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The Cloud and the Business Desktop

The Cloud and the Business Desktop (with QuickBooks)

Cloud computing is here – no longer is it considered to be temporary or just a fad.  Even though there are many businesses in the country without access to high quality high-speed Internet connectivity, the levels of investment and revenue surrounding cloud and mobile computing solutions and technologies has proven that mobility and managed service matter to those who are connected. What’s interesting is that the popularity of the cloud and the emergence of cloud-based applications and services haven’t really put much of a dent in the need for the desktop, which remains as the business workhorse and – connected or not – represents the foundation for business productivity and getting work done.

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Some years ago, business applications began to emerge in SaaS (software-as-a-service) format, meaning a customer could simply subscribe to an application on the web rather than purchasing and installing software.  This option clearly resounded with many business customers and ushered in an era of online application services oriented specifically toward mobile users. Yet the desktop remains as the place where online solutions meet productivity (export any online data to an Excel spreadsheet recently?) and where accounting and finance connect with the rest of the operation.

Believing too much of the marketing-speak around cloud computing, many business users believe that they can only remotely access business software solutions if they are “cloud” and subscription model applications, and that the desktop products they know and have invested in cannot be available to them in a fully managed online model.  In fact, a large number of the business owners I speak with that actually use hosted desktop services somehow believe that the software they are using is something special and different from that which would be installed to their PCs. The fact is that the software is not different, regardless of what they may think. More often than not, the hosted applications are EXACTLY what the customer had previously installed (or would have installed) to their own computers had they not been working with a hosting provider.  Whether they are hosted or not… the desktop products generally function with all the features and capability designed into them because they are hosted on platforms they were designed to run on (like Microsoft Windows, for example).

Customers of the QuickBooks hosting companies often refer to their systems as “QuickBooks cloud, but not the online one”, not really understanding that it is simply the full desktop application that is being hosted for them.

Regardless of how many online application services emerge, and even if (IF) web-based versions of our favorite word processing and spreadsheet software become as useful as the installed kind, there will still be a need for the desktop if for no other reason than to make it easier to use and work with a variety of solutions at the same time.  Perhaps this is why remote desktop computing and hosted application services are becoming increasingly popular approaches to cloud and managed computing services.  The user benefits from having the feature-rich applications they need and a single place to access them and make them work together (the desktop value proposition), yet is able to have remote and mobile access, comprehensive system management and maintenance, data protection, helpdesk support and affordable monthly payments (the cloud value proposition).  In many ways, application hosting models represent the best of both worlds for the business.

JJoanie Mann Bunny Feet

Make Sense?

Consider how beneficial it would be to businesses who want the advantage of remote desktop and mobile access to applications to be able to run their QuickBooks (feature-rich desktop QuickBooks) and/or other business applications in an anytime, anywhere sort of environment. Businesses can obtain hosting services for QuickBooks Pro, Premier, and Enterprise – allowing organizations to have their QuickBooks financial applications managed, protected, secured, and made available to users all the time and from any location. Some hosting services may also support integrations and extensions for QuickBooks – for both desktop and Web-based applications and services. When the host can provide authorized subscription licensing for Microsoft Office, a business can have a complete, outsourced IT solution and pay only monthly service fees to get it. No installation or system management to worry about: the QuickBooks financials, the productivity, the operational systems and plugged-in applications can all be hosted in the cloud.

Intuit Ends QuickBooks Remote Access Service: The Time to Host is Now

Intuit Ends QuickBooks Remote Access Service: The Time to Host is Now

accountingCloudAccountants, bookkeepers and small business consultants have recognized the benefits of accessing client information remotely, where all parties can work on the same data in real-time, creating the opportunity to maintain more timely and accurate financial data for the business client.  The Internet has become the network, facilitating a variety of different working models which allow users, regardless of location, to access business information and data to get their work done.

For accountants and their business clients, it is essential that there is some type of virtualized working model, else the client is relegated to accepting after-the-fact reporting and outdated information.  Especially in smaller businesses where many of the accounting and finance processes are handled by an outsourced professional, time and distance is the enemy.

Just about anything that helps remove those barriers to real-time efficiency is worth looking at – which makes it particularly unfortunate that Intuit, the  makers of QuickBooks, are now discontinuing the QuickBooks Remote Access Service, a tool that had addressed the remote access requirement for many businesses and their accounting and bookkeeping providers.

There are a wide variety of options for accountants to work closer with their small business clients, and jumping into a SaaS or web-based application is just one of them; other proven options include remote PC access and application hosting services.  Hosting in particular is beneficial as it allow businesses to continue the use of the software and processes they have already invested in while enabling a remote access and mobile capability.

If the problem is access, the solution isn’t necessarily a complete change in software – the solution is to create access. With Intuit’s end of QuickBooks Remote Access services in sight, the time to explore QuickBooks hosting is now.

Make sense?

J

Read more about remote access and collaborative working models for QuickBooks users and their accounting professionals

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