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.

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.  Many love the ability to access using mobile devices and can perhaps cut down on IT costs.  If you are currently in a desktop version of QuickBooks however, several words of advice:

  • QBO was designed by a different product develop team so very different in its looks and sometimes terminology
  • Not as feature -rich as the desktop product, so you might need add-on products to fill gaps
  • If you have more than one company, you will need more than one subscription.
  • If you use an add-on product, find out what syncs with QBO – and what does not
  • Take a look at the test-drive to see what it looks like and try out a few transactions and reports
  • You get a free 30-day trial, before committing – so pay close attention in those 30 days
    • Use this link to get a free 30-day trial AND 50% off for 12 months (be sure you see 983 in the URL so you get the 12-month 50% discount)
  • Use a backup of your company file to convert so if you aren’t happy, you still have your original data file
  • If job costing is important, keep in mind that QBO pales in comparison to the desktop (I’m not exaggerating)
  • Here’s an in-depth article I wrote regarding QuickBooks Online vs QuickBooks Desktop.

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.

Remote into your computer.  GoToMyPC, LogMeIn, TeamViewer and Splashtop are the most popular. This way, you can use a desktop version of QuickBooks (Pro, Premier or Enterprise), while working 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.

Hosted Solution – Similar in some respects to QBO in that your QuickBooks software and data reside on a remote server, but you can use a desktop version of QuickBooks. So, you get the flexibility of QBO and the additional functionality of the desktop QuickBooks!  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.  You can also have access to Microsoft Office and other products if desired. 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.  A couple hosting companies I like are Ace Cloud Hosting (located in India but gets great reviews) and Recur 360 Hosting (located in the US and they have both IT experts and QB experts and great reviews); both use solid state servers and I have contacts at both so let me know and let m know so I can help you connect to key personnel.

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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