Pros & Cons of QuickBooks Online
You have to have internet access to do work. At this point in time, however subject to change in the near future, Intuit hasn’t designed the program to work offline, then upload the information once the internet access is established.
This is a recent question we’ve been asked at Old Town Bookkeeping. To answer this question, we did some research and the following is our best answer in so many words:
As more and more personal and professional data are moved to the conveniently housed “Cloud”, people have begun to question the security of their information. Although the Cloud seems like something futuristic and groundbreaking in theory for a lot of folks, it has in fact been used by many industries to provide convenience in information retrieval for well over a decade.
Take online banking for an example; every time a user logs into their account through their computer or mobile device, they are accessing the bank’s server via the Cloud. All of their bank statements, transactions, account numbers, username, etc. are safely kept in the remote server along with millions of other peoples’ data. Another easy example is for Apple users; anybody with an Apple account for their iPhone or iTunes has all their information, including contacts, text messages, and personal preferences stored in the iCloud for easy retrieval, should their device ever get lost or stolen.
Gartner IT Analysts predict that, “by 2016, global revenue from public cloud software services is expected to reach $210 billion, up 60% from the $131 billion expected this year.” By this time, the new normal will be cloud computing.
There are numerous benefits and unparalleled efficiency in using the Cloud for accounting data storage and usage:
With the cloud, your finances can be worked on anytime, anywhere, and with any device. Your data will always be up to date, and software malfunctions on your computer are never an issue. Meaning, should your computer die, get fried, get dropped, be thrown off the 27th floor of your office building by an irate co-worker, you never unintentionally lose what you’re working on. If your office catches on fire, there’s no downtime for you and your employees. Anywhere with an internet connection is a place to get work done. However… you must keep in mind that “anywhere with an internet connection is a place to get work done” is our way of saying that anywhere without an internet connection is a place in which you can’t get work done. At this point in time, QuickBooks Online doesn’t allow you to retrieve or save your data without an internet connection. Having said that, most users will tell you that their internet providers are more reliable than their computers anyway.
Although many small business owners are masters of their trade, few are masters of their financial analysis. That’s where your accounting system steps in.
A well set up and functional system (e.g. QuickBooks) is beneficial to numerous other facets of a small business than just accounting - knowing where and how much of your money goes to purchasing certain items, paying certain expenses, etc. gives you an idea of what areas of your business are doing well, and what areas need improvement.
Here is one of many examples as to how a functional accounting system can come in handy:
Suppose you’re looking at a new location for your business. The new location is in a more desirable area and in a brand new complex with updated facilities, however, the price tag makes it a much more expensive venue to inhabit. You own the location you have now and you feel that even if you sell it for a fair market price, you’ll incorporate too much overhead at this new location, and although their is a strong potential for additional revenue, you are therefore wary to relocate.
With an appropriate accounting system, you have the ability to see just how much you’re paying per month or year at your current location versus how much you would be paying at the newer, yet more expensive venue.
Here at Old Town Bookkeeping, we occasionally receive questions about hiring Caretakers, Childcare providers, nannies, and other household staff. Unfortunately, unless they make their own hours, or if your household employee earns more than $1,900 per year or earns more than $750 during any quarter, you MUST withhold and file taxes for your household employee, just as any corporate employer would. Below is a handy checklist of some of the basic requirements needed to keep appropriate records of your household employee, and what you need to do to keep the IRS from knocking on your front door.
When you hire your employee:
Quarterly (By April 30, July 31, October 31, and January 31)
Suppose you spend X amount of dollars in mortgage payments, but since the building you own is older, your utilities run high. Not only are utilities an issue, but you dish out money every month to cover various repairs to your older foundation and appliances. Parking is an issue at your current location, and to generate repeat customers, you have been validating tickets for the garage across the street. Accounting systems will take all your bills, receipts, and expenses, and formulate a comparative number that makes you realize that once you add up all the costs of your present location, there is definite logic that you really are saving money by relocating to this new space.
With a more appealing venue, a new setting, and a greater influx of potential clients, your business now further prospers at the equivalent summative cost.
Beyond this example, a functional accounting system increases profitability, productivity, and makes your business more efficient. Let Old Town Bookkeeping help your business grow by establishing a fundamental service to your financial and business analysis.
Furthermore, You never need to worry about backing up your work. Additionally, the Cloud allows you to go back to earlier points in your work and see what you’ve changed, should you ever make a mistake. You, your accountant, and your data are all in sync - it’s never an issue with communication. For instance, we install Intuit QuickBooks for our clients and we use QuickBooks Online to make our work for them quick, easy and accessible at all times, allowing us to work faster for you!
