How to Set Up Simultaneous Multi-User Access in QuickBooks 2011
Sometimes, you need only a single computer and a single copy of QuickBooks even though you have several employees using it. However, QuickBooks does allow for simultaneous use of the QuickBooks data file by multiple users. To do this, predictably, you first need to create multiple user. account in QuickBooks.
After you've set up your multiple accounts, you install the QuickBooks program on other personal computers and then, assuming that these personal computers all connect to a Windows network, use those other copies of QuickBooks to access the QuickBooks data file stored on the first or principal computer.
A common setting in which you may want to have several QuickBooks users is for sales representatives in your firm who prepare invoices or prepare bids for customers. In this case, you may want to have each salesperson set up on QuickBooks. Note, however, that these sales people should only have the capability to create an invoice or perhaps create and print an invoice estimate.
Before QuickBooks will accept multiple simultaneous users, you need to tell QuickBooks that this simultaneous use is okay. It's simple: Choose the File→Switch to Multi-User Mode. If you later want to turn off this Multi-User Mode, you choose File→Switch to Single User Mode.
QuickBooks supports simultaneous use by multiple users through a technology called record locking, which locks all the records that you're working with, but not the entire QuickBooks data file. For example, if you want to work with company A and some other user wants to work with company B, that's okay. QuickBooks allows that. What you and the other user can't do, however, is work on the same company (company A or B) at the same time. This would mean that you're working with the same customer record.
You can't install the same copy of QuickBooks on multiple machines and legally have a multiple user QuickBooks system. You must purchase a copy of QuickBooks for each machine on which QuickBooks is installed. Note, however, that Intuit does sell some multiple-user versions of QuickBooks where you actually buy five licenses in one box of QuickBooks. (The Enterprise version of QuickBooks supports multiple user networks with up to thirty simultaneous users, while the other versions of QuickBooks support multiple user networks with up to five simultaneous users.)