Going Mobile with QuickBooks

Do you need mobile access to estimates or customer payment information?  Or do you have staff in multiple locations who need remote access to QuickBooks? I frequently get requests from clients who want or need to access their QuickBooks remotely.  I thought I’d share some options with you.

Remote into your computer.  GoToMyPC, LogMeIn and TeamViewer are the most popular. This way, you can use a desktop version of QuickBooks (Pro, Premier or Enterprise), while accessing remotely. You have access to your other software on the computer, so this is a popular option for those out of the office. Because you literally take control of a computer, the computer must be left on.  If more than one person needs access to the same computer, this doesn’t always work well.  If you are in an office environment, then you need to determine if there’s a risk of someone seeing you work on your computer remotely.  If you still decide to use it, I recommend having a Windows password, logging out of Windows AND turning off your monitor(s)!

QBox is a way to share your QuickBooks file over the Internet (securely). Whoever is currently working in QB, locks the others out.  When you are done, Qbox syncs the changes and releases the lock automatically so another user can acquire the lock to make changes. Not a solution if you need more than one person in at a time, but if you don’t, you might take a look. 

QuickBooks Online (QBO) – This product is constantly evolving and definitely growing in popularity.  As long as you have Internet access, you can work in the data file and have multiple users. You’re always in the most current version and someone else takes care of the backups. You pay a monthly fee. Still not nearly as feature-rich as the desktop and falls short for job costing (no job cost reports and you can’t job cost labor) and inventory.  For now, Intuit is keeping QBO accounting focused and relying on add-on products for other needs, so you might pay more.  Also, the subscription is per company, so if you have more than one company, you’ll need more than one subscription.  If you’re currently in a desktop version of QuickBooks, please note that the online version looks and acts very differently (2 different product development teams). Some have been okay with the transition, some have loved it and others hated it so much they moved back to desktop.  If you use an add-on product (or plan to), find out which version of QuickBooks the product works with, if they work with both desktop and online, BE SURE to find out the differences.

Hosted Solution – Similar in some respects to QBO in that your QuickBooks software and data reside on a remote server, but the difference is that you can use a desktop version of QuickBooks. So, you get the flexibility of Online QuickBooks but the additional functionality of the desktop QuickBooks! If you already own QuickBooks, then your license is used. If you don’t have QuickBooks, there is an option to lease Pro or Premier or Enterprise. (Pro supports up to 3 users, Premier up to 5 users, and Enterprise up to 30 users.) You can also have access to Microsoft Office and other products if desired.  Just like QBO, you don’t have the upkeep of another computer or server and the “host” makes the daily backups for you. You pay a monthly fee per user to have it hosted, which is different than QBO.  If you are interested in a hosted solution, there are about 15 Intuit-authorized hosts (they have met the security and other requirements with Intuit), but you might also find that your local IT company offers these services as well.   Not all hosts are equal in terms of price, whether or not MS Office is included (or extra), customer service and 3rd party applications they support.  So if you use (or want to use) a 3rd party software, you need to ask if they support that software, and if so, the cost.  If not, sometimes they have options, albeit at a higher price point.

Enterprise Solutions – With Enterprise, you can access your data from anywhere you have Internet connection by taking advantage of Remote Desktop (aka RDP and formerly Windows Terminal Services) with a server that supports RDP.   In essence, you access your server and both Enterprise and your data are there. This is different than the traditional method where the software is on your computer and you access the data on the server.  Therefore, RDP requires a different (and “beefier”) server. Enterprise looks/acts like Premier but has additional features, including tighter security and more users (up to 30).  Enterprise comes in 3 levels (Silver, Gold & Platinum). With all 3 levels, you get unlimited US-based tech support, the new version when it comes out, Intuit Data Protect, access to 12 hours of QuickBooks training online, data recovery services, and preferred rates with Intuit Payments (credit card processing).  The Gold level includes Intuit’s unlimited Enhanced Payroll and direct deposit so many save money with the gold subscription.  Platinum includes the gold features plus additional inventory features (multiple locations, FIFO, lot/serial number tracking, quantity discounts, and more).  As a QuickBooks Solution Provider and Advanced-Certified ProAdvisor, we stay up to date on promotions and get special deals (including lifetime discounts), so let us know if you would like to know more about this option.  

Add-ons:  Do you need access to everything or just certain tasks?  If you don’t need to access everything, then perhaps a web-based add-on product is the way to go.  There are lots of add-ons that address certain needs, e.g. time tracking, CRM, and estimating. 

If you look at industry specific add-ons, they typically address several areas, such as CRM (leads/opportunities), estimating, time tracking and project management. And because they’re industry-specific, they “understand” you J

Method is a web-based highly-customizable program that gives you a form of remote access to your QuickBooks – in real time!   I use it mostly for CRM, but it can handle lead generation, assigning tasks, estimating, sales/work orders, invoicing, purchase orders, payables and much more so it can be a great way to get work done away from the office. 

If remote access is important to you, then before you make the final jump, contact our office so we can help you choose the option best for your situation.  In some cases, we can save you money depending on what we determine is best for you.

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