The ActiveBooks Blog
To automatically generate and email your financial reports, QuickBooks must allow ActiveBooks to read transactions, lists and other data from your company file. Normally this authorization process goes smoothly but a couple of our customers managed to crash QuickBooks! As soon as ActiveBooks sent the required network message to QuickBooks, the world’s most popular small business finance software would fall over.
Examining the QuickBooks Desktop SDK log files did not shed any light on this disturbing behavior. And the technical forums hosted by Intuit were equally unhelpful. But after many hours of debugging (and occasional swearing), our developers realized that the problem was due to mismatch in application permissions.
ActiveBooks runs with administrative rights. You’ll likely see this “User Account Control” confirmation each time you start the application:
QuickBooks Desktop is setup to run without administrative rights. Apparently QB doesn’t need to do anything fancy and regular permissions are just fine. But our experiments discovered a bug in QuickBooks 2016 that can cause it to crash whenever it tries to “speak to” a third-party administrative application like ActiveBooks. This bug isn’t always triggered, just for an unfortunate few. We have no idea why.
Fortunately there is a simple way to avoid the bug/crash: start QuickBooks with administrative rights when going through the authorization process with ActiveBooks.
How to Start QuickBooks as an Administrator
When step 4 of the ActiveBooks setup procedure asks you to start QuickBooks, simply right-click on the QuickBooks desktop icon and select “Run as administrator”:
You may be asked to confirm this operation. Click “Yes” to continue:
QuickBooks should start normally. Please log in if necessary and proceed with the authorization procedure, which should complete with no unwelcome interruptions.
Note: Starting in Single-user Mode Won’t Help
Starting QuickBooks in “Single-user mode” is not sufficient to avoid the problem. The administrative rights discussed here pertain to the Windows operating system, and more specifically to Microsoft’s effective but controversial User Account Control feature. Single-user mode is a QuickBooks concept and has no bearing on the problem (or solution) described here.
Today, we are pleased to release ActiveBooks version 17! Here is what’s new:
Full Compatibility with Intuit® QuickBooks Desktop 2017
Each of the 106 financial reports available in ActiveBooks runs flawlessly with the following QuickBooks editions:
All US and Canadian versions of the above are fully supported.
Windows Server 2016 Compatibility
Microsoft released the latest version of its server operating system in late 2016. Our internal testing proceeded smoothly, with no problems detected. Indeed, a few customers using QB Enterprise have already made the upgrade and we have had reports of ActiveBooks working very well with Windows Server 2016.
Various Fixes and Improvements
As usual, this release is accompanied by several small fixes and improvements. For example, customers sending many reports should notice speedier operation because additional Windows prompts and QuickBooks errors are handled behind the scenes. Also, an annoying bug when sorting the table of reports/notifications (on the “Next” and “Last” columns) has been fixed.
Upgrading to ActiveBooks 17
As per our upgrade policy, customers who purchased ActiveBooks in 2015 or 2016 can upgrade to version 17 at no additional cost. Just download and install “over the top” and you should be good to go.
Please contact us if you wish to upgrade from ActiveBooks 14 or earlier (at a 50% discount).
All the best to you and your family in 2017!
QuickBooks 2016 R7 was released in July 2016. That update contains the usual bug fixes and improvements we have come to expect in Intuit’s mid-year releases, but there are a few major changes that could affect ActiveBooks users.
Security updates to QuickBooks SDK
Several enhancements to bolster QuickBooks security and protect sensitive financial information were introduced. From the change log:
SDK apps that require background access to QuickBooks will need to have credentials regenerated for the app. Credentials will get regenerated once users who need access to the app login to QuickBooks.
If the password for QuickBooks changes, a new application is added or access levels of an application are changed – this would also require users who need app access to login.
So what does this mean for ActiveBooks Customers?
After you upgrade, ActiveBooks may run into errors when generating financial reports. Log into your computer and review the activity log in ActiveBooks to see if that is happening.
You may have to re-authorize ActiveBooks to QuickBooks to get automatic reports working again.
In rare circumstances, an administrator may have to log in to QuickBooks and remove ActiveBooks from the list of “Integrated Applications” before re-authorizing ActiveBooks to QuickBooks.
So far, all our customers who have applied the R7 release have resumed automatic reporting with ActiveBooks. Be sure to get in touch if you have followed the advice above but are still experiencing trouble!
