Category: Uncategorized

The Perpetual Quickbooks Home Currency Adjustment Bug

This will be of interest to anyone who uses the Quickbooks multicurrency feature. Perhaps also to others doing business in multiple currencies. Maybe even to general accounting nerds like myself.

Intro

Since the inception of the Quickbooks multicurrency feature roughly a decade ago, it has had a very simple bug that causes home currency adjustments to be performed incorrectly. This effectively means that most people using Quickbooks in multiple currencies, if they don’t know how to work around the bug, will be filing incorrect tax returns each year. The error could be large or small, but will always be present if the common conditions I’ll describe here are present.

What is multicurrency?

First off, what is multicurrency? Basically this feature is useful if your business has accounts, or sends or receives invoices denominated in any currency other than the currency of the business’s home jurisdiction. So for example a US business that has Canadian customers that it bills in CAD. Or a Canadian business with a USD bank account. Or of course any other combination of currencies. The way Quickbooks and other accounting software handles this is straightforward, but perhaps not outwardly obvious. Take the simple case of a foreign currency bank account, ie. a US-based business with a CAD account. For every transaction in this account, the software will keep a running tally of both the “home currency” (USD) and the “foreign currency” (CAD) balance.

So for example, say the account is brand new, and initially $100 CAD is deposited at an exchange rate of $1CAD = $0.90USD. The balance of the account will now be $90 (USD), with a foreign balance of $100 CAD. Some time later, $50 CAD is withdrawn, when the exchange rate is $1CAD = $0.80USD. The foreign balance is now $100-50 = $50 CAD. And the (home currency) balance of the account is now $90-$40 = $50 USD. So of course the two balances no longer reflect the current exchange rate; the difference is an unrealized gain or loss. (In this case, a loss, because the current value of the account is only 50*0.8 = $40 USD, while the balance is $50 USD.)

And the problem is?

To account for this, at the end of the fiscal year, you perform a “home currency adjustment”. This involves comparing the home and foreign currency balances of the account, and journaling the difference to a currency exchange gain/loss expense account. Quickbooks does this automatically for you. Mostly.

The problem is, when this feature was created, someone apparently added a conditional causing it to skip any accounts with zero (foreign currency) balance. After all, if there’s nothing in the account, no need to adjust it, right? Well, wrong. If you consider the example above, but instead imagine depositing $100 and then withdrawing $100 at a different exchange rate, it’s clear that the foreign balance can easily be zero while there is still an account balance that needs to be adjusted. And in fact, this is a very common situation, because foreign accounts are often accounts payable or accounts receivable, where invoices are created and then paid before the end of the month, resulting in a foreign balance of zero.

So again, if you have any foreign currency accounts—bank accounts, specific vendor accounts payable, or customer accounts receivable—that happen to have a foreign balance of $0 at your fiscal year end, the Quickbooks home currency adjustment feature will incorrectly skip adjusting them. This has been the case for many years, and despite it being repeatedly reported as a bug, and despite Intuit releasing a shiny new version of Quickbooks every single year, it has never been fixed. You would think that a bug that causes incorrect tax returns to be filed would be a high priority for a company producing accounting software, but apparently that is not the case.

How to deal with it

So, what to do? Well, first off I would certainly encourage anyone looking for software for their new business to look elsewhere. But for those of us already committed and unwilling to suffer the time cost of switching vendors (at least so far), you can work around this. What I do is the following

