QuickBooks can be both my favourite tool and my mortal enemy; usually simultaneously. If you do any bookkeeping professionally, or just to maintain your own company, you probably know what I mean. Over the years, I have used a myriad of accounting apps. I started out with big sheets of paper and ledger books, but then moved onto MYOB. At some point, they stopped making a Canadian version, so I moved to QuickBooks. I have tried out Simply Accounting, and done test runs on almost all of the online bookkeeping apps. And, as I have mentioned (probably too often), I love the simplicity of Freshbooks when you’re needs don’t match up with a big app like QuickBooks.
Up until a couple years ago, the idea of needing any of this online was far from my reality. All of my clients were local, and although having a few reports at my fingertips would have been helpful, I never really needed to have the full experience online. When I worked from home, I would just login to my office computer with something like LogMeIn (a great free remote access solution).
Fast forward to today, and my needs have completely changed. Ever since I started writing on this site, I have had people from all over North America ask me for help with their small businesses. My dream setup would be to run QuickBooks locally, and then have that data easily accessible to my clients online. When you have to enter hundreds of invoices, bills, and receipts every day, nothing runs better than a locally installed app.
So, what’s this talk about my prayers being answered? I just read a blog post over at The Freelance Bookkeeper. Apparently, Intuit is developing something they are calling SharedBooks. The post gives a good summary of the features, so please go check it out. Simply put, this will let you have the database shared between the bookkeeper and the client. Even better, it can only be edited by one person at a time. This is critical. You can get into all sorts of problems when two people are changing something at the same time.
As always, this isn’t perfect. I think it will have the database stored in “the cloud”, which can always lead to problems if the network is down, but this is the best solution I’ve seen yet. I really hope they release this soon, and don’t forget about the folks up here in Canada when they do. So far Intuit has been pretty good about keeping us in the loop, but the internet keeps reminding me that we don’t always get all the toys that the Americans do. I’ll keep my fingers crossed, and let you know if/when there are any updates.