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How to install QuicksBooks Enterprise for the first time

Learn how to install QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise for the first time.

When you’re ready to install QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise, it’s best that you do it after-hours or over the weekend. This way, you’ll have the least disruption to your normal work hours.

Since you’re going to need to set up a network and create a new company file, it’s best to have help from someone with an IT background and an accountant. Or, you can choose to work with an authorized ProAdvisor or QuickBooks Solutions Provider. Here’s what to do.

Note: If you’re moving to QuickBooks Desktop, make sure to back up your previous accounting software. You should also keep any software and hardware from your previous accounting system, or have printouts of all the information and accounting reports. The IRS requires that you keep your records for 10 years.

Step 1: Prep and test your network

Before you get started, check the system requirements for QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise.

Here’s the different network options, showing workstations and servers with different install options. Choose the option that works best for your company.

Use a Central Server

You'll install the QuickBooks Database Manager on a central server. This also stores the company file. Then, install Enterprise on each workstation so they can access the company file over the network.

Use a Peer-to-Peer network

With a peer-to-peer network, one workstation stores the company file. The other workstations all use the same version of Enterprise to access the company file over the network.

Use Remote Desktop Services 

Using Remote Desktop Services, Enterprise is installed on a central server which stores the company file. Since you’ll access Enterprise remotely, you don’t need to have it installed on workstations.

Or, you can store your QuickBooks company file on a Linux server and use Enterprise, running on your Windows desktop client, to access that data. More detailed information about Linux installations of Enterprise is available here.

If you’re using a multi-user environment, you need to test your network bandwidth. If you’re using a single-user environment, you only need to check firewall and AV settings.

  1. Choose a large data file for testing.
  2. Note the size of your test file in megabytes (MB).
  3. Copy your test file from a network location to the computer and note the time it takes (in seconds) to copy.
  4. Perform the following calculation to determine the network bandwidth:
    1. File size (in MB) x 8 / copy time
    2. For example 150 MB x 8 / 25 seconds = 48 MB per second (Mbps)

If your bandwidth is 40 Mbps or more, your connection is fast enough for Enterprise. If it's less than 40Mbps, your connection will be too slow to run Enterprise. Contact your network administrator to learn how to improve your network speed.

Check firewall and AV settings

If you’re using a firewall while installing QuickBooks, you might need to allow QuickBooks access to your network, especially in a multi-user environment.

Step 2: Install QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise on the server

Before you get started, download the latest version of QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise. If you’re installing Enterprise on multiple workstations, they all need to be using the same version.

  1. Close all running programs, including anti-virus programs.
  2. Double-click the file you've downloaded.
  3. Follow the onscreen prompts until you reach Choose Installation Type.
    1. Choose Express to let the installer make the best choice; or select the Custom and Network to customize the install and location.
  4. Select one of the following three options for how you’ll install QuickBooks. The option you choose is likely to change depending on whether you're installing on a server, terminal, or workstation.
    1. I'll be using QuickBooks on this computer, but the company file will be located on a different computer.
    2. I'll be using QuickBooks on this computer and storing our company file here so it can be shared over our network. This may be a server that is also actively used as a user workstation. In a peer-to-peer network, this should be the fastest user workstation. Choose this option if you're installing Enterprise on a server that also serves as a workstation computer, or if you're installing on a terminal server, with software and company data stored on a remote computer.
    3. I will not be using QuickBooks on this computer; but I'll be storing our company file on it so the file can be shared over our network. This computer is typically the server. Selecting this option will install the QuickBooks Database Manager only and does not require an additional user license.
  5. Follow the onscreen prompts until install is complete.
  6. Launch the QuickBooks Database Server Manager to configure the database server.

Once you install Enterprise on the server, you need to set up the QuickBooks Desktop Server Manager. This is so users can access the company files stored on the server. You only need to do this on the server or computer you store your company file.

Using the Database Server Manager, you can see the status of the service, see which users are working in the company file, and check for updates.

To open the QuickBooks Database Server Manager:

  1. Go to the Start button and select Programs.
  2. Select QuickBooks, then select QuickBooks Database Server Manager.

To allow access to other QuickBooks users, you need to scan all company files you have on the server. If you don’t have a company file, go to step 3 to create one.

  1. From the Database Server Manager, select the Scan Folders tab.
  2. Select Add Folder, then select the folders that contain company files. You’ll see the folders in the Folders That Contain Company Files section. If you're not sure where you store Enterprise company files, you can select Scan to search your entire hard drive.

Note: If you create a new company file or move your company file to a new location, you may need to repeat the company file scan process.

Monitor your Hard Drives

The Database Server Manager monitors any selected drives or folders for company files that you add, remove or have renamed on the server. This allows other computers to access them.

To monitor the computer drives:

  1. Select the Monitored Drives tab.
  2. Select all local drives that you want to monitor.

Note: Mapped drives are not displayed and can’t be monitored.

Step 3: Set up sharing

This is where you set up the ability to share the company file between workstations. Here's what to do.

