It always blows me away the amount of times I show up to an office and they simply are not backing up QuickBooks. Some QuickBooks users aren't even aware this an option while others just don't understand why they should or how they can even backup their QuickBooks file. Personally, backing up a company's financial information is at the top of my QuickBooks best practices.
Why Backup Your QuickBooks File? I've worked for Geek Squad and ran my own computer repair service during my years in college. A myriad of errors and problems can and will occur to your computer at some point, be it a software or hardware issue. Some problems happen immediately after purchasing a new computer while others will remain dormant for years until that one day when it all goes wrong. You want to be proactive and not reactive when this situation occurs.
Is All Hope Lost If My Computer Died? There's usually hope for most situations, it just depends on how much you're willing to pay. Software problems in regards to your operating system are fixable however a corrupt QuickBooks file might prove to be a complete loss to your file. Does this sound expensive to you in time and money spent to recreate a company file? A hardware problem in regards to everything BUT the hard drive isn't a big deal. If your hard drive was to fail though you would be
looking at having someone reconstruct the hardware in an airtight compartment lacking dust. Doesn't this sound very expensive? Let's be proactive then and not reactive, shall we?
How Often Should You Backup QuickBooks? The simple answer, every time you exit QuickBooks for the day. Take a simple scenario of walking in for the day to do the books for a month and other miscellaneous tasks. You work 6 hours on the company file and go home without backing up. You come in and poof, a suspected hardware failure. A week later the computer tech informs you that it was in fact the hard drive and a new one was put into the computer. You've now...
- Been without QuickBooks for a week, you've been unable to pay bills outstanding in the system and are at a complete loss for what's due
- Your managers have lost time because they're unable to enter daily sales numbers into the system
- You've lost the 6 hours you worked on it and possibly the entire year
- You really aren't sure the last time you may have backed up the file or if you've been even backing up to an external source
What Are Your Backup Options For QuickBooks?
1.) Backing Up To The Existing Drive
Here's the easiest solution and it goes with the mantra, something is better than nothing. This option works when your company file becomes corrupted and is unable to open
anymore. If you don't currently backup at least do this to cover a base. Something is better than nothing but is that really good enough for your years of work put into this one company file? Let's explore the options below...
2.) External Backup
This option can be most simple and concrete, especially if you use a laptop where hard drive failures are extremely common due to the constant physical movement of the hardware. The two paths are either having a built in external drive if it's a desktop which allows for a massive amount of extra space (which also brings up more issues as this also needs to be backed up) or an external thumb drive used for the sole purpose of backing up your QuickBooks file.
Between the two the thumb drive is the easiest, cheapest, and most stable. The hardware is static, meaning there are no spinning discs like a hard drive. Due to this failure in a thumb drive is extremely uncommon. They're also readily available for practically zero costs to you. Thumb drives are also extremely secure as you physically remove this from the computer every night, how can anyone reach this file then unless it's stolen from you?
3.) Online Backup Services
A thumb drive is nice but what about never having to worry about a piece of hardware and simply make it automated? Welcome to the cloud aka backing up data to an external hard drive at a data center. Three options show up often, one of which is the QuickBooks backup service. I fall away from this option often as there are easier and more powerful choices available.
Carbonite - This is the ultimate for QuickBooks and your entire PC. The service runs at intervals to backup everything on your PC at a very reasonable price for your business. If your hard drive was to go completely dead on your PC it will be mirrored back onto the newly installed hard drive without ever skipping a beat.
Dropbox - This is how I personally backup most of my clients. It's free to the user and is completely passive. Any time a file is changed in this folder it will automatically back up to their servers. All you need to do is signup for Dropbox, download and install the interface, which puts a Dropbox folder on your computer, then simply save down your QuickBooks file and backups to the Dropbox folder. Just like in rock climbing I'm extremely redundant with my protection and the same goes with QuickBooks. I will always save both the company file and backup to the Dropbox folder just in case.
Many free and inexpensive insurance options are available for backing up QuickBooks along with your other information you keep on the company computer. Lucky for you in the above example your manager had a USB drive she received at a conference for free. Every night after entering the daily sales reports she backed QuickBooks up to the thumb drive. Remember, you have no excuse to not backup your company file to an external source at little or no cost to your business.