Intuit’s New Concept – QuickBooks SharedBooks

Intuit’s New Concept – QuickBooks SharedBooks

As I mentioned in my last post, I was thrilled to be invited to attend the Intuit ProLine Productivity Expo and Accountant 2020 Think Tank.   Intuit shared with us some products and services that are in the concept stage, beta testing or commercially available already for QuickBooks Accounting, Payroll, Payments, Tax, Practice Management and Practice Growth.

Michelle Long and Intuit Product Managers Jacint Tumacder and Howard Shen

Intuit continues to work on products and services to help improve the productivity of accounting professionals, QuickBooks ProAdvisors, tax professionals, bookkeepers and consultants.  I’ll share some of the things Ilearned about with you in several blog posts so make sure to read the other posts too.  In particular, read about these concepts in another blog post too:

  • QuickBooks Online for Accountants – “unique time saving tools just for accounting professionals supporting their QuickBooks Online clients.” (blog post coming soon)
  • Accountant Client Matching “would aim to provide Certified ProAdvisors with a greater number of qualified leads through the Find a ProAdvisor website.  It also aims to ensure that small business owners are highly satisfied with their ProAdvisors and with the website experience.”  Read the post for details.

QuickBooks SharedBooks is a “way for accounting professionals to instantly access the client’s most updated, “master” QuickBooks files at any time without the client’s involvement.”  I’m working with the Product Manager Howard Shen and the development team as part of the ‘Accountant Posse’ on QuickBooks SharedBooks.  I would love to share your comments and suggestions with the team but understand I cannot provide many details (I’m under NDA).  I’m REALLY excited about it and I think it will be awesome!

Think about how time consuming and challenging it is for accountants, bookkeepers or tax professionals to work with client’s QuickBooks files now.   This chart shows how we are currently working with QuickBooks files:

There are disadvantages to each of these methods depending upon the client, work to be performed and other factors.  Wouldn’t it be great if the accountant or bookkeeper could share the QuickBooks file with the client without the need to send/upload anything or login/teleport anywhere?  Think about how much time and effort would be saved!

Remember this is still in the concept stage —

QuickBooks SharedBooks would allow accountants and bookkeepers access to the clients’ most updated QuickBooks file anytime.  You and your clients continue to maintain QuickBooks files on your local hard drives; Intuit servers ensure that all files are synchronized automatically.

For example, if there is only one user working in the QuickBooks file, they will have full QuickBooks functionality.  When both the accountant and the client want to work in the QuickBooks file, QuickBooks SharedBooks would give you options.

For example, lets assume the client (small business) is working in QuickBooks when the accountant tries to access the file.  The accountant can use the file in read-only mode so they could look at reports or anything else but they could not enter anything.  If the accountant needs to enter data or transactions (not read-only mode), then they could request access to the file from the client.  When either the client or accountant updates the file, both would get the updates to the QuickBooks file automatically.

Best of all — both the accountant and the client would have full access to all QuickBooks features and data tables.  No more restrictions like with the Accountant’s Copy ( for example payroll changes will not go back).  No more telling the client they can’t work in the file while you have it (when you get a back up or portable file).  No more logging in remotely nights and weekends.  No high cost of hosting QuickBooks (although the pricing of QuickBooks SharedBooks is not available at this time, I suspect it will be more affordable than hosting services).

QuickBooks SharedBooks is a great concept to allow accountants and clients to work more efficiently and effectively.  It should save time, reduce frustrations and improve productivity too.

I’m thrilled to be working with the Product Manager and development team as part of the ‘Accountant Posse’.  I get to help provide input and feedback as they work on QuickBooks SharedBooks.  I cannot share more details with you or answer questions since I’m under NDA.  However, you can provide input into QuickBooks SharedBooks too — in the comments let us know your thoughts, concerns and suggestions.  What do you want to be able to do with QuickBooks SharedBooks?  How would you use it?  What concerns or questions do you have?  Provide your feedback and I will share it with the product development team — we meet every week!

53 thoughts on “Intuit’s New Concept – QuickBooks SharedBooks

    1. Michelle Long Post author

      Mike — Intuit has stopped funding the project at this time, as they are now adding more resources to QBO, as well as alternatives like hosting and remote access on the market for desktop customers.

