Passwords & Security


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Hi, I’m Jayne Miller, the QuickBooks Gal. Welcome to another in our series of “Quicklets” –informational podcasts about QuickBooks and related bookkeeping topics.

In my last Quicklet, I left you with a question:

How are Passwords and Bubble Gum alike?

• They are strongest when fresh
• They should be used by an individual, not a group
• If left laying around, they will create a sticky mess.
www.nativeintelligence.com

Thanks to the folks at nativeintelligence.com for that one. If you’re not using passwords, you should. If you are using QuickBooks and have multiple users, whether on a network or a single workstation and you have not assigned passwords to each user, you should.

One more consideration…if you are a business owner or an accounting supervisor, you especially need to assign passwords. It is extremely important that you are the Administrator for your file. Your user profile will be the only one who has total access to all areas of QuickBooks. I am always surprised when I visit a client who has one master password that all employees use. (One of the scariest things is to discover that the owner’s “public” password is also the one he/she uses for their bank account, their credit card pin, and other password-required access)

I immediately suggest that they create a new password known only to them, then create at least one new user named STAFF, for example and assign the old password or better yet, some new one that they like that will be used by the employees.
Even better, I encourage them to assign everyone their own password and user ID…this is especially useful when you use the audit trail.

Years ago, I had a client who called me in a panic. She and the bookkeeper had just gotten into an argument. Things had been bad recently and were escalating daily. The bookkeeper turned around in her chair to her computer and changed the Administrator password to a new word or number, then deleted the company file, and then, emptied the recycle bin. The business owner had never backed up her QuickBooks file and the only record she had was the copy the CPA had taken the year before (did I mention that this happened in March?)

If the business owner had been the administrator, the employee could not have changed the password. In addition, if the employees have specific user roles that are secured by the assignment of passwords and permissions, you can limit the damage they can do to your file, either by accident or intention.

In this particular case, the owner had zero security precautions. Please look at how vulnerable your data is. Investigate computer security and password protected access to assure that no one, even you, can cause such a loss.

Here’s how to add Users and Passwords in QuickBooks:

Only the QuickBooks Administrator can do this task.
1. Go to the Company menu, click Users, and then click Set Up Users and Roles.
2. Click the User List tab and then click New.
3. In the User Name field, enter the name of the person.
4. Enter a password in the Password field and again in the Confirm Password field.
5. Next you can either click OK to finish adding the new user or you can assign roles to the new user.
To do this task
1. Go to the Company menu and click Set Up Users.
2. Click Add User.
3. Assign a user name and password:
a. Enter the name of the person in the User Name field.
b. (Optional) Enter a password in the Password field and again in the Confirm Password field.
c. Click Next.
4. Choose whether this person will have access to selected areas of QuickBooks or all areas of QuickBooks.
5. Click Next.
 If you granted access to all areas of QuickBooks, you have no more selections to make. Click yes to confirm that you want this person to have full access. Click Finish to complete the setup process.
 If you are selecting the areas the user has access to, make your selections in the window. Click Next to go to the next window.
6. When the Changing or Deleting Transactions window opens, click Yes to the first question if you want the user to be able to edit and delete transactions in addition to creating them, and then indicate whether you want the user to have access to transactions from prior accounting periods.
7. In the last window, review the table that summarizes the access rights you granted. If you need to make a change, click Prev to return to the appropriate window.
8. Click Finish to complete the setup process.

Here’s how to set up users in QuickBooks:
Only the QuickBooks Administrator can assign access permissions and passwords to other users.
To do this task
1. Decide who the administrator will be. Choose someone who is usually available in your office.
2. Go to the Company menu and click Set Up Users.
3. In the User List window, select Admin and click Edit User.
4. Enter the name of the person who will be the Admin.
(Optional) Enter a password in the Administrator's Password field. Enter the password again in the Confirm Password field.
Why we recommend creating a password
5. Click Next and click Finish.
When assigning a new password, try to use password setting "best practices" such as the following:
 Include a combination of upper and lower case letters.
 Include a combination of letters and numbers.
 Make the password at least six characters long.
 Do not allow blank passwords or spaces.
 Do not allow passwords to be obvious, such as the user's name or the word "password".
 Change passwords on a regular, periodic basis to protect your data.

Remember, when you set up a new user, the most important thing to create an Administrator account, the highest level of access that only you can access. Even if you want your Bookkeeper, CPA or other accounting professional to access all areas of QuickBooks, they should not be the Administrator – assign a User Id for them with a password that allows access to all areas of QuickBooks after you have created the Administrator ID that only you can access!

In my last Quicklet, I addressed backing up your data. This story reinforces the importance of backing up. If you are not on a network with automatically scheduled data backup s (think small business or home based) get a flash drive or an external hard drive. ..They are inexpensive….and USE THEM on a regular basis! Back up daily….I back up every time I leave my desk….it only takes a few seconds.

One quick note: if you are using a flash drive, take it out of the computer and lock it up when you close your shop or office. Don’t leave it with the computer; back up and secure the flash drive.

