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Should You Upgrade to QuickBooks 2013?

Software upgrades are expensive, but if you’re using a version earlier than 2011, you may want to consider it.

If you already know how to use QuickBooks, you’ve probably grown so accustomed to its user interface that you don’t notice how crowded it’s become. Prior to the 2013 versions, it was still easy enough to use that you didn’t necessarily need to take a QuickBooks training course to find your way around, though you may have wanted to enroll in a QuickBooks class to learn more about accounting itself.

Still, Intuit had been adding so much functionality over the years that QuickBooks was due for a major overhaul. And it got one in all of the 2013 editions. This latest version has been streamlined and cleaned up, making navigation much easier. But it still has enough of that old, familiar QuickBooks look that you shouldn’t have trouble finding your way around.

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The new user interface in QuickBooks 2013 is reminiscent of the one found in earlier versions, but it’s much cleaner and easier to navigate. You shouldn’t have to get additional QuickBooks training to learn it.

Intuit had three goals for the latest incarnation of its popular small business accounting software. The company wanted to make it easy to use, easy to understand and easy to look at.

QuickBooks 2013 is all of that. The home page is much less cluttered, yet you can still easily find your way to the features you use most often. The standard Windows drop-down menus are still there, but there’s also a new Icon Bar that is displayed in the left vertical pane by default. You can change this so that it runs horizontally across the top or hide it completely by opening the View menu. Much of this navigational tool can be customized to contain your most commonly-used tasks.

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You can customize QuickBooks 2013’s new Icon Bar and prioritize it so that you have quick access to frequently-used features.

Transaction forms like invoices and purchase orders have been remodeled, too. The layout is similar to previous versions, so you shouldn’t have any trouble using them as you did before.

But the text is larger and easier to read now. A new “Ribbon,” similar to those that you find in Microsoft Office applications, has replaced the old vertical pane at the top of transaction forms. It’s been reorganized and color-coded to make access to related functions easier, and there are new tasks represented there.

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The new navigational “Ribbon” in QuickBooks 2013 makes it easier to complete tasks related to the form that’s open.

The changes in QuickBooks 2013 are not all cosmetic. Customer and vendor records have enhanced contact management capabilities, for example. You can enter many more contact points (i.e., Facebook and Twitter addresses), and there’s a tabbed box at the bottom of each record for additional contacts, to-do’s and notes. But the big news for the most recent addition is its enhanced usability and navigation – always a welcome change in a mature application.

Note: Intuit recently discontinued live technical help and support for other Intuit services that can be integrated with QuickBooks 2010, so that’s another good reason to consider upgrading.

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