When we talk about sharing QuickBooks files we could be speaking of either 1) two or more people working on the same QuickBooks file at the same time, or 2) sharing a file with your accountant. Let’s explore both situations.
Two or more people working on the same QuickBooks company file at the same time.
QuickBooks allows this when your file is either located on a local network or when it is hosted on an Application Service Provider (ASP). At our office, our QuickBooks file is located on our server and can be accessed by everyone.
We also have clients who store their files on Right Networks (an ASP). This allows us to work on their books from our office and the client to enter information into QuickBooks from their office. In fact, because the file is located online, you can enter information into QuickBooks from any computer in the world that has internet access.
There are a few things to understand when sharing a file.
First, you must open your file in Multi-User mode. This allows more than one person to enter the same QuickBooks file at the same time. There are many tasks where QuickBooks requires you to be in “Single-User Mode”.
Second, you should set up users with different permissions. I have seen many business owners make the mistake of letting their employees sign in with the “Admin” password. This is a HUGE mistake. It’s like handing them the keys to your house or the PIN to your debit card. You may trust them, but it’s still not a great idea.
If you are going to have employees enter information into your QuickBooks file, you should set up individual users with specific permissions allowing them to perform only the tasks that you want them doing.
Third, you need to understand “record locking”. Record locking means that only one person can work with a specific record at a time. For example, you can have two different employees invoicing customers at the same time. But record locking means that only one employee can work on that customer at a time.
Sharing your QuickBooks file with your accountant.
You can send your accountant a backup of your file. But they will not be able to send you their changes.
Creating an Accountant’s Copy is a much more efficient method. When your accountant makes changes, they can then send them back to you to incorporate those changes into your records. This way your files will match the file used by your accountant to prepare your tax returns or financial statements.
You will need to set a dividing date. Until the accountant releases the Accountant's Copy, you will only be able to enter transactions after the dividing date and your accountant will only be able to make entries before the dividing date.
Watch the attached videos for more details on sharing files.