I'm just now starting my bookkeeping business and have my first "test" client interested in my services. I've taken the tests and am a Certified QBO pro advisor - but it seems its quite hard to find information these days on Quickbooks Desktop (clearly QB is trying to move away from this). My potential client has QB Desktop (she does not know what version or year). She previously had an accountant that she was not happy with doing her books, whom she let go last month. She rarely logs in to the platform and mostly just receives her reports from her accountant.
A few questions from me:
-I'm trying to convince her to move to QBO, but given she just recently paid for the QB Desktop upgrade, she is hesitant to move to QBO right now (as basically she would be double-paying for several months). Is there any relief QB would offer for someone in this situation?
-If I do convince her to move to QBO - I assume I can do this transition without having access to QB Desktop myself? My only concern is walking her through pulling the files she needs out of the system to send to me....is it relatively straighforward and are there easy directions anywhere I can send her? Also, how long would you expect the transition to take for someone who hasn't done it before (trying to estimate my hours)?
-If I don't convince her to move to QBO....I suppose that means I need to get Desktop. What version should I get if I don't know which one she is on....if she is on Pro and I get Premiere, will it still work? Seems they have a one time cost vs. a subscription based program....what is the benefit of each of these? Totally clueless when it comes to Desktop.
-Probably a silly question....but how exactly do you even collaborate with clients in QB Desktop? Stumped as to how this works practically.
Thanks for all the help you can give!!
Not sure where to begin with this, maybe from back to front.
Collaboration on desktop can take many forms. You could travel to her location, log in as an assigned user. That is traditional "bookkeeping". Intuit offers a hosting service for multi-user access or one can set up a virtual machine in Microsoft Azure for same access or two computers hardwired on a LAN. For this you need your own licensed copy of same year and version.
Or remote desktop application like Splashtop where you "take over" her computer as if you were sitting there.
Or work from backup or portable company files sent back and forth with the understanding that only one person should work on the file at a time.
Do you plan on being her tax CPA (are you even licensed as one) as well or just her bookkeeper? Accountants usually buy the desktop accountant edition (or get it free with $349 desktop pro advisor program) With accountant version clients usually send an acountant copy quarterly or annually for review and adjustment and receive back a change file to import but you make it sounds as if you will be the daily data entry of everything.
Version: you need, at your end, same year, same version for multi-user access at its basic level - that is why remote access is probably best bet.
Conversion: someone with access to the company file needs a version of quickbooks, which can be a free trial (that you cannot register) just for the export. As any part of convincing you would have to offer upload for free as well as wholesale pricing that your certified pro advisor status allows. You could lead her through the conversion but it would be easier leading her through a company backup and sending that to you.
Relief: Not usual. Within 30 days she could ask for a refund and uninstall the upgrade but that is the extent of it.
Information: there is no official QuickBooks manual, printed or digital but help articles abound and $30 for a QBDT for Dummies book will cover most of what you need to know. Pus, QBDT is straightforward, normal looking database entry. If you can use Excel and Word you can use QBDT.
Finally your first "unasked" question. You are just now a certified QBO Pro Advisor with NO EXPERIENCE IN BOOKKEEPING AT ALL, YET??? That is, unfortunately, the way your first paragraph reads. And from this you intend to move yoru first client from an established history n QBDT to QBO? Yes, it would be the most convenient for you to become an invited accountant user (or you set up the account) for her company, but convenience does come with a price. At wholesale pricing your cost will be (at current monthly rates) $360 per year (for Plus) before you charge her standard markup. And you absolutely HAVE to collect her payment in advance in case she fires you along the way (or don't put it on wholesale and make her pay the $60/month herself)
Thanks for all the information, very helpful and really appreciate it.
