filtered by QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks partial service interruption – updated Jan 11 2014

Posted December 10, 2013 by davidpickering2013
Categories: Outages, Support

Service has been restored to QuickBooks Online, and all customers can login and work normally.

QuickBooks Online had issues with our login servers this morning just before 7am. Our operations engineers detected the issue and have responded to the issue. We have switched users to our other data center, and service is 100% restored. We will update you once root cause is available.

We apologize to all those affected.

What’s changed in QuickBooks: Invoicing Customers

Posted December 9, 2013 by QBO Aruna
Categories: Features

In our continuing series on what’s new in QBO, we’re excited to share with you the improvements we’ve made to creating and sending invoices! In this article we’ll explain how things work in the new world. 

A new streamlined form

As mentioned before, the + at the top of the screen is your one-stop shop for creating any transaction. You can create invoices, sales receipts, estimates and more from this single control.

create

Let’s dive into invoicing. When you first come to the form, you’ll see that it takes over the full width of your screen. This is to provide you with as much real estate as possible for your work – creating the invoice or any form. We redesigned all the forms to have a consistent, modern look. You will find these new forms work much better across your desktop, laptop and tablet devices. They also load faster than in the old version of QBO!

Blank Invoice

You can start working anywhere in the form, even before adding a customer. In the old version we heard complaints about being forced to select a customer before you could do anything on the form. We want to encourage you to get in there and play around with the new version!

If you ever need to change what fields appear on this form (like Shipping, Discounts or Service Dates), go to Company Settings, accessible from the gear in the top right. From Company Settings, go to the Sales Form Entry section and you’ll see you can change your logo, and add or remove fields.

settings

A better way to send invoices

Invoicing in the new QBO is so much more powerful. We improved how it works based on the fact that most of you (well 87% to be exact) email your invoices.

Here’s how it works

When you Save and Send an invoice, you will now see a preview of your message and the invoice. This makes it easy to personalize your default email message (which you can always change under Company Settings).

Send Invoice

When you hit Send, QBO sends an email to your customer with your personalized message and a link to view the invoice.

Your customer will receive an email that looks like this – with a big blue button to view the invoice.

Email Received

When your customer clicks View Invoice Now, this opens their invoice in a browser window.

Invoice Site

Benefits of online invoices

When your customer views the invoice, that is captured in QBO so you know exactly when your customer viewed it – no more “my spam filter ate the invoice”.

Customers can send you a message right from here. If your customer sends a message, it is also saved with the invoice in QBO. You can send messages to your customer from the invoice form in QBO, and they’re saved along with messages from your customer. You can view the entire thread on the invoice form in QBO – very handy if you need to refer to it later. Scroll to the bottom of the invoice form in QBO to view the history of when your customer viewed the invoice and messages back and forth.

Invoice Feed

All updates to the invoice are automatically saved in QBO and on the online invoice your customer sees. Your customers can also print or save a PDF of the invoice anytime.

If you receive partial payments on invoices, they will be reflected in the Balance Due at the top of your invoice in QBO AND the site where your customer views the online invoice. Now your customer will always have a single, up-to-date view of what they owe you.

And if you turn on QuickBooks Payments, customers can click the Pay now button to pay the invoice right there. The balance due is updated immediately in QBO. Boom, it’s like your Accounts Receivable takes care of itself.

Pay Now button

Now that we’ve covered the basics of invoicing, let’s close out with a few more highlights.

Panel for handling estimates and billables

Whenever you create estimates or billables like time activity, billable expenses or charges, QBO keeps track of them for you. When you go to create a new invoice, the estimates and billables are waiting for you in a panel on the right of the form. This is an easy way to view and add the ones you want to include on a given invoice.

Panel

When you add an estimate or billable to the invoice, the rows in the table are updated so you can see exactly how they will appear on the invoice. These linked transactions are accessible at the top of the form. You can always take estimates and billables off the invoice and stick them back in the panel by clicking the Remove button.

linked txn

An additional benefit in the new QBO is that you can make changes to the details of estimates and billables that appear on the invoice without affecting the original estimate or billable item you’re tracking in QBO.