      1. Peggy

        Stopping funding for this was a huge mistake. QB is completely useless to us until something like this is functioning. We will cease to use QB within 7 days, to the enormous relief of everyone in accounting. If SharedBooks worked, we would be staying. Time is money… QB is losing customers FAST!

  1. Lisa

    I have a new client using DropBox to host their QBW datafile. I just read it was a bad idea and then found my way to this blog about SharedBooks. What is the current status on this project as it is badly needed?!

    1. Michelle Long Post author

      Hi Jordan!
      Thanks for buying my book – I appreciate it and hope it helps you!
      As for SharedBooks — follow my blog and/or like my Facebook page and I’ll post an announcement when it is available. 🙂

  2. Pingback: News Flash – QuickBooks Intuit ProLine Productivity Expo Showcases New, Beta and Concept Solutions | Free POS + $300 cash!

  3. Jo Ellen Peters

    Hi Michelle,

    Do you know how long Beta testing will take? I sure am interested in the Shared Books. Right now I’m using QB Online and I hate it. My client is not opposed to buying the desktop. I don’t particulary like remote access and was thinking of a hosting option.

    1. Michelle Long Post author

      Hi Jo Ellen!

      I’m glad to hear your interested in Shared Books. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for you.

      The more I used QuickBooks Online and learned a few tricks, the more I liked it. For example, you can open another tab in your browser to have more windows open. As for Remote Access, I really like TeamViewer and Logmein Free works great too. Hosting QuickBooks is a good option too.

  4. Hector

    Michelle, suggest them to do a mode that would be READ-EXPORT-ONLY full reports to accountants PLUS the ability to do GENERAL JOURNAL ENTRIES (ADJ) only without the need to “check out” the file or interrupt any work.

    Adding (not editing) new GJE typically do not threat the database or operability of other quickbooks functions.

    Thank you.

  5. Paul

    Michelle — Any updates? We needed this product years ago. Do you know how the development process is coming along and when they may come out with the product? Days? Weeks? Months? YEARS!!!?

    1. Michelle Long Post author

      They are in the testing phase and looking for testers now. Watch for a new blog post in the next few days with details and any updates that I can provide I will include them too.

  6. Wassim

    Hi, I have Quickbooks Pro 2010, I would like to share the company file between 2 machines, a desktop and a laptop, so that both machines can access the same company file at the same time and being updated instantly. the other machine would primarily be raising invoices and estimates while the other be printing receipts. both have the QB installed. I intend to have a wireless ad hoc network between the 2 computers. kindly assist. thank you.

  7. Larry Wilson

    We have a client who keeps his QBW on his laptop, which has a broadband card. He travels and wants to be able to create sales orders on the go, even in areas where his broadband connection is poor. Once we’re done straighening out his QB setup, we’ll need to access his QB for about 2 hours per week for bookkeeping tasks; not enough time to make an office visit practical. QBOL is not ideal for him because broadband isn’t always available. I looked into Sugarsync, but accordging to your blog post, sharing a QBW on the cloud via a backup or sharing service invites file corruption problems.

    QB Shared Books seems to offer a workable solution for this client provided it can synchronize changes the client made while off-line when he goes online again.

  8. Pingback: Advice for using Dropbox, SugarSync or Box.net with QuickBooks (or Quicken) files | Long for Success

  9. Michele

    I think SharedBooks is a fantastic idea, as well as long overdue. Not exactly on the ball with bringing a product such as this to market.

    In the meantime, I don’t understand why ALL files can’t be shared by 1 user AND the External Accountant, simultaneously. Isn’t “support” to our Clients our entire reason for being? If we were able to login simultateously utilizing the existing multi-user format, we wouldn’t really need any other “SharedBooks” concept. We also could quit burning the midnight oil just to get work done. I would think making this concept work would be pretty simple versus reinventing the wheel.

    Yeah, I know, that would significantly ding Intuit’s revenue streams. Once again, at our expense.

  10. Paul

    This is the solution we are in need of now! My only recommendation is to keep it simple and/or offer different levels at different prices. Judging by the screenshot above, Intuit is working too hard to make it an all inclusive solution. They should start small by offering file share, then upgrades to get things like read-only access, screen share, and client chat.

    They don’t need to bring out everything in the initial version. Learn a lesson from Apple.

  11. Mike Block CPA

    QuickBooks Shared Books is a very good idea, depending on its price. However, it will substantially destroy the QuickBooks hosting industry. Only those needing simultaneously multi-users access will now have reasons to host. Those most hurt will be the nine QuickBooks Commercial Hosting companies. They made the big mistake of paying Intuit $18,000 for the first year, plus $5,000 for later years, plus $5 per user per month. Of course, Intuit always said it reserved the right to compete against them and make their extensive confidential information public. That means they now now exactly how they should price QuickBooks Shared Books to instantly take over this market.

  12. Charles W Davis

    As the 80 year-old dog still learning new tricks, I have many concerns.

    I am the Treasurer for a 501 (c) (3) charity. I am always concerned when the Auditor has the file. I am responsible to the Board of Trustees and our many donor for the security of that file. What are the controls that would protect the file from multiple folks at the accountant’s office gaining access — just a thought. The controls necessary when changing accountants…

    I’m not certain that Intuit can truly secure the file. Microsoft hasn’t been consistently able to secure Hotmail. A couple of our Computer Club member’s Gmail account has been hijacked and is sending messages with a link that redirects to a Canadian pill mill. Since Google and Microsoft can’t seem to protect their e-mail accounts, I not a believer. Next the IRS will have access, the competitor…

    Also mentioned above is the Intuit servers are not the swiftest. I read hundreds of posts regarding the operational problems with on-line payroll that would scare the wits out of me.

    Since the whole “cloud computing” phenomenon is scary, I will certainly wait longer than “Service Pack1” to see what gives.

  13. Kathi Daugherty

    One more thing on the shared QB – please suggest to them an accountant’s subscription that will include multiple companies (like the 50 EIN’s we have with payroll.) I have many client’s I’d like to use this with, but doubt that THEY would pony up the costs (they don’t mind me working nights and weekends at all!). Thanks for keeping us posted!

  14. Gabrielle Fontaine

    Thanks for this post, Michelle! It will be wonderful if it will work as you describe. It is, in fact, the same concept I tried to use Method for when it first came out when working on a project with a client. But it didn’t sync they way we had hoped and slowed QB way down. So that would be a challenge I hope Intuit could resolve. I’m assuming in the scenarios that you describe in your post that if the client was not working on the books, the accountant can access the data file without the need to request permission, like unattended access.

    This is a VERY exciting solution that will solve so many problems and gives us the best of desktop and online services. Please do keep us posted.

    And yes, I love the idea of a QB Reader and will add my request for the product, too.

  15. Pingback: Intuit ProLine Productivity Expo Showcases New, Beta and Concept Solutions | Intuit ProLine News Central

  16. Carla Ramirez

    I love the idea of being able to make payroll changes with the shared file. This has been a frustration of mine with the Accountant’s copy. This is will make my job easier and much more convenient for me and my clients. MOVE FORWARD!!

  17. Angie Huffman, CPA, MBA

    I am intrigued with the idea of a Shared QB. I agree with Lori Thompson on the syncing issues, Kathi Daugherty on a reader and mostly with Bill” Murphy for cloud computing. I have a plan to move all of my computing to the cloud, but QB is the hold up. I want to be able to go to the cloud on QB without forcing my clients to do the same, and without the costly fees associated with QB hosting.

  18. Michelle Long Post author

    @Martin – the external accountant does count as a user. It just gives you admin rights except you can’t access sensitive credit card info or set up or edit other users.

  19. Martin Meyer

    I did not read all the comments, if QuickBooks will allow us to share the files, then this brings the question of the external accountant user to mind. Would it be possible since we are file sharing for the accountant/ bookkeeper to login as the external accountant which does not count as a user and access the file at the same time as the client?

  20. Edwina Glass

    WOW, this is exciting news! This sounds like it would really simplify how we interact with clients while helping us boost productivity and accuracy. I like Kathi’s idea of a QB Reader. I can think of several clients that would benefit from having access to their QB data to run ad hoc reports, etc.

  21. Lorra Brown

    I am absolutely looking forward to this. Over half of my clients would benefit from this. My days of waiting on the client to send the file would be over. This will help us increase productivity as well as the accuracy. Thanks, for sharing, Michelle, .

  22. Karen Yowell

    I would like to see a way to “disconnect” easily. I am thinking more of the client than myself here. I have had clients whose accountants were coming in remotely “at will’ and the client decided they wanted to severe the relationship but were not tech savvy enough to keep the accountant out.

    Myrkrn1

  23. Gina Brooks

    I saw a little about this in a prior blog post and didn’t notice the “check-out” feature. I think that feature would help in preventing both parties from updating their file at the same time. I still wonder about the timing of the upload. What if both client and accountant decided to open the file at the same time? would the “check-out” system work? I guess that is why it is still being tested. The concept sounds great.

  24. Michelle Long Post author

    Again –thanks for the comments everyone!

    @Scott — we can’t share any more details or info about QuickBooks Shared Books. Since Intuit is a public company, we can’t make statements or release info about future events, release dates, etc.

  25. Karen Johnson

    Love the idea. I have a client that has a home office. His computer is also the family computer, so I have to compete for time not only when he is working, but when the kids are on it.

  26. Tap Titherington

    WOW…shared access sounds like it will be an awesome product! I live in a very rural area and foresee having “remote” clients on a regular basis. Please price it well! Can’t wait to see/use it. Thanks, Michelle, for sharing this with us.

  27. Cathy Mueller, EA

    Interesting information and right on target. This application would be very beneficial to us and our small business bookkeeping clients. Should save everyone time and increase productivity as well as the accuracy of the client records.

  28. Mary Ann Barker

    Great job, Michelle. This would solve many problems with a couple of my non-profit clients. Remote access doesn’t work in the middle of the night if there has been a power surge that shut the remote computer down. I look forward to this coming on line, hopefully soon. Payroll is a real issue with one, The office is 35 miles away and I have to physically be there to do anything with the payroll the way it is now.

  29. Michelle Long Post author

    GREAT comments and things to consider — thank you all for taking the time to post! These are things we can discuss in the weekly meetings to help make QuickBooks Shared Books great!

    I was also part of the ‘Accountant posse’ working with the team on Client Data Review and I thought that was a great experience but we couldn’t talk about things at all (under NDA). I too am glad Intuit has shared this concept publicly so we can get feedback and input from others too — this can only help make it better!

  30. William "Bill" Murphy

    Michelle –

    This is something that I believe will ‘change’ the future of QuickBooks, not only between Clients and their Pros (ProAdvisor, Bookkeepers, CPAs) but indeed for All QuickBooks Clients in general since Intuit’s development team seems to be taking the right approach to a functionality that may indeed already exist in one form or another through their Cloud technology and SyncManager.

    Here are my ‘thoughts’, ‘rationale’ and ‘experiment’ results.

    Thoughts – Clients should indeed be able to ‘share’ their syncd copy of the QB file not only from their ‘originating’ copy but any ‘file copy’ they want to have anywhere. Currently the “RealmID” is what is used to identify and tie the file you upload (sync) to the cloud, they Sync Manager on your computer has been told that a certain file syncs to an Intuit Account and Profile on the Intuit Web Workplace. Identical copies of the file on an office workstation, a home-workers’ laptop, and a QB Connect copy on someone’s iPhone should all be able to ‘sync’ back to the Cloud copy, then with the next ‘sync’ to any of the other devices changes made by one are replicated in the copies of all. In my opinion, this is the true VALUE of Intuit’s Sync Manager functionality coupled with the Intuit Cloud Web App service.

    Rationale – From answers hundreds/thousands of Questions in the QB Forum almost all exclusive from the areas of Networking QB, and the Data-file, I would say that 1 out of every 4 questions is about how to ‘share a single QB file’ “across the world” so to speak. Someone working from the office, who needs to work at home, or with a remote location someone needing to get to the company’s QuickBooks. Until now the only reliable method for accomplishing this was either using Terminal Services (Windows Remote Web Workplace) or an application like “Go to my PC”, both of these have significant limitations related to Internet access ‘speed’. Some would say they should use QB-Online, but many people will not even consider this because they do not view themselves as “Masters of their own Universe” as far as their ‘accounting records’ are concerned. The suggestion I have posed resolves both of these issues, because users are actually working on their own copy of the file, and Intuit is simply ‘hosting’ the application and ‘data copy’ that allows them to sync one copy to another, they also remain in full control of their ‘data’ because it is always on their own machine(s).

