A Review of QuickBooks Hosted

So far in my blog posts, I’ve only mentioned QuickBooks Hosted in passing. But this week, after my not-so-illustrious adventures with CashBook Online, I thought I’d give QuickBooks Hosted a run for its money.

And I’m glad to say, I’m quietly impressed.

QuickBooks Hosted isn’t a browser-based cloud solution like LiveAccounts or Xero. However (similar to what MYOB are foreshadowing with their cloud accounting model), QuickBooks Hosted lets me store my company data ‘in the cloud’, meaning that more than one person can work on my accounts at the same time, and that I can access my accounts from wherever I am.

Today I trialled QuickBooks Hosted both from my PC and from my shiny, sleek, new iPad (so beautiful, thanks Steve Jobs). Here’s what I found:

Although a little slow to load my data upon logging on, recording transactions seemed reasonably swift. There’s a slight lag (a fraction of a second) that I don’t get when working with QuickBooks on my desktop, but nothing that bothered me.

I was impressed that both printing to my local printer and sending emails direct from QuickBooks via my Outlook outbox was seamless and required no configuration. (In contrast, if you’re working on a QuickBooks file that lives on a remote server, and you connect using a Remote Desktop Connection, stuff like printing and emailing locally can be a real hassle.)

I liked the fact that I could backup my data onto my own PC so that I can toggle between working offline and online.  I can imagine the situation where I might keep my accounts on my PC most of the time, but decide to shift my QuickBooks data into the cloud when I’m travelling. (Although I must admit that I’m getting used to the luxury of being able to access my accounts online from wherever I am, at any time, and I think I’m getting less and less inclined to work offline.)

The pricing is very competitive. QuickBooks Hosted Standard  (accessible for PCs only) costs a slim $24.60 per month, and QuickBooks Hosted Premium (accessible via PC, iPad, Macintosh, or Android device) costs $34.60 per month.

In contrast to other cloud products reviewed in other postings on this blog, QuickBooks Hosted has the full range of features you expect from premium accounting software: full payroll, inventory, purchasing, progress invoicing, extensive reporting and so on.

Because I’m familiar with QuickBooks, I didn’t have any learning curve switching to QuickBooks Hosted: the software is exactly the same. (The iPad was maybe a little more fiddly, and I had a blonde moment trying to figure out how the hell to get the keyboard to appear, but it all went pretty well after 20 minutes or so.)

On a slightly less upbeat note, I did spend some time trawling the online community question board and I could see that some people had gotten pretty cranky with QuickBooks Hosted in the past (such as getting logged out when the Internet had a glitch, and then being unable to log back in because QuickBooks Hosted thinks you’re already logged on; being forced to change passwords every month; problems getting access from Macintosh computers, difficulties moving files around, and so on). However, without spending many more hours on this project, it’s hard for me to tell which of these problems have since been fixed, and which haven’t.

The main feature that QuickBooks Hosted doesn’t have, when compared to cloud accounting products such as LiveAccounts or Xero, is bank feeds. Bank feeds are such a huge timesaver for micro or small businesses that not having them is, in my opinion, a real deal breaker for micro to small business. For example, I currently do the books for my holiday house business using Xero, and I wouldn’t switch to QuickBooks Hosted even though it’s $15 a month cheaper. Why? Because I save at least $15 a month in bookkeeping fees because of the efficiencies that bank feeds bring.

However, if I had a business with complex payroll or inventory, and I wanted the other benefits of cloud accounting (access from any machine, including Macs and iPads; secure online data storage; access from any location; easy transfer of data to the accountant’s system, and so on), then I’d probably be swayed towards QuickBooks Hosted.

If anyone reading this blog has personal experiences using QuickBooks Hosted, I’d love if you could add your comments. It would be very interesting.

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About veechicurtis

a one-woman geekspeak to plain-english converter
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5 Responses to A Review of QuickBooks Hosted

  1. Hi Veechi – thankk you for this review – i have been using hosted for nearly 2 years now. Thankfully some of the issues you mention have been resolved – you no longer have to change your password every month and if you do get thrown out while logged in theer is a facility to manage your account and resolve this. Yes bank feeds are still a glimmer in someone’s eye – not yet available. Because this is exactly the Enterprise version that is hosted – there are all the nice features such as customer discounts, credit checking, customer specific trading terms etc which are absent fro Xero/Saasu?MYOB LiveAccounts etc. another plus is you can run all accounts on a cash basis which I found to be surprisingly lacking in other products and navigation is faster with a desktop product rather than a browser product. I have done 7 blogs on different aspects of Cloud computing – comparing the pros and cons at http://www.businesseez.com.au/blog which you may like to read. regards

    Margaret Carey

  2. Great to see a review of QuickBooks Hosted. I have been using it for my clients for the last 2 years and for my own business for the last year. My clients and I have very few problems. We have had a couple that you mentioned in your blog, but that was quite some time ago and has all been fixed by Reckon and not repeated. QuickBooks Hosted has so much more functionality than any of the other Cloud based products offered in Australia today.
    As far as the bank feeds are concerned I don’t see a great need for this in the current QuickBooks Hosted product. It is a full feature Accounting program and most clients (definitely all of my clients) use it as a management accounting product not a compliance program. This means that they are using it to enter and manage their Invoices and customer payments and to enter and manage their bills and creditor payments. Therefore by the time they go to reconcile their bank accounts, the majority of their transactions are already entered and therefore bank feeds are not overly neccessary and could possibly just add confusion.
    Bank feeds are a great help for cash based clients who only really use their accounting software for compliance purposes. They therefore usually only enter what they have received and what they have paid in a period – ie. exactly what is on the bank statement. Bank feeds is perfect for this type of accounting and programs such as XERO, SASSU and MYOB Live Accounts fill this need very well with their bank feed functionality. I believe that Reckons Cashbook product will also fill this need and therefore is far better suited to those smaller Compliance type clients than the Current QuickBooks Hosted Product.
    QuickBooks Hosted is perfect for businesses that want to use their software to manage their business including payroll, stock and WIP, while having the added benefit of being able to access their file from anywhere, anytime. It is in fact ions ahead of any of the other Cloud products from a business management functionality perspective. Nothing else even comes close.

  3. Thanks for the review Veechi.

    The Quickbooks Hosted product has come a long way since its inception. The issues you have read about have pretty well now been all but vanquished thanks to newer technology being implemented all the time by Reckon Ltd.

    My clients and I love the freedom and flexibility the product brings, and as you have noted, the ability to store your data and work locally brings peace of mind to users.

    I have had many clients saving on up to $10,000 per year on server, telecommunications and licencing costs by moving their Quickbooks Terminal Server platform to Quickbooks Hosted.

    In fact my largest Quickbooks Hosted client has 30 locations and over 600 staff on Hosted!

    All in all I agree whole heartedly with your review.

    Thanks,

    Nathan Elcoate

  4. Paul Craig says:

    Thank you for the review which was very timely for me.
    I did try the hosted version early in its life more to please my bookkeeper as it is nigh on impossible for them to maintain access to all versions as each year your data file is another year away from backward compatibility. It was simply horrible with massive lag so you spent most of your time wondering if it had even accepted your keying inputs, it crashed often and I HATE constantly changing my passwords as I believe that should be at my discretion. I gave up in the end, demanded a refund and went back to a suscription version of Plus.
    As life and business constantly change I now have employees so I have to update each year for the payroll so there is a lot less margin between the products. Also I changed over to Mac hardware and a Mac server (Great value for small businesses and so simple) but the one program I could not find a decent equivalent of was Quickbooks and so I have had to use VMWare to run it in a virtual machine. That works fine but is just another layer of complexity. Also most of the other choices mentioned are modules which whilst they “talk” to each other I would be a programmer if I wanted to spend my time doing systems integration. Its all there in one place with Quickbooks so I hope your right about the speed as I’m going to try again.
    Cheers Paul Craig

    • Paul Craig says:

      Well 2nd time round was worse if thats possible
      Bear in mind this response is more relevant to Mac users;
      Firstly the positives, compared to the original version the lag is virtually non-existant now and there is the full feature list available if you have the use for them. Well thats the short bit out of the way.
      The installation process was a disaster as the Citrix client, required to get a Mac to talk to what is essentially a windows program, is buggy and unstable, which tried to crash my machine and ate 2.6Gb of memory without doing much. The whole process is flawed and is an ill thought through implementation. I have saved my vitriolic response for Reckon so the essence here is that if you are a Mac user just dont go there. You are better off both monetarily and mentally if you install VMWare or Parallels to create your own virtual machine and run a local version. If you still seek the security of a Cloud based data file then then are many ways and services that can be used as alternatives to the hosted premium version. QuickBooks runs perfectly under a local virtual machine, the VM software costs $50 and (for me as a Plus version user) the annual licence is $100 less.
      In conclusion I can see how there are user who will benefit from the full product, security of a Cloud based file and multi-user environment particularly larger clients but NOT if you are a small business using Mac’s as currently it simply is too unreliable. A very inappropriate word to associate with your accounting package. I await my refund.
      Cheers Paul

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