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QuickBooks 2013 Upgrade Do’s, Don’ts & Frequent Questions

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QuickBooks 2013 can be purchased right now directly from Inuit websites or through Authorized Intuit Affiliate links – however, it won’t be in stores until the middle of October. Many companies will want to upgrade right away.  However, it seems that each year when Intuit announces a new version of QuickBooks, I’m overwhelmed with phone calls and emails from clients and customers asking a multitude of questions about the new version.  Here is a list of do’s, don’ts and frequent questions.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Should I/Do I NEED to upgrade to QuickBooks 2013?

Should I upgrade to QuickBooks 2013?I’m usually very conservative in regards to this question, especially the last few years with money being so tight for everyone, but typically my answer is:

If you are currently using a version of QuickBooks that Intuit will retire or sunset next year (in this case QuickBooks 2010 or Enterprise 10.0) OR if you feel that your business would benefit from some of the new features and functions — then you should go ahead and purchase the new version BUT wait awhile before you actually install/move your company data file into the new version.  I usually recommend that you wait until AFTER you’ve issued W-2’s and other year-end payroll tax returns.

When should I purchase QuickBooks 2013?

Intuit offers a great migration policy which can help you to get the best value for the money you spend.  This is the latest information on the QuickBooks 2012/2013 migration policy:

If you buy QuickBooks 2012 between July 25 and September 23, 2012 you are eligible for a free migration to QuickBooks 2013 when it becomes available next week.  That’s double the product for the same amount of money!  Take advantage of this great deal today by purchasing QuickBooks 2012 at a 10-20% discount through our Authorized QuickBooks Affiliate page.

Will the 3rd party add-ons that I use be compatible with QuickBooks 2013?

Contact the software developer to ask them!

QuickBooks add-ons can be written by anyone, so you have to take into consideration when that developer will have access to the new version of QuickBooks in order for them to test their product, make sure it works as expected, make any necessary coding changes if they discover a problem,   and THEN put out an update, patch, etc.

Developers used to be able to participate in an Early Access program (which coincided with official beta testing) and had a couple of months in which to test their add-on programs with the new version of QuickBooks, make any necessary changes, and quite possibly add enhancements to their own programs – however, the last few years Early Access has not been available.  This year, 3rd party developers didn’t get their hands on the new version of QuickBooks until the 18th of September (QuickBooks could be purchased on Monday the 24th) —- trust me, 6 days is not enough time to test and/or make adjustments!

Most of the time there shouldn’t be a problem, but you never know for certain, so if you rely on 3rd party applications to run your business or to perform important tasks — contact the developer and ask them directly!

Will QuickBooks 2013 run on my current computer – OR – will I need to buy a new one?

That’s always a good question to ask!  This information comes from the QuickBooks Support site, make sure you click the link to read the entire article as it is far more detailed than the information below.

Basically,  you want to make sure that your current computer has a 2.0 – 2.4 GHz processor, with 1 to 2 GB RAM and that your monitor is set for a 1024 x 768 or higher resolution for best display.

Upgrade Do’s:

  • Plan an appropriate amount of time, especially if you have multiple users
  • Contact the developers of any 3rd party desktop add-on applications that you use to be sure that the add-on works with QuickBooks 2013
  • Make sure that you know where your current company data file lives
  • Make sure that important tasks such as payroll and billing are done
  • Make sure that you watch and understand what is being done to your computer – don’t let others simply do “whatever”
  • Rebuild your QuickBooks file just before you install the new version
  • Check the number of DB (Database) file fragments
  • Make 2 backups of your company data file
  • Install QuickBooks 2013 – making sure that you do not overwrite/replace your existing version
  • Run Disk Defragmenter on the hard drive of your computer (Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter -> follow prompts)
  • Open your existing QuickBooks company data file -> follow the prompts for upgrading your file
  • Check the number of DB (Database) file fragments (rebuild your file OR make a portable company file and then open it)

Upgrade Don’ts:

  • Don’t plan the upgrade for a day where you need to do payroll, billing, or perform any intensive task that requires access to your computer/company data file
  • Don’t assume that the 3rd party add-ons that you use are compatible – contact the developer
  • Don’t overwrite your existing QuickBooks installation

Remember, once you update your company file you cannot open it in your previous version of QuickBooks – UNLESS you have a backup of the file!

For more detailed information, request our Free 19-page eBook: FAQ – Upgrading QuickBooks, from our companion site Learn to use QuickBooks in your construction business.

