Two Ways to Get QuickBooks in the Cloud
Hosted QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online
Running applications online, or “in the cloud” using today’s parlance, is top priority for a lot of businesses. It’s not that these organizations have a burning desire to post their financials to the web, which is what a lot of folks thought was going to happen when we first suggested they use their financial applications online. Rather, business owners and managers have begun to recognize and experience the benefits of connecting their various locations, remote and mobile workers with real time access to business applications and data. Further, centralization of IT coupled with outsourced IT management and subscription service pricing has introduced financial and operational benefits which make businesses more cost-efficient as well as more agile. From being the basis for foundational process and workflow improvements to allowing the repositioning of IT costs from capex to opex, online application services are proving their value in various ways every day.
The evident popularity of cloud solutions is clearly visible in one small corner of the global software marketplace: the small business accounting solution market. Intuit’s QuickBooks product, almost a default go-to with entrepreneurs and small business owners, is still the most prevalent accounting solution in use by US small businesses. While there may be growing usage of other applications on the web, such as Xero or FreshBooks (both are awesome SaaS apps that do what they do quite well), there is equally strong growth in Intuit’s own SaaS version of QuickBooks. The SaaS applications are easier to localize for different places in the world – different languages and currencies – so international use of these products is likely to continue to grow. Even more to the point, these solutions address functionality and pricing levels which are acceptable to entirely different classes of users that previously wouldn’t even consider buying accounting software to do the books (like freelancers and solo/soho operators), so the overall size of the market of “businesses who use accounting or bookkeeping software” is actually growing.
Intuit’s QuickBooks Online edition is a true SaaS solution that is quite different from the desktop-based QuickBooks. While QBO has gained tremendous popularity, it has yet to reach the user numbers the desktop products have. The desktop solutions boast not just a particular range of functionality, but integrated applications and add-ons, and – perhaps most importantly – being a foundation for a wide variety of financial and business record keeping, bookkeeping, accounting, operationally oriented and reporting processes. To sum it up: it’s embedded. People know the software, the data is in a known format, and the product is simply part of how the business operates.
Once a solution is as entrenched as QuickBooks is – kind of like the entrenchment Microsoft Word and Excel have in the productivity area – it doesn’t go away very quickly and only when the value proposition is much greater… and maybe not even then. Rather, folks find ways to make the solution they want work for them. This is where hosting comes in and meets with the market’s demand for running applications (yes! even desktop applications!) online, as managed subscription service.
Running QuickBooks desktop online via a hosting provider is how businesses take advantage of the best benefits of SaaS without actually converting to a SaaS application. They retain investments in training, process and integration yet introduce mobility, remote access and office connectivity, centralized information and predictable costs. QuickBooks-using businesses need to know about hosting their QuickBooks and the providers who can offer anything from standardized to extremely customized service.
As technology continues to evolve at ever-increasing rates, businesses will continue to be faced with new paradigms for doing business. Some will adopt early and some will adopt later, and some simply won’t adopt. Certainly the market as a whole doesn’t adopt as quickly as software companies would like, but then that’s always the way it is. Customers will do what works for customers, and right now hosting is working for QuickBooks customers.