QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA) has just been released in Australia. A quick review of Intuit’s fledgling cloud accounting program shows that it is a big jump up from the simple client list that it replaces.
QBOA is lacking in features compared to desktop practice management systems and also trails Xero Practice Manager. However, Intuit is clearly investing heavily here to close the gap. The integration with enterprise document management service Box is a great idea and works well. The ability to use QBOA to manage clients on all accounting programs is a smart move too.
It will be interesting to see how fast Intuit can bring QBOA up to speed.
QBOA consists of five sections.
The client list has been upgraded to include all clients, irrespective of whether they are using QuickBooks Online. The dashboard shows the name of the client and phone number; its bookkeeping status (open or closed); bookkeeping notes for review; the date of the last bank feed download or change; and the number of document requests outstanding.
Bookkeeping columns show upcoming tasks for reconciling accounts and recent changes. You can jump directly to items that need attention.
QBOA lets you customise how the client list is displayed, for example you can remove the bookkeeping tab columns, document requests or GST-related activity. Intuit has added one-click access to any QuickBooks client file (the QuickBooks icon is grey for desktop software and bright green for QBO).
When you click on a client file in the client dashboard it opens up a bookkeeping tab. This shows an account watchlist which can include cash on hand, bank accounts, accounts payable and undeposited funds. The watchlist shows the balances and the last reconciliation date.
The right column of the page shows items for review such as unaccepted transactions, cheques for review and changes to reconciled accounts.
It also lists the status of the file and the dates and times of last sign-in and last download.
The accountant toolbox is a tabbed menu that sits on the left hand side of the screen in QBO. Power tools include single-click batch reconciliation and reclassify transactions. Other shortcuts include write off invoices (removes invoices from sub ledger), voided/deleted transactions, journal entries, close books, reconcile, accountant reports, my custom reports, chart of accounts and new window.
Intuit has partnered with cloud storage and document management service Box to create a powerful portal. You can request and receive documents from clients through the dashboard. 10GB free storage included.
QBOA includes a free subscription of QBO Plus with Payroll for the firm to run its own books. A managing partner can give junior accountants or admin staff restricted access to firm information, firm employees’ details, subscriptions and billing, customers and accounts receivable, and vendors and accounts payable.
The access controls are quite precise. A partner can restrict each employee to viewing a specific set of clients, for example.
QBOA can sign up new clients to QBO either where the business pays its own subscription or the firm pays it as a wholesale agreement.
While Intuit gives you the choice of who pays the subscription, it notes that the best price is the wholesale – and it’s up to the firm whether they pass it onto the client. You can then choose who to set as the master administrator, usually the accountant or the business owner.