ActiveBooks allows you to customize/brand the emails that are sent to deliver your QuickBooks reports. For example, you can:
- Append your own text to the email’s subject line
- Include a leading, explanatory paragraph at the top of the email that may serve as a disclaimer or help to provide additional context for the QuickBooks report
- Make the email look more professional by adding your business logo (available from your web site) at the top of the message.
Specifying a logo is the most popular customization and we’ll show you how to do that in 6 easy-to-follow steps!
To Add your Business Logo to ActiveBooks E-mails:
Select Tools > Configure Email… to bring up the Configure Email window:
Switch to the Customization/Branding tab.
Check the Display this image/logo at the top of each email box in the middle of the page and enter the full URL (web address) of the image you would like to display on each email. This will likely be a GIF, JPEG or PNG file.
While you are free to choose any image you like, we recommend selecting one that is not too small (under 100×100 pixels) or not too large (thousands of pixels). Keep in mind that the recipient may view the message on a large monitor or a tiny phone, and you want to ensure that your image looks professional in either context.
We have entered the ActiveBooks logo for this tutorial. We found the URL by opening our web site, right-clicking on our logo and selecting “Copy image location”. More details here.
Now, to get an idea of what your email will look like, click the Preview in your browser… button in the bottom right. This will open your browser to show a sample message with the logo displayed at the top. Hopefully it looks good!
If you are satisfied, return to ActiveBooks and click the Save button to record your changes.
And that’s it. From now on, all emails that ActiveBooks sends will feature your company’s logo. Enjoy!
You may be surprised to learn that QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise Editions all come with a “hidden” feature — a quick and easy way to view a variety of program information, summarized on one detailed screen. Log into QuickBooks and hit the F2 key (likely in the top row on your keyboard) to invoke the magic:
The Product Information window will come up to show a wealth of details. Here it is, with ten of the most useful items highlighted:
The edition & version of QuickBooks installed on your PC. This will be either QuickBooks Pro, Premier or Enterprise.
Your license & product numbers, entered when you installed QuickBooks. You should make a note of these values as you may need them if your computer crashes and you have to re-install QuickBooks! Also, Intuit technical staff may request your unique license number if you call them for support.
The number of user licenses purchased. This is the maximum number of users that can log into QuickBooks at any time.
The date when QuickBooks was installed on your computer.
The location of your company file — the “database” holding all your financial data — on your hard drive or network path. You may need to specify this location when configuring third-party applications that work with your financial records, or when manually backing up your data.
The size of your company file. Small businesses with lots of data inside QuickBooks should keep track of this value because bad things can happen if your company file grows too large!
The number of users currently logged in to the company file.
The number of integrated applications registered with QuickBooks.
The number of accounts, vendors, employees and other financial entities being tracked by QuickBooks. Like file size, these statistics represent a measure of the complexity of your installation.
The amount of available memory (RAM) on your computer. This value may be useful for Intuit support when troubleshooting problems.
Recently, one of our customers (Devin O’Leary of Lois L. Lindauer Searches) encountered a strange error when connecting ActiveBooks to QuickBooks:
Devin was running QuickBooks Pro 2015 but he had no other company files open on his computer. So why did QuickBooks think that he had?
Here are the steps that we took to get Devin connected to QuickBooks and able to schedule his reports with ActiveBooks. Please execute them from top to bottom if you are encountering the same problem.
Turn off the “Keep QuickBooks running” setting
First, please follow the steps in this article to deactivate the troublesome “Keep QuickBooks running for quick startups” setting.
Close all copies of QuickBooks running on your Computer
At this point, please exit QuickBooks if it is running on your desktop.
Even after you have closed QuickBooks, there may still be “hidden” copies of the application running on your machine. To see (and terminate) these hidden copies using the Windows Task Manager:
Start Task Manager by right-clicking on the taskbar and selecting Task Manager.
If you see More details at the bottom of the Task Manager window, click it to expand the view.
Switch to the Details tab to see a list of all processes running on your computer. (Note that on some versions of Windows you may have to check a box or click a button at the bottom of the window to actually see all processes.)
Click on the Name column to sort the list alphabetically. Scroll down to the Q’s.
