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There has been a lot of buzz in the Canadian bookkeeping industry about QuickBooks Online or QBO, as it’s called in the Biz. QBO has been available in the US for many years, but only in the last year or so has Intuit actively developed it and started marketing it in Canada. The main selling feature of QBO is that it is an entire cloud-based accounting software program.
In a previous blog post we listed some advantages. If you missed it, you can find it here at Advantages of QBO.
But with every great advance in technology there are always some negatives lurking around the corner. Here are the ones we see as most immediate with respect to QBO:
- Target – the target of QBO is small businesses. But the truth is that at this stage with QBO, it really is very small businesses. If you are a sole proprietor, or running your business through Excel, then absolutely QBO is a great alternative for you. But when you get into the larger businesses, with inventory, payroll and advanced reporting requirements, then it isn’t for you yet. It may be in the future, but right now, QBO doesn’t have the functionality of QuickBooks Desktop.
- Fees – QBO is a subscription based program, so you pay a monthly fee per company database. If you don’t use payroll, you didn’t have to upgrade your desktop program every year, and so it may have been a one time cost for you. With QBO, it is a monthly subscription fee. Also, if you have more than one company database, you need multiple subscriptions. Something that you didn’t need with QuickBooks desktop.
- Backup – No backups – although this was also listed in our positives, it is also proving to be a negative. In the old QuickBooks desktop world, if you imported a whole series of transactions or integrated with your bank accounts and there was a glitch, you could always revert to a backup. If you were trying something a little chancy and wanted to “test it” you would do a backup, and if it didn’t work, could restore your backup. You don’t have the option of creating or restoring a backup copy of your QBO database. It is all done in the back end by Intuit, with no ability for you to do it on your own locally.
- Inventory – if you are a business with very robust inventory or job costing needs, then QBO is not the right program for you.
- Browser – Although QBO is an online program, it doesn’t work smoothly with all browsers. The recommended browser is Google Chrome, so if you are used to another browser, you will have to switch with your use of QBO.
- Bugs – with any new program that is launched, there are bugs. Intuit is working very hard to work them out, but as they are introducing new features all of the time, it also means that they introduce bugs as well.
- New interface – again, this was listed in the plusses for the program. But if you are an old QuickBooks desktop user, the new interface is a big learning curve. Everything you learned about QuickBooks is obsolete.
So is QuickBooks Online right for you? The easy answer is that it depends. It depends on what functionality you want, and what features are important to you. Like every other business decision you make, you will want to do your research so that you aren’t having to convert your data to a new system in a years time.
Need help setting up your QuickBooks online database? We can help.