To share the folder containing your QuickBooks company files across your network, make sure that all users have read/write access and create/delete rights to the directory where the files are stored. Make sure to ask your network administrator for help sharing folders and providing access.

  1. Close all running programs, including anti-virus programs.
  2. Double-click the file you've just downloaded.
  3. Follow the onscreen prompts until you reach Choose Installation Type.
    1. Choose Express to let the installer make the best choice; or select the Custom and Network to customize the install and location.
  4. Select one of the following three options for how you’ll install QuickBooks. The option you choose is likely to change depending on whether you're installing on a server, terminal, or workstation.
  • I'll be using QuickBooks on this computer, but the company file will be located on a different computer.
    1. I'll be using QuickBooks on this computer and storing our company file here so it can be shared over our network. This may be a server that is also used as a user workstation. In a peer-to-peer network, this should be the fastest user workstation. Choose this option if you're installing Enterprise on a server that also serves as a workstation computer, or if you're installing on a terminal server, with software and company data stored on a remote computer.
    2. I will not be using QuickBooks on this computer; but I'll be storing our company file on it so the file can be shared over our network. This computer is usually the server. Selecting this option will install the QuickBooks Database Manager only and doesn’t need an additional user license.
  1. Follow the onscreen prompts until the install is complete. If you receive an error message during the install and rebooting your system doesn't fix the problem, go to the QuickBooks support site for help.

In a multi-user environment, only one computer can host multi-user access. This is the computer storing your company file. On all other installs of the software, turn off multi-user hosting.

If you've installed just the QuickBooks Database Server Manager on a file server, there's no need to enable multi-user hosting on the server. However, make sure that all user workstations have multi-user hosting disabled.

Here’s how to know if you should have multi-user hosting enabled:

Workstation that has Enterprise installed and stores the company file (peer-to-peer environment)

  • ON on server
  • OFF on workstations

Remote Desktop Services Server

  • ON on server
  • not applicable on workstations

Central Server

  • ON on server
  • OFF on workstations

To verify that multi-user hosting is enabled on the server:

  1. Start QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise on the server (the computer which stores your company files).
  2. Go to the File menu, then select Utilities.
  3. Verify that Stop Hosting Multi-Access displays in the Utilities menu (the option displays "stop" because the service is running).

If Host Multi-User Access displays in the Utilities menu, the computer isn’t the host for the company files and you'll need to follow the steps below:

  1. Select Host Multi-Access to turn the service on.
  2. Choose Yes when prompted to confirm starting multi-user access.
  3. Choose Yes when prompted to close and reopen the company file.

Make sure that your user workstations have multi-user access turned off. Do this on each computer you use for Enterprise.

Step 4: Set up your company file and import your existing data

Make sure to work with a financial professional or admin who understands the company's financial needs. They'll need to set up your company file, add users, and know what areas of QuickBooks those users can access.

After you install QuickBooks, you should activate it before getting started. QuickBooks will prompt you to activate, or you can activate it with these steps.

To activate QuickBooks:

  1. Open QuickBooks.
  2. From the Help menu, select Activate QuickBooks Desktop.
  3. Follow the steps on the screen to verify your info.

Create a company file

The first thing you need to do in QuickBooks is create a company file for your business. The company file is the file which stores all of your QuickBooks data.

If you’re converting data from another software package, you should double-check your company file after the conversion to make sure all of your financial information was imported to Enterprise.

Choose the option which describes your situation.

Starting from Scratch

  1. Start Enterprise.
  2. Select Create A New Company, or go to the File menu and select New Company.
  3. Select the Express Start.
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions.

Note: To fine-tune your setup process, select Guided Start. This will help you customize QuickBooks to better suit your needs. You can easily turn on the features you need and turn off those you don't.

Converting from Quicken

Here's how to convert Quicken data to QuickBooks Desktop.

Converting from Peachtree

Here’s how to use the Sage or Peachtree conversion tool to convert to QuickBooks Desktop.

Scan company files

If you just created your company file, you'll need to scan it as described in Step 2 above.

Step 5: Set up QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise for your business

Depending on your business, you may have a few more steps to complete. Take a look at this info to make sure your company file is set up and your data is complete.

After creating your company file, QuickBooks Setup will walk you through how to add critical information, such as:

  • The people you do business with (so you can invoice customers, pay vendors and track employees)
  • The products and services you sell
  • Your bank accounts
  • Your payroll information
  • An audit trail of your existing transactions

To set it up, follow the onscreen prompts, then select Start Working.

Use this feature to complete common startup tasks like creating invoices, entering sales receipts and bills and writing checks. You can also view customer and vendor account balances.

During the Setup process, QuickBooks created a chart of accounts based on your type of business. Now is a good time to review it and make sure it reflects the accounts you need to run your business.

You can change account names and edit, delete or add accounts as needed. For example, you may want to add a business-related bank, credit card or loan account.

To view your Chart of Accounts, go to the Lists menu and select Chart of Accounts.

