QuickBooks 2011 Overview

| September 7, 2010

QuickBooks 2011 is Coming! Set for release later in September (tentatively), QuickBooks 2011 contains a significant number of new features, many that have been requested for years. Some have me very excited and are very welcome. Some are provided as Internet based services, which will usually involve an additional fee. This article will list the major changes, with details to come in future articles.

PLEASE NOTE that much of this is based on information from an early release of QuickBooks 2011 – it is possible that some features may vary from what is described here.

Keep your eye on the Practical QuickBooks blog over the next few weeks as I release a series of articles that go into more detailon the new features. This article is a summary of what we will see.

Important Additions and Improvements

Web E-Mail Integration – For the last several years if you wanted to send invoices or reports via email from QuickBooks you were limited to using Microsoft Outlook or the Intuit email server. If you wanted to use another method for emailing you would have to save your document as a PDF file and manually attach it to the email. Starting with 2011 QuickBooks will now support emailing via web mail email programs. Support is built in for three webmail services: Gmail, Yahoo & Hotmail.

PDF Printing – When I saw this feature, I jumped up and clicked my heels! Hooray! For years we have been struggling with the PDF printer driver that QuickBooks has been using. It has been the source of countless errors and problems. The 2011 release replaces this with an internal routine that is far better.

History on Transactions – Customer/Vendor summary information is provided at the point of need. By seeing the recent history in the same window as the transaction you are creating you will save considerable time by not having to stop and to go and look it up. See our detailed article on this feature.

Batch Invoicing – This will allow you to create invoices for a number of customers that get the same invoice information in a batch. You only have to fill out the invoice info once then have it create an invoice for all customers.

Improved Inventory Adjustments – An improvement that is long overdue. The Adjust Quantity/Value On Hand has been one of the poorest functions in QuickBooks for years, and with this release they have made a dramatic improvement in usability. See our detailed article on this feature.

Support for Office 2010 – This is a tough one. Intuit continues to work on integration with Office 2010, but at the time I’m writing this they aren’t yet announcing full support. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out – you may see updates later in the year.

Features in Enterprise

These features are only available in the Enterprise Edition.

Multi-Location Inventory – Advanced Inventory is a new feature that allows you to track inventory quantities in more than one warehouse and transfer inventory items between warehouses.  This will be available for an addition fee, but it is not an Internet enabled solution – it runs in your local company file. See our detailed article on this feature.

Multi-instance allows you to open two different company files in two instances of QuickBooks and work with opened files at the same time. This should be available in all editions of Enterprise, and QuickBooks Premier Accountants Edition. See our detailed article on this feature.

Improved ODBC Connectivity – Enterprise has included a read-only ODBC driver for awhile now, but it is a bit complicated to set up your “user” and “DSN” settings. This release brings those processes into the QuickBooks menu, making the process much easier to set up.

Internet/Service Features

These features require access to the Internet, much like the Document Management feature that was introduced last year. Some of these features will require an additional fee, some might not.

Some of these features might not be released right away, they may be released later in the year as the details are worked out.

QuickBooks Connect – This allows you to access your essential customer and transaction data via the Internet when you are out of the office. It will include some basic features like adding customers and invoices, as well as being able to look up inventory information.

Intuit Data Protect – Online Backup in QuickBooks 2011 will be fully integrated into QuickBooks, enabling a significantly better user experience than in previous versions.

Intuit Commissions Center – This helps you easily calculate sales commissions by setting default commission rates for each sales rep, marking items as non-commissionable, and having the flexibility to assign the commission percentages or amounts at a line-item level.

Other New and Improved Features

Instant Startup –  QuickBooks can be set to pre-load portions of the program so that startup time can be reduced. Note that this may not be released right away, I’m still pinning this detail down. See our detailed article on this feature.

QuickBooks Search – We’ve had various kinds of “search” features over the years – this time Intuit has worked to integrate a fast and flexible search feature that replaces the “Find” functionality in QuickBooks. I really like this feature, but some people I’ve talked to miss the older function. See our detailed article on this feature.

Collections Center – Managing your Accounts Receivable is one of your most important business functions. QuickBooks 2011 has added several improvements that will make this task easier for you, including the addition of the Collections Center. See our detailed article on this feature.

