If you are a QuickBooks desktop user, it is sometimes helpful to have your accountant or bookkeeper view and work in your QuickBooks company file.
Accounting professionals have been able to remotely access their clients QuickBooks desktop products using the QuickBooks Remote Access Service. This service is being discontinued by Intuit starting January 31, 2015.
There are three alternatives for accountants, bookkeepers and other financial advisors to work with their clients QuickBooks files:
Remote access using a number of programs such as TeamViewer, Joinme, GoToMyPC and other third party software programs. These programs are typically downloaded on both computers, and allow both parties to view the screen of the shared computer. It is called remote login support, or screen sharing – the client is giving the advisor permission to log into their computer, take control of the mouse (share the screen), and make any necessary changes or provide consulting or training. These programs also allow you to have remote access from anywhere for your own computer. This solution does not require any additional QuickBooks licenses.
The second option is to host the QuickBooks company file on the cloud using software solutions such as Cloud9 Realtime, Swizznet, and Novelaspect. This is called “cloud-hosting” and allows multiple users to access the same company file by logging in to a web-based subscription service (also called SaaS or Software as a Service). Each person can work on the same company file simultaneously. For this option, you will need combined licenses equal to the number of users for the same QuickBooks version. In other words, if you use QuickBooks Pro, both the client and the advisor will need a license to QuickBooks Pro.
The last option is the fast-growing Qbox application, which allows you to set up QuickBooks company files in Qbox, share and collaborate with any number of users. Qbox is a folder on your PC attached to the cloud. Files kept in the Qbox folder can be shared with your accountants, clients, business partners or employees securely. Qbox locks the file to protect your changes so there is no conflicted file copies or data corruption. In addition, create and share Tax returns, Expense reports, Payroll reports, Bank statements and other documents in Word, Excel or PDF formats. Qbox supports Windows version of Intuit QuickBooks, Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point. Many other file formats like PDF, JPG and PNG can be shared without file lock. To use this option, each person needs their own copy of QuickBooks on their own computer.
Each of these solutions are viable options and are dependent on the sharing needs of both the client and the advisor. Here is a summary of the benefits and drawbacks for each method, along with the best application scenarios:
- Great for occasional access to troubleshoot a specific problem or provide brief “how-to” training.
- Can use for scheduling, hosting and recording meetings
- Can be cumbersome to run software
- Reduces need for on-site meetings
- Anywhere, anytime access
- Simultaneous use of QuickBooks company file
- Can be costly
- Best for advisors who need constant access to clients file during regular business hours or at same time as client
- Can share additional documents
- Eliminates potential for duplicating company files
- Best for occasional access after hours, for monthly reconciliation, or short-access times
- Less expensive alternative for accessing the company file safely and securely
- Great for bookkeepers to share company with owners that do not need frequent QuickBooks access