QuickBooks 2015 Discontinuation Scheduled

| January 3, 2018 | 13 Comments

As happens every year about now, Intuit has announced that they are discontinuing an older version of QuickBooks. If you are using QuickBooks 2015 (Windows and Mac) then you won’t be able to use certain services and features after May 31, 2018. I won’t address why they do it, or if I think it is a good practice, I’ll just discuss what the impact will be on your business.

For details beyond what I provide here see this Intuit support document on Intuit’s disco (discontinuation) policy.Intuit Disco Policy

What this means is that for the QuickBooks 2015 desktop products:

  • QuickBooks 2015 will continue to work after this date, for basic accounting functions.
  • Any service that relies on an Intuit server (such as desktop payroll, online banking, etc.) will no longer be functional in this release.
  • Live technical support will no longer be available from Intuit.
  • Intuit will not guarantee that you can register products or retrieve keycodes (although, in general I find that this hasn’t been an issue, for at least a few years following discontinuation).
  • Intuit will not provide replacement CDs or manuals, although you can download older products.
  • There will be no further updates to the program.

This applies to the following products:

  • QuickBooks Pro 2015
  • QuickBooks Premier 2015
  • QuickBooks Desktop Accountant 2015
  • QuickBooks for Mac 2015
  • QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions V15

If loss of any of these services are a problem for your business, you can upgrade to a more current version to continue getting support.

Services Discontinued for QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Enterprise and Mac 2015

After May 31, 2018, you will no longer be able to use the following services if you are using one of the 2015 products (note that not all of these were available to Mac users):

  • Basic, Standard, Enhanced or Assisted Payroll: After the cutoff, QuickBooks 2015 will no longer automatically calculate correct payroll taxes, provide updated forms, or send your payroll data.
  • Worker’s Comp: You will no longer be able to process Worker’s Comp Payments through QuickBooks 2015.
  • ViewMyPaycheck: You and your employees will no longer have access to ViewMyPaycheck.
  • QuickBooks Merchant Services will no longer process credit card transactions through QuickBooks 2015, although you can still process outside of QB.
  • Automatic Credit Card Billing will be discontinued. You won’t be able to download transactions, your customer profiles will be deleted, and you will not be able to access the data you entered there.
  • Credit Card Terminal Download will no longer be possible with QuickBooks 2015.
  • Intuit Check Solutions will no longer process transactions in QuickBooks 2015 (you can still process outside of QB).
  • Live Technical Support will no longer be available. If you have an active QuickBooks Care Protection Plan, support will end when the plan is due for renewal (monthly, 90 day, or annual).
  • Accountant’s Copy File Transfer (ACFT) service will no longer work with QuickBooks 2015.
  • Multicurrency Exchange Rates will no longer be available for enabling or updating.
  • Bill Pay will no longer be available.
  • Online Backup will no longer be available when your support plan expires.
  • Online Banking, such as downloading transactions or sending/receiving online payments, will no longer work. If you try, it will show you one of several different error messages (depending on your download method) if you attempt to download transactions, send online payments, or send online transfers. One example would be “QuickBooks is unable to verify the Financial Institution Information for this Download.”

Those are the services that Intuit specifically mentions, but I believe that there are other services not listed that will no longer work after the discontinuation date. Here’s list of the other services that I expect will not be provided for QuickBooks 2015 after the disco date, based on what we’ve seen in prior years:

  • 1099: You might not be able to launch the 1099 Wizard.  You still should be able to use an add-on 1099 e-filing service, though.
  • Contributed Reports: You should not be able to contribute reports and you should not be able to access any new reports on that platform.
  • QuickBooks email (the internal QuickBooks mail service for emailing invoices), which is generally associated with one of the services listed earlier, should no longer be available.

Third party add-on products should not be directly affected by this – but you should check with your vendor to see what their policy is.

What Should You Do?

If you are using QuickBooks, the standard answer is, “Now is the time to upgrade.”

There are four areas of concern when upgrading:

  • What features have changed? Intuit is adding fewer new features every year, and moving from 2015 to 2018 isn’t going to be as traumatic a change as has occurred in some prior years. These articles can give you some idea of what to expect:
  • Some QuickBooks 2015 users (Windows versions only) may see changes in how the password system works. Many people have already dealt with this, but not all. You might want to read my article on the security update for details.
  • Have system requirements changed? This might be a problem for some people. QuickBooks 2018 isn’t supported on all of the operating systems that QuickBooks 2015 worked on.  Windows Vista, for example, is no longer supported. See this system requirements page for details.
  • Converting your QuickBooks company file. Upgrading of your QuickBooks data should be relatively painless going from QB 2015 to 2018, although there can sometimes be problems. Before you install the upgrade, make sure you have a good backup of your company file. You should do a verify of the database before conversion, to see if there are any glitches. If there are, they can interfere with the conversion. We recommend that you work with a knowledgeable consultant in performing your upgrade so that you don’t lose any time in working out the details. However, essentially all you must do is to install the new program and open your old file with that new program. QuickBooks 2018 will handle the conversion automatically.

HOWEVER – keep in mind that your basic QuickBooks 2015 product will continue to work for your basic business needs as long as you aren’t relying on the services I listed.

If you are a QuickBooks consultant, you need to check with your clients so that they understand what will be changing in May. Don’t let them be surprised when things stop working – evaluate their needs and see if they will lose anything crucial to their operation. Keep in mind that sometimes upgrading to a new release takes a bit of time and effort. You want to make plans so that this can be done in an orderly fashion, rather than as a last-minute scramble when they find that things aren’t working right.

