Marcopoloni, the Tiny Business

Switching to Quickbooks Online and Node.js

We waited a long time for QuickBooks Online to support everything that we needed. It now does and we don’t think we will ever look back to the much-hated desktop version.

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Quickbooks Online
We are busy switching to Quickbooks Online.

As a business owner who has a long past and present as a web developer, I watch the tools that we use and the latest technological trends closely. I don’t like to use cutting edge technology, but I do like to make the jump as soon as there is a business case for it and a clear path that will enable a successful transition.

We have been looking at Quickbooks online for a very long time because I have been dreaming about an accounting system tied to our back-end system forever. Emi, on the other hand, has been longing for the ability to view up-to-date inventory information from anywhere. The problem always was that QuickBooks Online did not support inventory, and the few accounting SaaS companies that did provide it charged a lot for it. It felt that inventory was not on the radar of many of these companies who, obviously, chose the software or service industries as their target markets.

When we finally found out that QuickBooks Online offered inventory we were still stopped by the other hurdle: the ability to support multiple currencies. Last summer this was not supported but it was on the radar. Finally, this fall it arrived, and we were ready to jump on board, except for one tiny detail: if your QuickBooks company file includes multi-currency you won’t be able to export it to import it in QuickBooks online. This really royally stunk and gave us pause, but we decided to go ahead and not to ever look back.

As to integrating our back-end with QuickBooks Online’s it is going to be fairly easy. The API seems well developed although, by reading a few forums, there are some scenarios that return strange errors. I will be happy to sweat through those as nothing seems to be as confusing as the poorly documented FedEx and USPS APIs. Using Node will be a pleasure and abandoning our old technology stack will feel like getting rid of a ball and chain.

So if you are looking to abandon QuickBooks desktop in favor of QuickBooks Online, maybe check to see if you are going to be able to export your file (you might have to upgrade your version). Otherwise, I don’t know what else might cause you to go against that decision. In our case, we were able to save money because online payroll + QuickBooks online was cheaper than the previous payroll solution we were using. Less money, more convenience: a no-brainer.

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