Review: QuickBooks Cloud Accounting Software
Cloud accounting has officially landed on the scene and is here to stay. While Australian organisations have been slow to adopt this new arrival, Software Advice found over 50% of small businesses are considering moving their accounting to the cloud.
Cloud accounting allows organisations to access their financials online. Instead of IT managing their own on-premise software, burdens like maintenance, updates and more belong to a third party. This technology is capable of revolutionising operations, streamlining accounting and saving valuable time and money.
What is QuickBooks Online
Developed by Intuit, QuickBooks Online is bookkeeping software designed to alleviate the accounting workload, including invoicing, managing BAS and more.
Instead of having to purchase and install software and hardware, QuickBooks Online only requires a high-speed internet connection and standard internet browser. The result is a more efficient, mobile workforce that works from any device and any location. Organisations using QuickBooks Online can collaborate with accountants or business partners seamlessly, knowing data is protected by enterprise-level security.
Every organisation needs accurate financial data to be successful. QuickBooks Online gives business owners the power to generate a true representation of the company’s financial position at a moment’s notice, ensuring high performance and swift incident resolution.
Benefits of QuickBooks Online
Anywhere, Anytime Access
An organisation’s productivity shouldn’t be diminished by a travelling or ill-equipped workforce. QuickBooks Online enables swift and easy access to an organisation’s data, regardless of time, place or device.
When employees have to scamper between the office and appointments for downloads or uploads, they’re wasting time and money. QuickBooks Online provides centralised access to information, updated in real time. Unsurprisingly, a survey by QuickBooks found 83% of QuickBooks Online users called this their favourite feature.
Automatic syncing occurs across desktops, tablets and phones, propagating changes to data throughout the system. For example, changing the sales tax rate in one place updates all sales records.
QuickBooks Online also integrates well with other programs like Microsoft Excel and Acrobat Reader.
Whether writing cheques or typing multiple data entries for a single transaction, manual accounting processes have always been a necessary evil. Manually generating and sending paper invoices, receiving and processing payments and producing reports is inconvenient and time-consuming. However, QuickBooks Online can automate many of these processes, saving time and boosting productivity.
For example, QuickBooks Online supplies templates for customisable invoices, spreadsheet charts and business plans. Here’s a screenshot that shows how Quickbooks Online automatically pulls data from bank accounts and learns from previous behaviour so it can eventually automatically classify transactions:
Additionally, reports like Profit & Loss and Balance Sheets are a single mouse click away.
Shifting to cloud-based accounting reduces time and energy spent on unnecessary manual activities, allowing organisations to harness the true potential of their workforce. In fact, 37% of QuickBooks Online users save between one and five hours a week, 35% save between six and ten hours a week and 11% save over ten hours a week.
When collaborators rely on manual processes, bottlenecks develop and erode a workforce’s efficiency. QuickBooks Online reduces these problems because employees share information in real time.
Organisations using QuickBooks Online don’t need to worry whether the latest version of a document has been emailed around. Rather, employees, external accountants and business partners can work simultaneously in real time, minimising sequential processes and the inevitable delays they beget.
Any number of concurrent users can be added without implementation delays, fostering an environment conducive to unplanned collaboration. Additionally, QuickBooks Online is designed to be intuitive and easy to learn, even for those without a finance background.
The clean interface below illustrates key metrics in the centre, showing any tasks requiring attention on the right.
The cloud-based software even offers sample-company examples for users to test so they can learn how to manoeuvre inside the program without compromising their company’s data.
The practise of collaboration has become a key differentiator for successful businesses. QuickBooks Online can help people work together more efficiently,
Fear of online threats abounds with all business owners. Yet many executives don’t realise QuickBooks Online has the potential to not only beef up security infrastructure, but also provide advanced monitoring tools.
In a survey by Cloudtech, 62% of CFOs in Australia and New Zealand describe security as a substantial challenge to cloud accounting adoption. However, QuickBooks Online uses security technologies most organisations couldn’t afford on their own. This includes the same data-encryption technology as leading banks, firewall software, security personnel and automatic backups.
Also, the activity log below shows all user and third party activity, including user log-ins, editing of accounts and items, bank transactions downloads and more.
A team of technical experts monitors the network in real time, ensuring organisational content is completely protected from online threats.
Challenges of QuickBooks Online
- QuickBooks Online carries a history of unscheduled outages. One of the worst instances occurred in 2012 on the Friday before the corporate tax deadline, resulting in angry users without access to accounts the entire day. Unfortunately, even the most successful cloud providers, like Amazon, experience downtime from time to time. Nonetheless, QuickBooks Online has the potential to reduce downtime overall, because daily IT hassles are offloaded to a team of experts specialised in resolving conflicts.
- QuickBooks Online is designed for ease of use over breadth of features. Therefore, it doesn’t have all the accounting methodologies some accountants require to perform certain analyses. Other limitations include the number of products an organisation can offer. Organisations looking for a more extensive range of features can pay a one-time fee for the desktop version.
Three steps to implementing QuickBooks Online
Determine specific needs about your business, including structure and compliance obligations. Discuss how you can seamlessly migrate your finances to QuickBooks Online with a consultant, QuickBooks Online support team or other trusted financial professionals.
- Sign up for a QuickBooks Online free trial before you commit to paying a monthly fee. Use the trial period to become comfortable using the software.
- Once you’ve established you’re ready to commit to QuickBooks Online, it’s time to train and educate staff. Luckily, QuickBooks Online has an incredibly simple interface. Identify areas staff can access for help. This phase of the implementation process is critical, since you want to leverage all the capabilities of QuickBooks Online in order to obtain maximum benefit.
QuickBooks Online supports a mobile, flexible workforce, saving time and money and ultimately increasing productivity. It allows business owners to unearth their workforce’s true potential via collaboration and can strengthen security. QuickBooks Online enables a seamless way of working, which is vital to business life, providing an organisation with the necessary tools to increase productivity and stay ahead of the competition.