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Back It Up!!

Yesterday was not the best day I ever had. It wasn’t the worst day either, but it was cause for me to have a mild freak out. What would cause that, you ask? Let me tell you….it was my Quickbooks program. I am the bookkeeper on the ranch and I also fill that role in my business as well. To keep everything separate I use two different programs: Quicken for the ranch and Quickbooks for my business. Quickbooks is fairly new to me. I got it mostly to assist with invoicing and check writing. It also helped with retail transactions when I opened my store. I am quite proficient on Quicken since I’ve been using it since 2005. I’m not as familiar with Quickbooks as I’ve only been using it for about 15 months.

I’ve had our ranch accounts balanced and finished since January (a record for me). I’m usually down to the wire with these things and I swore I wouldn’t be this year. My attention to the ranch’s bookkeeping just how I wanted it to be. My business on the other hand was a nightmare. It literally took me three solid days of sitting down and manually entering every transaction to get it correct. I finished late last week and sent it off to my accountant. I was happy and relieved to be done with it. I didn’t get it done as early as I would have liked, but I wasn’t sliding in on April 14th either so I was satisfied. Whew!

I was paying bills yesterday at the shop and came to the realization that my landlords name was missing. I searched and searched for it, but couldn’t find it. This prompted me to search my check register in the program to see when I last entered her name. It wasn’t there and neither was all of the expenses for 2013 plus the majority of my 2014 transactions were all gone. Three days of manual entering was GONE?! Yep, gone! I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. I searched and searched as well as I could not knowing Quickbooks like the back of my hand. I hurried and called my accountant. She looked at what I had emailed her and said that she had the same thing. Insert scary music here! She had me come down with my laptop so she could try to find it. She looked in files and in my backups, but the sad truth was all of my 2013 expenses were gone….vanished into cyber space.

I honestly felt like crying. I know…what good would that do?! I don’t know, but it seemed like the logical choice at the moment. Then I thought about getting drunk. I quickly realized that wouldn’t help either (especially since after two drinks I’m done for). So, I went back to the shop and finished out the day. I came home and listened to my husband as he tried to explain what I should do next time. It’s funny how this happens every once in a while (slight smirk here). He was right though. I should have backed it up on an external hard drive or a disc as he suggested. My online backups were useless.

It’s a sad thing when an electronic device holds so much power over us. Don’t’ get me wrong, I love most all modern conveniences (you won’t find me without my iPhone very often). Computers are a wonderful thing…..when they work correctly. When they don’t, misery can ensue like a swarm of mad hornets. I don’t long for the days of using a pencil and a ledger for keeping track of things, but it would be nice if things would just “work”. It’s kind of like when working cows I guess. Some days they work so well you almost think they sorted or worked themselves. Some days are kind of like my current problem.

I would love the opportunity to negotiate with Quickbooks the way I negotiate with our cattle sometimes. Do it my way and life is good. Try to do it your way and I will “make” you do it my way. One way or another, I come out on top. The sad thing is my computer cares not that I’m in a bind. It doesn’t care that it is calving season and I really don’t have time for this. In reality, I shouldn’t even be writing this. I should be entering transactions back into Quickbooks. I’m in a bit in denial right now. I’m going to finish my coffee, go out and check the cows. When I get back I will tackle this nightmare. I’d like to say that I’m looking forward to it, but the truth is I’d rather go muck out a dirty cattle pot with a spoon than enter all of these transactions again. Yes, that’s how horrible this is to me! I guess I definitely learned a lesson in all of this. No matter what, hook up my external drive and back it up. Duly noted!

On a positive note, after I wrote this I called a childhood friend of mine, Jeremy, who owns ProTech Computing in Gillette, Wyoming. I figured one more try to find my lost information couldn’t hurt. He was able to remotely access my computer and after a bit he located all that I had lost. I was so elated I didn’t know what to do. I guess the moral of the story is always….and I mean, always back up your important stuff. And if you are lucky like me, you have a friend out there who knows a thing or two about computers. Until next time, I’ll be backing things up around here (probably to an OCD level)! ~Cheyenne



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