Last summer, my family moved. It was awful. Months of planning, weeks of packing, days of moving boxes from one place to the other, and weeks of reorganization after the move while we find a place for everything and get to know our new surroundings. Many people have asked me why I would put myself and our family through such an ordeal. We moved from one
adorable seaside New England town to another. What's the difference? Our former town is beautiful, has great schools and nice people. Our new town is also beautiful, schools are just as good, so what the heck were we thinking? Convenience and quality of life. Our new town is
closer to work and family, which will allow my husband and I to be more engaged with our children and their education, and allow us all to enjoy our extended family more frequently. We will also benefit from having additional support from friends and family that will be much closer to us. The way I see it, we are willing to endure the short-term inconvenience in order to enjoy a better life long-term. While I was listening to my husband grumble about how much he hates moving, it made me think of my clients and peers that grumble about moving from QuickBooks Desktop to Quickbooks Online.
There are a few reasons that people are resistant to migrating to the cloud. Many are reluctant to consider a move because they will need to learn a new interface and maybe change the way they process their information. When we moved our house last summer, one of the first things I did was to put up the kids posters on their walls. This made their new rooms feel instantly familiar and made the transition more comfortable. For migrating QuickBooks Desktop users, you can customize the shortcut bar in Chrome to work as an “icon bar” in QuickBooks Online. This simple set up will make QBO feel more familiar to a migrating client and ease the transition for them. The migration of data from QuickBooks Desktop (QBDT) to QuickBooks Online (QBO) is so easy and so FAST. Set up a trial for them and actually show them what their data will look like inside QBO to ease any uncertainty ahead of time.
Others are nervous about the new “neighborhood”. When we were planning our move, we investigated our potential new home. We checked with the local police station and we talked to people we knew who already lived in the neighborhood to find out if there were any issues we should be concerned about. We even spent a couple of afternoons at a park in the neighborhood to see what the traffic was like and to get a general sense of the atmosphere. It is just as important that your clients learn about the cloud environment they are moving their financial data into. Require them to read the EULA and terms of conditions of QBO or any other solution they are considering and be ready to answer any questions they may have. You can find Intuit’s privacy and security information by clicking on the Privacy link at the bottom of the QBO login screen.
Remember, your client has become accustomed to working on their local workstation environment and the thought of moving to the “big city” of cloud computing can be intimidating. They have hired you to help them understand the risks and rewards of working in the cloud and it is up to you to make sure they have all the facts. Intuit uses the same 128-bit encryption as financials institutions, which should make us feel safe about the information being sent over the internet. While there is no local backup option in QBO, there are some workarounds that allow a user to save pertinent information locally, such as exporting the general ledger to excel, or exporting back to a QBDT file. But most proponents of cloud-based accounting solutions agree that since your data is continuously backed up by Intuit the chances of losing data is minimal.
My family decided to move because something wasn’t working. We felt dissatisfied with our situation and began looking for a solution that would provide us a better quality of life. I recently asked Woody Adams, Intuit employee and co-host of The QB Show (who also recently moved), if he could share his thoughts on how moving a household could be compared to
moving to the cloud. He described his new house and neighborhood as a “new opportunity”, which I really love because it implies a move forward and as Woody put it, “being untethered”. I think this is a great analogy for why our clients look to move their accounting systems. Either something is not working to their satisfaction or they are looking to stay ahead of the technology curve. In fact, the conversation about switching from QBDT to QBO with an existing client is usually the result of dissatisfaction with the current process or when it is time to upgrade QBDT. The goal of the client is ALWAYS to make their processes easier and more effective, without compromising the quality of their financial information.
As with any engagement, the needs of the client must be thoroughly assessed and no one solution is right for everyone. The goal in our practice at Orefice & Caliri CPAs, is to develop an accounting system for our clients that provide them with the maximum amount of relevant information to run their business using the simplest and most convenient workflows available. Make it easy for them and they will be a happy client.
The benefits that QBO offers to users, such as better mobility and lower technology costs can far outweigh any initial inconvenience that a conversion will cause. Simply dismissing a move because the moving is uncomfortable is shortsighted. Users must look beyond the initial investment to the long term benefits.
Let’s face it, change is scary. It is important to help our clients understand that a conversion is a process and to focus on the outcome. As J. Paul Getty said, “In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy”.
Heather Satterley is an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor practicing with the firm of Orefice & Caliri, CPAS of East Providence, RI. She has been a ProAdvisor for over 15 years and is also an Enrolled Agent permitted to practice before the IRS. Heather is also a recipient of Intuitive Accountant's 2014 Top 100 ProAdvisors award.