Those of us who are of—ahem—a “certain age” can recall spending the last 20 years or so watching QuickBooks evolve and steadily grow in sophistication. From relatively modest beginnings as “accounting software for non-accountants”—a term that should not have been pejorative but somehow became so, at least as some in the industry used it—QuickBooks has evolved through the Pro and Premier iterations (along with specialty versions such as QuickBooks Accountant and QuickBooks Self-Employed) to ultimately field QuickBooks Enterprise, a powerful accounting suite capable of hosting up to 30 users simultaneously (compared to a maximum of three in Pro and five in Premier).
QuickBooks Enterprise has a long list of features that make it an excellent accounting solution for many small to medium enterprises. However, it is possible to make Enterprise even more effective, efficient, and powerful for your business by employing it as a hosted solution. Let’s consider some of the benefits of hosting QuickBooks Enterprise in the cloud.
For one, you can bring your business into the age of the remote and mobile worker. Employees (and owners, for that matter) are no longer chained to their desks…not even metaphorically. (Sorry; we’re still traumatized by an experiment in boosting productivity at a former employer that was best characterized by the program motto “Daily beatings will continue until morale improves.”) The wonders of “the cloud” (which in the event your kids haven’t explained it to you yet merely refers to storing data on someone else’s servers rather than your own computer) mean that critical business data can be accessed from anywhere. You need not even have your laptop; if you’re on vacation and prefer not to lug your laptop to the beach (even if only because your significant other won’t stop glowering every time you do), you can access your hosted QuickBooks solution just as easily from your phone or tablet…and you can always claim you only brought your tablet to read a book or play Candy Crush.
If your business has multiple locations—especially locations in other cities or states—you can easily make reporting available on demand to personnel at those places. No longer will they have to pester your home office staff for reports or be limited in when they can get important data by the time zone and office hours of your headquarters. In fact, you may find it more efficient to have certain types of data entered into QuickBooks directly by employees at the remote locations, eliminating the need to send files or other information to the central office and making complete, accurate accounting information available more quickly.
It may even make sense to outsource your bookkeeping, especially as your company grows initially until it reaches a size at which an internal accounting staff makes more sense. A hosted QuickBooks Enterprise solution means you can pick the best bookkeeping vendor for your business regardless of whether they’re located halfway across the country or halfway around the world. You can also provide your accountant access to your Enterprise file (user permissions are highly customizable in Enterprise, by the way) so that at tax or audit time they can pull data directly from your system instead of having to pester you for it, saving time and aggravation for all involved.
Another significant benefit of hosting QuickBooks Enterprise in the cloud is data security. Computers and software are wonderful for the tremendous amounts of data they can capture, organize, and store and all the paper records they can eliminate…unless something happens to that data. “Something” can be as mundane as a hard drive crash or power surge or as catastrophic as a fire, tornado, hurricane, or earthquake that levels the building that houses your server.
Yes, there are ways to protect yourself from data loss, any of which your IT staff or contractor will be happy to explain to you in detail: RAID arrays…uninterruptible power supplies…offsite data backup…and so on. Once your head stops spinning, consider this: With a hosted QuickBooks solution, your data is stored on a remote server by a company that specializes in that sort of thing, and they worry about RAID arrays and uninterruptible power supplies and offsite data backup and all the rest. We also suspect that no matter how good your IT professional is, your data is less likely to be hacked when stored by a hosting company than when stored on your server, no matter how up-to-date your firewall and packet filtering and port monitoring may be. (They are, right?)
We could go on, but just these two factors alone—remote access to your accounting system from anywhere with an internet connection and placing data safety and security in the hands of professionals—make the modest cost of hosting worthwhile. Even if you already have Enterprise, transitioning to a hosted solution is easy. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about hosting QuickBooks Enterprise in the cloud.