For more details on the new panel, check out Stacy Kildal’s post here: http://www.sleeter.com/blog/2013/11/quickbooks-online-drawers/

A few more tips 

Preview

Although Save and Send always shows you a Preview of your invoice before you send it, you can also use Print at the bottom of the form…

print

…to Preview your invoice in a large window.

print preview

Creating templates for repeat use

If your looking for an easy way to create an invoice template you can reuse over time, check out the Make Recurring link at the bottom of the form. Give the template a name and then under Type, select “Unscheduled”. You can also have QBO automatically send out invoices for you by selecting “Scheduled” under Type.

recurring template

These templates are stored under Recurring Transactions, accessible from under Lists in the Company menu. To use a template to create a new invoice, select the template from the list and click Use. This gives you a head start on the invoice by including all the information from the template you created – a big time saver!

recurring txn list

Creating a stack of invoices

If you print invoices and want to create a bunch at once, you can use a shortcut for Save and New:

  • On Windows: CTRL + ALT + s
  • On Mac: CTRL + Option + s

Add, Remove, and Rearrange Invoice Lines

To quickly change the order in which a row in your invoice table appears, click the little square icon on the far left and drag the row to where you want it. You can easily delete the row by clicking the trashcan icon on the far right of each row. Another feature we are bringing back due to feedback is the ability to insert a row anywhere. Coming as part of our next release (end of December) you will see a green plus icon when you click into an invoice row. Click the plus icon and you will get a line inserted above the row you are in.

move rows

There’s always More

Lastly, at the bottom of the form, under More you’ll find handy tools like Copy and Delete

.more

There’s more exciting work underway on invoicing and of course, we’ll tell you all about it right here on the blog.

Not seeing the new forms in QBO yet? You will.

These features are in the new version of QBO today, but for those of you who started out on the previous version of QBO, we are moving those companies to the new version over time. Our goal is to ensure a smooth transition for every customer. With over 500K companies on QBO that is a tall order! See this post for more details: https://community.intuit.com/questions/791220-how-do-i-switch-to-the-new-version-of-qbo?jump_to=answer_1832181

We hope you find the new forms delightful, powerful and generally awesome! As always, please keep the feedback coming so we know what’s working well for you and what can be made even better. Please vote on suggestions or add your ideas to our user voice.

We’ll have more to share in the coming weeks so check back here to learn what’s new in QBO!

What’s changed in QuickBooks: Customers and Vendors

Posted December 4, 2013 by dcrossley1324
Categories: Features

The new QuickBooks online has completely revamped the experience for your Customers and Vendors pages. We heard that you wanted a consistent experience that made it easy to find the customer/vendor you are looking for and take the appropriate next action. The new design features powerful filtering, one click actions, and a single click to dive deeper into your customer/vendor. Let’s take a look at some of the features.

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 2.35.31 PM Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 12.14.48 PM

Improved scannability, more visible data without clicks

In our previous customer center you were not able to scan through the list and see your customer’s address or phone number. In order to see such details you were forced to click each customer individually and we received much feedback about this. In the new version, as you can see from the images above, you no longer need to click on each customer to see some of their key details like the address. Scannability of the list has improved significantly with our new design.

Quickly Send Emails

Some of our users expressed the need to quickly contact a customer or vendor via email, but they wanted to use their own native email client. Now you can do this quickly by clicking on the email icon located next to the name. The email icon indicates there is an email, if no email exists you will need to click on the name and edit the profile to add an email.

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 8.03.45 PM

 

Tip: If you want to use Gmail as your default mail client in Chrome or Firefox, checkout the instructions mentioned here. Once you do this, any mailto: links that you click (like the small envelopes in the picture above), it will automatically open in Gmail instead of Outlook.

Easy filtering and searching

We introduced the concept of a Money Bar on the income list in our previous version and you loved it. Now the same easy filtering can applied to your customers and vendors. Need to find all your customers with overdue invoices? One click. Need to find all your vendors with open bills? One click. Need to see who you recently paid? One click.

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 12.16.19 PM

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 2.38.18 PM

Once you are in a filtered state you can click the same filter again to remove it or click the blue Clear Filter / View All link on the top left.

If you already know the name of your customer or vendor you can always use the search as well. Search is supported for name as well as address. We have heard feedback on expanding the search to include phone number and company name, we are hoping to get this into the product in the future.

