According to an Investor Relations report released by Intuit in May of 2017, QuickBooks Online (QBO) has more than 2.2 million subscribers worldwide. What is the allure of QBO and is it right for your company?
QBO has grown exponentially in recent years and is a much more robust platform than the original platform after receiving a major overhaul in 2013. One of the most attractive features of QBO for customers is the ease of accessibility. QBO is available 24/7, 365 days a year on nearly any device with an internet connection. If users would like to get QBO to do something beyond its normal platform functionalities, it is no problem. Users will find most of their needs can be filled by one of the 460 third party applications on Apps.com; these applications have been vetted by Intuit for functionality and security qualifications. There are applications to integrate and automate timekeeping and payroll, CRM apps, and even applications automatically recording accounting information and inventory from users’ online shopping platforms such as Shopify and Amazon Marketplace. One of the most powerful features QBO boasts is a focus on machine learning. The more active users are in QBO, the more QBO learns about their specific accounting needs and preferences and the more it can successfully automate – all without any programming or scheduling required on their part.
While QBO is touted as the accounting system of the future, it may not be the best option for everyone. A major hurdle in the desktop to online conversion is the software expense. Often QuickBooks Desktop users only upgrade their software every 2-3 years whereas QBO is a subscription plan based program. An additional consideration is all data is stored on the cloud, and there are some business owners who are uncomfortable with their data being stored in the cloud. Finally, despite major advances in recent years, the reporting capabilities in QBO remain inferior to the powerful reporting functions in QuickBooks Desktop, especially the reports pairing the power of Microsoft Excel with QuickBooks’ database of information. For these reasons some QuickBooks Desktop customers are wary to make the jump to QBO.
QBO has both features and flaws to consider for the traditional QuickBooks user however QBO offers a new innovative product for small Schedule C businesses: QuickBooks Self-Employed. QuickBooks Self-Employed is a compact program focusing on tracking income and expenses for businesses looking to keep their books more easily and accurately than using a spreadsheet or the “shoebox” method – and at an affordable rate. QuickBooks Self-Employed can connect to users’ bank account so users can sort business and personal items easily and it has a mileage tracker app for smartphones to make sure users never miss a deduction. It should be noted that QuickBooks Self-Employed does not have a true balance sheet so items such as depreciable assets will need to be tracked outside of the program. Professional tax preparers typically track these assets anyways so the lack of a true balance sheet shouldn’t cause any significant problems. QuickBooks Self-Employed has shown exponential growth doubling the number of subscribers from January 31 to April 30 of 2017 according to Intuit (Investor Relations Report, May 2017).
QuickBooks Online is not just growing, it is thriving in an international society demanding cloud based computing more than ever. Is it right for your business? The best way to decide is to sit down and list out the goals and expectations you would like to achieve with your accounting software and then find the product that best aligns with your needs. If you have more questions or would like help choosing the best program for you contact us to schedule an appointment.
G&H Staff Accountant
Certified QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor