8 Challenges Switching from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online

Business.com / Technology / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

While cloud-based accounting software is popular and beneficial, ­­switching from QuickBooks to QuickBooks Online can be challenging.

According to Emergent Research, approximately 37 percent of all small businesses in America today are using cloud-based applications. This number is expected to reach 78 percent by 2020.

Software Advice recently surveyed small businesses and learned that 46 percent were using on-premise accounting software such as QuickBooks and Peachtree.

Twenty percent of the respondents were using manual accounting methods like paper, pen, and spreadsheets for accounting purposes.

Eighteen percent of the respondents had outsourced their accounting activities, while 16 percent were using cloud-based accounting software like QuickBooks Online (QBO).

Fifty-one percent of small businesses have confidence in the safety and reliability of cloud-based accounting software. Fifty-three percent of the businesses that were not using cloud-based accounting stated that they would consider moving to the cloud.Finally, 46 percent of the respondents stated security as their biggest concern in regards to cloud-based accounting software. The other concerns stated were costs, training, usability and integration.

Switching to cloud-based accounting can be relatively low-cost. Depending on the company’s needs and the number of users, the cost of cloud-based systems is between $0 and $40 per month.

Related Article: Head in the Clouds: Can Your Business Fully Operate in the Cloud?

Also, contrary to popular belief, businesses can dramatically reduce their software and other computing costs by utilizing cloud-based services.

Cloud-based accounting software can provide significant savings by minimizing the IT requirements and enabling large-scale computing power. Companies pay only for what they need and what they want, making the service affordable for most businesses.

According to a recent study by Ernst and Young, cloud-based accounting software can help businesses lower IT support costs by 25 to 30 percent.

While cloud-based accounting software is popular and beneficial, ­­switching from QuickBooks Desktop (QBD) to QuickBooks Online can be a challenging task.

#1. Security Risks

Security risks make cloud computing a major cause of concern. Businesses are skeptical about using cloud services because weaknesses exist in the software, the system and network. These weaknesses can be exploited by an individual for his personal gain.

In virtualized environments, the physical servers run multiple virtual machines on top of hypervisors. An attacker can exploit a hypervisor remotely by using a vulnerability present in the hypervisor itself.

Such vulnerabilities are quite rare, but they do exist. Additionally, a virtual machine can escape from the virtualized sandbox environment and gain access to the hypervisor and consequentially all the virtual machines running on it.

#2. Data Loss

Cloud-based systems are prone to data loss. This loss can impact businesses financially. In this article, Antone Gonsalves says, “The potential financial impact from losing customer trust is why data loss is so high on the threats list.”

Even though there are many security measures in place to prevent data loss, unforeseen circumstances like these still happen:

"Google is sorry to report it's lost some cloud customers' data. Lightning struck four times near its St. Ghislain, Belgium data center, causing some Google Compute Engine (GCE) storage to go bye-bye, without sufficient battery backup to commit."

#3­­­. Data Protection

It is important for businesses to ensure that QuickBooks Online can recover stolen or lost data. Backups are crucial and data must be checked ­­­often for integrity.

It’s also important that the business’s data is available in a format that can be migrated quickly and easily to a replacement service.

Related Article: 14 Tools to Track Key Performance Indicators for Your Business

#4. Being at the Mercy of the Vendor

Switching to QuickBooks Online makes a business very dependent on the service. Nothing stops Intuit from raising the monthly price whenever the company wants.

Switching to a different accounting system and disrupting business is hardly worth it to save a few dollars per month.

#5. Possible Rise in IT Related Costs

If a business switches to QuickBooks Online and has clients who still use desktops, servers, routers, and networks, those clients will still need IT support.

A small business may see a rise in IT-related costs in order to provide support to those clients who are not yet equipped to work with a cloud-based system. 

#6.  Usability

QuickBooks Online is a completely different platform than the desktop version of QuickBooks. People who are used to the desktop version will have a steep learning curve.

Businesses will incur the cost of training staff to use the new software. QuickBooks Online users will also find that some desktop features are not available.

#7.  Outsourcing Conflicts

Even users who are comfortable with the various differences between QuickBooks Online and the desktop version, the independent contractor who is chosen to prepare taxes may not have the same comfortability.

Some bookkeepers strongly prefer the desktop version and will require clients find a way to get their QuickBooks Online info into the desktop format in order to get their taxes prepared.

Related Article: 6 Industries that Could Benefit from the Cloud

#8.  Access

Because QuickBooks Online is cloud-based, two things are necessary for access: a solid Internet connection and a properly functioning server. During tax season, Intuit experiences huge spikes in usage that lead to server crashes.

Is Switching to QuickBooks Online Worth It?

There are challenges moving from one QuickBooks version to another, and users will probably experience a bit of a learning curve.  But, there are many great benefits of switching to QuickBooks Online.

The article QuickBooks Online vs. Desktop says, “One of the big differences between the online version of QuickBooks and the desktop version is that QuickBooks Online has automatic features, including invoice, receipt, and report transactions, that must be done manually with the desktop version. It also has automation features for items like email reports, customer billing, and downloading bank transactions.”

All of these features make switching to QuickBooks Online worth the hassle: accessing QuickBooks using a mobile app, from anywhere at any time, backups made easy, because all data is stored in the cloud, and easy access for multiple users, all at one time.  

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