Accountants, both in public practice and in industry, increasingly are expressing concern about turning over complete QuickBooks data files to third parties – including tax auditors – because there has been no capability to block access to transactions outside the period of interest or under audit. However, beginning with the 2012 release of QuickBooks Accountant, a new feature known as Period Copy allows users to make a copy of the data file that contains only transactions for a specific date range.

To use the Period Copy feature, from within QuickBooks Accountant 2012, select File, Utilities, Condense Data… to open the Condense Data dialog box shown in Figure 1.

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Figure 1 - Condense Data Dialog Box with Period Copy Feature Selected

Select the Transactions outside of a data range radio button and enter a "before" and "after" date, as shown in Figure 1. Upon clicking Next, a second dialog box appears, asking how the prior data should be summarized; generally, it is appropriate to select the first option for a single journal entry, as shown in Figure 2. Note that if the option labeled Don't create a summary is selected, no beginning balances will be available in the resulting data file.

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Figure 2 - Choosing Period Copy Summary Option

After selecting the summary option, click Next and a dialog box appears asking how inventory transactions should be summarized.  Following that, another dialog box appears asking how the Period Copy should treat specific types of transactions such as those marked "To be printed" and "To be sent." Additionally, a dialog box appears asking how to treat unused accounts, customers, vendors, and other list entries. Ultimately, you will see the Begin Condense dialog box shown in Figure 3.

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Figure 3 - Begin Condense Dialog Box

Upon clicking the Begin Condense button, QuickBooks begins the process of making a copy of the data that includes only the transactions occurring in the specified date range.

IMPORTANT! Because this process does delete data, you should run this process on a copy of the data file, not on the live data file.

To ensure that auditors and other third parties do not have access to data to which they are not authorized, consider using the Period Copy function available beginning with QuickBooks Accountant 2012. This feature allows you to create a data file that contains transactions only for a specified range of dates. However, keep in mind that this is a destructive process; therefore, you should not run it on the "live" copy of your QuickBooks data file. Rather, run it against a copy of the data file to ensure that you do not accidentally delete necessary data from your data file.

For a video demonstration of this tip, please visit www.tinyurl.com/k2tips96.