A few answers to your questions. First, I am a CPA with significant experience working on accounting/financial reporting, etc with a Big 4 and large multinational Corporation experience. So I'm quite well versed in my debits and credits, though admittedly don't have hands on experience in QB yet. I'm currently not intending on offering tax services, though planning to partner with tax professionals in my area on a referral basis for now. The primary service I'm looking to sell is more along the lines of financial analysis - I'm planning to provide small businesses with more useful reports, analysis, projections, budgets, and advice on growth (this is where most of my experience lies) - however it seems as though to do this I'm best off offering bookkeeping services as well. In my long-term plan I would hire a bookkeeper and focus on the other aspects of the business and growing clients, but for now just starting out it makes sense for me to do the bookkeeping myself. Starting this out as a side-hustle with hopes it will grow into my full-time gig after a while.
My first client is a friend of a friend....I've essentially told them I'm using them as a test client (and aren't charging them for a lot of the work I'm doing as I'm using it as a learning opportunity). I've done quite a lot of study on QBO, but obviously need hands on experience somehow before I start offering my services more broadly. I'm just at a complete loss when it comes to Quickbooks Desktop (not from an accounting perspective as I'm quite sure I can pick that up without much issue), but more from a technical functionality perspective regarding how it works in practice and the logistics of it all. This was the impetus of my questions, as my potential client wasn't able to tell me much about how she was working with her accountant previously other than to say that her accountant would send her reports and sometimes she would pull down her own.
Ultimately I'm trying to avoid having to get Quickbooks Desktop and solely take QBO clients (or convert Desktop clients) - do you think this would be too limiting in the long run? The businesses I'm targeting are generally smaller service-industry businesses that typically wouldn't need much of the added functionality that Desktop would offer, and likely would value the mobility and accessibility of QBO. It also seems like QB is definitely trying to move in the direction of encouraging QBO - you have to dig to even find the full pricing info for QB Desktop on the website!
One further question as this struck me in your response - would I really need to get her to pay me for the full year of QBO if I billed wholesale? I assumed that Quickbooks would bill me monthly and I would therefore just pass this along in my monthly invoices. Even if she fired me, assuming she was paid up on invoices (suppose this is a relatively big assumption), wouldn't there be limited risk there as I would just transfer it over to her to pay at that point? Just curious what other people do as I think getting her to pay up front $360 when she paid for QB Desktop only 7 or 8 months ago would be a bit of a tough sell.
This comment is problematic: "So I'm quite well versed in my debits and credits, though admittedly don't have hands on experience in QB yet."
In QB, you hardly ever fall back to Debit-Credit. These programs have tools, an Interface = enter a check, not Debt-Credit. Enter a credit card charge expense, not Debit-Credit. Use Deposit, not Debit-Credit.
"I've done quite a lot of study on QBO, but obviously need hands on experience somehow before I start offering my services more broadly."
There are trial company file log ins and desktop sample files that can be used to learn from.
"Ultimately I'm trying to avoid having to get Quickbooks Desktop and solely take QBO clients (or convert Desktop clients) - do you think this would be too limiting in the long run?"
You would be doing your customers a disservice to try to move them to QB Online just because that's what you want. There are too many differences in the programs; you should always strive to use the tool that meets Their Need, not your preference. This is like telling them to move from a Chevy Truck to a Chevy Bolt when they need a truck and have no electricity plug in available. You don't make the recommendation when it is not advised for their needs.
"The businesses I'm targeting are generally smaller service-industry businesses that typically wouldn't need much of the added functionality that Desktop would offer"
See, I don't agree with that. These are the Exact businesses that benefit from Desktop. QB Pro can be bought outright and owned for under $150, and QB Online doesn't even do Job Cost Tracking from Payroll. Yet, a service business has the majority of costs for sales as their Labor expense.
"would I really need to get her to pay me for the full year of QBO if I billed wholesale?"
Well the problem with a Subscription model is that Someone constantly pays.
"Just curious what other people do as I think getting her to pay up front $360 when she paid for QB Desktop only 7 or 8 months ago would be a bit of a tough sell."
That's the problem, then, isn't it? Have you looked at the total cost for QB Online for that person?