Actionable

Being able to filter your customers and vendors wouldn’t accomplish much if we didn’t make it easy to take some action. Once again we’ve take the same great action buttons you loved from our income list and expanded the capabilities for your customers and vendors. You’ll notice each row has a drop down button on the far right that allows you to either take that action on the row or select a different action. Let’s review some of the actions possible -

Estimates and Unbilled Activity (Customers) / Purchase Order (Vendors)

Filter by estimates or unbilled activity to see all your customers with non-posting transactions. From here your next action will be to start an invoice. Once you click Start invoice for a particular customer the invoice page will pop open with that customer pre-selected. You will also see the available estimates or unbilled activity for that customer in the right hand drawer. Simply pick the items you want and add them from the drawer by clicking Add.

Similarly on the vendors side, you will create a bill for a particular vendor with a purchase order. Once you click Create bill, the bill page will pop open with that vendor pre-selected and then you can choose the purchase order(s) to add from the right hand drawer.

Note: You must be in the Plus SKU for purchase orders to be available as a filter in your vendor center.

Open and Overdue Invoices / Open and Overdue Bills

Never lose invoices or bills for customers again. Applying this filter will show you everyone with open or overdue transactions. For customers you have the ability to send reminders for all invoices, send/print statements (customer must have an email to be able to send statements), or receive a payment for an invoice. On the vendor side you can make a bill payment against any open or overdue bill.

Paid

This bucket will show you all the customers or vendor payments in the last 30 days. From here there aren’t any direct actions on the transaction, but you can make any new transaction for the customer or vendor.

A new way to create statements

Previously to create statements you had to pick criteria out of a dialog to get a list of customers. This ability still exists in our global create (the + button on the top), but we have introduced a customers first based approach to statements. Here is how it is works -

  1. Filter your customers by open or overdue invoices.
  2. Use the checkbox to select one or multiple customers.
  3. Use the batch action to print or send statements to those customers.

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 7.52.18 PM

Easily Pay Bills

Previously paying a bill for a vendor was an entirely different screen. There was lots of feedback around a better way to do this, and we think the new vendor center gives you just that. Simply filter by your overdue or open bills and use the Make Payment next action.

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 8.02.48 PM

Dive Deeper

The main view on your customer and vendor center gives you a great overview and the ability to take some high level actions. If you need to dive deeper for more information or need to take action on specific transactions, we’ve made it just as easy. The two ways to go about this are by clicking on the customer/vendor name or by clicking on the blue link in the row. Clicking on the link will take you into a pre-filtered view of your customers/vendors transactions.

Customer / Vendor Information and Editing

The main snapshot of data is available for quick viewing from the detail page along with an edit button to edit and update.

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 12.15.20 PM

Create and view transactions

The grid you see here is the exact same grid located under transactions for Sales (Customers) and Expenses (Vendors). You can do the same actions, export, print, and create new transactions for your customer. What’s different is that you can see every single transaction created for your customer along with some new canned filters available to you in the drop down. We heard you want to easily see all the money received, so you will find a new filter at the bottom of the filter list for Money Received.

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 7.57.08 PM

Customizing the grid

As mentioned above, we are using a similar grid across the product to give a consistent user experience for all our list pages – Customers, Vendors, Sales, Expenses etc. On the top right of each grid, there exists a settings / gear icon that you can use to customize which columns to show or which to hide or how many rows to show. Next to the gear icon you will also see a print and export icon to print this list or export to a spreadsheet respectively.

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 9.52.17 PM

On the transaction grid below you will notice a new checkbox at the very bottom labeled compact. We heard a ton of feedback that users wanted the ability to see more rows on transaction grids, so now all sales and expense grids give you the ability to make them compact. This feature will be released towards the end of December in our next release.

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 9.53.38 PM

Feedback

As always please vote on suggestions or put your ideas in our user voice. We have heard your feedback around using Company Name over Customer Name in the customer center and are looking into how to make adjustments there. We have also heard your issues around going from customer to customer on the detail page and are investigating ways to make that easier as well.

FAQs

For FAQs, please checkout our prior blog post.

Test drive

https://qbo.intuit.com/redir/testdrive

What’s changed in the new QuickBooks (Part 1)

Posted November 18, 2013 by intuitqbo
Categories: Feedback, Mobile, News

The new QuickBooks Online has gone through quite a few changes. As with any product (or company for that matter), it is always hard to incorporate all of the feedback given to us by our customers. In order to prioritize what we implemented next we launched our feedback portal about a year ago. You can go to feedback.qbo.intuit.com and suggest the features you want next or vote on the ones that matter to you. The last year has been spent building a product based on this feedback.

