QuickBooks 2014 was announced yesterday by Intuit to the ProAdvisor Community, so if you are a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor you should have received an email yesterday (mine arrived at around 2 p.m. EST). If you are an active Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, you’ll be able to download QuickBooks 2014 beginning September 9th, on-line purchases are slated to begin around September 23rd, and you should see QuickBooks 2014 in retail stores starting right around mid-October.
In QuickBooks 2014 the most noticeable improvement that you see as soon as you launch it is COLOR!
When QuickBooks 2013 was released on of the most controversial topics of conversation when it came to the new version was COLOR – or rather the lack of it!
Many people, myself included, really had a hard time working in QuickBooks 2013 all day long with that really dark (and yes ugly) charcoal grey/black background color of the left navigation pane. For many of us, myself included, we couldn’t work in QuickBooks 2013 for more than an hour without getting a raging headache. Heck I still have a hard time working in the 2013 version – here we are almost a year since it was released (and nearly a year and a half since I started beta testing it last spring) and I need to be done after 2 to 2 1/2 hours!
When you launch QuickBooks 2014 – the new default color is a very nice dark blue (Intuit is calling it Harmony Blue) and I’m thrilled to say that I’ve been beta testing since right around the end of May and I’ve had none of the horrible headaches that I experienced with Quickbooks 2013!
Below is a screenshot of the QuickBooks home page using the new harmony blue in the top icon bar.
You can change the background color of the top icon bar to be lighter – if you’d like, by going to the Edit menu -> Preferences -> Desktop View -> select Switch to colored icons/light background on the Top Icon Bar.
I even find the left icon bar/navigation pane, in QuickBooks 2014, to be easier to work with and have open. Even when color was reintroduced in QuickBooks 2013 with the R6 maintenance release and you could change the color of the “title bar” (where your company name appears) you still couldn’t get away from the dark grey background in many places – especially in the left icon bar.
In QuickBooks 2014, the blue theme flows throughout the program, below is a comparison of the Purchase Order window in 2013 and 2014.
You can still change the company color scheme (Edit menu -> Preferences -> Desktop View -> Change Company color scheme), but the left icon bar/navigation pane will remain the new harmony blue. And yes, I still miss the ability to change the ENTIRE color scheme, like you can in QuickBooks 2012 – but I can live and work in this version.
Ok, you must be thinking – “isn’t there anything new other than color?” Yes, there are lots of new improvements/features in QuickBooks 2014 besides color and I will be writing about some of my favorite new features in the next few weeks! Here’s just a few of the things that I’ll be talking about over the next few weeks:
- Redesigned Payroll Center – I really like it and I think you will to!
- Bounced Check feature – and yes, it really seems to work correctly
- A couple of new Job Costing Reports that are ONLY available in QuickBooks Enterprise
- much more
But to me, color is the BIGGEST improvement that Intuit made in this version. I seriously thought that my QuickBooks consulting days were going to be over in 2015 (when QuickBooks 2012 should “sunset” if history is accurate), mainly because I just couldn’t work in the 2013 version. And frankly, that was very scary – QuickBooks has been a huge part of my life (on a daily basis) since it was first released in the early 1990’s and frankly I didn’t know what I was going to do “next”.
On another note, I read an article last week announcing that My Blind Spot, a not-for-profit dedicated to advancing personal independence and societal inclusion for the blind and visually impaired, is working with Intuit to ensure that QuickBooks is usable by those with conditions that impede them from reading text on-screen. So we can expect more changes ahead.
What do you think of the color change? I know it’s difficult to really tell, just from screenshots – but what is your first impression?