Customer Snapshot – The Customer Snapshot feature has been enhanced to add a number of new “widgets”, such as recent invoices, recent payments, sales history, best selling items and more.

Document Management – I’m expecting a number of changes here, but in the initial release we won’t see anything new. I’ll let you know what is coming up when the information is available.

Reporting Enhancements – A number of new reports, or improvements on existing ones:

  1. Average Days To Pay will provide information on the average number of days it takes your customers to pay from the time that they were invoiced.
  2. Sales By Ship To Address Report will show you details on the items (quantities and dollar value) based on the Ship To address
  3. There are smaller changes to the Open Sales ReportOpen Purchase Order report, Sales By Item Summary, Open Purchase Order Detail Report and Sales By Item Detail.
  4. Balance Sheet by Class – Balance Sheet by Class is a new report that gives users the option of selecting “Class” as their column grouping, even for Balance Sheet accounts. This is a feature that has been requested by many people – although I’ll note that it does have some limitations.

See our detailed article on the new and improved reports.

Intuit PaymentNetwork has been updated to include a closer integration with your QuickBooks data.

Availability in Purchase Orders – Only in Enterprise – an availability icon in the quantity column.

Vendor Billing Address – Now we have TWO addresses in the vendor record – one for billed from, one for shipped from.

Date on “Paid” stamp in invoices – A small change to the “paid” status stamp.

Changes to Online Form Design – A fee if you want to access your online customized form design after 30 days from when you created it.

New Company Interview – If you create a new company file you have an easy way to add vendors or customers from your Outlook or other address book, as well as setting up initial inventory and bank information.

Features for Accountants

These features will only be found in the Accountants Edition:

QuickBooks File Manager is a tool that allows accountants to:

  • Automatically open clients’ files with the correct version of QuickBooks
  • Save file login info to eliminate a need to remember and enter user name and password for each client’s file (functionality provided by password vault)
  • Easily upgrade multiple files to the latest version of QuickBooks through an automated batch process

See our detailed article on this feature.

Multi-instance allows you to open two different company files in two instances of QuickBooks and work with opened files at the same time. This should be available in all editions of Enterprise, and QuickBooks Premier Accountants Edition. See our detailed article on this feature.

Should I Upgrade?

That is the question that I’m always asked each year. Should I upgrade to this new release? My typical answer to this every year is that you go ahead and purchase the upgrade, but that you should probably wait awhile before actually moving your business over to the 2011 program unless you strongly need the new features. Why? Every year we find that there are bugs in the first release, and you don’t want to be the person who gets caught by one. Wait a month or two – see if people are running into errors –  there will probably be some updates that will resolve the problems fairly soon.

Having said that, I’ll note that I’ve been running the program for awhile now without any issues in QuickBooks itself. It seems pretty stable, but I don’t use all features as heavily as some businesses. I would be cautious with some of the new online Intuit Marketplace apps at the beginning.

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Category: Program Updates, QuickBooks 2011

About the Author (Author Profile)

Charlie Russell is the founder of CCRSoftware. He’s been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70’s, focusing on inventory and accounting software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor.

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  1. QuickBooks 2011 and CCRSoftware Compatibility : CCRSoftware | September 19, 2010
  1. Steve Gill says:

    Actually I’m a little disappointed. I expected some more dramatic changes aimed at users who don’t want to pay more for additional services. It seems like most of these are replacements for services that didn’t work very well or for accountants. I don’t see any features here that I would tell clients are a compelling reason to upgrade to 2011.

    • Charlie says:

      Steve, it all depends on what kind of business the client is in, what features they need and use. Some of my clients are still happily using the 2005 release, don’t need any of the new features. BUT, a good number of my clients will want 2011 (when it settles down) just for the improvement of the inventory adjustment feature. A large number of people who use 64 bit systems will want it for the PDF changes. Quite a few people will want it for the web-mail integration feature (those that don’t use Outlook and don’t like the Intuit email service). I’ll have more detailed information on these various features in the next several days (weeks) – I have one or two articles a day lined up, for several weeks, on various features in more detail.

  2. Charlie says:

    This word just in from Intuit:
    -“Instant Startup” WILL be included in the initial release.
    -The old form of search will still be available via ctrl-F.

