QuickBooks for Law Firms – What Law Firms Need to Know About the Cloud
QuickBooks for law firms is one of the most trusted names for accounting. Yet, many law firms feel that they must choose between either the full-featured nature of QuickBooks Professional (Desktop), or the cloud-based but more simplified QuickBooks Online.
QuickBooks Professional vs. QuickBooks Online
Before we talk about QuickBooks for law firms in the cloud, we need to clearly distinguish between the two families of QuickBooks products.
QuickBooks Professional is the original, desktop-based software that has been around for decades, and traditionally is run on individual desktop computers or hosted on a law firm’s in-house server. QuickBooks Professional has, in general, more features and functionality than its Online counterpart, but at the expense of being natively-cloud, which means law firms will need to either run on in an on-premise server or in the cloud via a Private Cloud for Virtual Desktop
QuickBooks Online is Intuit’s newer web-based/cloud-based software, which runs in a browser and is accessible from anywhere. The benefits of QuickBooks Online is that it’s cloud-based out-of-the-box, doesn’t require a server and can be run from anywhere in the world. The downside, presently, is that it still doesn’t do quite as much as the older QuickBooks professional.
As a result, many law firms find themselves in the predicament of having to choose (or believing that they have to choose) between the benefits of the cloud, or the benefits of the more mature QuickBooks Professional.
The fact is: Law firms do not have to make this choice. A law firm that endeavors to eliminate onsite servers and move their practice in the cloud co do so, and keep QuickBooks Professional.
In this article, we’ll look at hosting QuickBooks for law firms in the cloud as well as what you need to know about the process.
An Overview of QuickBooks for Law Firms
QuickBooks is owned and supported by Intuit. Intuit also owns TurboTax and Mint. Intuit’s website states that one of their missions is to give people the tools that they need to manage their finances and prosper. Intuit is one of the most trusted brands of small businesses when it comes to accounting; They’ve been around for a long time. In addition to company-provided support, they also host a community forum that is packed full of helpful tips.
QuickBooks for law firms is an accounting software that provides law firms with the ability to track time, simple billing and invoicing, accept payments, and multiple easy to use financial reports. Users of QuickBooks can also create individualized reports. This is an important feature because being able to create reports based on client type, client name, or even different types of matters can help law firms better track their metrics. Tracking metrics can help law firms see where they’re doing well and where they can improve. It works for law firms of any size.
QuickBooks for law firms is available, as I described earlier, in the Professional (Desktop) or Online (Clud-based editions. basic options from anywhere, but you could lose out on features you really need to have.
Hosting QuickBooks for Law Firms in the Cloud
QuickBooks Professional can be run independently on a single desktop computer, but for most law firms larger than solo practices, QuickBooks (the database, or company file) resides on a server. So its fair to say that QuickBooks, in effect, requires a server.
A Private Cloud, in short, is a fully-managed, hosted IT platform meant to do everything that an on-premise server would do (and more); a Private Cloud will host a law firm’s main software applications (like QuickBooks), as well as documents, email and other elements of a law firm’s technology.
QuickBooks (in most cases) requires a server. And in the case of a Private Cloud, the Private Cloud is the server. And in that way, a private cloud gives you the best of both worlds: The rich, robust functionality of QuickBooks Professional, and the security, mobility, security and reliability of the cloud.
But a Private Cloud is more than just a vehicle to move QuickBooks Professional to the cloud. Typically, a private cloud includes:
- Hosting for all of your firm’s software: From practice management to accounting.
- Secure cloud storage for your files, folders and documents.
- Email (often via Hosted Exchange)
- Microsoft Office for Documents
- Technology / IT support for your entire firm
Benefits of Hosting QuickBooks for Law Firms in the Cloud
Law firms get several benefits from hosting QuickBooks for law firms in the cloud:
- You don’t have to switch software. Changing your bookkeeping and timekeeping software can be time consuming and frustrating. Doing it just for the sake of portability can make the entire idea seem worthless. Hosting QuickBooks in the cloud means that you don’t have to change your software to enjoy the benefits of the cloud.
- You don’t lose the features you use in the traditional version. No more choosing between QuickBooks Online or waiting until you get into the office. You get the full featured version of QuickBooks that you can access anywhere that you have Internet access!
- Data security. Cybersecurity is a serious issue especially for law firms. Sensitive data from clients as well as security work product is imperative. Hosting QuickBooks in the cloud gives you better data security than leaving the data and the program on your own server.
- Better accessibility. It’s the “cloud age.” More of us want the ability to work from anywhere. Hosting QuickBooks in the cloud means that you’re no longer tied to your office.
- Better reliability. The best hosting and private cloud provers provide 99.9% uptime and also provides built-in IT support. No more waiting for technical issues to be resolved, waiting for updates to be installed on your physical server, or figuring out if there is a problem with the software or the server. It’s all fully managed with a private cloud.
- It grows with your law firm. As your law firm changes, your private cloud can change with you. Need more space? No problem. Hiring more staff? No problem. Don’t need as much space as you thought? Again, no problem. This sort of scalability makes knowing what you’ll pay more predictable than relying on traditional hardware in your office.
- Economic. A private cloud server is more economical for law firms of any size using QuickBooks. If you want to host QuickBooks onsite, you must deal with the expense of buying a physical server, paying an IT professional who has the right experience, purchase the right cybersecurity and antivirus software, pay for data backups, and then pay for upgrades and maintenance. It adds up fast. And you also never know when some of those extra expenses will pop up. A private server is generally less expensive and includes everything you need in terms of data security and on-going maintenance.
- Personalized set-up and on-going support. A reliable private cloud that services law firms provides personalized cloud set-up that should be virtually (no pun intended) painless for you. It should also provide on-going training and support. From log-in to use to questions about the software to individual computer problems, you should have the constant and on-going support you need to be comfortable using your private cloud.
Why You Should Move Your Entire Firm to the Cloud
While we touched on it briefly a bit earlier in this article, it’s important for us to emphasize why you should move your entire firm to the cloud and not just QuickBooks. QuickBooks, as well as your other software, often work together. They pull data from each other so that you can get your work done. If you only move QuickBooks, this is known as piecemealing. A piecemeal cloud is far less reliable. It can actually make it difficult (if not impossible) for the programs to work together. Moving all of your software over means that you can use any of it at any time and from any location.
Related: Piecemeal the Cloud At Your Own Risk
Closing the Loop
That about sums up moving QuickBooks for law firms to the cloud. You’re invited to check out Uptime Practice as your private cloud provider; We work specifically with the legal industry. Our private cloud service is developed to host QuickBooks as well as other software used by law firms.
Contact us with your questions. We’re always glad to answer them!