In this post we will talk about the high level / infrastructural changes to the new QBO. We start with these, but by no means are they the only things changed. With all the improvements we have put in place there is a lot of awesome stuff to talk about and share with you. We will be releasing weekly blog posts over the next few months to talk about specific areas and accounting workflows. From the previous two blog posts we have heard some criticism about our UI changes, but hopefully this and future blog posts should help our customers understand the scope of the changes we made and how we ended up incorporating some of your feedback.

First, why a new user interface? I wanted features.

Since the launch of our feedback portal (feedback.qbo.intuit.com), we have gotten a large amount of feedback that required drastic changes to QBO. QBO was first implemented more than 10 years ago and over time it has accumulated a lot of code – quite like a big machine with lots of moving parts. Making changes for new features was increasing the code complexity, it’s maintainability and thus increasing the turn around time for bug fixes and new features. A small change in one part of the product started to destabilize another part.

Since the UI (user interface) was originally written so long ago and just added to since then, it’s now showing its age in modern browsers. Since its original inception there hasn’t been a change to its architecture. Every now and then our customers get affected by browser bugs. In fact just recently we have come across yet another bug causing an issue for our Safari users. And there have been a lot more in the past. While such bugs can never be eliminated completely due to the rapid release of modern browsers, they definitely can be reduced by revamping our code base. The more time we spend in fixing such issues, the less we get to spend on feature development. A UI architecture change was needed to modernize the app as web technologies have evolved quite a bit in the last few years.

Our primary task was to upgrade the app’s UI infrastructure to take advantage of modern web technologies for performance, faster feature development, faster bug fixing and overall maintainability. Upgrading to modern web technologies has customer usability benefits (beyond getting your desired feature implemented faster), a few of which you will read below in this blog post. And now that we have a much cleaner platform to work upon, many developers can implement your feedback faster than before.

Along the way we also revamped the app’s visual design to make it a lot more consistent across the product. The design change was a parallel effort to the infrastructure change and was an effort to modernize the look and feel of the product. Even though QBO is an accounting app, it can be made cleaner and simpler for the vast majority of our customer base that is not coming from an accounting background. For those already familiar with the old UI, we do understand it’s a big change, but we are hopeful that eventually you will get used to it just like you did for our old product, and probably much faster. Of course when people see pictures of the new product, it mostly shows visual changes and not everything that’s changed underneath, so keep an eye on this blog to learn more about those.

And now, the changes…

Below are the most noticeable changes to the product overall. In the next few blog posts we will do a deep dive into specific changes to accounting workflow areas.

Design

As you have already seen (and read), QBO is sporting a brand new look and feel. This design and color scheme is being adopted not just for QBO but also for all connected Intuit provided apps and services, including payroll and payments. With a similar design across the QBO ecosystem, we expect our users to have a more fluid experience when interacting with our different products. And hopefully this should help minimize the time to learn the UI for another intuit product that integrates with QBO. Integrated payroll should not look like it was written by another company. Likewise the new colors should also be easier on the eyes, feedback users have given us in the past.

Menus and navigation

As you may have noticed from pictures, the navigation system has changed significantly. We no longer have the top horizontal navigation system. It was causing issues as users could not reach certain menu items without trying the second time. Hovering was flaky. It was especially hard on computers with touchpads instead of mice. Since vertical mouse tracking is naturally easier to do, our new primary navigation is now vertically on the left. The secondary navigation is on the top under various menus. Unnecessary hover states have been removed so the menu doesn’t disappear just because the mouse cursor accidentally went off it. Customer, Vendor, Employee and transactions oriented workflows can be accessed via the left hand navigation.

Creating of new transactions can now all be accessed from a single place – by clicking the + on top. Having this one-stop button to create all transactions will prevent users from wasting time to hunt around for a particular transaction to create – something our current QBO menu system is notorious for as transaction creation is distributed under different menu items. Eg, to create a bill for a vendor you had to go under the Vendors menu but to write a check to pay off that vendor bill you had to go under the banking menu. Why couldn’t they all be next to each other for easy access? We think it’s incredibly powerful that you can create any transaction you want from any page on the product.

create

Company settings, lists and other areas can be accessed via the company / gear on the top right. Again, we have tried to reduce the number of different menus so that you aren’t hunting around for stuff.

settings

Simple and distinct browser URLs

Currently in QBO, the URLs look something like https://qbo.intuit.com/c1/v66/123456789/frameset. This URL remains static irrespective of whatever page you are on and looks exactly the same for every page within QBO. The issue with this is that it makes it impossible to properly bookmark it in the browser. There is no intuitive linking between the page url and the actual page you are on.

