A couple of years ago, as owner of Graywolf Financial Services, I made the decision to rename my company Graywolf Productivity Solutions, LLC. Why? ... well, to better reflect the core focus of our service offerings to small and mid-sized businesses (affectionately known as SMB's). We're all about helping SMB's to achieve their productive best through the implementation and use of excellent productivity tools and methods, and I felt the new name better reflected that mission and vision. With the right cloud-enabled tools, I believe that a small to mid-sized business can run just as effectively, if not better, than "the big boys," without having to spend tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars on expensive systems.
With that business name change, and shift in core service emphasis, I also decided to move from using QuickBooks Premier Accountant Desktop as my financial software to using QuickBooks Online Plus. It's now my trusted and very productive "system of record" for all of my business transaction recording and financial reporting. Whatever possessed me to move away from the well-known and powerful functionality of Intuit's stable desktop version to (by comparison) Intuit's fledgling online product?? Well, here are the primary reasons for making the move:
QBO Fits My Business Philosophy and Workflows
Graywolf Productivity Solutions exists to help others work smarter, live better and engage well with the people and environments they're involved with. Being cloud-enabled and cloud-focused is a prime factor in achieving that, and using QuickBooks Online fits right in with that philosophy. It affords me access to my business transactions and reporting in real-time from any device, from anywhere I have an internet connection. Literally, access around-the-clock from anywhere in the world. I don't have to worry about sketchy local file storage, updating my company file to a shared-drive location, or setting up a hosted network for flexible access. All I do is log into my account and there's my information, at my fingertips ready to review and use ... whether I'm using my desktop computer, laptop, 2-in-1 tablet, or smart phone. Convenient and always available access. In addition, on my desktop or laptop I can download the desktop app that links into my QBO account and not even have to bother with pulling things up on an internet browser ... very sweet!
Workflow-wise, as a service organization, I have everything I need within QBO's transactional workflow structure to conduct and track business in a very productive fashion. From setup of an efficient and streamlined chart of accounts with well-defined product and service categories, to estimate/invoice/sales receipting and PO/expense/check creation tied quickly and cleanly to customer and vendor records, to job/project tracking (again tied cleanly to appropriate customers, with time-tracking if desired) where I clearly see and understand associated revenues/expenses/profit margins, to being able to process efficiently and quickly employee payroll and tax payments (like a dedicated payroll processing pro!), to effortlessly matching and reconciling banking transactions (more on that below), to being able to generate and view clear and concise financial and business activity reports in a centralized reporting center (I can even generate customized management reporting and save the formats for immediate and updated recall at any time).
QuickBooks Online enables me to do business with our clients efficiently and effectively, while minimizing keystrokes and complicated accounting memorizations. While I use QBO as a service organization, it can function just as well for product or inventory-centric businesses. It lends itself to being flexible enough to meet most any business workflow processing. Set it up well, taking advantage of the excellent functionality it affords, and away you go!
QBO Increases My Organization and System Productivity
Not only does QuickBooks Online fit the workflow requirements of my business, but it also provides a responsive and efficient financial software tool that lends itself to increasing my day-to-day productivity. On the fly, I can attach receipts to my expense transactions and other relevant documents to estimates, invoicing, and purchase orders, amongst other transactions (I can do this using QBO's own document attachment features, or seemlessly integrate with expandable tools like SmartVault). No more having to file or look up in a separate location paper receipts, a reference document for a job estimate, or the like. I don't have to spend all day in it ... enter my transactions and supporting documents with a few keystrokes, and I'm off to my next task.
As an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor who also provides bookkeeping and accounting services to clients who themselves use QuickBooks Online, I've taken advantage of a QuickBooks Online Accountant subscription that helps me manage within a centralized dashboard location both my practice activity in support of my clients as well as my own books. I have access to an overview of my clients' recent bookkeeping and payroll activity status and communications. I can access my clients' books with one click. For my own business activity, I can access through the dashboard menu all of my varying business transactions, customer/vendor records, employee and tax records, and key reports. I even have access to my ProAdvisor portal, where I can conveniently view my profile, certification info and updates, client training, software and associated discounts (that I can take advantage of for both my clients and my business), and a host of other resources.
With QBO, I can make my financial system of record a centralized and digital storehouse of important business transactions and relevant supporting documentation, in addition to being able to manage my client support in the same convenient and centralized hub. I can be better organized and more productive in one fell swoop ... excellence in motion!
QBO Has Some Excellent Functionality Superior to Desktop
While QuickBooks Premier and Enterprise desktop versions offer very powerful functionality that eclipses that of QuickBooks Online, QBO has functional elements that are much more fluid and efficient (in my humble opinion). In addition to the 24/7, global and multiple device access mentioned above, here are some additional aspects where I believe QBO shines better than Desktop:
- Banking - QBO's functionality is just fantastic here. The centralized banking center, coupled with automatic bank feeds, easy adding/matching of transactions, and rules setup to "educate" transaction matching, is one of the most dynamic features of the program. As you "educate" the banking tool, you increase your capability to automatically download and properly categorize your transactions, with minimal keying effort. Using the bank feed mechanism, your accounts literally become self-reconciling, making your reconciliation job at month-end almost effortless. You link your participating online banking and credit card accounts, and you're on your way to smooth and efficient handling of your banking activities.
- Class and Location Tracking - with QBO Plus, you have the capability of not only tracking your transactions by a defined class, but also secondarily by location. You can use one or both. With class tracking, you can specify a class for each transaction line. With location tracking, you can assign a location to an entire transaction.You can run reports for the whole company, or by class and/or location. Lots of flexibility here not available in the desktop version, for companies that need it.
