QuickBooks 2018 Security, Accountants and More

Written by Charlie Russell

Let’s look at details of QuickBooks 2018 in the areas of security, QuickBooks Payroll, QuickBooks Payments, and QuickBooks Accountant. This is the second of my series of articles on QuickBooks 2018, which includes:

Merge Vendors

This provides you with the ability to merge up to 4 vendors at a time.

This is a feature that will be found only in certain editions of QuickBooks:

  • QuickBooks Accountant (Client Data Review menu)
  • QuickBooks Pro/Premier if you log in as the External Accountant and use the Accountants Toolbox
  • QuickBooks Enterprise if you log in either as the Admin user or External Accountant

This is a change that will save you time and effort if you find that you need to merge multiple vendor records often. It isn’t something that I come across often (since I don’t do “cleanup” work), but apparently it is something that many accounting professionals have requested.

Of course, you don’t need this upgrade to be able to merge vendors. You already have the ability to do this. What is changed in this release is that you can now merge up to four vendor records at a time (instead of just two), and you can manage how the data is merged in greater detail than before.

You will find Merge Vendors in the Accountant/Client Data Review menu.

QB 2018 Merge Vendors in Accountant/Client Data Review menu

You can locate vendors by searching for text in vendor name, company name, or billed from fields. This search will look for any occurrence of the text, not just search from left to right, which is good.

Select the vendor records (maximum of four) by checking the box in the right column. When you’ve made your selections, click Next.

Select a Master Vendor in QuickBooks 2018

Specify which of the selected vendor records will be the Master Vendor. The other vendor records will be merged into this one. Several of the fields that are listed will become editable text boxes just for the Master Vendor. This allows you to either edit those fields, or to copy information from the other vendor records. The fields that you can edit are:

  • Company Name
  • Billed From
  • Main Phone
  • Account No.
  • Vendor Tax ID
  • Shipped From
  • Main Email
  • Print name on check as
  • Vendor type

When you are ready to perform the merge you can click either the Merge or Backup & Merge buttons in the lower right. I highly recommend using the Backup & Merge button for the first vendor merge you do in a session, so that you have a good backup in case you don’t like the results. You cannot “undo” a merge other than by restoring a backup.

The merge is going to move all of the transactions for the source vendors over to the Master Vendor. It will not (for the most part) move information from the source vendor records themselves (such as addresses, tax IDs, etc.) to the Master Vendor by itself.

Some things do not get merged into the Master Vendor, such as:

  • Notes
  • Contacts
  • To Do’s
  • Sent Email List

Simple, right?

I really would like this feature to be available for Customers as well. In fact, I think it is more common to want to merge customers than it is to merge vendors. If you are importing transactions from a web store (for example), often you will find that the importing software will just create a new customer rather than use an existing customer record. Your customer count can explode, and you may rapidly reach the limit of the number of customers in QuickBooks Pro and Premier. Merging customers will help with that problem. However, I think that merging vendors is a simpler task, technically, so Intuit probably decided to start with the simpler vendor merge task to see how it is accepted.

Details and Issues with Merge Vendors

Let’s look at a few details. I’m not thrilled with some aspects of this feature, but this is an early release of the feature, so there may be improvements in later releases.

  • This function only works in single-user mode.
  • You cannot merge vendors that are federal/state tax agencies, vendors that have online transactions, vendors with direct deposits, or QuickBooks Payroll Service payroll vendors.
  • You cannot merge vendors while there is an accountant copy in use, or if you are logged into an accountant copy.
  • You must be logged into the field as the Admin or External Accountant.
  • Merging can’t be done if you are using the multi-currency feature.

Keep in mind that this could be altering your financial statements, so be careful. If any of the source vendor records have transactions that occur in a closed financial period you will need the closing date password. Be careful if this is the case! You will receive a warning prior to the merge:

Warning Notice prior to Vendor merge

If any of the vendors that you are merging are marked as being 1099-eligible vendors, you will be warned that you will not be able to access any 1099 forms that you filed earlier.

