Friday, May 9, 2014

Share and Work on QuickBooks Files Without Networking With Qbox

There are many ways that I have seen my clients use to share their QuickBooks file with an accountant, CPA, or just themselves so that they can have work done in the file in a location other than their primary workplace. Or course, we are talking about QuickBooks for Desktop, which in order to have multiple people work in the same company file simultaneously, you have to have a hard-line network connection with the file hosted on a server (optimal) or have your file hosted in the cloud with a paid subscription. Sometimes, you may just need work done in a QuickBooks file but not necessarily simultaneously with someone else. In this scenario, I have seen clients send backups to their accountants and then just stop working in their file until they get the changes back and then restore the backup (not very optimal). Rarely do I see clients send accountant's copies electronically to their accountants and I haven't seen anyone use the Send General Journal Entries feature that started in the 2013 version of QuickBooks. Maybe theses processes are too complicated or misunderstand for the average user.

As an avid Dropbox user, I tried accessing my QuickBooks file on multiple computers in the past, but this caused headaches such as conflicting copies of the same file. This was probably a result of syncing issues. Now, I just keep my file in there to keep it "backed up" into the cloud, but only access it and use it on one computer. 

Recently, I discovered Qbox. This is a free (using the Basic plan) service that shares your file like Dropbox, but actually locks the QuickBooks file (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files too) when in use so that there aren't any conflicted copies. I tried the whole process from installing on my laptop and opening my existing QuickBooks file and it was a very easy and seamless process. Keep in mind that you still can only have one person open the file and work in it at one time. Once finished, the changes are synced back into the cloud while alerting the other user that the file is currently locked and cannot be used  to make changes. There is also a great feature where you can just open the file in read-only mode so that another user can at least look at stuff but any changes won't be saved. I have super fast Internet and my QuickBooks file size is pretty small, so the syncing didn't take that long. However, it didn't sync as fast as Dropbox, which has a preference to not limit bandwidth, so I am wondering if Qbox has some sort of limit in place. Other than that, I'm pretty impressed with this solution to a problem that has existed for a very long time.