- Online and Scheduled Invoicing - with QBO, you can generate a special type of email to your customer with a link to an online invoice. Clicking on the invoice opens a special browser webpage that interacts directly with your QuickBooks Online account, and allows your customer/client to view the actual invoice and make an online payment via credit card or banking ACH (QuickBooks Payments activation required). Your customer and you can post messages and attachments directly linked to the online invoicing, viewable in the activity feed within QBO. In addition, you can see when your customer has opened and viewed the invoice. You can also easily schedule recurring or future-release invoicing, as desired.
- Multiple A/R and A/P Lines in a Single Journal Entry - this can be a huge advantage for we accountants and bookkeepers who need to make adjusting entries that involve customer and vendor receivables/payables. Typically, you would enter transactions affecting A/R and A/P via creation of invoices or bills. But, there are times when using journal entries becomes necessary (prime examples are setting up a new company with beginning balances, or allocating ACH deposits). It can save a lot of time (not to mention heartache) having the ability to amass adjustments, if needed, in just one journal entry versus many. You reduce both time and workflow processing necessary in the posting of these type of entries.
- Online Mobile App - you can send invoicing, reconcile accounts, run payroll, gain access to business transactions and activity, and even capture receipts using the QBO mobile application downloaded to your smartphone. Looks and feels clean and snappy ... outstanding!
- Easily Share Books With Accountant/Bookkeeper - with QBO, gone is the need to transfer accountant copies of company files, or having to setup your file on a 3rd party hosting application. You can setup your bookkeeper/accountant for easy access to your books for remote transaction entry, fixing of problems or to answer questions, all without disrupting other user work or risking duplicative or missing transactional data.
- Automatic Upgrades - with QBO, all upgrades to the product are automatic and real-time. When a development is made by Intuit, generally you'll recieve it right away as it's completed and made available. New features continue to be added to QBO and the mobile app companion on an almost monthly basis.
- Security - QBO is very safe and secure. Your data is saved and stored online in one of Intuit's secure data centers, so both losing your data and having secure and fast access to it becomes a non-concern. You don't have to worry about syncing or installing software instances on multiple computers or platforms to share data with multiple users, if desired. And, oh BTW, Intuit has just been recognized as a 2017 Top 10 Most Trusted Company for Privacy by the Ponemon Institute.
QBO Has A Great and Growing Eco-System of Expandability
More and more, QuickBooks Online is coming to be viewed by its users as it was intended to be by the Intuit developers ... a centralized accounting platform, with a growing orbiting eco-system of powerful applications available to meet specific functional enhancement needs. To my way of thinking, an important feature of good accounting software is not only that it is cloud-enabled, but that it also creates and attracts an excellent eco-system of third-party developer add-on products. Intuit with it's QBO product has successfully done that, and it continues to grow significantly. What enhancement do you need?:
- Business Intelligence, Planning & Reporting? Check out Fathom, Qvinci, Finagraph, LivePlan and more.
- CRM? Take a look at MethodCRM, 17Hats, Karbon and more.
- Inventory? Give Fishbowl, SOS, Acctivate, Dear and other apps a look see.
- Time Tracking? TSheets, Harvest, When I Work and more stand ready to integrate.
- Sales Tax? Give a gander at Avalara, TaxJar, Taxify and more.
- Document Management? Rely on SmartVault, Hubdoc, LedgerDocs, Neat and other fine DMS apps and tools.
You're getting the picture ... there's a multitude to choose from, across multiple specializations ... and most, if not all, integrate seamlessly and with excellent support mechanisms in place to ensure your app enhancement works well with your QBO core software.
To Know It (And Recommend It), You've Got To Use It
Lastly, I decided to move Graywolf Productivity Solutions' financial record-keeping into QuickBooks Online because I wanted to use and experience the product that I would be recommending to my clients, who I believe are looking for the same thing we are ... to become cloud-enabled, more productive in their business dealings with others, and to better and more efficiently track what they're doing and how they're doing, all in an effort to enable them to grow their businesses for the benefit of themselves, their families and the individuals and entities they serve. By using QBO in our own operations, I've been able to test out the functionality live with my own business activity, see it in action, know how to tweek it to utilize its full functional power, and, yes ... come to know and experience its shortcomings and limitations as I and my firm grow with it (as with any other accounting software application).
But, thus far, I've not been disappointed with our switch to the QuickBooks Online platform. For all the reasons cited above, it's helping me to move in the right direction toward servicing my clients with increased efficiency, flexibility and clarity. And, dare I say it ... it's actually fun to use! In addition, knowing that Intuit is fully committed to utilizing its resources and development power to continue to improve the product adds an additional measure of confidence as well. I'm glad to be on-board with Intuit and its fine products, and working with my clients to assist them in experiencing why QuickBooks Online is the current market leader in Online Accounting Software for SMB's.
And, sure, I still keep up with and am well versed in Intuit's Premier and Enterprise desktop products (both working with clients to setup and utilize its appropriate functional power, and having worked with it myself in meeting my company needs for a number of years). But, working within and closely with the QBO product as my company's system of record has helped me recommend its fine capabilities with the added confidence that comes with user experience.
For more QuickBooks Online info and resources, click here: QBO Resources Page. While you're there, look around and let us know how we can help you fly high (you can click below to schedule some time with us) ... see you in the cloud!