This issue is now solved in the new QBO. URLs are not only distinct, but they are much smaller and let you know exactly what page you are on. For example, the URL for an invoice is  https://qbo.intuit.com/app/invoice and the URL for the customer center is https://qbo.intuit.com/app/customers. You can now bookmark these pages in the browser and easily navigate to exactly where you need to using them (you will need to be logged in). This will help those users who like visiting certain pages quite often that would normally require additional clicks to get to.

Bookmarks

Likewise, you can easily communicate to other users in your company, your accountant and customer support agents where you are in the product just based on the URL. This should save some time and be less confusing than before. Due to these changes, we will also end up fixing another issue raised often in the feedback. And it should make those users happy who missed the old “shortcuts” feature that QBO once had.

(Note: Currently you may see the URLs having a /cNUMBER/ in them, this will be removed soon)

Multi-window behavior

One big customer feedback was making QBO work better when opened in multiple browser tabs. We have made some improvements in this area too. First you will notice that every navigation point (something you can click on to go a different page) is now a simple URL. Left menu items, top menu items, certain blue colored links on the page etc. Which means you can just right click any of them and open in a new tab or window. Likewise you can CTRL / CMD + click too, to open that page in a new tab. This is very much like other websites on the web and something you could not do in the old QBO.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 2.56.53 PM

Secondly, when working in certain areas you should see data sync between the tabs. So if you had the customer center open in one tab, and you added a new invoice in the other tab, the customer center should automatically refresh with the new data. You no longer have to manually refresh the browser in such scenarios to see updated data. Likewise adding a new customer or product in one tab, it should be available in the other tabs without a refresh.

Transaction view

When creating a new transaction, you will notice that it comes over / on-top of whatever (non-transaction) page you were previously working on. So that once you finish creating it, you are returned to the previous page. For example if you were on the customer center and are creating an invoice for a particular customer, then on save (or cancel) of that invoice you will be taken right back to the customer center that is now refreshed with the transaction you just created. The frustration of saving a transaction and navigating away somewhere no longer exists.

There was lots of feedback around being forced to scroll all the way down the transaction too often to save. The buttons on the transaction page are now much more accessible than before even if you scroll the page. You no longer have to go hunting for them by scrolling to the bottom of the screen, they are always stuck to the bottom. All the save options are always in the same place at the bottom of the transaction as well as a More button that contains any additional actions you may need.

Copying a transaction

In the current QBO we only allowed copying an Estimate or Invoice. In the new QBO, we now allow users to copy most transactions. You can just open an existing transaction and click the copy link to create a duplicate of that. As before, this duplicate is still not saved to the system, so you can modify it before saving. This should help those users who like replicating transactions on the fly and aren’t using the recurring transaction feature.

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 8.13.10 AM

Draft state

This is something you will see soon, and is a work in progress. Lets assume you are creating an invoice for a customer that has some pending charges, and you have already filled out some details on the invoice form. Say you have filled out a detail line item or two. But now you need to see the details of that charge before you add it to this invoice. In the current QBO, if you clicked on a link for that charge, you would end up loosing any data you just entered on the invoice form. But in the new QBO this will not be the case. You could navigate away to that charge’s page, and then come back (press cancel or the browser back button) to the invoice and still see your prior entered data in there. Thus you can start where you left off. This should help those customers who have given us feedback about how their changes get lost when they navigate away after entering some data on our transaction forms. (Of course this use case could also now be solved by just right clicking that charge and opening it in a new tab, as shown above.)

Support for high resolution displays

Users have given us some feedback regarding visual artifacts in QBO on high resolution displays (like the newer retina macbooks). As more of these devices get adopted and start becoming a norm, we had to change the UI to render properly on them. Visual artifacts don’t look great, and can be considered as bugs. The new layout and images in the product should now scale better than before on such displays. The icons should look very crisp.

Performance

(As always, performance is relatively measured and will depend on your connection and system specs.)

Performance was one of the primary reasons for investing in a new UI infrastructure. It is something that most users expect to improve over time, and something not everyone asks for explicitly (just like security). Most folks expect it to improve automatically or stay the same, but never degrade. Similar reasons why people upgrade their computers, software, devices etc. over time.

