Introduction to QuickBooks® Online
The evolving growth of cloud-based software and applications has been an inspiring opportunity for multiple industries, and particularly those connected to business and the availability of financial information. The last decade, in particular, has brought interested parties to develop and present business owners with options to backup, store and sync their business’s accounting records to online locations, and attracting consumers looking for additional security and peace of mind in circumstances that would otherwise compromise the security and permanence of financial data.
Intuit, Inc., creators of QuickBooks® products and services, released their first version of QuickBooks® Online cloud-based software in 2000. As with many accounting programs first released at the turn of the century, the product had ample room to grow and develop, and did so in leaps and bounds through the last thirteen years. The software development in the 2014 version of QuickBooks® Online offers substantial benefits to users, proven by the over forty percent increase in paid subscribers in the last year alone; however, as with any major decision, business owners and other interested parties should consider the practical utilization and fit with cloud-based software services in order to effectively implement changes to accounting data management.
2014 QuickBooks® Online – An Overview
The 2014 version of QuickBooks® Online, while similar to QuickBooks® desktop applications, presents accounting operations and accessible data much differently to the user. The simplistic flow of document preparation and submission (such as customer receipts, invoices and purchase orders, and timely email reminders to customers and vendors), financial status presentation in graphical and summary form through pie charts, bar graphs and whole number snapshots, and automatic syncing of banking information from a business’s financial institution often capture customer interest as the most appealing features. All accounting information is regularly backed up, and secured by encryption rivaling online banking access. Mobile access is also available from tablets or smartphones, further providing accessible data to the business.
QuickBooks® Online can be set up with multiple users, with access controlled and determined by business owners or accountant access. Depending upon the service package utilized (Simple Start, Essentials or Plus), various other features can be applied to the cloud-based software: automatic invoicing and purchase order creation, industry trend comparison and analysis with the business, inventory tracking, 1099 preparation, employee time tracking, division of multiple location sales and profitability, budget creation and future sales projections, and payroll processing, among others.
Current QuickBooks® Online Disadvantages
While QuickBooks® Online services an impressive variety of accounting data and business needs, there are some circumstances where consumers may benefit from choosing the desktop-based version until further development of the cloud-based software comes available. Businesses with complex inventory management needs or project-based revenue streams may struggle with the lack of complex inventory management and progress invoicing currently unavailable in the online version. Lack of internet access and effective internet speed, while infrequent, may stifle accounting data access for a business; additionally, the learning curve of operating the system is an opportunity cost to consider.