Intuit has released QuickBooks Point of Sale Desktop 12.0, a new version of their desktop POS product – the first since June 2012. This includes a number of bug fixes, some enhancements, and a few features retroactively added back into the product. The impetus for this release was sparked by feedback from the community as well as a bunch of fairly outspoken POS enthusiasts. On the surface it does not look or feel much different than POS 2013; however, with this version it has become a solid and stable desktop product.
This article will provide some background on the 12.0 release and a sampling of added feature enhancements and fixes.
What’s in a Name?
There are two important aspects to the change in the product naming convention.
The original convention was to identify each release by a version number, e.g. 9.0 was introduced in conjunction with QuickBooks Financials 2009. I’m not sure if that was the original intention but that was the end result. The 11.0 version became known as QuickBooks Point of Sale 2013 to align it with QuickBooks 2013 Financials, though internally it is still referred to as 11.0. Fast forward to 2015 and back to a generic version numbering protocol. Thus, this release is 12.0. For readability,I’ll refer to it as V12.
The term “Desktop” in the product name was added in order to distinguish this version from the pending “Intuit QuickBooks Point of Sale, powered by Revel Systems” launch. You may have heard that Intuit has partnered with Revel Systems to offer their iPad based POS solution (see press release for QuickBooks Point of Sale powered by Revel Systems). This product is slated to launch in the first quarter of this calendar year. Thus, Intuit has the traditional desktop POS product and, in the near future, will be offering an online iPad based solution. This is quite exciting and an article on this powerful extension to Intuit’s POS portfolio will be released shortly.
QuickBooks Point of Sale 2013 was launched in June 2012. This included a number of improvements and bug fixes to version V10; however, the underlying architecture that changed in QuickBooks POS 10.0 was still causing stability and performance issues. The outcry from the community, and the Intuit Reseller Program (IRP) POS posse, pushed Intuit to focus on a number of key areas: stability, performance, features removed from prior versions, and functional bug fixes. To Intuit’s credit, much time and energy was put forth in these areas in the form of dozens of bug fixes in 2014 resulting in a much more stable and reliable product. The telling sign being the sharp decline in Intuit support call volume, echoed by feedback from users and IRP’s who support the product.
So, why a V12 version? The additional functionality might not make a splash in the market but, from my perspective, V12 is a functional desktop product that performs at a high level – something we have not been able to say confidently since V9. Could this have just been a patch release of 2013? Possibly. However, there is enough added functionality to warrant an incremental versioning.
What’s New in QuickBooks Point of Sale Desktop 12.0?
The following is a list of changes in V12, broken out into three areas – features added back by popular demand, new functionality, and bug fixes. The first two groupings both note new features but they have been split out for those that are familiar with prior versions of POS. This is not an exhaustive catalogue of modifications but ones that warrant highlighting.
Back by Popular Demand
Multi-tasking through multiple windows:
Multi-tasking and multiple windows was significantly limited in V10 and slightly improved in 2013. In V12, it is back. One can now switch between windows without being forced to complete that transaction via a Windows button, a Windows menu, or by using the Ctrl+Tab keyboard shortcut.
Previously. In V10, there was a pseudo multi-window option called “Switch To” which was not very effective or useful and actually caused more pain than gain. In POS 2013, the concept of “In Progress” was introduced, which provides the ability to switch between sales receipts, vouchers, and other screens; however, it is unlike the typical Windows functionality or even QuickBooks Financials. Instead, as you switch, the active document is first placed in an “In Progress” status and then focus is brought to the selected screen. The “In Progress” screens are retained in the In Progress pull down menu option. It is not uncommon to have numerous transactions sitting in “In Progress” without being aware.
V12 solution. A new Windows pull-down and a Windows menu option list each of the screens that are open. This allows you to continue working on a PO while ringing up a sale. The Ctl-Tab capability toggles between each open window, enabling switching from the Report Center to enter a receiving voucher.
Selecting each will list the open POS screens:
After selecting the desired entry, that particular screen/transaction will be displayed – just like what one would expect from a Windows application.
Many of the screens are still in the old format in V12 – that hasn’t changed. These and the reports do not have a Windows button or menu. Instead, the old Switch To pull-down is available, though this has the same limited functionality as the before.
What’s most powerful is the keyboard shortcut Ctl-Tab which toggles between open screens, similar to Alt-Tab in Windows and Ctl-Tab in QB Financials. This is especially helpful when toggling between the old and the new screens.
Nuances. There still seem to be instances where Ctl-Tab gets stuck or one of the old screens isn’t accessible. In those cases it is possible that there is another Window behind the POS V12 screen. If you are stuck, try the Alt-Tab keystroke to get to the one behind the POS screen. It’s much better but there are still isolated incidents.
Ability to edit in-line on sales receipts and vouchers:
Certain line item values can now be edited directly on the line itself, e.g. quantity, discount, et al.
