Accounting is an essential ingredient in a well organized enterprise. It is the heart of any organization controlling the cash flow or life blood of an organization. Historically, accounting software has been clunky, slow and complicated. When Quickbooks 2010 stopped receiving support in May 2013, I knew I had to find a better way of managing this essential function.
As long as I have been running businesses I have been using Quickbooks to track the accounting activities of those businesses. Quickbooks has always been a reliable (and frustrating) solution to my accounting needs. The software was not perfect, but it has been reliable and almost every accountant can use your Quickbooks file to prepare needed financial statements.
A few weeks ago my current version of Quickbooks (2010) alerted me that it would no longer be supported in May. At first I was annoyed that I was being forced to upgrade again, but I quickly decided to make the best of this opportunity. My goal was to evaluate the new cloud-based alternatives to Quickbooks and see if I could find something more useful and less expensive than the Quickbooks Online service.
There were a few different things I wanted from my new accounting system including:
- Usable from PC and Mac
- iPhone and iPad Apps
- Invoicing from Mobile Device
- Secure Automatic Transaction Downloading
- Interactive Reporting
- Easily Import from my Existing QB File
Freshbooks as an Alternative to Quickbooks
When I first started reading about Freshbooks I was very excited. It seemed like a great potential replacement for Quickbooks, but I was wrong. Freshbooks is a cloud based invoicing system, not the complete accounting system, I was looking for. Freshbooks seems to be a very good invoicing system, but you cannot manage bank transactions, payroll, and other accounting functions needed when running a small business.
Trusting the Alternative
After realizing Freshbooks was not the answer to my problems I had a new problem to face. Could I really trust a small company with my essential and confidential accounting information? Branding Arc has partnered with some of the world’s most trusted data management companies including Google, Citrix, GoDaddy, SalesForce.com and BillingTree. How could we trust some of the most crucial information to a lesser company?
I wrestled with this dilemma for a few days and finally decided to try QuickBooks online. Intuit has been faithfully protecting my information in Quickbooks for years, I figured I should at least try their solution before sending my data off to someone else.
Making the Switch to Quickbooks Online
Once the decision was made to try the 30 day free trial I started getting a little excited. My mind was racing with all the new flexibility that would come with a cloud based accounting and invoicing system. I quickly went through the process of uploading my existing Quickbooks file the cloud. It did require some level of technical savvy, but in less than 1/2 hour I was up and running.
The online system works in a very similar way to their classic Quickbooks desktop software so it was easy to navigate their site. With all of my information pre-loaded from my old version, everything worked automatically.
After testing Quickbooks Online as my accounting system of record for the past few months we plan to continue using it indefinitely. Although the cloud based solution does come with a slightly higher cost over time, it provides a higher level of flexibility and service that warrant the price increase. Integration with your smartphone and tablet allows you to create invoices on the fly with little effort and email them to your clients while you are standing with them.
So far, we have been impressed with the service and even helped a few of our clients migrate their accounting to the cloud with Quickbooks Online. We are looking forward to continuing to enjoy our new accounting solution.