Q: We’ve had a couple of instances of our QuickBooks file “losing integrity” lately. We’ve been able to re-build the file successfully, but we’re wondering why this is happening. I heard that you shouldn’t use a wireless computer with QuickBooks as it might cause file corruption. My boss and I both use wireless computers. Can you explain why a wireless computer would cause file corruption?

A: The non-technical reason for the corruption of QuickBooks files is that when you finalize each transaction, QuickBooks sends a variety of information from your computer to the server. Not only are you recording the transaction you see on the screen in front of you, but in many cases this transaction is also “linked” to other transactions. For example, when you receive a payment, QuickBooks links back to the original invoice, which in turn links to the original estimate. I refer to the data transmission as “setting background ‘hooks and links’.”

If any interruption of data occurs between your computer and the server when a transaction is being recorded, then parts of the transaction do not get properly recorded and your data is corrupted. Although data can get corrupted using hard-wired connections, this rarely happens.

Why do wireless connections pose a bigger problem than wired connections?

By their nature, wireless connections are intermittent. As a result, it’s very easy for data to “go astray” between your computer and the server -- which in turn causes the problem. I recently made a phone call to Intuit ProAdvisor Tech Support to confirm that this is still the case (i.e., to confirm that recent changes in technology have not altered the situation). As I suspected, the intermittent nature of wireless transmissions has not changed.

Although it doesn’t explain the reason, here’s a link to an Intuit tech-support article. Intuit does not recommend wireless networks.


One solution to consider …

I use a laptop on a docking station as my desktop machine. The docking station has all of the wires and cables plugged in, so that when I’m at the office, I’m “hard-wired” into the office system (cable, server, printers, etc.). This system is fast and accurate, and I don’t have to worry about “wireless fade out” or data corruption. The docking solution might be a good one for you as well.

--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, multifunctional software accounting system currently used by 70% to 85% of small- to medium-sized businesses in the U.S. 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