Q: Our QuickBooks® file is located on our server and the server gets backed up every night. We’re safe if we need to restore the file, right?

A. Well, here’s a little-known fact that I recently (and somewhat painfully!) discovered with our own QuickBooks file: 

If you run an automatic server backup, but your company’s QuickBooks® file is open (running) on anyone’s computer when it’s time for the backup to take place, your file will not be backed up!

Why? Because if the QuickBooks file is open, it’s considered a “live” database file, so backup programs will skip over it – not what you want!

Strategies for avoiding this scenario include:

1. Set a policy that all employees must sign out of the QuickBooks file before they leave at the end of their work day. 

2. Tell users to log out of the company QuickBooks file if they will not be using it for the next 20 to 30 minutes. This way, if the employee gets distracted, gets called out of the office, and/or doesn’t get back to his/her desk before leaving for the day, it’s more likely that they will be signed out of QuickBooks.

This is also a wise move from a security standpoint because if the user is away from his/her desk, no one else can access the QuickBooks data.

Having fewer users in the system also makes it much easier for the QuickBooks administrator to enter “single user mode.”

3. Schedule automatic backups from within QuickBooks. Here’s a link to a short video that will show you how to do that (be sure your speakers are turned on for the audio portion).

If you set the scheduled backup to reside on your server, then that QB backup file will also be backed up by your normal server backup process. This creates “double” backups. (My philosophy: “You can never have too many backups!”)

If you set your scheduled backups to run every night (or early morning) and if the backup does not run because it was open on someone’s computer, or for any other reason, at least you will get a warning message so you can perform a manual backup immediately.

4. Perform manual backups. Place a responsible person in charge of performing a manual backup of the QuickBooks file each night.

--Diane Gilson (dcg@infoplusacct.com) created the accounting firm of Info Plus(+) Accounting® in 1994 with the intent of providing current and future-oriented management accounting services to small and medium-sized businesses. Since the firm’s inception, Diane has worked exclusively in QuickBooks® – a powerful, flexible, multi-functional software accounting system currently used by 70-85% of small to medium-sized businesses in the United States. She is a Certified QuickBooks® Advanced Professional Advisor and Certified QuickBooks Enterprise ProAdvisor (through Intuit), and a Certified QuickBooks® consultant (through the Sleeter Group Consultants Network).

Read Diane’s other Q&As or ask her a question.