  3. Joey says:

    Please keep us posted on the details. Very exciting stuff.

    The Multi Location Inventory looks like a major improvement. I wish they added log#/serial number tracking.
    Too bad they didn’t add Lifo/Fifo costing.

    Will the Ship-to Address now be available on the other reports? Will the Ship-to-address also include the Ship-to customer name?

    • Charlie says:

      Joey, Multi Location will be discussed in more detail later. There will be a fee for this feature, and it will only be available in ENterprise.

      I don’t recall the details on the shp to address – I’ll have to look into that. More on that later.

  4. Joey says:

    Typo correction, I meant to say “lot#”/serial number tracking.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I am very excited to see the batch invoicing!!!
    Will that work with customers who have different price levels? Can I split an order by percent (say 60/40) and invoice 2 csutomers?

    • Charlie says:

      Elizabeth, I will have more details on batch invoicing in a detail article later this month. Splitting an invoice isn’t something that will be supported, I’m fairly certain, but I haven’t used it a lot yet.

  6. JJ says:

    We have been waiting so long for multi-location feature! As a matter of fact we are agressivly looking at different accounting programs to change to just for that feature. We have a strong need for a program that has multilocation inventory. Warehouse management didnt work for us, Fishbowl almost did. Is this new feature more in the lines of Fishbowl?
    Right now we have the item in as 3 different parts(we have 3 warehouses) using a different prefix for each warehouse.Will this new feature allow us to only now have one item and be able to assign it quantity to whatever warehouse of we choose?
    Needless to say purchasing is a nightmare!

    Is there a way to get more information on this feature?
    Thanks for your help!

    • Charlie says:

      JJ: Multi location is not a duplication of what Fishbowl does, as their software adds many different features. But if you wish to get away from “prefixes” this should work for you (if you pay for the feature). Details in a later article (probably on the 10th)

  7. Karen Magno says:

    One of our developers in our shop that has been testing the beta version showed me the Instant Startup feature. QuickBooks now loads so fast. That alone will save me a ton of time with the many times I need to relaunch QuickBooks.

    I have not received my copy of 2011 yet but I am really looking forward to an improved inventory adjustment process as I have seen many people struggle with this.

    Thank you for the informative email!

    • Charlie says:

      Karen, in early trials of instant startup there were some issues relating to third party tools, as well as issues with online apps that use Sync Manager. I believe that most of these will be addressed by the time this is actually released, but we do have to be careful with it. Fortunately, if it causes problems it CAN be turned off…

  8. Jim Savage says:

    Great job documenting the new features. I had the beta and have been telling clients to hold on for 2011, but could not tell them why. Really like the B/S by class and the multiple location inventory feature, alothough I wish they would make that available in Premier.

    • Charlie says:

      Jim – I am afraid that a lot of people won’t be able to use the Balance Sheet by Class due to the many restrictions on it. We’ll have to see. Mult locations is very interesting and well done, but it may be too expensive for some people.

  9. Pepsik133 says:

    Now will this mean I will have to purchase a brand new Quickbooks2011…after i just in the past 2weeks purchased quickbooks 2010?? or will there be an upgrade?? or fix for these incesive issues of pdf not being able to email invoices?

    • Charlie says:

      Pepsik133: Not sure on the Canadian release of QB 2011 – usually if you purchased a QB 2010 version 30 days or so before a 2011 release you can get a free upgrade by talking to their salespeople. But that depends on some factors. Talk to Intuit sales…

  10. I found that I could not install Proseries until I disabled the instant startup when I was testing. After I disabled it, I was able to install my Proseries software.

    • Charlie says:

      Dennis, I don’t work with Proseries, so I can’t comment on that. I am very glad that they made this an optional feature right from the beginning, as there are a number of potential places for problems.

  11. Thanks for the grat info Charlie. Looking forward to using the multi-instance and the instant start up. Hopefully those features will make my life a little easier.

  12. sorry for typo. Should be “great” info!

  13. Thanks for the information on QB 2011

  14. I am so ready for the multi-instance capability. It will be such an improvement when working on intercompany transactions. It will also be very useful when working with clients who have multiple entities. I assume it will initially be limited to just 2 instances at a time. Is that correct?