My recommendation would be to talk to clients about this now, to prepare them for the changes. From what I can see, there is no major reason to not upgrade to QuickBooks 2018 at this time. Don’t wait until May – if you run into any conversion problems (which can happen), you don’t want to have to deal with that in a hurry, as things like credit card processing stop working.

There are alternatives, of course:

  • Many of the discontinued services are available through other sources. There are payroll systems, merchant services systems, that will continue to work with older versions of QuickBooks.
  • If you subscribe to the QuickBooks Pro Plus and QuickBooks Premier Plus programs, you are paying a monthly subscription fee, and therefore the latest version is available to you for no additional charge. Enterprise users are on a subscription plan, which provides an upgrade.
  • Move to any online accounting product and you’ll (almost) always be using the most current version of that product. Unfortunately, this isn’t always a viable option for many desktop users, due to the smaller number of features currently provided by most online products.

A special note for QuickBooks for Mac users, though. Find another product, don’t upgrade to QuickBooks for Mac. Intuit will be no longer be developing QuickBooks for Mac, so I wouldn’t upgrade to the currently supported version. 

What Do I Think?

Every year, when Intuit sunsets an older version of QuickBooks, we hear a great outcry over the practice. “How can Intuit disable the product that we bought?!

I do have some sympathy for what Intuit is doing, but I don’t entirely agree with the policy when you look at the bigger picture.

While I do believe that it is appropriate for Intuit to discontinue support for older products, particularly with features that require an online services of some sort, I also believe that a software provider should make it relatively simple to upgrade your product to the latest version. This is where I think the Intuit policy fails. If you are using the older product and you must upgrade to the current product so that you can continue to use these services, Intuit should provide a low-cost upgrade path. I think that a reasonable upgrade pricing plan would resolve a lot of issues as far as I’m concerned. But I just don’t see Intuit doing that.

 

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Category: QuickBooks 2015

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. Look for Charlie’s articles in the Accountex Report blog, as well as his California Wildflower Hikes blog.

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Comments (13)

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  1. Karen Magno says:

    Thanks Charlie for a reminder to all of us QuickBooks users that we need to start putting plans in place now if we are using QuickBooks 2015 if we rely on any of the services that will be discontinued after May 31, 2018. Companies that use any QuickBooks third party add-ons should also check prior to upgrading their QuickBooks and Windows versions if the add-on provides support for the newer software versions.

  2. Brian Hernon says:

    I just finished 2-3 hours on the phone with Quickbooks people trying to sell me the cloud version. I’m on Quickbooks for Mac 2015 and tried to upgrade to 2016 – even paid for it. Perhaps I should have installed it yesterday (May 31, 2018) So far my payroll is working. That’s my worry. Otherwise, I’ll take my time and find another product. My time on the phone today with QB was abusive.

    • Charlie says:

      I would look for a solution other than QuickBooks for Mac, because that is a product with no future. They won’t be making a new version after the 2016 release, which will be sunsetted in 2019. After that, no more support for the Mac version.

  3. Wayne says:

    Cannot import web connect files either.

  4. Nicholas Dobie says:

    I have stayed with the old desktop version of QuickBooks 2015 because the online version didn’t include stock control. I’ve noticed that end of year does not work now and you need to do some manual accounting movements to get the balance sheet right for the beginning of the new year.

    • Charlie says:

      Some versions of QB Online have an inventory feature now, although it isn’t very advanced. As far as year end, in the US versions of the desktop it should work the same

  5. Nicholas Dobie says:

    Also I’m really annoyed with QuickBooks. For ages their batch emailing had a problem with “” being all over the emails. Having complained for ages about it they finally fix it in an update. But when they discontinued the support for 2015 version they back rolled the update and I am left with the “” again.

  6. Nicholas Dobie says:

    The symbol I meant is this:

  7. Nicholas Dobie says:

    I mean the line break element. b and r in between the greater than and less than symbol. But I can’t post it on here.

  8. HEIDI BRILEY says:

    Is there another way to import transactions on Pro2015 without Webconnect to bypass that import problem? I’m thinking about Wave free online alternative but wondering about security.

    • Charlie says:

      There may be some other tools that you can use to handle the import (although I’m not sure how well that would work), BUT those tools have a cost. You might as well just upgrade to Pro 2019 and not have to fool with that. The cost is low and you don’t have to hassle with the extra steps that another import tool will require.

      Wave is secure, no issue there, as long as you don’t have an issue with your data “in the cloud”. But it doesn’t do exactly everything that QuickBooks Pro will do. You need to compare features. Certainly, you can test it in parallel with your current Pro system to see how you like it. Some people are OK with it, some people don’t like it. But the company has a good record for security.

  9. Rosemary Augustine says:

    We moved from QBs Pro 2015 to the QBs Online in May 2018 and it has been nothing but a nightmare – especially payroll. I have resorted to tracking payroll manually and doing all my quarterly reports manually as QBs Online payroll bugs can’t seem to be resolved. Tech support for the payroll issues ended in unable to resolve. Because we chose not to connect the bank account, we’re fine not having direct deposit. It’s the accuracy of calculating the tax and providing info for the quarterly payroll reports. I’ve become a wiz at doing these manually. Fortunately, we’re a small company with minimal amount of employees. Still, I spent way too much time in tech support over their payroll bugs and said “enough is enough.”

    • Charlie says:

      Regardless of the issues you ran into with payroll, anyone who is used to working with a desktop version of QuickBooks will find QuickBooks Online to be difficult to transition to. It just isn’t the same process at all, it fits a different kind of business model. If you are used to one, you won’t like the other.

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