  • Perform the home currency adjustment as usual, under the Company/Manage Currency menu.
  • Run an unrealized gains/losses report under Reports/Company & Financial.
    • Compare the accounts listed there to those in the home currency adjustment.
    • For any accounts listed in the report that were not included in the adjustment, run a quickreport of the account for the fiscal year, and compare the year end balance to the foreign balance. If the foreign balance is zero and the balance is nonzero, add a line to the previously-generated home currency adjustment journal entry to clear that balance.
    • BTW, don’t try to skip that last step and just use the values shown right in the unrealized gains/losses report, because it’s buggy too, and will show results for the current date, not the date you enter, as well as not taking into account past currency adjustments.
  • Similarly, run account balance detail reports under vendors/payables and customers/receivables.
    • Likewise for any vendors or customers that were not included in the home currency adjustment, check whether they have a $0 foreign balance at year-end, and a non-zero balance.
    • If so, manually create new home currency adjustment journal entries for each vendor/customer, specifying both the appropriate A/P or A/R account, and the vendor name in the appropriate journal fields. These need to be done in separate journal entries because quickbooks does not allow you to manually add multiple vendors or customers to the same currency adjustment journal entry for some reason.

And then you’re done! Spend a minute silently cursing Intuit, and put your notes away to dig up next year. Eventually, maybe write a blog post about it.

Update on scam site copying AutoTempest brand

As mentioned in the previous post, a scam site has recently popped up at www.autostempest.com, with an extra ‘s’. They have stolen the AutoTempest name and logos to appear legitimate, and are scamming people out of payments for non-existent vehicles. Specifically, they appear to be posting listings for high-end vehicles such as a Tesla Model S P85D to craigslist with below market prices, then directing people to their website to complete the purchase. They have their victims wire money, and then stop replying, obviously not providing a vehicle.

We have gathered some additional information about these guys:

  • The autostempest.com domain is registered with Namecheap (which is also coincidentally where we registered the actual autotempest.com)
  • Their traffic is proxied through Cloudflare
  • According to Cloudflare, their hosting provider is “QUASINETWORKS, NL”, or “IP Volume Inc.”, which has an abuse contact of [email protected]
  • They are apparently accepting wire transfers to an account at Chase Bank in the US.

We have contacted Namecheap, who are not willing to remove the domain without a court order, but say they will be willing to assist law enforcement. (We reported this to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and to the FTC, but have not yet heard back.) Cloudflare provided us with the name of the hosting provider, but is not willing to take other action. We attempted to contact “Quasi Networks” via their posted abuse email address and via other means, but have not received a reply.

We then did a bit of research into Quasi Networks, and discovered that their business model appears to be hosting malicious and illegal sites and services that others won’t. They have gone through a number of names and legal entities in the past, including Ecatel, Quasi Networks, possibly Novogara, and now IP Volume Inc. There are many documented cases of them ignoring or stonewalling abuse claims:

Quasi Networks and the Exploitation of Women
BREIN is Taking Infamous Piracy Hosting Provider Ecatel to Court
Ecatel -> Quasi Networks
Repeated Attacks From Quasi Networks
A Conversation with RIPE NCC Regarding Quasi Networks

I have provided this information to Cloudflare and Namecheap to see if either is willing to act to stop this abuse, since Eca-Quasi-Volume clearly won’t.

We’re also asking everyone who has been affected by this scam to report it to the IC3, the FTC, and your state’s justice department.

How to pin a Steam game to the start menu in Windows 10 (without special software)

This has nothing to do with Tempest or web development, but I just figured this out, and it might be useful to someone. For some reason, Steam lets you create desktop shortcuts to individual games, but there is no straightforward way to add a tile pointing to the game in your start menu. There are apps that will do this, but they require access to your steam account, and there is an intermediate step in opening the game.

There is a way to manually create shortcuts to steam games that you can put anywhere though, including the start menu. Here are the steps:

  1. Open Steam, right click on the game in your library, and choose “Create Desktop Shortcut”
  2. Right click on the new shortcut, go to Properties, and then copy the ‘URL’ section. It should be something like “steam://rungameid/212680”
  3. Right click on the desktop and go to New->Shortcut
  4. When prompted for the location, type “%windir%\explorer.exe” (no quotes), followed by a space, and then paste the URL you copied from the Steam shortcut. So, what you end up with should look something like, “%windir%\explorer.exe steam://rungameid/212680”
  5. Set the name of the shortcut to the name of the game.