 

14 Responses to QuickBooks 2013 Upgrade Do’s, Don’ts & Frequent Questions

  • Sometimes Intuit words things in such a way that leaves all of us totally confused! Enhanced payroll is a “payroll subscription” which must be renewed each year. Enhanced payroll has two different fee structures – one for 3 or fewer employees and another for an unlimited number of employees.

  • How do I turn on manual payroll?

  • We are currently running QuickBooks Pro 2012 and are receiving a notice that we need to renew our payroll subscription. I understand that we could switch and run the manual payroll function. However, if we do not want to run payroll in manual mode, is it necessary to have both the payroll subscription and the payroll software? Is it sufficient to purchase enhanced payroll 2013 or will we need the “payroll subscription” in addition to enhanced payroll 2013? Does it make a difference that we have 3 or less employees? Thanks.

  • Hi Raygn
    An alternative to paying for the payroll subscription would be to turn on the manual payroll function and use paper tax tables to get the tax amounts. They would need to manually do the calculations and complete any quarterly or year end tax forms though – which is a bummer.

    If you are a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor with the Enhanced Payroll option for Accountants you could do their payroll and add them to your subscription.

  • I know this is not exactly a upgrade question but in a manner it is. I do business consulting for small business’s. There is a client that has a problem with Quickbooks 2013. They are a new business and have 3 employees and the manager is the owner as well. The client told us that they are only being allowed to have 3 employees that they can pay through Quickbooks payroll system without signing up for intuit payroll subscription. They have 3 employees now and the owner/manager is having to take draws rather than be considered as an employee because of this. I am not aware of what they can do to solve this issue because the shoe string they are on right now is so thin they can not afford to pay for any additional payroll service and they have the experience to do their own payroll. Do you have any advice?

  • Hi David
    I don’t see any reason that you couldn’t — UNLESS the D drive is an external hard drive, then I wouldn’t really recommend it.

  • Can I unistall Quickbooks from C: (space limited) and reinstall on D:?

  • Hi Chuck
    Is this QuickBooks Enterprise 13.0? The reason I ask is that Enterprise is “supposedly” the recommended version to host on a linux server.
    I haven’t had anyone else mention this issue, but I’m also not sure how many folks are actually doing this.
    Have you tried the QuickBooks Connection Diagnostic Tool or the QuickBooks File Doctor?
    If you haven’t I’d try those first.
    Good luck!

  • Upgraded to QB 13…….funny thing happens. We are hosing the company files on a linux server, have been doing so for years without issue. 13, however is a different story. When a user logs in, then another user logs in both fine…..they logout, file permissions on the company file change automatically. Once they change, nobody can login except the admin, and when they do, the file permissions change again. Loging in or out of a company should not or better yet ” never” change file permissions at the file level.

    Any thoughts?

  • Awesome advice Keith! There are always so many “basic maintenance” type functions that we should all do that it’s tough to keep track of them all.

  • Hi Mary Margaret
    Yes, I admit it must seem like strange advice to run Disk Defragmenter on the hard drive of your computer before opening your company file in the new version of QuickBooks – so please bear with my explanation.

    During beta testing I noticed that upon opening a company file and letting it automatically update OR restoring a backup resulted in a large number of DB (Database) File fragments – in a file that had a total of 172 transactions and 2 DB file fragments in 2012 had over 265 DB file fragments when I updated and/or restored it.

    Naturally, I reported this as a “bug” and this is the exact response I received from Beta Support:
    Please go through this article – http://support.quickbooks.intuit.com/support/articles/SLN40302

    The DB error you are getting is not because of the company file or qb 2013 it is because of your hard disk,once you will go through this article you will understand everything.

    In my case, I have my computer (Windows 7) set to automatically defrag every week – so I felt that the DB file fragments in my sample QB file were caused by something else – however, I’m not positive that everyone has the Disk Defragmenter set up to run automatically (or if they even do it). So thought that including this task was just part of “normal” computer maintenance.

  • I am curious why you recommend running a Run Disk Defragmenter on the hard drive of the computer. I hadn’t heard that advice before.

  • I would also resort and clean up any lists before rebuilding as well.

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About Your Host:

Nancy Smyth, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Nancy Smyth, Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
QuickBooks Construction & Payroll Expert


I've been using and supporting QuickBooks products since the early 1990's. I've worked with thousands of contractors, assisting them with QuickBooks setup, Certified Payroll Reporting requirements, AIA Billing and Weighted-Average Overtime.


QuickBooks is a powerful product, but learning how to use it in your construction business can be difficult. I hope you find resources available here to be helpful.

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