There are few topics guaranteed to put someone to sleep as much as accounting. From the outside, the idea of combing through someone else’s books — all those numbers! Why? — is probably as appetizing as an emergency trip to the dentist. But just as it’s important to practice proper dental hygiene, so is it necessary to practice proper financial hygiene — which means going head to head with a waterfall of numbers, and the software that helps businesses like yours make sense of them all.
These days, it’s all about the cloud. Yes, even accounting software now has a home in the digital nebula once ruled by 10,000 pictures of your kid eating spaghetti. If you’re reading this, chances are this is something you’re already aware of, and it wouldn’t surprise us if Quickbooks Online is an option you’re mulling over for your company. But if you are considering making the switch to Quickbooks Online (or QBO for short), there are a few things you need to think about beforehand.
You first priority when considering any software change is to take some time to assess your workflow to ensure it’s right for your business. Quickbooks Online is no different. Though we aren’t accountants (meaning there are certain areas we’re not able to knowledgeably advise you on), we can point you towards some of the major advantages of Quickbooks Online.
One of the biggest perks of QBO, as mentioned above, is that it’s cloud-based software. This makes it a solid and flexible solution if you need to access your files from locations other than your office, including when you’re on the go, thanks to its mobile accessibility. Compare this to its predecessor, which is only desktop based. Any files saved there would stay on your computer, whereas with QBO they’re both backed up to your device and stored in the cloud.
Since the platform is online based, it’s been streamlined to maximize ease of use. Desktop accounting software hasn’t changed much in the past few decades; there’s been no incentive to update the UI or improve the UX. With QBO, however, there is an emphasis on convenience for small business owners and self-employed individuals. There’s an understanding that people would really rather not spend their time entering numbers, so they’ve found ways to reduce how much you have to.
This user-friendly push towards simplicity (thank you, Silicon Valley) is found in other areas, too. QBO supports multiple concurrent users (up to 25), meaning both you and your twenty-four accountants can work simultaneously off the same dashboard — one from every time zone around the globe, if you’re so inclined. Real-time collaboration and accessibility means more time you can spend on your work — and less time dealing with manual entries. Another plus: QBO allows automated customer billing, email reports, and bank transaction downloads, and offers unlimited email invoicing. However, it does fall short when it comes to helping you manage a large inventory or calculating job costs.
The biggest downside, though, is the conversion process. A lot has been written about how to handle the migration from desktop software to QBO, and not all of the reviews are glowing. That’s primarily because there are limitations on what you can transfer automatically, as you will see in the list below:
- Company Name
- First Name
- Last Name
- Alt Ph.
- Bill to Address (except Note)
- Ship To Address*(except Note)
- Tax code/item
- Preferred Payment Method
- Note (up to 4000 characters)
- Inactive status (this status remains as long as there are no unbilled charges imported)
- Alt. Contact
- Customer Type
- Price Level
- Custom Fields
- Credit Limit
- Job Status
- Start Date
- Projected End
- End Date
- Job Description
- Job Type
- Credit Card Information
*The Ship To Address converts, but not perfectly. The entire address will be placed in the main address field, leaving City, State/Province, Zip Code/ZIP code, and Country blank.
What this means is that there are things that will have to be transferred manually, including any integrated programs you have. This can make the migration process time-consuming and frustrating — some accountants have gone so far as to call it a crisis — which means you probably will not want to manage the conversion yourself if you have a lot of data. Instead, it may make sense for you to hire a specialist or an accountant to manage that for you.
Despite that pitfall, Quickbooks Online is a great choice for a company looking for new ways to stay nimble. The flexibility and convenience that QBO provides is ideal small businesses, entrepreneurs, and self-employed individuals — or anyone looking for an alternative solution to managing their finances.
Contact JNT TEK for a consultation on whether switching your accounting software to an online platform is the right move for your business.