In the last post we described how the Attached Documents feature worked in QuickBooks. Today – What are some of the limitiations and what alternatives are there?
There are limitations to the Attached feature in QuickBooks. It is important to note that when the QuickBooks company file is backed up, the documents are not. They have to be included in a separate backup. Otherwise, you have no protection against loss should anything happen to the hard drive of your computer.
The documents are stored in a folder labeled ‘Attach’ in the location of the company file.
Another shortcoming of the feature is security. As mentioned, the documents reside in a folder labeled Attach. There are no security precautions that prevent anyone from browsing through that folder and finding, deleting, or altering those individual documents.
As with many functions, third party developers have developed software that integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks and adds to its capabilities. Not to advocate any certain software solutions, but to demonstrate the possibilities of add-on products, we will look at another electronic filing solution.
SmartVault has been around a number of years and has been on the leading edge of secure electronic filing services for QuickBooks.
The arrow in the above screenshot points to the SmartVault toolbar. It is created right within QuickBooks once SmartVault is installed and connected to a QuickBooks file. The SmartVault application can be connected to multiple QuickBooks files.
The SmartVault toolbar works similar to the one for QuickBooks. The paperclip icon opens a document center where documents can be scanned in, dragged in, or assigned from other computer locations. The folder with the “0” underneath it tells us that there are no documents attached for this customer. There could be one, or many. The number under the folder would indicate how many documents there were.
Notes can also be attached to list entries and transactions. The last icon on the SmartVault toolbar indicates whether or not notes exist.
The SmartVault application can be configured to show as a drive on your computer making it a simple procedure to drag or copy documents there.
A structure of folders and subfolders is automatically setup for the user when a QuickBooks company file is connected to the SmartVault application. The documents will be stored in these subfolders, each QuickBooks company file having its own main folder.
This, of course, barely scratches the surface of what SmartVault has to offer, but gives you an idea of its features. Perhaps the most important feature of SmartVault is that it exists online, or ‘in the cloud.’
It connects automatically when your computer starts each morning, assuming you have an internet connection. The links are there and are amazingly responsive. There is very little lag time when accessing a document.
The value of the online nature of the product is two-fold. One, SmatVault is password protected so you can control who in your organization is sifting through the saved documents. Two, you needn’t worry about backups as you do with the native QuickBooks solution. SmartVault takes care of that.
Electronic document filing is a technology with significant benefits available to just about anyone. The QuickBooks user has choices from the simple solution already in QuickBooks to a more sophisticated and robust application like SmartVault.
Hector Garcia, CPA
Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor
12401 Orange Drive #136
Davie, FL 33330