You now have a working shortcut that you can pin to your start menu or taskbar. As a final step though, you can give it an icon matching the game. To do that, right click on the shortcut and choose “Change Icon…”. Browse to C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steam\games (assuming the default location for your steam install). In there you should see a number of Icon files with random strings of characters as names. One of them should match your game. Select it, and you will be able to set your new shortcut’s icon to match.

And that’s it! A bit of work, but it should only take a minute in total once you know the steps, and no special software is required.

One last note though: once you pin it to the start menu, don’t delete the original shortcut, or strange things will happen, like losing the icon. If you don’t want it hanging around on your desktop, move it to a different folder, like %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs (your start menu folder), before right-clicking on the shortcut and choosing ‘Pin to Start’.

Recent Changes

Craigslist Change

Craigslist (with whom we have no affiliation) recently made a change that prevents their pages from being loaded in ‘frames’. Frames are basically sub-windows within another page, like our default results mode at SearchTempest used to use. This caused several other search sites to simply shut down, but we made some changes and are still going strong.

Problems?

If you are having issues, please try the debugging steps in our FAQ. Then read on!

Changes to Separate Cities Mode

First, you will notice there are now three tabs near the top of the results page. The first, ‘Separate Cities’ is basically our default results mode from before, except that we have switched to getting the links to the craigslist results from a service called 3taps. It works essentially the same as before for now, although in the future it will allow us to do some cool new things like filtering by date and consolidating everything into one list rather than windows within windows.

The only issue at the moment is that 3taps didn’t quite have the capacity to handle all our traffic, so things can be a bit sluggish at times, especially between 5-7pm pacific time. They are working hard to ramp up, and this should be dealt with very soon. Also, in order to help with the slowdowns in the short term, currently only results from the past seven days are shown in this mode.

Update: 3taps added some new servers today, so we’re hoping this will be resolved. We may still have to do some tuning, but timeouts should now be seen much less frequently.

New Direct Results Mode

Now, for those of you who liked getting your results straight from craigslist, just more conveniently, we have also rushed to develop a new alternative that will let you keep doing just that! You’ll find it under the ‘Direct Results’ tab on the results page. Since we can no longer use frames, it basically opens a craigslist results window along with a little control window with links to easily flip between cities. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out in such a short time!

And of course, we still have the ‘All Cities Together’ mode, which remains a good option for quick searches across wide areas.

Summary

So basically, craigslist made a change, so we reacted to keep the site (hopefully!) as useful as ever. We are still dealing with that performance issue in the ‘Separate Cities’ results mode, but it should be 100% very soon. For now you might want to try searching outside the peak hours of 5-7 pacific if you find things are running slowly.

We also recommend you give all three results modes a try, using those tabs near the top of the results page: ‘Separate Cities’, ‘All Cities Together’, and ‘Direct Results’. We’ve found that different modes are more convenient for different types of searches, so there’s no right answer for everyone. Fortunately, it’s easy to quickly flip between them!

Feedback

Since we got all this out in such a rush, please do let us know about any difficulties you might be having. We will work to address them ASAP. Even if everything’s working great (and we certainly hope it is!) we want to hear your first impressions, and what you’d like to see in the future!

If you are having problems though, first try out these basic debugging steps. If those don’t work, please do contact us, but please be as specific as possible about what isn’t working. What results mode are you using, what’s the URL of your results page, etc. We need specific info about the problem to try and fix it!

You can comment here, check out the forum thread, or even just fire me an email. Thanks!

 

Post craigslist ads with large image galleries using ListHD.com

I’ve just come across a sweet new tool that I know some of you will find use for. It’s called ListHD.com, and basically it’s the new, easy way to create attractive, HTML craigslist posts – complete with galleries of HD images. Imagine the attention your posts could get if they looked like this: (Click the picture to see the full-size sample.) They give you a few other formats to choose from too. Honestly, I don’t see any reason not to use this when posting on craigslist. Anything that makes your ad stand out will help it sell, right? Plus it’s super easy, and free. Click here if you want to learn more, or to give it a try! Hope you like it.