Do you get more excited for new business software than you do for movie and video game releases? If so, you’re in the right place.
Just as throngs of virtual football fans line up for the latest release of Madden NFL every summer, accountants and accounting professionals flock to their nearest office supply store every fall to be the first to snatch up the latest version of QuickBooks Desktop.
(Note: All of the features mentioned in this article are new for QuickBooks Desktop 2020 but are also available in QuickBooks Online, depending on which plan you choose.)
OK, maybe the part about lining up at the store isn’t true, but there are plenty of people out there who get excited about the new features coming to the world’s most popular accounting software.
If you’re not one of those early adopters, that’s OK. I’m here to walk you through the new features in QuickBooks Desktop 2020 and to let you know how those features can help you and your business. Then you can decide whether the latest version is worth the cost of upgrading, or if you can continue to get by just fine with what you’ve been using.
3 new QuickBooks features for 2020
QuickBooks accounting software has been iterating and improving for decades, so you won’t find anything earth-shattering (such as mouse support or online help) debuting in this version. What you will find is more automation, better search functionality, and other quality-of-life improvements. Let’s take a look.
Automation—for bills, invoices, etc.—is nothing new for QuickBooks, but customer payment reminders had to be sent manually, until now. Now, when you log into QuickBooks, you’ll be notified of any past-due payments you’re owed, with the option to either send email reminders immediately or review and send with a single click.
This may be the most noticeable and useful new feature in QuickBooks 2020, especially for businesses with a lot of outgoing invoices and issues with overdue client payments.
Years ago, manually adding customer purchase order numbers to invoices seemed like a necessary evil of doing business. But we’re living in the future, when you can sip drone-delivered cold brew coffee while your accounting software does the heavy lifting for you.
This new feature adds a field for PO numbers to the customer invoice email template, saving you from manually adding PO numbers to your invoice emails. What really makes this useful, though, is that QuickBooks can automatically pull that PO number from the invoice template and add it to the subject line of your invoice emails, making life much easier for your customers and hopefully strengthening your business relationships.
This is one of those upgrades that may seem insignificant, unless you’ve spent hours adding PO numbers to invoice emails, or—as a buyer—hunted through an invoice email to find the PO number so that you could match it to your own accounting system.
In previous versions of QuickBooks, each invoice was sent as a single email, even if they were all going to the same customer. So if one of your customers placed 15 separate orders with you in one month, they would get 15 separate email invoices from you at the end of the month, potentially giving them email fatigue and making them reconsider if they really need to place all those orders with you.
In QuickBooks 2020, you can just click a box to have multiple invoices attached to a single email, cutting down on inbox clutter for your customers and making it easier for them to pay you.
Other new features in QuickBooks for 2020
Those are the three biggest additions to QuickBooks Desktop that will improve the user experience, but they’re not all of the new features.
Here’s the best of the rest:
- Smart help. Hit the F1 key at any time to tap into the improved help system, or connect with live chat. This feature is actually now available in all supported versions of QuickBooks Desktop (2017 to 2020), though the live chat option requires a Care Plan and internet connection.
- Enhanced accessibility. The bills, invoice, and write check interfaces are now more accessible for visually impaired users.
- Company file search. QuickBooks 2020 can search all of your connected devices (desktop computer, external hard drive, laptop, etc.) for your company files after you install, upgrade, or relocate QuickBooks Desktop to a new computer. This feature should prove helpful for those users whose desktop resembles a chaotic Mahjong game of disorganized files and programs.
- Collapse columns in reports. This is more of a user-experience improvement than a new feature, but if you have very complex reports, you’ll appreciate being able to collapse columns, making them easier to digest and view.
What about QuickBooks for Mac 2020?
After discontinuing QuickBooks for Mac in 2017 in an effort to nudge users to the QuickBooks Online product, Intuit brought back the Mac-specific version last year due to overwhelming demand. More good news for Mac-dedicated accounting professionals: QuickBooks Desktop for Mac 2020 is here with new features such as advanced reporting, a centralized dashboard, and Mojave OS dark mode and iPhone camera scanner support.
Wondering what other accounting software is out there for Mac users? Check out our complete guide here.
Find the right accounting software for your business
QuickBooks—Desktop or Online—is just one of the many, many accounting software options out there. Capterra’s accounting software directory can help you compare features, prices, and reviews to make sure you get exactly what you need.