User Permissions in QuickBooks®
QuickBooks® applications operate files with the option of allowing data to be added, manipulated and deleted by multiple users; this multi-user interface, while helpful in differentiating the work done within an accounting file by various users, should be carefully set up in order to mitigate any risks to information and limit errors. User permissions allow a company to classify allowed and disallowed options within a particular user’s portal to the accounting file.
The Use of User Permissions
Only one user (and the corresponding password) is created when a file is initially set up. The administrator manages all user permissions within a particular file, and has the ability to perform all functions within the program. In order for other users to be established, personnel must be logged in to the file by the administrator username.
Limiting the actions available for various employees of a company may be beneficial and preferred by management in order to uphold internal control procedures. For instance, a company may have various employees within their accounting department to manage accounts receivable, accounts payable and cash transactions. By restricting information to these various employees based on their allocated tasks, these users are kept within the bounds of their responsibilities and held accountable for changes made within the accounting file. Businesses sending a QuickBooks® file to an accounting firm for review or tax purposes may also want to limit information without restricting their ability to navigate the system; in these cases, having the ability to shield sensitive information, such as customer personal information, still allows for a level of control while producing a complete set of data necessary for certain accounting services.
User Permissions Setup
User permissions can be changed or modified from the Company drop-down screen by selecting ‘Set Up Users and Passwords’ and ‘Set Up Users’ to access the User List dialog box. The User List dialog box shows the currently populated users as well as the ability to add users to the system. Each of these users’ permissions can be changed by clicking ‘Edit User’, which will bring the administrator to another window.
QuickBooks® has established three main access levels that can be further customized to limit or grant permission to specific screens and tools within the software: ‘All areas of QuickBooks’® grants full access to the user; ‘Selected areas of QuickBooks’® leads to further customization by the administrator; and ‘External Accountant’ allows for full access except for personal information linked to a customer list. By selecting either the first or third options, no further customization is made to the user preferences. The second option allows for further customization based on a series of screens, including “Payroll and Employees”, “Sensitive Accounting Activities”, “Changing or Deleting Transactions” and various steps in the recording of cash flows, receivables and payables. By choosing “No Access”, “Full Access” or “Selective Access” for each category, the administrator can exercise authority over the specific actions allowed by any particular user in the QuickBooks® file.