QuickBooks Online reaches the UK
Sorry it's taken me a day or two to update this group about QuickBooks Online, but I've been having a look at the program and talking to the global product manager about it. You can find more detail in notes I've published in the Cloud computing discussion group.
The key points are:
- Prices range from £9 a month for the Simple Start edition, to £19 a month for Essentials edition and £29 for QuickBooks Online Plus, which includes budgeting, job costing, user-defined fields, a quote-to-estimate function and additional management reports
- It's a close relative of the online version that has been running in the US, and is thus more mature than many programs on the market and includes facilities that will appeal to existing accountant users (who are allowed free access for any client companies that are using it).
- Small business owners are the primary target, although product manager Richard Blitz told me, "Accountants are extremely important... If you’re looking for drop-dead simple, it can be that with a very little amount of configuration. With SimpleStart there is a page of Preferences with a lot of stuff you can turn off, but it still allows sufficiently sophisticated accounting so that accountants will like it."
- There are functionality gaps (stock, purchase orders, payroll) between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks desktop which look designed to quaratine new small business users from draining revenue away from desktop licence sales. But this means that accountants who support clients on the desktop version don't have the ability to integrate on- and off-line client bases (for example by importing a client's online data set, doing adjustments in the desktop edition and repopulating the online ledgers). Here's what Blitz said on this point: "If an accountant is supporting 50 small business customers and companies in QuickBooks Online they need a tool to manage these companies and keep an eye on what stage they’re at. We know that is a crucial problem and it’s very much on our roadmap to look at that. We’re still committed to the desktop product, but suspect the preference of small businesses will be to move to the online product. We’re looking to make sure data is accessible from wherever you may be. You may not be able to use QuickBooks Online as front end for the desktop version if you’re on the road, but I think convergence is something that will be investigated. Unfortunately, there’s nothing happening on that in the short term."
Will QuickBooks Online interest you our your clients - and have any of you looked at it to compare the interface and functionality?
I gave Blitz quite a hard time on the company's credibility in the UK marketplace, having left us in the lurch somewhat about 4-5 years ago when it dropped Quicken and TaxCalc. Has that affected your attitude to the company and would it affect your selection of the online version? This was the case for Adrian Pearson who commented, "If QuickBooks had launched online when we needed it 5 years ago, I would have been onboard like a flash."
Your feedback would be very interesting on these points - and I suspect that if the profession does want to see a roadmap for more intelligent integration (and future migration), you'll need to make sure Intuit hears about it by raising the point in forums like this.