    • Charlie says:

      Michael, the multi instance feature is limited to two instances at a time, and there are some limitations to the second instance. I’ll have more detail on that in a followup article, but it may be a week before that gets out. I have a lot of articles coming up…

  15. Joey says:

    I have never been able to find a report that shows all Purchase Order Backordered Items.

    Quantity Ordered 1000
    Quantity Received 800
    Backorder Quantity 200

    All the QB reports only show the original order quantity.

    Did Quickbooks add the ability to report backorders?

    • Charlie says:

      Joey: Enterprise 11 has a new report, “Open Purchase Orders Detail”, that has this info. I don’t have Premier 2011, so I’m not sure if this report is included there (probably is…)

  16. Ken says:

    I’ll be looking for more details about QuickBooks Connect.

    Thanks for your hard work.

    • Charlie says:

      Ken, I’ll have more on this, but it is a bit lower on my list of priorities in getting articles out. I’ve had some problems with it in early beta tests, but they are getting worked out and it should be good to go when QB 2011 is released. But the details may be different when it is released, so I’m going to wait a bit to publish on that feature. There are some good things there, for some people…

  17. I would like to utilize barcoding to track inventory movement. Can this be accomplished witnin QB inventory function? Is there any specific software/hardware that should be considered?

  18. Charlie says:

    Ralph, there isn’t a specific barcode feature in QuickBooks itself. Lots of ways to handle that depending on what exactly you want to do. Take a look at the options at http://marketplace.intuit.com/

  19. Bob says:

    What a disappointment to find that Quickbooks Enterprise System for Manufacturing does not allow for cash basis accounting after multi user installation and setup by authorized pros.
    Cannot even create bills of materials with most recent pricing.
    Support was non existent from Intuit, so we dropped our annual subscription.
    Does anyone know how we can add these basic features?
    Too late and too expensive to change accounting systems.

  20. Charlie says:

    Bob, I’m not a CPA so I’ll pass on the cash basis accounting issue. Not my cup of tea.

    “most recent PRICING” – not sure what you want there. Are you talking about COST info, or what? Define what you are looking for.

  21. John says:


    Thank you for the well-written article on QB11.

    Our company revives the QB Enterprise edition each year, and each autumn I usually cross reference the latest edition with our version of Maximizer Entrepreneur (ver 10). Each year I have to call Maximizer to verify compliance with the latest QB Enterprise. Well so far this year QB 11 is not supported with Maximizer Entrepreneur hence, Maximizer is holding me hostage. My question is simply put: is their another professional CRM company that keeps timely updates or compliance with QuickBooks? If so, how difficult is exporting the data from Maximizer to another CRM software app? I dread calling Maximizer and also find their customer support horrible.

    Thank you.


  22. Charlie says:

    John, I wonder why Maximizer isn’t supporting Enterprise V11.0? I don’t know how they interface – supposedly an SDK application would continue to work with V11 if it worked with V10. My early tests of my software show that for the most part, this is true. Perhaps they are working on tests now…

    I don’t have a good answer for CRM and QuickBooks. Everyone is looking for something different in a CRM product. They all have different features.

    I wrote a brief review of Legrand CRM at https://qbblog.ccrsoftware.info/2010/04/quickbooks-crm-with-legrand-crm-pro/ – that is a very different product than Maximizer.

    I was going to write a review of Results CRM, but they couldn’t get it to work properly on my Windows 7 system, so I’ve passed on that. Maybe more on that later.

    I plan on writing a review of ACT! 2011 and a different company’s QB integration tool, but I haven’t gotten to that yet (it has been a busy few weeks).

    And there are many others. Wish I had a good answer for you.

  23. Cossigah says:

    Hi. can quickbooks introduce a field for Customer Number? some times customers have similar names. the only thing that can separate them is the name.

    • Charlie says:

      Cossigah – that depends on what you want for “Customer Number”. There is a “Company Name”, “Customer Name” and “Account” field. Some can be added to an invoice, some cannot. And you can use a custom field if you want something else…

  24. Bonnie Butter says:

    I cannot print batch checks in 2011 Pro. I’ve followed the help screens but the checks do not show in the “Checks to be Printed” screen even though I’ve chosen them from the Vendor list! What am I doing wrong? I had no problems with 2006 Pro!