1099-eligible vendors merge warning notice

Clunky Copy/Paste: If you want to move information from one of the editable vendor fields into the Master Vendor, there is a copy/paste feature that I find a bit clunky. There isn’t a “drag and drop” option, which would be nice. To move information into the editable field, take the following actions: Highlight the information in the source field, right-click on that information to get a popup menu, select Copy from that menu, highlight the text to replace in the target field, right click, and select Paste. There are no keyboard shortcuts. This is very clunky.

The function does not print a report when done, which I would like to see. At the very least this merge should be listed in the Audit Trail report, but it isn’t.

I’m still playing with the way that this merge handles the user-definable vendor fields. I’m not sure how many people actually use this feature, though. Here’s a blank vendor record that has the user-definable fields set to the default values.

blank vendor record with user-definable fields set to default values

In one test I changed the Main Email field for one of the source vendors to be one of the alternate fields, such as “URL 1.” I didn’t change the fields in the target vendor. When I view the vendors in the Merge Vendor window, the fields that are listed are the default fields. You won’t see any of those alternate field names. In some cases, after the merge, I found that the Master Vendor record would show the alternate field names from one of the target vendors, even if that alternate field wasn’t used in the original Master Vendor. This is something that I need to look at in more detail.

About the author

Charlie Russell

Charlie Russell has been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70's, and remembers releasing his first commercial accounting software product when you had an 8-bit microcomputer with one 8 inch floppy disk drive. He has a special interest in inventory and manufacturing software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor with additional certifications for QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Enterprise, as well as being a Xero Certified Partner. Charlie started blogging about QuickBooks in 2008 (Practical QuickBooks) and has been writing for the Accountex Report (formerly the Sleeter Report) since 2011. He retired from accounting and QuickBooks activities in early 2018.

Visit his CCRSoftware web site for information about his QuickBooks add-on products. He is also the author of the California Wildflower Hikes blog.


  • As usual, I will put off upgrading for at least 3 months.

    My (Enterprise) customers wonder if they must upgrade to 2018 since 2017 is not able to handle new AZ employment law about paid time off (Employers must maintain records of paid sick time, accrued and used, for at least four straight years). But if they are not fixing 2017 is there any reason to believe the fix is in 2018?

    • I believe that this is an issue in the particular Intuit payroll product you are using? I avoid working with payroll, so I’m not the best person to ask that. The payroll products are independent of the accounting product itself, to a degree.

  • I don’t see where you mention that Intuit is stuffing yearly subscription pricing down our throat. It gets very expensive with Enterprise every year in particular. A lot of people will be surprised when they try to upgrade. Once you get started you can’t go back to an old desktop version.

        • I would guess that you upgraded to V17 from an older version, and that you have been using Enterprise for a few years? People that were on the older “full service plan” were grandfathered when the pricing changed. That is, for awhile, Intuit didn’t convert FSP customers to the new pricing. When the new pricing started they said they would do that but made no promises that they would continue FSP’s forever. So, over time, people have been dropped out of FSP’s into the new pricing.

          There may be some other variations in how Intuit handled this in relation to special arrangements with some IRP’s.

          In any case, the price change isn’t specific to 2018.

  • Dear Charlie Russell

    I am working as a QuickBooks consultant in Sri Lanka, We are expecting following improvement in QuickBooks upcoming versions (even 2019).

    1) Receipt Number for received payment
    2) Editable Received payment template
    3) Deposit Number for Make Deposits
    4) Enter Bill Auto Generate Numbers
    5) Editable Enter Bill template

    Best Regards

  • It depends upon what she is asking the accountant to do. Is this for her business accounting? Is it for an income tax return? Is she seeking to qualify for some type of government assistance? Not knowing the purpose of the income / expense statement makes it difficult to answer your question. For starters, she should bring her checkbook. It will show cash deposits and expenditures. If some payments were made in cash she will need to bring receipts of payment.