smart user management key to data security

jimmy burgess, senior accountant


You trust your employees or you wouldn’t have hired them. Still, when someone other than you has access to your company’s accounting records, strong safeguards are critical. You store customer profiles, credit card numbers, payroll details, and other information that could hurt you—or someone else—if in the wrong hands.

If you are still doing your accounting work on paper, the best you can do is to lock all accounting files up and restrict access. Computer-based records are another story.

Built-in Security

QuickBooks provides a way to restrict users to specific areas of the software and to the activities performed there.  To explore it, open the Company menu and click Set Up Users and Passwords, then Set Up Users. The window that opens will list you as the administrator. Click Add User and enter the name and password for the employee, then click Next.

Tip: Click F2 and look in the upper left corner to see whether you can Add this user to my QuickBooks license.

QuickBooks then displays a multi-step wizard that will help you define the employee’s role within QuickBooks. You have three options here. You can give the user access to:

  • All areas of QuickBooks. Be cautious here, as this means everything, including customer credit card numbers and check-writing privileges. If you click Yes and then Finish, your setup is complete.
  • Selected areas of QuickBooks. When you choose this option, you’ll be able to assign individual access rights to multiple areas of QuickBooks, including Sales and Accounts Receivable, Checking and Credit Cards, and Sensitive Accounting Activities. Your choices for each are No Access, Full Access, and Selective Access. If you choose the latter, you will be able to select the level of activity that the user can engage in (Create transactions only, Create transactions and create reports, etc.). The final question asks about changing or deleting transactions. QuickBooks then displays a table that shows that user’s permissions.
  • External Accountant. You can give your accountant access to all areas of QuickBooks except for sensitive customer data like credit card numbers.

Helpful Reports

If the worst happens and you suspect an employee may have somehow gained access to a restricted area (for example, by discovering your password) and altered data, there are tools in QuickBooks that can help you assess the damage and learn who is responsible. One of these is the Audit Trail report (Reports | Accountant & Taxes | Audit Trail), which tracks changes to your company’s accounting records, who made them, and on what date. You can also see how a specific transaction has been edited by opening it and clicking Reports | Transaction History.

You have to know what you are looking for to use these methods, though. If you have concerns about the security of your company’s data, please contact us. We have experts in both QuickBooks and technology who can work with you on building protections into your accounting workflow – and other areas of your network.



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Jimmy Burgess is a Senior Accountant at Lutz with over four years of relevant experience. His primary focus is to provide outsourced accounting to clients with a focus on QuickBooks, tax and payroll compliance, small business consulting, as well as software implementation training.

  • Outsourced Accounting Services
  • QuickBooks
  • Tax & Payroll Compliance
  • Small Business Consulting
  • Software Implementation & Training
  • Construction Industry
  • Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • BS in Business Administration and Accounting, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
  • Youth Sports Coach, Volunteer


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