I am proud to be able to publish this guest blog post from my friend Nancy Smyth at Sunburst Software Solutions. Please visit her blog and post your comments below!

When working with QuickBooks 3rd party programs, many users, accounting professionals, and even IT people find the various permissions, user roles, and permission requirements to be extremely confusing.

When using QuickBooks 3rd party applications in conjunction with QuickBooks Financial Software, issues about the types of computer users in Windows Vista and 7 and user permissions within the QuickBooks program itself, can arise.  In some cases, the 3rd party app cannot talk to QuickBooks, resulting in an 80040408 – Could Not Start QuickBooks error – making the user feel that the 3rd party app is just a piece of junk.  In other cases, it appears that all users need to have the same administrative rights when they sign into QuickBooks as when the 3rd party app was installed.

A better understanding of computers, user types, permissions and the required installation process may help reduce some of the frustration that you feel and allow you to install and work with 3rd party software programs successfully.

Computers, User Types & Permissions

A Windows Vista or Windows 7 computer often comes with a single, pre-configured login account.  This account is an Administrator account.  An Administrator account provides the person using the computer the ability to do absolutely anything that they want to/with the computer.   Because the Windows Administrator account has the highest level of permissions and the least amount of security features it should be used only when necessary.

One of the necessary tasks that must be done from the Administrator Account is to create a Standard User account for yourself, which should be used for everyday computer use.  I also recommend that you install ALL of the software that you use through the Standard User Account.  When you install software from the Standard User Account, you will be presented with a User Account Control (UAC) window prompting you for the Administrator accounts password before the program can be installed.  This adds a layer of security and acts as a warning if you were to visit a website that wanted to install a malicious piece of software or a virus.

QuickBooks User Roles and Permissions

When you initially setup QuickBooks, you will be prompted to create a User Account.  This initial account is the QuickBooks Administrator Account.  The QuickBooks Administrator, like the Windows Administrator, has full control and access to all areas of the QuickBooks program.  One of the tasks that the QuickBooks Administrator can perform is to create User Accounts and set permissions for other users of the software – granting or denying the other users ability to access certain areas or features of QuickBooks.

QuickBooks 3rd Party Applications:

QuickBooks 3rd party apps MUST be installed from within the Windows Standard User Account (QuickBooks has to be as well).  Don’t be mad at the 3rd party developer, it’s a Microsoft “best practice” AND a requirement by the Intuit Developer Network, which created the QuickBooks SDK (Software Development Kit) that 3rd party developers use to write their programs that work with the desktop version.

When a 3rd party program is installed and makes its first connection with the QuickBooks data file, the QuickBooks file must be open in single-user mode by the QuickBooks Administrator; who will then grant permissions for the 3rd party app to access the data.   This procedure is also a requirement by Intuit.

When granting a 3rd party application access rights to your QuickBooks file, the user that is selected in the “Login As” drop down selection of the Integrated Applications properties screen, MUST have the proper permission to access the data used by the 3rd party program within the QuickBooks company file.

For example, Larry, who is the QuickBooks Administrator, installs a 3rd party program that works with timesheets and paychecks.  When he initially installed the program he chose Admin from the Login As dropdown.  He then worked with the program and got everything setup, linked, and running smoothly.

He then wanted Suzy, who normally only handles Accounts Payable to run the program.  In QuickBooks Suzy has no permission to access timesheet data.  When Suzy attempts to use the program, she receives a QuickBooks Error message:

Retrieving “x” (time line entries or Jobs) from QuickBooks Failed.  Error Code 0:X (Job) query failed.  Insufficient permission level to perform this action.

This error occurs because Larry said that ONLY the QuickBooks Admin could run the program.

Larry can:

  1. Tell Suzy that she must run the 3rd party program with QuickBooks closed.  This allows the program to access QuickBooks with Administrator permissions.  The initial connection will be slower than if QuickBooks is open and can cause a problem if the Admin is already logged in on another computer.
  2. Edit Suzy’s User Account and give her applicable permissions to the data file.
  3. Create a new User Account for the integrated application within QuickBooks with the appropriate data access permissions.  Then change the Login As user from the Edit menu -> Preferences -> Integrated Applications -> Company Preferences tab -> select the app -> click Properties and select the new user name from the dropdown menu.  Suzy, or anyone else for that matter, could still utilize the program – but QuickBooks would have to be closed to do so.

As a QuickBooks 3rd party developer, user permissions has become our biggest support problem and its little wonder that everyone is confused, user permissions are quite complex!


BIO:  Nancy Smyth is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and Intuit Gold Developer specializing in working and consulting with commercial/government construction contractors, who utilize QuickBooks Financial Software, get the most out of their accounting software.  Visit her website http://www.sunburstsoftwaresolutions.com for information about QuickBooks integrated add-ons for certified payroll, AIA Billing, and payroll wage management OR visit her blog http://blog.sunburstsoftwaresolutions.com for QuickBooks Tips & Tricks.