Does Intuit's QuickBooks Online move validate Cloud computing?

Does Intuit's QuickBooks Online move validate...

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I'm just preparing an article now about Intuit's QuickBooks Online beta test programme. I've not signed up myself yet and am just collecting details, but with the online vacuum among the market leaders, I was wondering if the new version will open a few more doors for Cloud computing in accountancy.

If you are a QuickBooks user, are you likely to take part in the beta programme? And would you consider taking on the online version?

If you're not a QuickBooks user, does the fact that the #2 player in the desktop accounting market have a web-based version in the offing make any difference to you?

I ask because we've identified the strong hold of Sage and QuickBooks in the software market as one of the barriers to progress of Cloud accounting. If the QuickBooks experiment can win converts, I was wondering whether that would overcome some of the concerns about Cloud applications that have been voiced in the past by AccountingWEB members.

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Adrian Pearson
By Adrian Pearson
15th Nov 2010 16:56

At least in the UK

John, as you probably know, a QuickBooks Online product has existed in the US for a number of years now (the failure of Intuit to roll-out the service to UK customers, and Sage's problems, left a vacuum that the likes of Xero, KashFlow and FreeAgent have benefited massively from).

So, it seems clear to me that Intuit validated the Cloud accounting market some time ago.  With this move, they may now be looking to valide the UK Cloud market, but that's surely a commercial, not a technology, matter.

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John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
15th Nov 2010 17:32

Here's our initial take

QuickBooks Online is here (almost) is just a round-up drawn from our US sister site and other public domain sources.

Having posed the question about a big player in the market "validating" a new technology, I'm beginning to wonder if that's a bit old fashioned. People may have thrown the phrase around during the transitions to Windows and client/server computing, but when users move these days, they just move - and I don't think Intuit's stance will make a lot of difference to them.

The one audience where it might make an impact are among Intuit users and their "professional partners": if this group sees advantages in the Cloud app, there's a significant pool from which Intuit could recruit customers - but I suspect a lot of the resulting revenue would be offset by lost income from the PC version.

As might be expected, Duane Jackson is leading the counter-attack with some dismissive comments about the UK roll-out.

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By thomas34
15th Nov 2010 18:35

Cloud Computing

Don't have any opinions on the subject John but thought AWeb readers should log on to for a bit of entertainment. The bearded (aren't they always?) proprietor reckons that AWeb is a "roach motel for the idiocracy" - that's all of us I guess.

He (Dennis) got upset when someone called him Martin but then misspells the name of the person whom he berates in his article. Priceless.




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By jpcentral
15th Nov 2010 19:38

They have to be joking

We use Quickbooks extensively and would welcome a decent online version. This is not it. At least that's my opinion without actually trying it because I am not prepared to pay to test it and I definitely wouldn't commit a client's data to it.

Even the beta website says that, if you are already using a PC version of Quickbooks, you probably shouldn't change to the online version.

It isn't possible to upload an existing QB file to the web based one - so existing QB users don't bother.

Export doesn't seem to be available to a QB file format. It is only to excel files - so you can't decide that you want to switch to a desktop version and have a QB file to work with.

The price indicated once you stop paying the beta price seems very high for what seems to be offered. Can't be certain of what exactly is being offered because the documentation is pretty skimpy.

This product and its marketing seems to be badly thought out which doesn't inspire faith that it will be around for a long time.

Recommendation - either buy the PC version or, if web based is essential, use KashFlow, Liquid Accounts etc.


John Perry

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John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
16th Nov 2010 09:14

Thanks for a great rundown, John

You've provided a much more comprehensive review of what's on offer than I came up with. Would you be happy for me to add your comments to our news story on the IT Zone page?

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By carnmores
16th Nov 2010 10:10


i would wait and see...........


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By jpcentral
16th Nov 2010 17:20

No problem

I have no problem with you adding my comment to the News story.

Carnmores - I will wait and see. If things change to make it useable at a reasonable price I will gladly start using and recommending it. I think the Quickbooks PC version is a good product. We have over 70 clients using various versions of QB and that wouldn't happen if we didn't like the product.

I am very disappointed in the web based version as it is being presented. I am sure (hope) that this is not the final version - but why even release a beta version if it isn't close to the finished product? There is no point in transferring existing QB users to the online version because it isn't possible. Why would we set up a new client with the online version when we don't have the option to download the data into a QB file should the client (or us) not be happy with the online version - or Intuit decide to scrap the online version because of poor take up of the beta version?

The pricing is way over the top. RRP for Simple Start PC is £99 plus VAT (and you can get it cheaper than this). The online version indicated price is between £8 and £13 plus VAT per month. The top online version says that it has over 65 reports is probably comparable with QB Pro PC (over 100 reports) has an indicated price of between £28 and £33 per month plus VAT after the beta. (I would be interested to know which are the missing 35 reports) wheras the PC version has a RRP of £249 plus VAT (and you can find that cheaper too).  It probably doesn't need an accountant to work out that Intuit are asking a lot more for the web based version than they get for a (probably superior) PC version.


John Perry

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By Cantona1
17th Nov 2010 10:06



While lots of people are commenting on the security and risk of Cloud, no one is highlighting the fact that Cloud would not take over Desktop(At least in short term) due to cost.

As you said, it only cost £99 quid for Desktop QB, but 8-13 quid per month for the on-line version. I still have the old version of QB in my PC. Why one pays 10 years of worth license in one year? I would not.


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