I’ve heard it before: “I am a bookkeeper, not a computer nerd.” Or, “I don’t need to know this stuff…” Well, just here me out. The majority of questions I get these days are technical in nature, such as: Should I stick with Windows XP or move to Vista? I’ve heard bad things about Vista and QuickBooks; what if my QuickBooks won’t run in Vista?
So, as a bookeeper, you do need to know about computer systems and the technical side of the business. 🙂
Now that you know you NEED to know about such things, at least rest easy that the technology is available to help you make it all work more smoothly.
What is virtualization? Virtual machine technologies enable one physical workstation or server to run multiple operating systems and related applications at the same time.
A virual machine uses virtualization software and selected hardware devices to create an emulated operating environment.
Think of it like this: You buy a top-of-the-line Windows Vista 64 bit system. You may or may not know that QuickBooks and Vista 64 bit do not get along. Well, virualization allows you to run Vista 32 bit within or “below” your existing 64 bit system — and you can also run XP on that same system.
So the first thing we see is that we can still run QuickBooks even if we have a 64-bit operating system. That’s handy! You don’t need to take your computer back. What is another benefit of virtualization?
Do you do bookkeeping or accounting work with multiple files many times within the same year? As you probably already know, you can only have one company file open per year. So, what if you had four virual operating systems and had QB, 2004-2009 on there for all of your clients? You could conceivably have four 2008 QuickBooks files open at the same time and just bounce back and fourth making changes and fixing until your heart is content. Now are you starting to see the possibilities?
Okay, how about another one? Your client is having a problem. You don’t want to spend every waking minute at your client site. What can you do with virtualization to fix this? Even though you are running Vista 32 bit on your workstation, with a virtual enviornment you can set up your client’s exact system on that virutal workstation — and when you get done, wipe it out, delete it, get rid of it. So your client has XP? Intall Windows XP on the virtual environment, update it to the SP (service pack) he/she is on, and load what ever QuickBooks version they have. Now you can open their file to re-create their problem. You SHOULD be able to re-create the problem to a T if indeed it is software-related.
The best part about all of this, is it’s not set in stone. If your virtual operating system spazes out, deleted it and start all over. It’s not like the traditional Operating System where you lose everything if your operating system crashes.