Previously. In 2013 and V10, to edit a value on an existing line item of a sales receipt or voucher, e.g. item name, attribute, size, amount, etc., you click on one of the line item buttons which would bring up a pop-up screen where the value can be modified. In V9, this value could be edited directly on the line item.
V12 Solution. Many of the line items fields can again be edited in-line – item name, attribute, size, amount, discount, associate, serial number, etc.
Nuances. Not all fields can be modified. Some can still only be edited by clicking the Edit button, e.g. item description, department, custom fields, etc. Haven’t tested all the available fields.
Sort line items on transactions:
Line items on the sales receipt and receiving voucher can be sorted by displayed columns.
Previously. In V9, this feature was available on all transactions. In POS 2013 and V10, with the introduction of the new screen formats, this functionality was removed.
V12 Solution. Clicking on a column heading will sort the items on the transaction in that order. Clicking again will toggle between Ascending and Descending order. For example, clicking on the Item Name column on the sales receipt noted above yields the following:
Nuances. It doesn’t appear to save the document in the sorted order. So when printing, it prints in the original order. It appears in the original order when displaying in Sales History. Also, cannot sort the columns in the Sales History view.
Display total quantity received on receiving voucher:
The total quantity of all items on the receiving voucher is displayed.
Previously. The total item quantity used to be displayed on the receiving vouchers in V9, along with the number of items on the document. This was not the case with V10 or 2013, as no totals were shown.
V12 Solution. The total item quantity is displayed above the total dollar figures in the bottom right-hand corner.
Nuances. The total number of items (unique items – not total quantity) is not displayed. It is helpful to see the number of items on the transaction to compare the number of items on the receiving voucher to how many were physically received and/or are noted on the paper receiving document.
Visual design changes for better readability:
Visual design change – color, contrast, etc. – have been added for better readability.
Previously. QuickBooks POS 2013 and V10 displayed a dark blue background when highlighting a row, making it at time very difficult to view, e.g. return receipts show red font on blue background when that line is highlighted. In V9, it used a lighter yellow-ish tint, which was more readable.
V12 Solution. The highlighted line (or lines) is a lighter shade of green.
And returned items are much easier to view:
Display total quantity sold on sales receipt:
V12 Solution. The total quantity of all items on the sales receipt is displayed above the total dollar figures in the bottom right-hand corner of the sales receipt. This can help compare the total quantity of items on the sales receipt against the actual count of physical items.
Nuances. The wording “No. of Items” is a bit misleading. It is actually the total quantity of all items on the sales receipt. It would be helpful to also display the total number of items, e.g. if 10 of Widget A and 10 of Widget B are being sold, the total number of items is 2 and the total quantity is 20.
Better keyboard support:
Provides the ability to fully complete the workflows in Make a Sale and Receiving using keyboard entry.
Improved auto-reconciliation of payments:
When using Intuit Payments in conjunction with QB 2015 desktop financials, V12 will auto reconcile credit card payments to the Intuit merchant service deposits.
EMV chip card ready:
EMV (Europay, MasterCard® and Visa®) chip technology is becoming the international standard for credit card and debit card payments. You might have heard similar terms used to define this same technology – Chip and PIN, Chip and Signature, or simply just chip technology. Chip cards are standard bank cards but, in addition to the standard magnetic stripe, are embedded with a microchip that stores and protects cardholder information. This provides an additional level of authenticity.
The reason behind this chip technology is to increase security and reduce fraud. More than 1 billion chip cards are currently being used internationally. The United States is a bit behind the curve implementing this technology.
V12 is EMV capable when used in conjunction with the Ingenico IPP 350 PIN Pad device, which accepts EMV Chip and PIN cards.
A new logo appears on the application icon, the splash screen, the program title bar, and likely in other places as well. This uses the new QuickBooks branding that was introduced with QuickBooks 2015.
Significantly faster performance:
Faster workflow processing performance such as sales receipts, accessing items and customer lists, looking up item history, etc. Some have reported 10x faster startup times as compared to QuickBooks POS 2013. In our experience, V12 is much faster than the initial release of 2013 and V10, and is somewhat faster than the most recent 2013 release.
Substantially reduced software glitches:
Software hangs, screen locks, shell aborts, non-responsive behavior, and more. We and our clients have experienced many fewer bumps and bruises in the latest 2013 release. Additional fixes were applied to V12 as well.
Large backup files:
Support for backup files greater than 4GB.
Some functional fixes, including the ability for Shipping Manager to function properly, item tags print correctly, et al.
The bottom line is that the QuickBooks Point of Sale desktop product has a great baseline feature set. There will always be functions that could be improved upon – mobile sales, the mix of old screens (V9) and new ones (V10+), reporting, lack of QuickBooks Online integration, etc. That is a constant. However, none of the products we reviewed in this price range have the same level of functionality.
The conclusion… Intuit QuickBooks Point of Sale Desktop 12.0 is a solid desktop point of sale and inventory management product.