The new QBO is now a single page application. This means that as a user you will get a better experience when navigating around the app. In a typical accounting workflow, you navigate from page to page a lot. Homepage to the customer center, to an invoice, to maybe the receive payments page etc. When going through pages like that, in the old QBO the entire screen refreshes and users see a white flash for a brief time span. Slower connections see it for longer and can give the impression of the page being stuck. In the new QBO you will no longer see this and your browsing experience will be a lot more fluid, instantaneous in some cases. You will notice only those parts of the page change, that actually need changing. For example, the menus should not need continuous reloading, they don’t magically change. But in the old QBO they still are loaded every time you go to a new page. This performance improvement should make those customers happy who gave us feedback wanting QBO to be as fast as the desktop version. Well it is closer to that now if not all the way there.

Another improvement to performance comes as a result of reducing network traffic – data transfer over the wire. Currently in QBO every time you navigate to a page, we not only send your accounting data over the wire, but also the entire UI for that page. So if you go to an invoice page more than once, you get the entire UI for that invoice every time. This is highly redundant as the invoice UI is quite static and we weren’t making good use of browser caching. We have now architected the frontend UI to be isolated from your user data. The entire UI is now served from faster content delivery networks (that may be a lot closer to you physically than Intuit’s own data centers) and once you have the UI cached locally, your browser never fetches it again until the next QBO release. The only thing that now goes over the wire back and forth to Intuit’s servers, is your user and accounting data. This reduction of data transfer will help people on lower bandwidth and/or higher latency connections like on 3G or LTE. This will also improve the app’s responsiveness and load time for everyone.

To give you an example, see the screenshot below. I logged in, landed on the homepage/dashboard and then clicked to create a new invoice. The image will show how many requests were made to load that invoice page and how much data was transferred. For the new QBO, the number of network requests can be counted on one hand, but not so much for the old QBO which is about 50 requests. Likewise only a small amount of data was transferred – approx. 3KB for the new QBO vs approx. 30KB for the old. Also, if this was a first time visit, my cache would not have been primed and all the cached requests would have been additional data over the wire.

network

Lastly, on a more technical note, some parts of the UI now also take advantage of the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit – your device’s graphics/video processor) via GPU Accelerated Compositing. We are also relying a lot more on CSS animations using @keyframes. These changes should make certain things like scrolling and animations more fluid and reduce lag.

Removal of Popups

There was a lot of negative feedback from users regarding window based popups in QBO. Folks are forced to enable popup blocking to get QBO to function and if somehow a popup got blocked, the app would freeze giving the impression that something broke or QBO went down. Users then would try to close and re-open the browser, press refresh multiple times or even call support as they were lost and unable to proceed further. Popups give a bad experience to web applications. With the new QBO we have eliminated window based popups on all the upgraded pages which should make our users happy. You will no longer get a plethora of popups filling up your screen. We firmly believe that popups make babies cry. For the few pages that are still reminiscent of the old version, they will be upgraded soon for a fully popup-free QBO experience.

…and finally tablet browser access

The biggest customer feedback we have gotten in the last couple of years was accessing the full QBO website on the tablet browser. Because of the performance improvements mentioned above as well as removal of popups, the new QBO is now accessible via mobile Safari on iOS, Chrome on Android and IE on the Surface. Just go to https://qbo.intuit.com in your tablet’s browser as your would in your desktop browser. While we still have certain issues to iron out, specifically related to data entry, the read only pages should work relatively well. Since this is a work in progress, the tablet browsing experience will become better over time as we continue to put effort in this area.

 (Note: Some pages within QBO will still not be accessible on a mobile browser as they are still being ported over to the new UI infrastructure. Eventually we expect all pages to be accessible. Also, we still have native apps that can be installed from either the Apple app store or Google Play store.)

Summary of more changes

So those were our few high level changes to the entire app. As mentioned before, over the next few months we will talk more in depth about changes to specific areas like

  • the new homepage
  • the activity feed
  • the new customer and vendor centers
  • changes to invoicing and other transactions
  • better payments integration
  • invoice customization
  • attachments / document manager
  • online banking
  • improved search functionality
  • bounced email notifications
  • accountant collaboration
  • square integration
  • online invoices
  • etc.

Below are some work in progress screenshots of the above. Keep an eye out on this blog to learn more about these in the near future!

FAQs

For FAQs, please checkout our prior blog post.

Test drive

https://qbo.intuit.com/redir/testdrive


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