Objective: Having started her career in small-business banking, Lauryn Charles learned early on that, “If your accounting systems are in place correctly, your whole business will run smoothly.” When she subsequently started her own accounting firm, she knew there had to be a better way for her clients to interact with her services.

As a firm that provides personalized QuickBooks consulting — Charles is a self-taught QuickBooks guru — AFSG selected Right Networks to create a cloud-hosted environment for its clients, because the company has a strong focus on bringing QuickBooks Desktop into the cloud. “Having the ability to have QuickBooks Desktop version in the cloud has made my, and my clients’, life so much easier,” Charles said.

Implementation: Charles said that Right Networks has been responsive and “wonderful to work with.” Right Networks provides AFSG with a standard, one-page form for onboarding clients. Charles sends the completed form to the cloud-hosting company, and the client is set up within 24 hours. If Charles is not available, Right Networks walks her client through the process in her absence.

“I’ve never spoken to an employee [at Right Networks] that wasn’t a joy to speak with and wasn’t totally helpful,” Charles said.

Advantages: “One of the advantages of Right Networks is it gives me another option to offer my clients,” Charles said. “What accounting solutions exist? I now have an option [QuickBooks Desktop in the cloud], that’s so much more efficient and cost-effective. I can say, ‘Here’s something that might fit your specific needs that QuickBooks Online or a remote-access program won’t do.’” She also added that Right Networks saves her firm time and money.

Challenges: According to Charles, the challenges of working with Right Networks include some minor functionality issues, such as the inability to right-click in some windows in a remote environment, and that it doesn’t host certain apps yet. However, she said, Right Networks is working closely with Microsoft and Intuit (maker of QuickBooks) to bring more functionality to users.

“I don’t want to act like it’s perfect for everyone,” Charles added. “There’s a cost boundary. In other words, a firm with an excessive number of users — and I don’t know what that would be — could find it very expensive.” But AFSG has found a solution for per-user costs. While it has six users that need to get on the system, the firm only pays for four user profiles, with some sharing. This ability to overlap helps keep costs down.

Next steps: “We live in such a mobile environment and more businesses have remote employees, or work from home programs, or multiple locations,” Charles said. “I think I’ll be able to migrate more of my clients to the cloud that are still in QuickBooks Desktop.”

“As accountants, QuickBooks Desktop is our biggest ally,” she continued. “It’s so much better for reporting, financial statements, bank reconciliations and tax planning. It has a lot more features than QBO. Over time, hosting QBD on the cloud will enable me to share data more quickly with my clients. And I do it now. I have a shared folder with a client. I can log in and save their financial data on the cloud and it’s on their home computer. That’s a better alternative to Dropbox — it’s somewhere where it’s secure and backed up.”

read the full article: https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/case-studies-cloud-hosting-2017