If you'd like your reports to include past information, you'll need to enter it. Select a date in the past as your start date. Then enter past transactions from the start date to today.

Enter historical transactions in chronological order within transaction type. QuickBooks won't know how to apply a payment unless you've previously recorded the customer invoice.

Note: Entering historical transactions is important if customers don't pay you at the time they receive goods or services. If you don't enter historical transactions, QuickBooks can't help you track and collect late customer payments for those past transactions.

We recommend this entry order (make sure verify with your accountant first):

  • Invoices you've sent out since your start date
  • Purchase orders you've issued since your start date that you haven't received in full
  • Cash or checks you've received since your start date
  • Deposits you made before your start date but that didn't appear on statements before your start date
  • Bills you've received since your start date
  • Bills you've paid since your start date
  • Deposits you've made to any accounts since your start date
  • Any other checks or payments you've made (for things other than bills) since your start date
  • Checks or other charges that happened before your start date but didn't appear on statements before your start date (uncleared)
  • Bank charges, fees and interest
  • Employee year-to-date information paid from January 1 through your start date
  • Payroll liabilities owed at the time of your start date (for manual payroll and tracking payroll transactions only)

There's no need to enter all past transactions before you start using QuickBooks for new transactions. Just enter new ones as they occur, then catch up with historical transactions when you can. However, your account balances and reports may be inaccurate until you enter all past transactions.

If you subscribe to a QuickBooks payroll service, you'll be asked to add year-to-date payroll info during payroll setup. If you don't provide this info, your payroll tax information may not be accurate.

Here's how to enter these transactions to make your account register accurate.

After you've created your company file, you might have to make a few adjustments regarding your start date. Depending on your company, you may need to:

  • Enter any sales tax liabilities.
  • Adjust the Uncategorized Income and Uncategorized Expense accounts (accrual basis only).
  • Adjust for current income and expenses if your start date is not at the beginning of the fiscal year.

In Enterprise, you can create a backup file, which contains all transactions through the date the company backup was made. A backup file can be used to restore your data if there's a problem. QuickBooks backups have a .qbb extension and can't be opened directly.

The best way to backup your company file is to use the online backup service that comes with your subscription. This stores your backup file safely offsite.

Or, you can manually back up your company file:

  1. Go to the File menu and select Create Backup.
  2. Select a safe location for your file, ideally on a separate computer or server.

To restore your backup, go to the File menu and select Open or Restore Company.

Step 6: Set up users and their roles

QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise lets you apply user permissions to different activities. You can assign user-access levels like view-only, create, modify, delete and print. You can also restrict access to specific lists and report groups based on user roles.

You can also use predefined roles, with access to certain activities, lists or reports. This includes Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Banking, Sales and Payroll Manager. You can also customize any of the predefined roles or create your own. Note that all users need to be assigned a role.

  1. Go to the Company menu, select Users and then select Set Up Users and Roles.
  2. Select the Role List tab and then select New.
  3. Enter the name of the role in the Role Name field or select an existing role.
  4. Assign access levels to the activities and select OK.

  1. Select the User List tab, then select New.
  2. Enter the name of the user in the User Name field.
  3. Enter a password in the Password and Confirm Password fields.
  4. Assign roles to this user, then select OK.

Frequently asked questions

Here’s some answers to frequently asked questions about installing QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise.

  1. Verify that your system meets the minimum requirements.
  2. Restart your computer.
  3. Close all open programs, including anti-virus programs: Go to the Windows Task Manager, select the Applications tab, and close all open programs.
  4. Try installing QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise again.
  5. If you need help with the install, visit QuickBooks Support.

  1. The person who purchased QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise was sent an email with your license and product numbers. If you have a QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise CD, look for the sticker on the CD folder.
  2. If you can't locate it, but have QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise installed on another computer, here’s how to find your License Number and Product Number:
    1. Open QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise on another computer.
    2. Press the F2 key or Ctrl + 1 to open the Product Information screen.
    3. Write down the License and Product numbers.
    4. Select OK.
  3. If you're still unable to get your License Number and Product Number, you can request new numbers online:
  1. Visit https://emaillicense.quickbooks.com/app/qbdt/licensenumber
  2. Complete the onscreen request form.  Note: QuickBooks no longer uses registration numbers. The only numbers you'll need are your product and license numbers.

To use QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise, you must have Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 or later installed on your computer. If you don’t have any version of Microsoft Internet Explorer on your system, you can download the latest version from www.microsoft.com.

Yes. You can install multiple versions of QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise (for example, this year's version of QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise as well as last year's version) on the same computer. However, all users of a particular company file need to be using the same version of QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise.

QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise allows multiple users to access the company file at the same time. As your company grows, you can purchase additional licenses, in increments of five, instead of buying additional copies of QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise.

To add additional licenses to your existing QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise license:

  1. Go to the Help menu, then select Manage My License.
  2. Select Buy Additional User Licenses.
  3. Follow the onscreen instructions.

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