How to Get the Best of Both QuickBooks Online and Desktop

Photo2If you use the desktop version of QuickBooks and wish you could enjoy the benefits that QuickBooks Online offers, without migrating your business to QuickBooks Online, this episode is for you. In this episode of the Mission Business Podcast, Bernard Roesch shares some specific things about how you can get the benefits of QuickBooks Desktop with the accessibility of QuickBooks Online.

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Full Transcript of Audio Below

We’ve transcribed the audio into text and formatted it for easy reading below. Please excuse any typos or odd wording, as this transcript is taken directly from the spoken word within the audio above.

In past episodes, we talked about the benefits of using Quickbooks online, but what we want to talk about today is for listeners that are not comfortable transitioning their business to Quickbooks online and would instead prefer to stay on the desktop version of Quickbooks. We want to share some specific things that you can be aware of to basically have the best of both worlds – to have the best of Quickbooks desktop version but also have the accessibility of Quickbooks online.

Bernard is going to share with us how you can get the benefits of Quickbooks desktop with the accessibility of Quickbooks online.

Benefits of Making QuickBooks Desktop Web Accessible

Interviewer: So Bernard, why don’t we get started by explaining what the benefit is of using what you’ll talk about today i.e. to take Quickbooks desktop and bring it online to make it web accessible?

Bernard: Well, the main reason you want to bring things on line is so that you can have that Quickbooks file accessible by a number of people who are in different locations.

  • You may have a bookkeeper that works from home or is not necessarily based in your office. You want the bookkeeper to be able to access the information very easily.
  • You may be traveling, and you may want to consult some Quickbooks information, you may not have your regular computer with you, you may also also have the convenience of logging in from different machines and going to a central point.
  • Lastly, the main reason you would want to have your Quickbooks information online or in the cloud, as we say. And there are many, many more tools now and this could become very inexpensive.

All You Need Is The Recent Version of QuickBooks For PC To Convert Exitsting Data

Interviewer: Is this something that I need to get a different version of Quickbooks for, or is my existing version of Quickbooks something that you’re able to take online?

Bernard: Usually not. You need to have a recent version of Quickbooks for the PC.

  • If you’re running, let’s say, Quickbooks 2012, 13, 14, i.e. a supportive version of Quickbooks for the PC, you can leave your Quickbooks file exactly as it is and have them just run it with a commercial host or Quickbooks hosting company, and there would be absolutely no change.
  • If you are using Quickbooks for Mac, you would need to purchase Quickbooks for the PC, which could be very inexpensive and convert your Mac information to the PC.
  • This, in some way, could be even an advantage because then you’ll be in a standard environment, everyone would be familiar with it, your bookkeeper would be familiar with Quickbooks for the PC. And you’ll still be able to access your Quickbooks information and run your Quickbooks software from your Mac.

Interviewer: So you mentioned basically converting the data from my Mac version of Quickbooks onto the PC version that’s going to be put online. Is that conversion process something that’s easy to do? Is there built in processes within the Quickbooks system to be able to convert from a Mac to a PC?

Bernard: Yes, it’s very easy. It’s just a simple conversion process that is provided by Quickbooks.

Just simply go to your Mac and you create a Quickbooks backup for the PC and you restore it in your Quickbooks for the PC version. This is very, usually, very uneventful and easy to do.

  • Once again, I want to reiterate you’re going to be running your Quickbooks for the PC on a PC or on a PC type machine, but you will still be able to access those screens and this application from your Mac.
  • So for Mac users, we often recommend that they host a machine just so that you’ll have more cross-platform flexibility.
  • You could be on a Mac and your bookkeeper could be a on PC and you all run the same PC version in the cloud.

No Security Concerns When Running QuickBooks Desktop Online

Interviewer: Let’s talk through some of the concerns that a listener may have about taking the financial and accounting data of their company that’s currently maybe on a computer that’s on their desk that they’re looking at right now, they may have some concerns about taking that data and putting it onto the internet and making it accessible within the cloud.

What are some of the security concerns that are addressed when you take your Quickbooks data and you put it online? How does some of the systems that you’ll talk about for bringing your data online actually address those security concerns?

Bernard: Well, yes. People say, ‘Oh, and my information will be in the cloud, how secure is it?’ What they don’t realize is;

  • The way the current environment is where they may have Quickbooks in some machine in their office is not secure at all.
  • They may not have any type of security, or poor security, for their computers.
  • Their computers could be hacked or could be accessed and they don’t even realize it.
  • It the environment itself, they may not be backing up the data, they may not be taking precautions.

