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In our more than 10 years of experience with QuickBooks Point of Sale, one of the most problematic issues is the inability of QuickBooks Point of Sale to synch to a QuickBooks File that is not on the local network. What that means practically is that the owner/bookkeeper has to do their accounting work on a machine at the store.
To work through this limitation, we have several approaches. For the small shop owner, they typically have POS and QBF installed on the same machine and they will do the accounting work in the off hours or when the store is not busy. If they use a bookkeeper or want to do their accounting off site, a backup of the file can be taken and restored on the offsite computer. We strongly advise AGAINST this practice as it is too easy to get the files out of synch, meaning that someone will work on the POS machine at the same time that another person is working on the offsite machine. One person’s work ends up being lost. Another approach is to use remote control software like GoToMyPC, TeamViewer or LogMeIn to remotely log into the computer and do the work. There are a few drawbacks to this method. Since you are taking remote control of the computer, when a sale takes place, you will have to stop and wait for the sale to complete or only do the work when the store is closed. Also, there is the whole issue of having store staff see you as you do your accounting work. Most of the remote control packages allow you to “blank” the screen, but then again you can only do accounting when the store is closed.
Enter Qbox. Qbox is a file sharing service that allows multiple computers to share files across the internet. Google Drive, Sky Drive, Dropbox and Sharefile are all examples of file sharing services. While in theory, you would think there is no problem with sharing files this way, it is NOT recommended by Intuit, the ProAdvisor community and others as it is one of the surest ways to corrupt a QuickBooks database. One of the strengths of QuickBooks is the fact that there is no closing processes, but this means that the database is one big file, therefore if you have multiple people accessing the file across the Internet, bad things can happen. Qbox locks the file while in use and then when you are finished using the file, synchs the changes and then releases the lock. Thus while using Qbox for file sharing, there is never any file corruption, as only the changes made by the user with file lock are synced. Other users can simultaneously view the file, but their changes will not be synced.
Signing up for Qbox is pretty straight forward and creates a shared folder where you can copy your QuickBooks file. Qbox even has a utility to find and copy QuickBooks files to the new folder. I have been testing the various configurations and think I have determined the best one for the Point of Sale User. I set up the synch mode to be automatic; and the lock mode to be Auto as well. (Figure 1)
Next I create a user in QuickBooks called POS that has no permission to do anything but log into the file. To do so click on the Company menu option, then Set up user and Passwords and finally set up users. Step through the various options saying no to everything. When you are done, the final screen should look like Figure 2 (above).
The first time you connected Point of Sale to your QuickBooks file, it should have connected using the standard Admin user in QuickBooks. Make sure that your Admin user has a password set. To confirm how POS logs into the file, go to integrated applications in Preferences under the Edit menu. The screen should look like Figure 3 (above).
While POS is designed to automatically log into to the QuickBooks file during the end of day without having to open the file, I prefer to have the clerk log into QuickBooks to do the Financial Synch. This does two things. It ensures the financial synch will happen without any problems and secondly, it will cause Qbox to automatically lock the file. Since the clerk is using the POS user, they will not be able to access any of the functions in QuickBooks. Once the file is open, Qbox locks access to the file and provides a message to let the user know that the file is locked.
Next the clerk chooses Update QuickBooks from the Financial Menu and Point of Sale and Point of Sale sends the information from POS to QuickBooks. Once this is done, all the clerk has to do is to exit QuickBooks. Qbox will synchronize the changes and when complete release the file lock automatically. (Figure 4)
Now the file is ready to be opened anywhere else that the Qbox client is installed. Multiple people can have the Qbox client installed and share the same file. In this example, we installed Qbox on the POS server computer and used it to send the POS data to a QuickBooks file. That same file can be opened up by the owner at their home or the bookkeeper at their office. In addition the file can be shared on a local network, therefore if the bookkeeping office had several people that work on the file, they can lock it for the office and then share it on their local network.
I believe that this application can be a game changer. No longer do you have to be tied to one machine to do your accounting work.
For more information regarding Qbox, visit their website at: https://qbox.coraltreetech.com/pricing. You can also contact sales at 855-448-7269 Option 2. Please let them know that you found out about them from us.
Editor’s Note: William "Will" English is considered by many (including myself) to be the leading expert on QuickBooks Point-of-Sale. He is the President of English Management Solutions, Inc., a Intuit Solution Provider (ISP) and an Advanced Certified ProAdvisor in both QuickBooks Financial and Point of Sale Software. Will is also author (or co-author) for two handbooks on QuickBooks Point-of-Sale.