We are getting lots of calls today from people having problems accessing QuickBooks Online and other websites and services on Intuit servers.

Intuit tweeted this morning, saying that they had a commercial power failure and are working to restore services.

As of the time of this post, we are seeing the following websites down:

intuit.com
QuickBooks Online
Intuit Merchant Services
Intuit Community
quickbooks.com

QuickBooks Online put up a status page with updates today.

We are trying to tweet and retweet status updates on our twitter account.

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I remember the day I put on my then-favorite suit — a charcoal pinstripe — and doggone it, it didn’t fit anymore! Oh man! The clothing that used to serve me so well didn’t serve me anymore.

If you are using an edition of QuickBooks that doesn’t seem to fit, don’t worry…there are options.

Moving from desktop editions to QuickBooks Online or hosted

If you find yourself wanting to access your books from different locations on a regular basis, QuickBooks Online Edition may be for you. Likewise if you need to have other people in other locations access them.

Your physical location then doesn’t matter. Your employees, your accountant, and you can access your data from just about anywhere over the internet. There are also certified 3rd party companies that host QB desktop editions on their server, and you can access your data remotely through them.

If you need help setting up or moving your data over, give us a call at 1-800-999-9209.

Moving from Pro/Premier to Enterprise

If you have a rapidly growing business, you may find that you are starting to outgrow Pro/Premier:

* Sluggish performance or instability of QuickBooks on your network
* Rapidly growing data file size
* Explosive growth in numbers of customers or inventory items
* Adding more and more data entry users

Some of these issues can be managed through supercondensing services, but sometimes your business is just growing too rapidly for Pro/Premier to keep up. Lucky you! Enterprise can upgrade your data simply by opening the company (Make sure you backup your data first.)

Moving from Enterprise to Pro/Premier

On the other hand, people sometimes find that Enterprise is really more than they need. The support contracts cost much more for Enterprise than for Pro/Premier, so there is a long-term dollars and cents difference.

Pro/Premier cannot by itself open or convert an Enterprise file. To get your Enterprise data into Pro/Premier, you can export/import your lists and use 3rd party software to bring over many of the transactions.

Or QuickbooksUsers.com can convert your file for you from Enterprise to Pro or Premier and bring over 100% of your accounts and transactions – even payroll transactions.

Moving to Specialty Editions

Did you know that there are industry editions of Premier that are specifically tailored for various types of businesses? Currently there are varieties for Construction, Wholesale/Manufacturing, Nonprofit, Professional Services, Retail, and Accountants.

Data can move between Pro and Premier specialty editions simply by opening the company in the edition you want to use. The only limitation is that you have to use at least as current of a version as you had been using. For example, if you had been using QuickBooks Pro 2009, you could open your data in QuickBooks Premier Contractor 2009 or 2010, but not 2008.

Need to see current prices on current and older (but still supported) editions of QuickBooks? Find them here.

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Here are five keys that can guide you to success using QuickBooks in your business.

1. Setup. If you were having a house built, you wouldn’t just get out there with a hammer and nails and start winging it. You shouldn’t wing it when you set up your books in QuickBooks for the first time, either.

Find an accountant or a QuickBooks expert who can structure your accounts in QuickBooks in a way that will serve you well over the long haul. Like remodeling a house, making major revisions to your QuickBooks company after the fact can be difficult and expensive.

If you are just starting out, QuickBooks Online Edition is easy, affordable, low-maintenance, and has the advantage of being available to you anywhere, anytime. The QuickBooks Online Setup Service can get you started right.

2. Security. QuickBooks touches private individual information like social security numbers, and sensitive financial data like bank accounts, credit cards, and financial statements.

You don’t want any of that to fall into the wrong hands. So make sure that every computer on your network has up-to-date internet security software installed, and use passwords that are adequate.

3. Site. The equipment you use on-site can contribute towards success with QuickBooks.

First, you should have a battery backup on every computer on your network — even computers that don’t run QuickBooks directly. Power blips that occur on other network workstations can affect the QuickBooks data stream being passed across the network.

For maximum network stability, use the same kinds of network cards on all your workstations. They will know how to talk to each other better than a random mix of cards.

4. Supervision. Having only one person with access to QuickBooks is a recipe for potential accounting errors, or worse, fraud and embezzlement.

Having more than one pair of eyes on the books plus an occasional audit greatly reduces the likelihood of bookkeeping crime. And having a regular review can keep the books cleaner.

5. Scale. If you have been using QuickBooks Pro or Premier and your growing business means that you now need more than 5 users accessing QuickBooks at the same time, it’s time to consider scaling up to Enterprise. All of your data will automatically convert up when you first open your company in Enterprise.

You can scale down, too. If you find that Enterprise is more than you need, you can downgrade to Pro or Premier.

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Last Friday, QuickBooks Online was offline for about a half day. There was quite a bit of Twitter traffic about it — people were frustrated who needed to access their books and couldn’t.

That is the downside of cloud computing: When there’s a problem with the cloud, everybody gets rained on. (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.)

So you might conclude that putting your accounting data in the cloud makes you vulnerable to outages like last Friday’s. And you’d be right about that.

The alternative is desktop software, like QuickBooks Pro, Premier, or Enterprise. When QuickBooks is installed on your server or your computer’s hard drive, it is under YOUR control, and any problems on Intuit’s servers aren’t going to affect you too much.

No, you then have a different set of potential issues to deal with: issues with your own system.

  • Power blips in your office
  • Hard drive crashes on your computer
  • Viruses/worms/malware on your computer
  • Backup failures on your computer
  • Theft/fire/flood affecting your computer
  • Software conflicts between QuickBooks and other software installed on your computer
  • Outdated versions on your computer

There is an extremely good chance that Intuit’s IT department is more sophisticated than yours and is better equipped to prevent these kinds of problems than you are. But if you are running QuickBooks on your own computer(s) and have a good IT plan in place, you might go for years without any problems.

So the bottomline is this: Who do you want to manage the inherent risks associated with business IT?

One final thing.  This isn’t especially a QuickBooks question or even an accounting software question; it is a question that exists for any cloud vs. desktop business app.

What do you think? Do you trust the cloud or your desktop machine more?

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