It’s official! QuickBooks 2011 is out and I have to say it is well worth the upgrade as there are some important new features!

There are many things that people have been asking for in QuickBooks for a long time now and Intuit has delivered quite a few much needed features as well as some that are just nice to have. I don’t know how many people have actually spent time on the Company Snapshot in QuickBooks. If you haven’t I highly recommend you get acquainted with it because it offers some really good information at a glance. In QuickBooks 2011 they’ve added a new tab called “Customers” and it looks a little something like this:

Click the image for a close up look at this dashboard. Since most people, unlike me, are NOT numbers people this works much better for most business owners to get an understanding of what the “picture” looks like.

Another feature that stands out right away is the new global search. It is a Google-like search that will bring up transactions, customers, inventory items, and anything else within the QuickBooks universe that contains a match to your search criteria. In my video review of QuickBooks 2011 you can see how to filter the search criteria to get specific about where you are looking for your search results. The original “Find” feature is still very much there an intact.

In the Customer Center there is a new “Collections Center’ which gives you information at a glance about who is past due and who is almost past due. This includes a module that lets you e-mail those customers. Speaking of E-mail QuickBooks 2011 now lets you use most popular web mail features like Gmail, Yahoo!, and Hotmail to send your invoices and statements. Previous versions of QuickBooks only work with outlook.

Rumor has it there will be no more issues with the PDF converter, because there is no more PDF converter. QuickBooks used to create a virtual printer driver in order to create the PDFs. In QuickBooks 2011 the PDF is now created internally so you are actually saving the PDF instead of printing it to a print driver that creates the PDF. This is a really important upgrade because there have been a lot of problems with this, especially for people running Windows Vista and 7 on 64-bit machines.

Invoices and bills have a new summary on the side that shows you a history relative to that customer or vendor. This comes in handy, especially since lots of the information is hyperlinked allowing you to click through to the source. Here’s another screenshot:

Bills have a similar feature relative of course to the Vendor information.

Possibly one of the greatest new features if you’re an accountant is the ability to run a Balance Sheet By Class report. Previous to QuickBooks 2011 this was not possible. You could run a Profit and Loss By class, but never a Balance Sheet. You had to create separate Balance sheet accounts and even open a separate bank account for each class if you truly wanted to separate them on the balance sheet. It will be interesting to learn (and you know I will do it) how QuickBooks handles the equity accounts. This feature is probably more exciting for nerdy accountants like me then it is for the masses.

Intuit has finally tied in customer payment date information to the invoices. So now you can run reports and show the date paid on an invoice. Also the “Paid” stamp that appears on invoices that are paid in full now shows the date right there. What is especially exciting about this is that it gives rise to a new standard report called the “Average Days To Pay” report. Great information when evaluating clients and how they pay. I have actually been known in the past to run a customer balance detail report in QuickBooks, then export it to excel, then back in QuickBooks double click each invoice, click ‘History’ and list the payment date in my excel version so I could run the same analysis that is now available in one click. Maybe 2 J.

Sales by Item and Sales by Customer detail reports now total your quantity columns. Another thing I used to have to export to excel to do. You can also run a Sales by Ship To Address. This kind of information will come in real handy if you have customers with multiple ship to locations.

I’ll give you the 5 minute video on this (below), but you can purchase the full 1 hour video of me going through many of the new features in my Learning Center so Go NOW! Hurry!

Please enjoy the web cast by clicking on the television: