Q: What’s wrong with cloud computing? A: Quickbooks Online

This is not a worst-case scenario. This time it’s merely annoying. But if it happens at a critical point, it could be bad.

A few months ago, I switched my small publishing company’s books to Quickbooks Online, Intuit’s new in-the-cloud service that let’s you access your company books from anywhere.

At that point, the answer in my headline above addressed the opposite question: What’s good about cloud computing? QBO would allow more versatility and freedom. I’d have access when something came up while I’m traveling; my part-time bookkeeper would be able to make entries as needed from home if it worked out better; a CPA could have access from her own office.

And all of that is true. It is convenient. It is quick most of the time. And I actually have more confidence in Intuit’s security than in my own LAN. QBO added functionality that I expect from any database software but that was lacking in our old AccountEdge system, namely searching and quick access to data across multiple fields.

But the decision to shift into the cloud comes with that nagging question. What if I don’t have access to the Internet, or worse, if Intuit screws up and goes down.
Here’s the answer, so far, to the latter part of that worry.

Screen_shot_2010-06-16_at_7

That’s it. That’s all I get. This online sticky note that says they’re working on it. Call the 800 number, and you get to listen to a scratchy recording that says the same thing. Sorry, we’re working on it. Check back in an hour.
I first came across that note about eight hours ago, and now I need to write checks for my business to not crash right now.

Time to go attempt legible handwriting.

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About Scott Hunter

Editor of The Star newspaper in Grand Coulee, observer of life, history, patterns in things that matter.
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3 Responses to Q: What’s wrong with cloud computing? A: Quickbooks Online

  1. Scott Hunter says:

    Here’s an update.
    Intuit now says: “We’re really sorry that you can’t access QuickBooks Online. Intuit is working to restore full service to a number of websites that became unavailable at about 7 p.m. Tuesday, Pacific time.”
    And they’re still working on it, investigating the cause, etc.
    Meanwhile, my two-days-a-week bookkeeper had to go home, and work that really needed to get done can’t be.

  2. Anonymous says:

    QBO is back up, but their Payroll Online function is still down. I think there will be hell to pay for this.

  3. Anonymous says:

    As an expert in ERP/CRM solutions for small to mid-sized businesses, I believe that for a very small business such as yours (the only kind of business which should be running any version of QuickBooks) a hosted, or “cloud” option is still your best bet. What is the alternative? Running it on a single PC? If your monitor had died, you’d be having the same issue right now, only without the message from Intuit.
    The majority of QB users I have dealt with never truly back up their data. They back it up to the same hard drive on which they use the live program, or, at best, they burn it to CD or a USB drive, but store that drive in the same location as their PC.
    What happens if their hard drive fails, or if their business/home burns down? Their data is lost. All of it…forever. This fact, alone, justifies using a hosted solution, which takes care of your off-site backups for you.
    If you are already in a true client/server environment with your QB database residing on a server, with several users accessing the database from their PCs, and you have a true disaster recovery program in place, your businesses is too big for QuickBooks. The software is nothing more than a glorified check register. It is not the least bit compliant with best accounting practices, even allowing users to change transactions after they have posted to the GL!
    It sounds like you’re a long way from needing a “real” accounting program. Until you do, I highly recommend you stick with the hosted solution.
    Lastly, to address Star’s comment, there will not be “hell to pay” for any of Intuit’s functionality going down. In order for Intuit to suffer, you would have to take your business elsewhere. To get a real accounting/ERP program, you’re going to spend in the neighborhood of $10K for a single user, including installation, but not including training, configuration, etc. If you’re ready to spend that, look me up on FB and send me a message. I’ll get you in touch with a local rep for SAP’s Business One, the fastest growing business software for the small to mid-sized enterprise in history. I wish you all the very best of luck in dealing with the myriad problems you will face with QB until you decide to invest in a real software solution for your business.
    -John

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