At GranthamPoole, PLLC, we converted all of our QuickBooks Desktop (QBD) clients to QuickBooks Online (QBO) last year and have not looked back. Why did we do it? I’ll explain today.


The Many Reasons for Converting to QuickBooks Online


QBD is a great product, and it’s where we all started. We in the accounting and bookkeeping community became experts in QBD and loved its flexibility. But it had its challenges.

For example, the time it took to switch between clients as well as to restore/rebuild files tested users’ patience. Sometimes clients would send corrupt files and rebuilding them took time, and often, clients didn’t want to pay for this time because they didn’t view it as a value-added exercise. We also used hosting sites to maintain our QuickBooks Desktop files, which added another layer of issues/time, and it is inefficient to be in multiple accounting platforms.

These challenges alone were enough to make us rethink QBD, but they were not the only reason we decided to switch to QBO.

As a Partner at GranthamPoole, I have had plenty of opportunities to attend Intuit conferences, and while there, I would continually hear that QBD was going away soon. True or not, it made sense. I could see that Intuit was putting a huge investment into QBO, and the product was getting better and better.

We also wanted to utilize technology that would help us be more efficient and to connect to the customer point of sale apps and other apps, allowing us to get that core transaction recorded in the books. Getting the actual transaction in the books versus having to record a journal entry was something we knew would save a ton of time. Additionally, we understood that leveraging reporting within QBO and the other apps would allow us to validate the balance and drill in to understand issues, getting right to the heart of the matter.

So, with the QBD challenges, the questions about its longevity, and the constant improvements Intuit was making to QBO in mind, our firm decided moving to QBO was the right move.


Testing, Approving, and Moving to QBO


The fact is, I tested QBO when it was first introduced. At the time, I didn’t think it was ready and QBD far outshined QBO, so I stepped away from it for a few years. I tried again around 2012, and I’m happy to report that I have been hooked ever since.

Intuit continues to invest more money and resources in QBO, and the products get better every year. At GranthamPoole, we too are focused on improving processes to be more efficient. As such, the leadership agreed we were going to move all of our Desktop files to QBO. This was a critical step in the process: we had to have buy-in and support from our Managing Partner and Board before we could move forward. We also had to respect the concerns of those Partners who struggled with this decision and weren’t immediately on board.

With a lot of listening and conversation from both parties, we were able to help those who were resisting change to understand the value of the transition to their clients and our team. We all have to embrace change—we just do it at different speeds.

So, how did we manage the conversion?

It took a year because we all had full-time jobs on top of needing to convert client files from Desktop to QBO. We started by hosting 30-minute-to-one-hour meetings with each partner about their clients. During the meetings, we asked them to pick the first five they would like to transfer to QBO, and we also asked them about any concerns they had, doing our best to reassure them as well as some of their clients.

We then prioritized in fives. First set of five, second set of five, and so on. If they had a client file with a specific issue or concern, we would research to see if we could do it in QBO. We also had to be reasonable. For example, if Client X said they were retiring next year, they would ask if they could they stay on QBD until a specific date, and the answer was “yes.”

Before all of this, however, we had to talk to clients and get their buy-in. Again, we listened to their concerns, discussed pricing, and helped with the transition. The technology transition that occurred due to Covid helped clients be more comfortable in buying into this process. Everyone now understands the anywhere, anytime benefits of working remotely.


Converting to QBO Specifics


I believe it’s worth noting that we decided to not accept any new clients that were unwilling to switch to QBO, beginning in January 2023. If a client was willing to make the switch, we would price the work including conversion to QBO. We have found that almost everyone is willing to switch to QBO. Leveraging technology just makes sense.

As to the specifics of converting our clients to QBO, GranthamPoole has a team that does onboarding. Our process was to talk to a partner and client, then start the conversion. We sent the QBD files for conversion, utilizing an online submission process.


After the conversion, the onboarding team would review the file. We would tie out last year-end and conversion date. Many of these files also required a QBD Payroll to QBO Payroll conversion, so we assigned a team member who was responsible for that specific conversion. That team member would ensure the first payroll ran smoothly before turning it back over to our CAAS team or client.

We were able to find a QBO solution for each client, whether it was QB Ledger, Essentials, Plus or Advanced. QBO Payroll has been working very well for our clients.


Moving Forward with QBO


Moving forward as a QBO firm, we require our team to be QBO certified every year. Our team members have truly become experts on the products as they work in the same systems with different clients every day. Our team also attends the QuickBooks Online “In the Know” webinars, and we share at our staff and firm meetings what is coming next in QBO. In addition, we attend QBO Connect and love learning and sharing in our accountant community.

As QBO enthusiasts, we couldn’t be happier that we can:

  • Easily switch between clients.
  • Compare reports/screens with duplicate tabs.
  • Work in QBO anywhere we want (e.g., in the office, at home, on the road, etc.).

There are even more benefits, including the fact that we’re happier in QBO—and o is our bottom line. I used to be the QBO Queen in my office, but now the firm is full of QBO royalty. The more we know the faster we solve problems and the more efficient we become, which ultimately means a better gross margin.

Ultimately, we want to be the best at QBO and accounting. Our clients can trust that we know QBO and that we’re ready to help every day. If you’re ready to make the switch but there’s something holding you back from converting fully to QBO, let us know. We’re here to help!

If you need more information or support material, check it out here.


Tina Hendry

Tina Hendry is a partner with GranthamPoole and a member of the Intuit Partner Council (IPC). This article was written as part of a paid partnership with Intuit.

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