QuickBooks Online Might Surprise You

Eric Greenspan Cloud Accounting 4 Comments

After writing a post about QuickBooks Online and claiming it “was not ready for power users,” I got several calls from people I know at Intuit. First, let me say that my intention was to get their attention and help them make a better product. I’ve always sought building a “mind blowing customer experience” and I want the same for my partners. I am a huge fan of QB and I really want to see QBO successful. Turns out, so do they.

I spoke with a senior manager of app development first. He is charged with developing mobile apps for QBO. In short, he listened, carefully. I told him I wanted a dashboard, you know, a snapshot of my company on my iPhone. It’s a small screen, so simple and basics are all I seek. Cash in, cash out, balances, bills due, invoices past due, etc. I also asked for reports. I explained that I’m a business owner, not an accountant. I use QBO due to its simplicity and accessibility. While I have billed a client from my iPhone, what I want to view on this device is information as it relates to my company. The stuff you want to read while sitting in your favorite chair or waiting at the airport. His response was sincere and I expect my comments will be addressed, soon.

The next call was with one of Intuit’s loyalty brand managers. She was a little disappointed to read my original post and I don’t blame her. I was harsh, to the point and straight. But she wasn’t mad at me. She loves her product and her company. She wanted to fix it. We spent an hour and forty minutes talking and I showed her my gripes. She acknowledged each and sent them soaring up the flagpole to those in charge.

Then, she gave me a demo and an explanation of some features I had missed. I was pleasantly surprised. There’s a ton of power under that hood and it just takes a little getting used to the differences and nuances. My experience prior had been with QuickBooks desktop, probably like you.

While the items I requested are important, what I learned yesterday was helpful and actually eliminated many of my concerns. Even better, new features and enhancements happen very regularly so I expect many great things to come.

When I joined Spotify, after being a long time Rhapsody user, I hated the app. Today, less than a year later, it’s light years ahead. Same with my iPhone’s iOS. While Microsoft Office went backwards with overdevelopment, my expectation after speaking with Intuit is that they have an impressive fresh thinking team. We, the users, have to open our minds and accept the change. While we shouldn’t be expected to accept mediocrity, we must realize that to have an online product that provides us anywhere access and greater functionality in many ways, we simply need to be patient as it evolves and more importantly, open our minds to rethinking how we do things. Technology evolves, so must we.

Is it ready for power users? I didn’t think so before but now, I think it just might be. Embrace the change as the cloud is only going to grow larger and faster and soon it will be the chosen platform for all software. In many cases, it already is.

I built an application service provider in 2000. We “pushed” apps over a Citrix network. Back then, the web wasn’t mature enough to tackle the task we needed so the Citrix model made sense and it worked, brilliantly.

At the same time we launched, so did Salesforce.com. It wasn’t a great solution at first, but today, it dominates in the CRM world.

QBO launched after the tools and infrastructure was mature. It gets the job done and with a little bit of training, you might just fall in love with it. schoolofbookkeeping.com is currently building it’s next few courses using QuickBooks Online as a platform. Our intention is to help Intuit and QBO become the platform of choice for bookkeepers, accountants and business owners worldwide.

Comments 4

  1. I’m sure glad I logged in to refresh my memory about your comments regarding the new QBO, your review got some attention. It would sure be my choice to switch to an online version of the Desktop after 18 years. I’m using QBOnline also for a small nonprofit, but it doesn’t seem to have the features I need with the Desktop version for other companies. I’ll have to take a second look. Thanks for the reassessment!

  2. I fought QBO tooth and nail for a long time. Then I went to a workshop hosted by Intuit. I walked in with my skeptic’s hat firmly on my head – after all, why would Intuit say anything OTHER than QBO is the greatest thing since the original QuickBooks – and walked out with a plan to convert two of my clients to QBO. I was impressed by their honesty around what QBO can and cannot do, as well as their openness to suggestions from bookkeepers and accountants. I won’t lie – I am a little slower on QBO than I am on the desktop version, and I do miss certain things (the ability to duplicate a transaction or journal entry without having to set up a recurring transaction being the biggest thing I miss) – but overall I think QBO is the way to go, especially if you need to share a QuickBooks file with a client on a regular basis.

  3. First let me say I love schoolofbookkeeping.com and I’ve been very impressed with the amount of content available and the pace at which new content is added. Through my involvement with SCORE I frequently counsel folks who are aspiring, pre-startup or early stage business owners. Quite often they already own and are attempting to use QB Pro purchased at Sam’s club ( Costco, Amazon etc.) because of a recommendation from their tax preparer or a friend using QB Pro in their business. Now my first suggestion to these folks is to signup for the $5 trial to SOB, get through as many lessons as you can and call me in 14 days to revisit your QB concerns. I’ll let you know how this evolves as I start to get feedback.

    But after reading your review of QBO, I was afraid you might defer adding courses using that platform. I’m glad to see your perspective has changed. As impressed as I’ve been with SOB’s pace, Intuit’s pace of change vis a vis QBO has been phenomenal over the past year. In fact, I expect their pace to quicken and I give much credit to XERO for that. No doubt there have been and will continue to be bumps in the road, but SAAS based accounting is the future without a doubt and it’s going to be here quicker than I certainly expected just 12 months ago. We need Seth’s perspective on how to transition the knowledge he’s given us through SOB to the platform I’ll probably be recommending to most of my SCORE clients very soon because of QBO’s anytime, anywhere, collaborative properties, Intuit’s strategy to make it the core of the “Intuit Small Business Operating System” and their apparent willingness to invest significant time and treasure to that end. It’s going to be interesting to watch the gold-rush for market share but I like Intuit’s chances.

  4. I read your original article and was slightly surprised to see what you wrote simply because it truly is very capable. Whenever I hear “power user”, I think in the sense of how efficient workflows are or can be. There are so many things you can do to make QBO work quicker and more efficiently, with the biggest thing possibly being bookmarks. It is also packed with features as well, some of which are more obscure than others. I think, as fundamentally different as they are, there is generally too much comparison to the desktop version. It will take some time and more development before they’re widely seen as completely different.

    With all that said, what we all ultimately say and think in the end is what will make QBO better. I think the best part of all this is how Intuit replied and listened to you, which shows generally how supportive the company is. Hopefully, things remain that way through the life of the product.

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