    • Charlie says:

      Bonnie: The “checks to be printed” screen – in the reminders window? or the Print Batch window?

      Do you have the “to be printed” box checked in the checks?

  25. Judy says:

    When assemblying manufactured products in QB 2011,does the program report exactly what ingredients or components are missing in order to assemble and complete customer orders, or just tell you that no, you do not have sufficient product on hand to assemble the products on order? Also, does it tell you what quantities of each component ingredient are missing, so that sufficient inventory can be brought in to complete the orders in a timely manner? We were on QB premier manufacturing and moved to another inventory management system that no one in our organization can seem to master, and the cost of training by the manufacturer is prohibitive for a small business. However, this lack of functionality in QB was a non-starter for our company. We would like to move back to QB Enterprise, but only if it can tell us what ingredients are missing, and in what quantities, so we can assemble products ordered without hours of additional analysis. We manufacture a large number of different items, all of which are comprised of many different ingredients — too many for us to manually determine what is missing every time we recieve an order. Another data need for a growing manufacturing company is the need for the software to tell the company based on current sales, what input products the company needs to order in what amounts, that is, to automatically change the reorder points and reorder amounts based on past sales patterns: This information should be based on a functionality that monitors the company’s increasing, or decreasing needs per product as the case may be. I would be very interested in finding out of QB Enterprise has been upgraded to include any of those functionalities?

  26. Charlie says:

    Judy, a long question. Hard to give a succinct answer in a blog comment, particularly when it is a bit off topic.

    I’ll just give you a few tips here.

    QuickBooks doesn’t directly tell you what items you have to order, although you can do some things. If you enter your builds as “pending”, then you can look at the “inventory stock status by item” report. You will see the quantity needed for assemblies, and the “available” amount.

    This is available in Pro as well as Premier.

    Note also, that my company produces a product, CCRQBOM, that can help with this. You don’t have to create pending builds – you can enter a list of the items you want to build, and it will give you a direct calculation of the shortages you have (including a full level explosion, which QB won’t do).

    As far as changing reorder points, QuickBooks doesn’t do that.

  27. Judy says:

    Thanks a lot for your answer. I will pass this along to my IT specialist for further discussion. Your software might be important to us. Appreciate the help and speedy response.

  28. Billy Prejula says:

    I just wanna ask with regards to my issue about QB, can we transfer the data of QB 2005 to 2011 QB? is there a lot of changes in current QB?

    • Charlie says:

      Billy – huge number of changes from 2005 to 2011. You can see some of the changes by looking in this blog at the “updates” articles for each year. Note that when going from 2005 to any later year, the database manager changes and that involves a conversion process, internally in the program.

      I can’t give you a full writeup in a blog comment like this – but you CAN do the upgrade. In a pefect world – you just install QB 2011 and open your QB 2005 file, and it converts. However, that assumes that the QB 2005 file is very clean, and the odds of that are low. At the very least – make a backup of your QB 2005 file first, run the “rebuild” utility in your File/Utilities menu to clean things up. Run some reports such as your company financials, a trial balance, and an aged A/R. Install QB 2011 in it’s own folder so that you have both programs installed. Open the 2005 with the 2011 program to convert it. If you don’t get any errors, run the same reports and see if they match. If they do, then you are OK. If you get an error in the process, or the reports don’t match, you can restore the QB 2005 backup (using the QB 2005 program) and continue to use the 2005 program until you figure out what to do next. I ProAdvisor can help you with this (for a fee) – if you have problems with the conversion they can do additional cleanup, or possibly do the conversion in a couple of steps. Converting from 2005 to 2011 should work, I’ve done it several times, but sometimes there are some gotchas that get in the way.

      That is a BRIEF overview…

  29. Tervia says:

    My question is similar to Elizabeth’s “Will that work with customers who have different price levels? Can I split an order by percent (say 60/40) and invoice 2 csutomers?”

    My batch invoicing would consist of members paying different dues amounts, and in some cases there will be portions of dues to be paid. Will QB2011 be able to do that?

    • Charlie says:

      Tervia, “batch invoicing” is just a way to generate multiple QuickBooks invoices, it doesn’t provide features you might not find in QB in normal invoicing. Splitting an order between two customers isn’t something it is going to do.