QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Hosting
QuickBooks Online Edition
Bookkeepers and accountants with simple bookkeeping/accounting may consider using QuickBooks Online Basic or Online Plus. The internet-based accounting programs run on Intuit’s web server which is accessible from anywhere at any time. The requirements are only an internet connection and a web browser. However, QuickBooks Online Basic and Online Plus are not the same programs as the QuickBooks desktop edition software like QuickBooks Simple Start, Pro, Premier, Enterprise etc. The Online programs offer different features and capabilities for which it is sometimes found more appealing than others.
Advantages of QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks Online Basic and Online Plus offer several advantages over the traditional desktop editions. Some of the advantages are:
• The software is easy to set up. Companies can subscribe to the service simply completing an online interview of approximate 10 minutes
• While data cannot be imported from or exported to the desktop-based version of QuickBooks (or other formats) into QuickBooks Online Basic, users can convert the file switching from QuickBooks desktop to QuickBooks Online Plus
• If the company decides to cancel QuickBooks Online Plus, they can export their data back to QuickBooks software easily
• Users do not need any special internal information technology resource except an internet connection and a web browser as QuickBooks Online is hosted and managed by Intuit on its servers
• Users can access the service anytime from anywhere. They can also allow access to public bookkeepers/accountants or trusted employees at remote locations
• The monthly subscription fee to QuickBooks Online Plus varies to the number of users. Each time when a user logs into the company’s file, an entry is added to the Access Log which describes his identity and activities into the system
• Online Basic allows access to one user and a public bookkeeper/accountant while Online Plus allows three users and a public bookkeeper/accountant. A maximum of 25 users can be added for an additional cost
• Users can enter data directly into the accounting system that eliminates the delays and inaccuracies caused by sending data back to the public bookkeeper/accountant for review
• Users need not concern to upgrades or system backups of the software as it always stays in the latest version automatically in the Intuit’s servers. Moreover, Intuit’s server files are backed up daily and the backups are moved to a remote location. Thus the data is safeguarded in the event of a fire or other disaster
• Intuit tries to notify users in advance for scheduled maintenance downtime. Besides, Intuit’s servers are connected to backup generators to protect against power failures
• Intuit maintains a range of procedures for the security of data. Such as: Passwords must be used to gain access to data, data transmit over the internet is encrypted with 128-bit encryption and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology. Besides, QuickBooks Online is a VeriSign Secured™ product which is the leading SSL Certificate Authority
• Public bookkeepers/accountants are benefitted from a client’s use of QuickBooks Online Plus in the following ways:
I) The service can help bookkeepers/accountants perform bookkeeping or write-up work “on demand” since the client’s information is accessible from anywhere any time
II) The traditional process of transferring files back and forth, while making sure both the client and the bookkeeper or accountant are using the same software release, is replaced with “real time, anytime” involvement that can better suit the schedules of both the parties
III) As the bookkeeper/accountant gets relieved of some of the manual operations required in performing traditional bookkeeping/write-up services, some bookkeepers/accountants believe the use of online bookkeeping/accounting services such as QuickBooks Online Plus will make them more efficient and better able to fulfill a more value-added advisory role to their clients
IV) Bookkeepers/accountants can access their clients’ QuickBooks Online Plus files for free
Disadvantages of QuickBooks Online
Of course, QuickBooks Online is not for everybody. There are several drawbacks or risks to using the service, many of which are inherent to any online bookkeeping/accounting software program.
• Many of the QuickBooks Desktop features are not available in QuickBooks Online
• At the time of data conversion, all the data may not be converted or it may be converted into different format and not intact
• QuickBooks Online currently does not support purchase orders or inventory tracking
• Reports and graphs are available but not as many as in QuickBooks desktop
• Report customization is somewhat limited in QuickBooks Online
• Heavy internet traffic may slow down service response time and servers may be down, preventing access to company data though Intuit tries to notify users in advance for scheduled maintenance downtime
• Company data cannot be accessed if the user’s internet connection is down or slow. Therefore, Intuit recommends a persistent, high-speed internet connection such as DSL, a cable modem, or T1 line
• In spite of maintaining every reasonable precaution to protect the privacy of company data, there always remains the possibility that a malicious hacker could break through Intuit’s security configuration and access accounting data
Who Should Consider Using QuickBooks Online?
Because it lacks many of the features of QuickBooks, QuickBooks Online works best for service companies with relatively simple bookkeeping/accounting needs (i.e., those who do not need estimates, online bill payment, or inventory tracking). Even then, those companies may not see significant benefits from the software unless they wish to give bookkeepers/accountants or employees in remote locations access to their bookkeeping/accounting records (Online Plus only). Generally, users who want a more full-featured bookkeeping/accounting program to create estimates, perform job costing, track inventory and purchase orders, or integrate with Microsoft Word and Outlook should use QuickBooks rather than QuickBooks Online.
Those who are confused of using QuickBooks Online can try the software for free for 30 days trial. During the free-trial period, users can view a sample company; try various features, change and view reports. Alternatively, users can enter their own company information and begin using QuickBooks Online.
QuickBooks Online Basic and Online Plus are accessed through Intuit’s QuickBooks website at http://quickbooksonline.intuit.com.