Most importantly – and this is the deal-sealer, the closer, the last word; Cloud security is often world-class. Only you can invite users to view your data; only you can control the level of access. This is a much more confident method of sharing than the old-fashioned way of emailing your files or carrying around a USB drive with all your information on it. Cloud-based software companies ensure that the security and privacy of data about you and your organization is always airtight. As Daniel Rissen of Chartered Accountants, businessorchard.com, points out, "the security issues are the same as with locally hosted systems – unless your business doesn't have an internet connection. Any system can be hacked and it's always wise to take proper precautions."
With the new developments in Cloud technology, QuickBooks has devised a way to tap into the many benefits of online storage. When examining the different benefits of the two QuickBooks methods, we have compiled a short article informing the potential QuickBooks Online user of many of the weighted benefits of switching to the new Cloud-based accounting software.
Here’s a few things you should know about switching to QuickBooks Online:
Firstly, as probably the largest considered variable, let’s talk about price. Like Office 365, QuickBooks online charges a reduced monthly fee for service versus the one-time fee that QuickBooks desktop charges each time you upgrade. The price is neither more nor less expensive over relative time, simply differently structured.
QuickBooks online is updated constantly over time. There are no messages displayed every time the user opens the application asking if they want to upgrade to the newest version. The Online version is always the newest one, just like any website.
Secondly, Rather than data being stored on the user’s computer or server, the data is stored in the heavily guarded Cloud, making it less susceptible to phishing and hacking from outside parties. Unbeknownst to many, desktop files are more easily retrievable than information hidden outside the computer via the internet.
QuickBooks Online is still missing a few features however. The following are the remaining features that only QuickBooks Desktop has:
QuickBooks Online has some new cool features however, that the Desktop version does not:
Common Frequently Asked Questions about QuickBooks Online:
Q: How much time does it take to convert files from QuickBooks to QuickBooks Online?
A: Not any time at all. As a matter of fact, you can leave that QuickBooks window open and work on other things while QuickBooks converts your files for you.
Q: Can my accountants access my QuickBooks?
A: QuickBooks Online allows up to two accountants to access your QuickBooks Online data. Information that is uploaded by all parties are seamlessly transferred to other members whom are accessible to the information.
Q: What happens when QuickBooks is switched to Online?
A: Nothing, QuickBooks simply copies the data and adds that copy online. The user’s original data remains untouched in its original form.
Q: What happens to my customized templates? Can my customize templates transfer over?
A: The user can export their templates from their QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online as if they were exporting it to any other source. The only exports that aren’t allowed are Mac to Windows, and vice-versa.
Q: Is there any way to “try” QuickBooks Online?
A: Yes! You can test drive the full version of QuickBooks Online. It's really easy. Click "Try It Free" on the Intuit QuickBooks Online website and fill out a short startup interview. In about 10 minutes you'll have access to the full QuickBooks Online service. You can cancel anytime - it’s risk-free! If you subscribe to QuickBooks Online during the trial, you will continue using the same company file you created. If you do not subscribe, you can access your data in a read-only format for 90 days after the expiration of the trial period. After 90 days it is deleted.
Note: Once you begin a Free Trial with Plus, you cannot convert your data from the Plus Trial to Essentials or Simple Start. If you switch to a lower tier you will have to input your data manually.
Q: Can I import data from Peachtree or another non-Intuit application?
A: You can import data from Peachtree and other accounting applications. However, in order to do so, you have to call the QuickBooks Online customer service center in order to do so, since it is probably far too tricky for most users to do on their own without accidentally deleting or altering data and other components that they currently use.
Call us for more information or a free consultation: (703) 879-2924.
Keep all records of employment taxes for at least four years. These should be available for IRS review. Records should include the following: Amounts and dates of all wage, annuity, and pension payments, amounts of tips reported, names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and occupations of employees and pension and annuity recipients, any employee copies of Form W-2 that were returned as undeliverable, employees’ dates of employment, periods for which employees were paid while absent due to sickness or injury, and the amount and weekly rate of payments the employer or third-party payer made to them, copies of employees’ and recipients’ income tax withholding allowance certificates (example: Forms W-4, I-9), dates and amounts of tax deposits, copies of returns filed, records of allocated tips, and records of fringe benefits provided, including substantiation. You can keep these records electronically simply by scanning them.
This can be a daunting for any household, and if this is something you need help with, we are here to provide assistance, or even do all your household employee payroll and bookkeeping at reasonable rates! This includes set up, preparing, and filing all of those pesky tax forms and payments. We even offer direct deposit for your household employee, and make sure you have everything you need. Call us for more information or a free consultation: (703) 879-2924.