Although this post focuses on QuickBooks Online, because that is the program I am most familiar with, the majority of these pros (and in the next post, cons) also apply to the other online bookkeeping options.
Now, I’m going to be completely honest, up until this year, 2015, I was hesitant to recommend online bookkeeping when asked. As a QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor, and bookkeeper who works exclusively with QuickBooks and other Intuit products, I felt the online option wasn’t worth the money, or more importantly, the frustration of using it.
This year that changed. In my opinion QuickBooks Online (QBO) has advanced enough to be a viable option for small businesses. I wouldn’t, and don’t, recommend it for every client, but when appropriate, have very few reservations about it now. Although it still doesn’t offer all the functions and capabilities of the QuickBooks Desktop (QBD) versions, it has improved its functions and workflow to make a lot more sense than it used to.
So, what are the positive aspects of QuickBooks Online?
- Easy Access from Anywhere. Ok, the one hitch in this is you do need internet access, and confidence in the security of both your technology and the wifi/internet service being provided. Otherwise, if you travel quite a bit, have partners or business associates in different locations, states, even countries, being able to log in and stay on top of your bookkeeping is a great advantage.
- Lower Costs or Better Cash Flow. Instead of shelling out a couple of hundred dollars (or more depending on the version you choose), a monthly fee is deducted from your checking account or charged to your credit card. If you choose the QBO Essentials or Plus subscription you have the ability to set up 3 or more users, which means there is no need to purchase additional software licenses (or have everyone use the same login, and violating your user agreement). All the QBO subscription plans also have 2 accountant users, which means you can set up both your bookkeeper & accountant to have unique user access. You don’t need to give out your login or password information to anyone. Nor, do you need to send backups or schedule time to do something else while your bookkeeper is on your computer.
- No More Upgrades. Upgrades will be a thing of the past. You will always have the latest version.
- No More Backups. Because your data is housed on the Intuit Servers, you do not need to back up your QuickBooks file anymore. These servers have bank-level security, a higher level of security than most small businesses. Also, if your computer, laptop, or server dies, there won’t be that moment of unease, or let’s be honest…panic, wondering when you backed up last and whether or not the backup will even restore.
- Reduced Data Entry. Ok, Intuit will tell you there is no more data entry, but in the real world, there is still some data entry. I don’t truly believe that we will ever get to a point where data entry is completed eliminated. It is greatly reduced with the automatic DAILY downloads from your bank and credit card companies. You will still need to look at each transaction, and tell the program what to do with it (hence still some data entry). And yes, QBD also has the bank feeds options, but with QBD it isn’t automatic, you need to initiate the download.
However, it isn’t all sunshine and roses. There are downsides to doing your bookkeeping online. Next week’s post will explore those aspects.
Do you use QuickBooks Online, Desktop, or another program for your bookkeeping? What do you like most about your choice?