I've had two examples this week of why desktop bookkeeping software can be a Very Bad Idea.
The first was preparing a client's accounts from a set of QuickBooks records. The client sent me a backup, I asked the client not to enter any more transactions prior to the year end, prepared and finalised the accounts. When I visited the client's office in order to post the year end journals, the year end trial balance on their QuickBooks didn't match the year end trial balance from the backup they provided to me, so I had to post two sets of journals to line the year end up. Had the client used online software, I could have seen the problem occurring sooner, or locked the records myself.
And the other was opening a Sage 50 backup to discover that the client had posted all the payroll journals as purchase invoices. Again, that could have, and would have, been found much sooner if the client had been using Xero or FreeAgent.
Sometime I will talk to Henry and Jack about moving more of our clients on to online software. I'd like to move them all, but there are lots who'll never agree to change their existing processes.
If a bookkeeping system works well for that client, then fair enough. But how can they ever get an accurate picture of how their business is doing if they don't have correct books? And how can we justify charging them year after year after year to correct the same errors?