What’s the Difference between "Accountant's Copy" and “Backup” in QuickBooks?
If you manage the finances of your business in QuickBooks and you’re working with a bookkeeper or an accountant, chances are they’ve asked you to send them a copy of your books. QuickBooks has a couple of different ways that you can use to share a copy of your books, with the “Backup” feature and “Accountant’s Copy” being the most common and useful.
What is “Accountant’s Copy” in QuickBooks?
The “Accountant’s Copy” allows two people to work on a QuickBooks file at the same time. Typically, you’d use the “Accountant’s Copy” feature once you’ve completed entering your financial transactions for a previous tax-year and you want to send to your accountant for year-end adjustments and finalization before your corporate tax return is submitted.
Full details on creating an “Accountant’s Copy” can be found here on Intuit’s website, but in a nutshell the “Accountant’s Copy” feature is found under the “File” menu. When you create an “Accountant’s Copy” of your QuickBooks file, you have to enter a ‘Divide Date’, which would normally be the date of your year-end. Once you’ve created an “Accountant’s Copy”, QuickBooks won’t allow you to make any changes before the ‘Divide Date’, nor will it let your accountant make any changes after the ‘Divide Date’.
When your accountant is done your year-end adjustments they return a file that you merge into your live QuickBooks file and the ‘Divide Date’ is removed.
You can also use the “Accountant’s Copy” feature while working with a bookkeeper. Unless you have a professional in-house to manage the day-to-day finances of your business, it’s a good idea to hand your year-end books over to a bookkeeper before you send them off to an accountant. The bookkeeper can make sure all of your reconciliations are done properly, balance your HST return, and tidy up various other parts of your books. Sure, this is also something an accountant can do, but an accountant charges a lot more than a bookkeeper does so it’s more cost effective to let a bookkeeper do all of the clean-up before an accountant does the year-end final adjustments.
What is a “Backup” in QuickBooks?
The “Backup” feature in QuickBooks is different because it creates a complete backup of your file. We recommend that our clients make regular backups of their QuickBooks file and keep them safe and sound on a different computer, or even in a different physical location: if the live copy of QuickBooks is lost or damaged then you can restore a previous backup and even if it’s not fully up-to-date you’ll only have to catch up on fewer transactions.
As any professional IT expert will tell you, it’s a good idea to have an off-site backup of your files in case your entire computer is lost or destroyed or, heaven forbid, your business location suffers a disaster such as fire or flood. If you have your QuickBooks file backed up on the same machine or even a different machine in the same location you run the risk of losing your live version of QuickBooks and all of your backups and you’d have to rebuild your company books from scratch.
You can create a “Backup” and send it to your bookkeeper, too, but if you do you can’t work on your live file if your bookkeeper or accountant are working from your backup. When they are done making any changes, they will create their own backup, send it to you, and you will restore it in your version of QuickBooks. Restoring a backup will overwrite your live file, so any changes that you made after you created the backup will be lost.
Instructions for creating a “Backup” in QuickBooks can be found here on Intuit’s website.
The Bottom Line
If you’re working with a bookkeeper or accountant and you use QuickBooks, chances are that you’ll be asked to create either an “Accountant’s Copy” or “Backup” of your file. An “Accountant’s Copy” allows you and your bookkeeper or accountant to work on different time periods of your file at the same time, whereas a backup creates a single-file backup of your entire file and cannot be worked on in parallel. Both features have their advantages, but even if you’re not using the “Backup” feature so your bookkeeper or accountant can work on your file you should still create regular backups of your file in case your live version is lost or damaged.
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Have Your Say
Are you sharing your QuickBooks file with a bookkeeper or accountant? Do you have any words of wisdom to share? Leave us a comment, we’d love to hear how you share your QuickBooks file. Also, please share this article using the social media share buttons – other people might also benefit from learning how to share their QuickBooks file.