As of this month, Intuit is offering its hosting program to commercial hosting companies, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors, and Intuit Solutions Providers who are looking for ways to grow their businesses while delivering improved service, access, and ease of use to their clients.
This program makes it possible for providers to increase their own productivity as well as grow their practices by offering licensed copies of several versions of QuickBooks to clients. The versions available are QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Premier Accountant Edition, and Enterprise. Also included are Payroll and Merchant Services.
Intuit developed the program based on findings from discussions with accountants and end users, and from a pilot program the company has been conducting with a handful of hosting companies. Therefore, the program is designed to meet the needs of end users and small businesses interested in having their QuickBooks files and data hosted. They have seen early adoption of the Intuit Hosting Program from certain groups, such as franchise and not-for-profit organizations.
What are the advantages of using the Intuit Hosting Program?
QuickBooks data can be accessed across remote locations, simplifying the users reporting needs. That’s the “anytime, anywhere” feature that enables you to log on anywhere you can get an Internet connection and have all your files available: your office, your client’s office, your home, the airport…Starbucks. As end users, the always-available nature of the Intuit Hosting Program enables you to increase your productivity while you reduce expenses in several ways:
- Less need to travel
- No additional PC maintenance or IT support
- Enhanced reliability with virtually no downtime
What kind of security does the Intuit Hosting Program offer?
This program utilizes two-level, password-protected logins for added security, as well as 128 bit encryption and security time-outs. End users can have their licensed copies of QuickBooks desktop software installed on servers in an authorized remote hosting facility. Then they can tap that software over the Internet on a virtual desktop through a secure connection and a Web browser.
Intuit does not certify, guarantee, or warranty individual commercial or self-hosts. Commercial and self-hosts who participate in the program are solely responsible for the security, privacy, availability, and back-up of QuickBooks data files and software that they host. However, Intuit has arranged for independent, third-party accreditation through the International Association of Managed Service Providers (MSP Alliance). The MSP Alliance reviews commercial hosts before they can become authorized, and requires them to pass an examination and on-site facility inspection, which is designed to gauge the ability of the commercial host to provide a safe and secure environment for QuickBooks data.
As for self-hosts, currently there is no independent review and none conducted by Intuit. Self-hosts are solely responsible for ensuring that their hosting facilities, technology, and services are secure, private, and reliable.
Can data be lost?
With the Intuit Hosting Program, data is stored on the servers of the commercial provider, and the backup process is performed on a scheduled basis. So, even if your laptop was lost or stolen, your data is safe. End users also have the option to backup a copy of their data files onto their own desktops.
What about multi-user capability?
The Intuit Hosting Program supports the same number of valid QuicBooks licenses for multiple access as the desktop product.
Does the QuickBooks Hosting Program support all versions of QuickBooks? Suppose your version of QuickBooks is much more recent than that of a client?
Intuit Hosting supports QuickBooks Pro, all versions of QuickBooks Premier, and QuickBooks Enterprise Edition (in accordance with Intuit’s Service Discontinuation Plan policy). Hosting is not available for versions of QuickBooks that are no longer supported under Intuit’s Service Discontinuation Plan policy.
How does the Intuit Hosting Program compare to using QuickBooks on a desktop or QuickBooks online?
Intuit offers QuickBooks Online, which is a fully Web-based accounting software solution. This program allows the desktop PC-based versions of QuickBooks for Windows (QuickBooks Pro, Premier Editions, and Enterprise) to be installed and managed for end users by a hosting service provider or accounting professional who gives access to a secure server via the Internet. Users log onto the host’s server with a user name and password, and gain access to their QuickBooks desktop software program. The key benefits of remote access and managed service are similar between QuickBooks Online Edition and hosted QuickBooks desktop software, but they differ in the features, functionality, and hosting platforms.
How can the Intuit Hosting Program be used to add new streams of revenue?
Accounting professionals who qualify as hosts can develop new streams of income by offering this new service to their own clients. Just as the Intuit Hosting Program allows accountants to increase productivity and save costs by accessing their files anytime, anywhere, the same is true for the CPA’s clients. Accountants can then provide ongoing mentoring as their clients learn and use the new program.
What kinds of set-up fees are involved?
To manage this program successfully and make sure our host companies are meeting the needs of their customers, Intuit makes available a certain level of support to ensure our QuickBooks products are performing as expected in a hosted environment. As a result, there is a certain level of cost associated with maintaining that support.
For the self-host program, there is a small initial set-up fee and a small annual fee to participate in the program:
- Enrollment fee: $200
- Annual renewal fee: $100
- No accreditation fee
- No per-user fee
For the Commercial Hosting Program there are set-up, accreditation and ongoing fees to participate in the program:
- Enrollment fee: $15,000
- Annual renewal fee: $5,000
- Per-user fee, per month: Intuit will bill each Commercial Host partner a monthly per-user fee of $5 based on the total number of customers in the hosting program using a QuickBooks product.
- Accreditation application fee: $3,000 – this is a one-time fee charged by MSP Alliance for conducting the accreditation due-diligence process of each new Commercial Host applicant.
Anyone interested in beginning the process of becoming a host can contact the national accounts team at (800) 224-0906 x12343 or by e-mail at [email protected]
. Find out more information by logging onto the Intuit Web site