I have had several calls in the past few months from folks whose computers crashed and they have lost all of their data…and, believe it or not, they have never backed up!

To schedule Automatic or Regular Backups in QuickBooks:

You must be in single-user mode to do this.
You have two options when scheduling local backups:
 You can schedule automatic backups that take place when you close your company file.
 You can schedule backups that take place at regular intervals, even when you're away from your desk. (Your computer must be on and your data file closed.)
Note: If you are using QuickBooks Online Backup, you must schedule your backups using that service.
To schedule automatic backups
1. From the File menu, click Save Copy or Backup to open the backup wizard.
2. Click Backup Copy, then click Next, then click Local Backup.
3. If you have not already done so, click Options to set your backup defaults (such as where you want to save your local backup) then click Next.
4. Click Only schedule future backups (to create a schedule without running a backup) and click Next.
5. Select the first checkbox and enter a number to specify how often you want your company file to be backed up. For example, to back up your data file every fifth time you close it, type 5 in the field provided.
The backup will be stored in the location you specified in the Set Backup Copy: Options window. To view or change this location, click Options.
6. Click Finish to close the wizard.
To schedule regular backups
Note: For the backup to take place, the computer you use to run QuickBooks must be on, but the company file you want to back up cannot be in use. Be sure to schedule your backups accordingly.
1. From the File menu, click Save Copy or Backup to open the backup wizard.
2. Click Backup Copy, then click Next, then click Local Backup.
3. If you have not already done so, click Options to set your backup defaults (such as where you want to save your local backup) then click Next.
4. Click Save and schedule future backups (to run a backup and create a schedule) or Only schedule future backups (to create a schedule without running a backup).
5. Click Next and in the Save Backup: When window click New.
6. Enter a Description for your scheduled backup.
7. Click Browse to select the folder where you want to store your backup copies. This can be on a network drive, or on local media.
8. Optionally, click the checkbox to Limit the number of backup copies in this folder and enter a number in the field provided. If you do not specify a number, QuickBooks saves all of your scheduled backups.
9. Click Set Password to open the Enter Windows Password window and enter the requested information. This provides permission to run the scheduled backup.
10. Select the time, frequency, and day for the backup to take place.
11. Click OK to return to the Save Backup Copy: Schedule window. The backup appears in the list in the Schedule backups: section.
12. Click Finish to close the wizard.

Suggested Backup Frequency:
Back up your company file at the end of each session or each day. You can:
 Have QuickBooks back up your company file when you close it without prompting you.
 Manually back up your company file. You can even have QuickBooks remind you to back up your company file each time you close it (or at whatever interval is convenient for you).
 Schedule automated daily backups either locally, or to a remote site by using QuickBooks Online Backup.
To find out more about QuickBooks Online Backup go to the File menu, click Save copy or backup, click Backup copy, click Next, and then click the Learn more about QuickBooks Online Backup link.
 A combination of the above (for example, schedule daily backups but manually run the backups you take offsite).
Which should I choose?
If you are backing up locally
If you back up locally and your hard disk has more than one drive, back up onto a different drive from the one where you keep your working data, or back up to a network drive. If you have only one hard disk drive, back up onto a removable storage device such as a USB flash drive, Zip disk or CD-ROM. Remember that an important purpose for backing up data is to protect against a hard disk failure.
1. Each day, back up onto removable media to keep in the office.
2. At least once a month, make a backup copy to keep off your premises.
3. At the end of your fiscal year, make a copy of your data to keep off-premises.

If you have questions about Passwords, User Accounts, User Roles or backing up in QuickBooks, drop me a line at jayne@quickbooksgal.com.






Next time: How to choose a QuickBooks Pro Advisor

Upcoming:
• What do you need to start a business? (Insurance, license, etc)
• Payroll – Ugh! I have a business with employees– now who wants a piece of me? (Social Security, Medicare, State Unemployment, FUTA, who else?)
• Using Credit Cards to pay bills, make purchases
• Converting Peachtree to QuickBooks
• Creating a new file in QuickBooks from an old one (Import lists vs. deleting transactions)
• Recording cash purchases and owner purchases/contributions
• QuickBooks Short Cut Keys
• QuickBooks Point of Sale – What’s new in 2007

Once a month, I will be dedicating a podcast to your questions. Got a QuickBooks question? Send it to me and I’ll try to include it in our monthly Q&A Quicklet!

Well, that’s it for now. I appreciate your time and hope you will join us again next time for another in our Quicklet© series. If there are topics you would like me to cover, send me an email at jayne@quickbooksgal.com. I welcome your ideas, questions, and comments.

Don’t forget to visit our website, www.quickbooksgal.com to learn more about me, the services we offer and our workshops. Look for an expanded schedule in March.

I’m Jayne Miller, the QuickBooks Gal. Thanks for listening!

Custom Business Solutions, is a consulting firm in Reno, NV that specializes in providing bookkeeping and software support.

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