Do you see more any processes named QBWIN32.EXE? If so, then you should terminate each one by highlighting it and clicking the End Task button. Make sure that there are no QBWIN32.EXE processes when you are done.
Start QuickBooks as an Administrator and try to connect from ActiveBooks
Modern versions of Windows employ a security feature called User Account Control (UAC). Unfortunately it can cause trouble for cooperating applications not run at the same level (administrator or normal user). ActiveBooks runs as an administrator, so let’s start QuickBooks at that same level to see if doing so will allow the two applications to connect.
To launch QuickBooks with administrator rights:
Right-click on the QuickBooks icon on your desktop and select Run as administrator
Click Yes when Windows confirms that you want to run QB as an administrator. QuickBooks should start as normal.
Finally, please repeat the ActiveBooks initial setup, or try to reconnect with your company file via the Tools > Configure QuickBooks process.
And now that you have followed the above, hopefully QuickBooks will allow ActiveBooks to connect as it did for Devin. Of course, please get in touch if the problem persists in your installation!
Congratulations on your new computer!
Assuming that you have already installed a fresh copy of QuickBooks (or moved QuickBooks from your old computer), the next step is to transfer ActiveBooks and all your recurring QuickBooks reports. Please follow these steps:
Download & Install ActiveBooks on your New PC
First, download the latest version of ActiveBooks you are licensed to use. This entry in our FAQ will show you which version to download based on when you bought ActiveBooks.
Note: If you purchased ActiveBooks more than two years ago and wish to upgrade, contact us and we’ll arrange a 50% discount!
Next, follow our step-by-step instructions to install ActiveBooks on your new PC.
ActiveBooks should now be prompting you to go through the initial setup. You are welcome to go through the process, authenticating with QuickBooks and setting up email as you did when you originally configured ActiveBooks. Please skip to step 4 if that is your preference.
However, if you would like to transfer your QuickBooks reports from your old PC, please cancel the initial setup and move on to step 2.
Copy the “activebooks.db” File from your Old Installation to your New Computer
On your old PC:
- Start ActiveBooks.
Select Tools > Stop the ActiveBooks Server.
Open Windows Explorer.
On the left, navigate to the ActiveBooks installation folder, usually C:\Program Files (x86)\ActiveBooks.
Highlight the activebooks.db file on the right.
Copy the file to a removable flash drive (or to a network location accessible to the new computer).
And on your new PC:
Close ActiveBooks if it is running.
Next, we should stop the ActiveBooks Server. If not, it might “lock” the existing activebooks.db file and prevent us from replacing the file with the copy from your old computer.
To stop the Server, open the Windows Task Manager, switch to the Services tab, right-click the ActiveBooks Server entry and select Stop.
Open Windows Explorer.
On the left, navigate to the ActiveBooks installation folder, usually C:\Program Files (x86)\ActiveBooks.
Copy the activebooks.db file you saved in step 2g into this folder. This will overwrite the existing file.
Start ActiveBooks. You should see all your old reports!
Select Tools > Start the ActiveBooks Server to restart the server (which is responsible for emailing your reports in the background).
Specify your Windows Account
Next, let’s set the Windows account name and password so that ActiveBooks can run QuickBooks even when no one is logged on:
Select Tools > Configure ActiveBooks… to open the Configure ActiveBooks window.
Enter the user name and password that you use when logging into this computer. Please be sure to specify the account where you installed QuickBooks, or ActiveBooks may not work properly.
Re-authorize your QuickBooks Company File(s)
You will probably have to re-connect to QuickBooks so your reports can run. To do so:
Choose Configure QuickBooks… from the Tools menu to open the Configure QuickBooks window.
Highlight the appropriate company file.
Click the Change / Refresh >> button.
Follow the instructions to re-authorize ActiveBooks (the same procedure you went through to set up your company file).
The registration code we sent you for your old PC probably won’t work on your new one. Please send an email to support@ActiveBooks.net with:
Your order number/details
The ActiveBooks-generated serial number of the old/original computer (optional)
The ActiveBooks-generated serial number of the new computer
We will respond with the new registration code.
That’s it! Your ActiveBooks should be good to go on your new computer. Of course, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you ran into any problems along the way, or if reports aren’t going out as expected.
