An Open Letter About QuickBooks Online

Craig W. Smalley, EA
Founder/CEO
CWSEAPA PLLC
Columnist
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I can’t be the only one that has experienced this situation with switching to QuickBooks Online and I want to share mine with you.

First, I received a call from my QuickBooks Pro Advisor stating that they were offering wholesale pricing for all of our clients that switched from Desktop to Online. I had used Lacerte for my tax software and for extensions and then ProConnect because it integrated with QBO. 

I decided to make this switch because ProConnect is basically Lacerte, but cloud-based. I was also promised free support for my clients that were switching from Desktop to Online. Plus, it is all cloud-based so we decided to switch our clients over.

As accountants we are given QBO Accountant and the client has other versions to select from.  You would think that the Accountant version would offer things like: after the fact payroll and depreciation. You know, all of the things that accountants want and need, but it doesn’t. The difference in the versions is their workflow system and other minor details.

In public accounting it is hard to get someone to switch to a subscription-based software, much less, it seems that everyone has an exception. To do after the fact payroll and depreciation, I’ve had to buy another program for $1,500 a year to accomplish that feat.  I also decided that I wasn’t going to renew Easy Acct for the 10 or so clients that don’t want to spend anything extra to do payroll and I thought I would use ProConnect for depreciation.

Now, let’s talk functionality. Here is how our friends at QBO set up their program:  In QBO, each client has a master file.  I uploaded my tax clients from Lacerte to ProConnect, which created another master file. 

Then, if I try to transfer the trial balance to ProConnect, it creates yet ANOTHER master file.  None of these files talk to one another. So, I’ve been forced to MANUALLY enter information into ProConnect. To add insult to injury, these files CANNOT be deleted. It has created a mess that my wife and partner have been sorting out for over a month now. 

Intuit is catering to public accounting firms. They should know that first of all, not every client is open to spend more money on payroll when they weren’t doing it before, for free. Not to mention that our representative told us, point blank that if we had clients that needed training they would offer it for free. 

Through this whole, arduous process I lost four clients. I lost them because, as it turns out my QB ProAdvisor Manager (but let’s call it what it is, he’s a salesman) dropped the ball on the “free training” by telling us that WE had to take care of it. 

So, this salesperson essentially lied to us. Here we are offering to our clients that QBO would take care of the support and here I am wasting my time, doing them myself. 

I know how QBO works, but not to the level of QB Desktop. I brought this up to my advisor, who reluctantly honored the deal, but by this time the clients were so mad, we lost them. That is approximately $20,000 lost on relationships it took me 20 years to build. 

My business is rarely slow, but I have a little downtime now and I am going to check out Xero and see what they can do for me.  I cannot be anyone’s guinea pig anymore. 

As a vendor, you need to have a focus group of accountants before you roll out a program MADE for accountants! Now, I don’t usually touch my social media, but I blasted Intuit for all of this. In the end, I can recover from a $20,000 a year hit, but most practitioners can’t. 

I like the idea of functionality across devices, and the ability to work from anywhere, however, I don’t believe QBO is ready for primetime.

Editor's Note: Please note that the words and opinions expressed by Mr. Smalley are his own and do not reflect those of AccountingWEB or its parent company Sift Media. 

About Craig W. Smalley, EA

Craig Smalley

Craig W. Smalley, MST, EA, has been in practice since 1994. He has been admitted to practice before the IRS as an enrolled agent and has a master's in taxation. He is well-versed in US tax law and US Tax Court cases. He specializes in taxation, entity structuring and restructuring, corporations, partnerships, and individual taxation, as well as representation before the IRS regarding negotiations, audits, and appeals. In his many years of practice, he has been exposed to a variety of businesses and has an excellent knowledge of most industries. He is the CEO and co-founder of CWSEAPA PLLC and Tax Crisis Center LLC; both business have locations in Florida, Delaware, and Nevada. Craig is the current Google small business accounting advisor for the Google Small Business Community. He is a contributor to AccountingWEB and Accounting Today, and has had 12 books published on various topics in taxation. His articles have also been featured in the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, and several other newspapers, periodicals, and magazines. He has been interviewed and been a featured guest on many radio shows and podcasts. Finally, he is the co-host of Tax Avoidance is Legal, which is a nationally broadcast weekly Internet radio show.

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Jan 15th 2018 18:51

This is Melissa from Intuit Care. Thank you for sharing your feedback with us. In reviewing our records on your account, we see that a variety of training options and formats were provided. We regret that these didn’t satisfy your needs. I will reach out to you directly as we’re eager to connect and see where we can provide additional help.

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By Lstapf
Jan 15th 2018 20:48

And add to that the current fiasco with payroll exports not working, with logins that repeatedly cycle and don't work. How much time have we spent on support calls.... to much to even count this year. And they raised prices... and deceptively offer breaks that are meaningless - like the multi owner QBO setup at $5 a month - that is only valid if you bring all files on for that corp unit at one time - adding additional files later does not work.

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