So, it’s sort of a saying that while I’m concerned my information will be in the cloud is sort of a non-issue that I’m concerned with, because

  • It’s really, in my opinion, more secure to have data in the cloud with a commercial host that’s responsible for backing up the data, for security on the server, and so on, rather than saying, oh I’m doing it myself and therefore it’s more secure.

Working With a Hosting Company Vs Setting Up Your Own Server

Interviewer: That brings me to my next question that a listener is probably thinking. If I do want to bring this into the cloud and make Quickbooks web accessible, do I need to purchase infrastructure to build something here at the office to basically make everything accessible online, or is there an easier way to basically take my Quickbooks desktop software and make it accessible online?

Bernard: Well, the easy way is to work with a company that specializes in hosting Quickbooks files.

Working with a hosting company – Make a phone call and you sign up and they will give you a cost of maybe $50 per user per month.

  • You upload your Quickbooks file to that hosting company and you’re ready to go.
  • The hosting company is charging you that monthly fee because it will set up the computers, it will set up the security, it will set up the backups.
  • It will do all these things that you have to do if you are going to set up your own server.

Setting up your own server – Now, possibly, you could do your own server.

  • You can hire an IT firm and get a server, purchase it, have a maintenance contract with the IT firm, all that could be done yourself.
  • But, for most business owners, this is not economical at all.

It’s easier to pay as you go, per month, per user, and have everything set up immediately rather than having some kind of machine and equipment and serve contract in your office.

Deciding between the 2 options – It depends on the size of your operation, obviously.

  • If you have 30 users, you may say, you know what? I can set up my own server and have my own IT.
  • If you have two, three, four, five users, it’s usually much more beneficial to immediately sign up with a commercial host and let the commercial host do all the set ups for Quickbooks server.

Consider Third Party Systems Integration When Choosing to Work With a Hosting Company

Interviewer: So once somebody actually moves their data into the cloud and moves their whole Quickbooks system into the cloud, do third party integrations that they’ve currently got running with Quickbooks on their computer still work when you move everything to the cloud?

Bernard: Well, it does and it does not.

  • Because now that you have your Quickbooks data hosted by the commercial host, the commercial host is not going to let you run any type of program application on their machine.
  • So, generally speaking, the Quickbooks host is going to support applications that are commonly supported – maybe a CRM system, some application that is well known that works with Quickbooks.
  • But if you have a home grown application, then you may want to think in terms of doing the hosting yourself or contract with a company to do, sort of, private hosting so that you have your actual machine for yourself as opposed to more of a sharing environment.

So yes, if you do have complex applications that are a little unusual that connect with your Quickbooks, Quickbooks hosting with commercial hosts may not be the best solution.

Summary And Next Actions

Interviewer: So it sounds like depending on how the business is using Quickbooks, this could be a best of both worlds approach for them to get the best options for Quickbooks desktop version, but still make it web accessible. So for some specific next action items, this is definitely something that you as a listener should consider if you’re using the desktop version of Quickbooks.

  • You’re going to get the accessibility of Quickbooks online, but with the robust feature set of the desktop version of Quickbooks.
  • Another thing to consider is that if you are currently keeping the data within your own computer and within your own systems, it may not actually be as secure as it would be if you moved it to the cloud where there’s robust security, automated back up systems, and features in place to make sure that that data is secure.
  • Then the third thing is if you are considering doing this, it’s not something that you really need to build yourself in most cases. Bernard mentioned that there are providers that can help you get your data into the cloud for a very cost effective number – somewhere at $50 per user per month.

So, if you’re interested in taking your Quickbooks desktop version to the cloud, feel free to reach out to Bernard at He has a lot of experience moving different systems into the cloud and he’d be able to walk you through if this is a good option for you, and how to move forward to do this in your business.

Thank you so much for your time today, Bernard.

Bernard: Thank you Jon.


Bernard Roesch About Bernard Roesch

Bernard Roesch is co-founder and Managing Partner of Mission Consulting. Bernard’s background in the early years of his career was spent in the manufacturing sector, making his QuickBooks perspective a unique one – he understands the intricacies of a complex environment and then applies his strategic skills accordingly.