Tuesday, January 19, 2016

QuickBooks Online: Security, Inventory, and Other Concerns


There is a lot of buzz among my colleagues about the climate change surrounding the QuickBooks ecosystem including the desktop and online versions. Intuit Sync Manager is going away for desktop (QBD) and the mobile app is already gone. Some of the oldtimers continue to poo poo QuickBooks Online (QBO), maybe out of reluctance to embrace change or maybe from fear of losing years of QBD knowledge and expensive technical support engagements. I have always valued having to constantly learn new things, which I thought was typical for my profession as a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, so it seems counter intuitive to deny the facts of the future and spread misconceptions and mistruths of a product. Don't get me wrong, I still think that QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions (QBES) is Intuit's best product, and it will remain the best fit for many of my clients. But since I am always touting the benefits of QBO, I get attacked on a regular basis for any of my comments. Well, maybe that is just fear-based too as the weak are always trying to sabotage the strong, right?

Ok, that's my rant opener for the year, but actually, I have been quiet for so long because everything has been going so well! I have been able to help more clients by being more productive and keeping it simple. I have either been helping QBES clients sort out and tackle complex tasks like building assemblies, setting up multiple warehouse locations, and handling other inventory hurdles one step at a time or helping QBO clients get set up and streamlined with the "simple" processes of matching transactions, reconciling, and entering tricky transaction. I love solving problems and the goal is always to make it work with what you've got and constantly come up with solutions. I've done that with my own business with patience and perseverance and I'm happy to share that expertise with my clients. I may talk a lot more about QBO but that is because they are constantly updating the product on a regular basis, sometimes every month! So, here are some new updates I am excited about:

 One of the biggest concerns for those even considering QBO is security. In this day and age when credit card numbers are getting stolen from hacks into merchants and cloning, having your financial data in the cloud is concerning. I just read an article recently that Intuit was considering moving more of its applications to Amazon Web Services (AWS), but was holding off because of features not yet available. I can't find that article, but here is indication that eventually QBO may be on AWS, if it isn't already. What has happened recently, however, is a new verification process when logging into any Intuit cloud application from a new device (or browser). I have seen this so far with QBO, TurboTax Online, and Mint.com. It now asks for verification via a 6 digit pin number sent via text or email, depending on what is on file. As annoying as some may find this process, I applaud Intuit's commitment to security and making it even more difficult for hackers to access any of my online accounts.

Inventory is probably one of the biggest topics when comparing QBO to QDT. And it seems to be the area where updates are happening the most in QBO. We now have SKU, Categories, Quantity Available or Out of Stock, and Pictures. The latest is a survey on how you can help improve inventory tracking. Intuit takes feedback seriously so I highly recommend taking it, especially to indicate the next 5 areas they should work on. Mine were Sales Orders, Price Levels, Shipping, Assemblies, and Location and multi-warehouse tracking. This is what Premier and QBES users require and would be a game-changer if in QBO.



Another wished-for update that would address another major concern, outages, would be the ability to continue to work even if QBO's servers go down. QBO has gone down three times for me (while working in it) in the past couple years and only for a relatively short period of time (hours at the most), most recently last week on the morning of January 13th. While not major for my type of business, as it just means that I work on other stuff, this can be a major problem for multiple users working at the same time every minute of the day. While the QuickBooks Online App for Windows stores a cached copy of QBO data, it still can't be used if QBO's servers go down. Send your feedback (via the gear icon in QBO) to get this rolling!