Posted in ActiveBooks
QuickBooks desktop (Pro, Premier & Enterprise) includes several fabulous financial reports that provide key insight into your small business. But what good are those reports if you never see them?
Why not schedule reports to run automatically and go straight into your email inbox? Unfortunately QuickBooks desktop can’t automatically email reports, but our ActiveBooks add-in fills the gap.
Here are the top 5 ways that automatic reporting can help your small business to thrive:
1. Keep company insiders in the financial loop
Key reports like the Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet offer valuable insight into your company’s financial condition. But who has the time to faithfully log into QuickBooks each month and pour over reports at their desktop PC?
Instead, deliver reports straight to your email inbox — where they can be reviewed at your leisure, whenever there is a gap in your busy schedule.
2. Save your time (and your money)
How long does it take you to log into QuickBooks, generate a report, and email it? 15 minutes each week, translates into 13 hours per year! How much do you charge for 13 hours of your time?
Run the numbers. It is probably more cost effective to purchase an automated solution and spend those precious hours adding value to your business instead of performing repetitive, robotic tasks.
3. One less thing to remember to do!
Automated reporting means that you don’t have to remember to email reports. One less item on your already full to-do list!
When you’re busy running your small business, it’s easy to forget mundane tasks like emailing out reports. Why not have your PC wake up and send the reports out on your behalf — with zero effort on your part?
4. Don’t tie reports to an employee’s schedule
As the business owner with much to do, emailing reports may best be delegated to an employee. But what happens when that person is sick, goes on vacation or is simply too busy to perform the task?
Setup automated reports once and receive them regularly, regardless of who working is in the office that day. Your computer never needs a vacation!
5. Impress your team and look like a pro!
Polished financial reports delivered like clockwork will likely earn you a pat on the back from your boss and other important stakeholders.
Every time a report arrives in their email inbox, they will be reminded of the outstanding job you did in automating an important business function!
ActiveBooks version 16.0 was released on January 2. We are pleased to announce the following enhancements.
Full Compatibility with all Desktop Versions of Intuit® QuickBooks 2016
Each of the 106 financial reports available in ActiveBooks run flawlessly with QuickBooks Pro & Premier 2016 and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions 16.0. All US and Canadian editions are fully supported.
Improved Guidance when Adding QuickBooks Company Files
After reviewing our setup procedures and identifying areas where customers have run into trouble, we’ve improved instructions and provided additional online help. These enhancements should make it easier for new (and existing) customers to register QB company data files, setup email and perform other configuration tasks.
As per our upgrade policy, customers who purchased ActiveBooks in 2014 or 2015 can upgrade to version 16 at no additional cost. Please contact us if you wish to upgrade from ActiveBooks 13 or earlier (at a 50% discount).
All the best to you and your family in 2016!
ActiveBooks must work with your QuickBooks Company File to automatically generate and email your financial reports. The full path to that QBW file must be given to ActiveBooks, and the name must match exactly what is loaded in QuickBooks. If even a character is different, QuickBooks will not authorize ActiveBooks to generate reports! Please watch out for:
- Upper and lower case differences. For example, if QuickBooks has opened “C:\MyCompany.QBW”, providing “C:\mycompany.qbw” to ActiveBooks will lead to failure.
- Mismatched network folders. If your company file is on the network, you can refer to it by UNC path (like “\\myserver\data\MyCompany.qbw”) or drive letter (like “K:\data\MyCompany.qbw”). Even though both paths point to the same location, you should NOT provide one form to QuickBooks and another to ActiveBooks. Please use a single form consistently — either UNC or drive letter.
Our recommendation? To make sure that you provide the correct file location to ActiveBooks, it is best to get the name of the company file directly from QuickBooks.
What is the full path to the Company File open in QuickBooks?
Fortunately, QuickBooks has provided an easy way to find this and other important information. Simply hit the F2 key (which should appear in the row of keys at the top of your keyboard) or the Ctrl+1 key combination to summon the Product Information window:
About a third of the way down on the left, the FILE INFORMATION section will show the location of your QBW file — exactly as opened by QuickBooks:
Please provide this path to ActiveBooks when linking it to your financial data. Indeed, to ensure that the location is captured precisely, we recommend that you use your mouse to highlight the location and copy it to your clipboard:
Paste the value into ActiveBooks when it prompts you to enter the QuickBooks company file: