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OfficeQ - Questions and Answers

This sections contains common questions and answers about the OfficeQ product.

The questions have been grouped into categories. Click on the category below to view the applicable questions and answers.

Question and Answer Categories

Potential Uses
Sample Applications / Code
Distribution / Licensing / Pricing

Back to OfficeQ Overview


Why is OfficeQ necessary? QuickBooks already provides methods for exporting data. Why is anything more powerful needed? Most businesses keep virtually all their important data in QuickBooks. QuickBooks needs more powerful tools for extracting additional data and making it useful to the business. As an example, you cannot see how what the profit margin is for a particular sale involving inventory without OfficeQ. Nor can you get conditional customer email lists to help generate sales - although the data is there.

Also OfficeQ is the only export product that puts the data into a 'normalized' database form where it can be easily queried. This provides opportunities to create hundreds of reports that QuickBooks does not otherwise provide. No competing product extracts data that is complete enough for import into another accounting system directly.

What makes OfficeQ better than other solutions available? OfficeQ has the most complete data of any QuickBooks export product available. The export data model used mirrors that used internally by QuickBooks. It is understandable and provides both more information and links it together to make it more powerful. In addition, data such as payroll records and payroll related tax payments are output.

OfficeQ has also been used for years by several large corporations. The data model used for outputting data has been refined and fine tuned to be superior.

Are there any well known larger companies that currently use OfficeQ as part of their product? Virtually every currently shipping small business accounting company that imports QuickBooks data uses OfficeQ to extract the data.

This is significant in that there are no other QuickBooks 3rd party data extraction products that are used by any of these companies. Moving account data from one accounting system to another requires extreme detail and accuracy.

There are now several products available to extract QuickBooks data. What is OfficeQ's main advantage? Most of the products that compete with OfficeQ do nothing more than add another software layer on top of QBXML supplied by Intuit - such as ODBC or some form of 'objectying' it. Their main purpose is to provide a different way of accessing what QBXML provides - they do not extract or derive any additional data. They also add another layer of installation headache.

OfficeQ put the data model first. In other words, it starts with the most useable of data models - then forms the data into that model. Because of this, the data extracted using OfficeQ can be put to many uses that are not possible with other products.

Can OfficeQ be used to import data into QuickBooks? No. OfficeQ is a tool for exporting data. There are other solutions that work well for importing data - such as Intuit's QBXML that is provided free of charge with QuickBooks.

QBXML provides a very good XML based way of getting data into QuickBooks, but a poor way to get it out. Data that is constructed inside QuickBooks (such as cost of goods or payroll) is not exported by QBXML.

Potential Uses

How would OfficeQ be used by companies that sell accounting or bookkeeping services or consulting? There are several ways OfficeQ could be used by companies providing services to QuickBooks users. Because ALL of the financial data is available, the possibilities are limitless.

Virtually any imaginable report or chart could be created. There are several types of reports that are available with more expensive accounting packages that QuickBooks does not provide.

We are a franchise type operation. How could OfficeQ help us? We have several franchisers that use OfficeQ as part of their franchisee reporting system - primarily for calculating franchise fees based on different aspects of performance or variations in type / location / volume / etc of business. No other product is as wide used for this purpose as OfficeQ.

OfficeQ allows virtually any criteria to be used for calculations. This is also an area where the use of classes and custom fields can help significantly.

How can OfficeQ help with tax preparation? QuickBooks stores direct tax form and line information with each account. This can be used for automated processing. Also, much more exhaustive searches for deductible items than are otherwise possible can be done.

There are also many options in how inventory valuation is handled that can be optimized. For example, the I.R.S. allows current market value to be used to value inventory. For companies that have inventory that declines in value - OfficeQ can help substantiate additional expenses that can lower tax bills considerably.

Could OfficeQ be used by accountants for auditing or monitoring financial activity? Yes. For auditing purposes, reports could be produced show what records have been added, deleted, or changed during a time period or isolate questionable types of entries.

How could OfficeQ be used to increase a company's sales? Customer, contact, estimates, and previous sales data could be extracted from QuickBooks. This data could them be massaged as necessary for use in bulk mailings and telemarketing campaigns.

Sales campaigns can be created based on previous sales by product / timeframe / etc.

High volume customized, bulk email messages and/or faxes could also be sent using the data.

Could OfficeQ be used to add inventory functionality - such as better ordering, ABC analysis, serial numbers, different costing methods, or cycle counts. Yes. QuickBooks is lacking in some inventory functionality because of it's universal nature. In some industries certain features can be very important.

Some of these features could be implemented using a combination OfficeQ and custom fields. They would, however, require accurate data entry in the custom fields.  (If inventory needs are extensive - you should look google FishBowl and and check out their product.)

How could OfficeQ be used to increase the efficiency of a company that bills time to customers or jobs? Because the complete billable time records are available, as well as information on customers, jobs, and employees - dozens of additional reports could be produced.

Billable vs. non-billable time could be analyzed and used for employee scheduling. Highly detailed reports could be produced that showed what type of activities were produced during billable hours. Special customer requirements - such as billing at specific milestones - could be more easily handled.

Can functionality be added to QuickBooks by using custom fields and processing the additional data entered. Custom fields are one of the most powerful features of QuickBooks when used in conjunction with OfficeQ. They allow users to add additional data that can be combined with standard data to provide custom functionality.

Sample Applications / Code

What functionality is included in the core product as initially installed? The core OfficeQ package includes an ActiveX EXE file that (in conjunction with QuickBooks) does the actual data extraction - as well as other programs that do various tasks with the extracted data.

The most significant application provided is a full functionality Microsoft Excel program that imports all the data from a QuickBooks file and organizes the data for queries, reports, etc.  It uses standard worksheets for output.

We also provide a Microsoft Access application that is similar, but uses Access reports for output - but you need to create the reports.

What functionality do the Microsoft Excel and Access sample applications provide? The Microsoft Excel and Access programs supplied as part of OfficeQ are the primary application you will use if you are not developing custom applications at the API level. They creates a database clone of your QuickBooks file that can be used for custom queries and reports.

The structure of this database clone is the secret to OfficeQ's success. It organizes all the data in an easy to use fully 'normalized' data form. Virtually any report you can imagine can be run with a single query. There are also dozens of queries provided (from simple to complex) as tutorial examples to get you started.

There are also provisions for handling multiple QuickBooks files. Because each QuickBooks file needs it's own separate database - the Access application uses 'linked' databases for maximum power and simplicity.

What makes the table structure used for the DataBlox's database extractor superior to other solutions? The table structure used by the extractor models the output of OfficeQ exactly - every table and field is exaxtly as output from OfficeQ.

This provides a very powerful and easy to use query facility using industry standard database queries. Because the 27 different transaction types that QuickBooks uses are compressed, it is much easier to consolidate data that with other solutions.

Distribution / Licensing / Pricing

What hardware and software are required and/or recommended to run OfficeQ? The requirements to run OfficeQ for QuickBooks 2006 and later are identical to those of QuickBooks.

We also strongly recommend that you have Microsoft Excel or Access (version 2000 or later) installed. This may not be necessary if you are a programmer using a VBA environment - but is still recommended.