    Experiment – Believe it or not, this works already, but can be a bit clunky. I have in fact made a copy of one of my own ‘working files’ and loaded that on my laptop. Sync-manager then ask me a few questions, but uploaded my file from my laptop to my Intuit account/profile for that file normally. When I got back to my desktop, that file “which I had set up for auto-sync’ had syncd that copy of the file with Intuit’s Cloud, and the changes I had made on my laptop were now in my desktop. While it wasn’t my intention to find this functionality, I discovered it. Then the ‘reason’ came to me, both copies can ‘sync’ to the Intuit copy because they not only are logged in to the same Account/profile, but most importantly the “RealmID” remains the same in both copies of the Company file. I must admit, I only did this ‘once’ and then really without intent or thinking about what I might be doing, so I haven’t tried it again, but it did indeed work and I think it was a ‘glimpse’ of what hopefully is Intuit’s long-term intent with this new ‘offering of the future’.

    I am glad that YOU and a few others are looking out for our interests and voicing not only to Intuit, but back to us as well, the needs of ourselves and our Clients. I am also ‘glad’ that Intuit is becomming increasingly open to not only suggestions, but in sharing their ‘visions’ for the future of QuickBooks technology.

    Thanks for all you do, and Happy Holidays.

    William “Bill” Murphy – Oklahoma City

  31. Angel Heath

    This is a GREAT idea and I can’t wait to implement it into the daily system of running my business.

    @Kathi – the QB “reader” is a great idea also as most of my clients only have read only access but it would make it a lot easier if there was a tool that would help with this.

    @Michelle – I plan to go to the Product Suggestion and duplicate Kathi’s post. 🙂

  32. Cynthia

    Congratulations Michelle for making it to the “big leagues”. I am so sure that you will help the cause.

    I’m also excited about the concept. I know that there are CPA’s out here that are “forcing” their clients to QBOLE becuase they don’t want to purchase the Accountant’s version — or just don’t understand it. I’m in agreement with Jo Ellen however that I do have concerns about the instant sync and then getting the errors that the clients make. Here’s a thought to combat that…. have something like – before the file syncs, you get to review and accept any changes since the last sync. I dont’ know if that is reasonable given the number of transactions that some clients will have, but it gives some food for thought.

    I also like Kathi’s idea about QB Reader. What a fantastic idea.

  33. Jim Ernest

    My concerns are with data back up.
    1. Can I back up the data file, which I assume will reside on Intuits servers, on my hard drive?

    2. Can I use my copy of the file on a stand alone desktop if my internet goes down or intuits servers do?

    3. If I use my copy off-line, when I connect I assume they would sync?

    4 And of course intuits bandwidth is a concern, look how the help forum slows down at times.
    Jim aka Rustler

  34. Michelle Long Post author

    Thanks everyone for the great comments!

    @Kathi — Good idea about the QB Reader. In QuickBooks, go to Help > Submit Feedback Online > Product Suggestion to let them know about it! They really do listen to the suggestions and the more people who want it, the higher priority it gets.

  35. Kathi Daugherty

    I already have a list of clients this would be ideal for. Some I end up working nights and weekends, other times I say “don’t work in the file” – but we all know how that works. This would be awesome!!! One of my clients wanted to do more of the daily entries, yet still have me reconcile (daily.) So we went to QBonline and I hate it. I sure hope you guys are working fast!!! (and the pricing is not out of my small business clients’ range.

    Another thing I’ve always wished for from QB is a “QB Reader” program. I could send my client the file and they could purchase an inexpensive, or even free, QB Reader that would allow them to open the file, but not be able to do anything – just look at the data.

  36. Lori Thompson, EA

    Sounds like a great idea, and I agree with Don! One concern that I would have is the ability to turn the syncing off. There always seem to be a few clients that are delete happy or such. I keep a back up of their file each time I correct and verify accounts and such. Then when they get things all messed up, I take my back up, find the things they weren’t supposed to do, fix them and look great. If the file automatically synched to my file, then their errors would become part of my pristine file. I know the audit trail helps in these situations, but I find that my way of handling it is more efficient. Just a thought.

  37. Don Campbell

    I am absolutely looking forward to the shared books concept. Maybe I can finally go to bed at night like my client does instead of working on the files while he is in bed.

Leave a Reply