Intuit addresses the needs of its small business owner user base more than a decade after launching a web-based version of its QuickBooks, desktop software.
The QuickBooks application for iPad is the company’s first venture into the tablet market.
The app has been formed from the ground up to take full advantage of the tablet’s screen size and feature set. But, perhaps, more importantly, it is assisting in shifting the focus of the QuickBooks platform away from being solely a tool for back-office accounting.
QuickBooks is evolving into a customer relationship management (CRM) solution for small businesses by introducing the iPad edition launch.
QuickBooks Online for iPad, like its mobile siblings, serves as a companion to the QuickBooks Online experience.
Still, it does so without the requirement for a user to ever log into the desktop-optimized website to take advantage of the features available in the app itself.
Business owners who discover the app through the Apple App Store can sign up for QuickBooks Online to get started.
In a quick sign-up flow, they enter their company’s name and logo. They then submit their registration information to QuickBooks Online.
Even better, the app uses GPS to automatically pull in their contact information, saving them time from having to type it in manually. Even though it appears to be a minor detail, some of the best applications are the sum of many little details.
For now, current subscribers can log in with their existing login information. In-app purchases are available to users who wish to upgrade their experience.
After installation, you may be surprised to learn that QuickBooks Online for iPad is not quite what you expect.
That is, it is more about customer management than finances. Customers informed the company that they were already utilizing the software as a CRM – even if it meant calling the office to obtain the required information.
Accessing QuickBooks Online on iPad
By definition, QuickBooks is a data-entry-intensive application. It can be pretty challenging to use it on a small screen without a keyboard. As a result, you would not consider the iPad an ideal platform for using QuickBooks daily. If you’re on the go and want to check your account balance or send a last-minute invoice, QuickBooks on your iPad can be highly convenient.
There are some apps you can achieve this:
- QuickBooks Mobile
- Logmein or GoToMyPC
- Remote Desktop
QuickBooks Mobile is an iPad application that can download from the iTunes Store on your iPad. It’s a free app. It’s sufficient if you’re a QBOE user. The app will then connect to QBOE’s cloud storage to retrieve your data.
However, if you are using QuickBooks for Windows, an additional service called “QuickBooks Connect” will be required.
It syncs QuickBooks data from your desktop to the cloud, where it can access remotely via a browser.
QuickBooks Connect syncs data between your desktop and the cloud, while QuickBooks Mobile syncs data between the cloud and your iPad.
LogMeIn or GoToMyPC
These two services enable remote access to your Windows or Mac computer. Both have iPad apps, but they require that your PC or Mac is configured with LogMeIn or GoToMyPC.
LogMeIn offers a free light version of their service. After installing the necessary software on your PC or Mac, you’ll be able to connect to your desktop via the iPad app. It will provide an accurate representation of your computer’s screen.
The disadvantage is that the iPad screen is significantly smaller than your home or office desktop, which means that everything appears extremely small on your iPad.
Both apps, however, allow you to magnify specific areas of the screen. It becomes inconvenient if you are using a feature with fields scattered across the screen.
You must constantly move the screen around to locate the appropriate fields. Still, it comes in handy when you are in a pinch.
The benefit of this configuration is that you can access all applications, not just QuickBooks, directly from your desktop. If you are a QBOE user, you can launch the browser from your desktop and log in instantly. It’s a two-step process, essentially.
You transfer data between your iPad and PC and then between your PC and QBO.
This option is for users who have their QuickBooks application hosted on a Citrix-based remote server—access QuickBooks from a PC or Mac via a browser that supports the Citrix plug-in. You can also access the application from an iPad.
Download the free app “Citrix Receiver”. The initial configuration may require assistance from your IT administrator, but it works well. It’s similar to LogMeIn and GoToMyPC in that
QuickBooks is not designed for such a small screen, and you’ll spend time zooming in and moving the screen around, but it works when you’re on the go.
This is identical to the Citrix option discussed previously. Suppose your QuickBooks application is hosted on a third-party server.
You connect to it via a Remote Desktop application. In that case, you can install a Remote Desktop application on your iPad. In this instance, the iTunes Store offers a plethora of applications.
Conduct a search for “remote desktop” in your iTunes store and download the application with the most positive reviews at the time.
I’m not going to recommend one in particular because the iPad app marketplace is highly fluid, and my recommendation would be obsolete in a matter of days. Keep in mind that you will almost certainly have to pay for this app in this case, but the prices are pretty reasonable.
Today, QuickBooks has over 4 million paying users across its product suite, including over 400,000 businesses online, in more than 150 countries.
The company is expanding at a rate of 300 percent year over year on mobile, with 50,000 monthly active users on either iPhone or Android.
These are not insignificant figures, but they also reflect that a sizable portion of Intuit’s customer base utilizes what we might refer to as “legacy” products.
Since small business iPad use has been booming for some time, Intuit must convert those new SMB CRM subscribers to its mobile solutions. This iPad application makes a concerted effort to accomplish just that.
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