Automation with Quickbooks, Part 3: Qbox

November 15, 2016

QuickBooks automation part 3.jpg

“Everyone is going to the cloud! QuickBooks Online is marketed heavily. I use QuickBooks Desktop. For various reasons, I don’t have any plans to move to QBO any time soon. How do I keep using my QB desktop version, but still have access similar to what I would have by moving to QBO? “

I hear the above comments quite a bit. For those of us who still use QB Desktop, we want remote access without changing to QBO. In my firm, about 50% of my clients  have still chosen to use desktop vs online. In this continuation of my articles about Automation with QuickBooks, I’ll share one of the solutions I use to access clients’ QB Desktop files remotely.

There are other options besides the one I’m going to share, such as placing your QB files with a hosting service in the cloud, but that can be expensive. You could pass the file back and forth via flash drives or email or Dropbox, but then the “live” file has left the client’s desktop, and cannot be worked on until it is returned and restored. Some of those transfer methods are also not very secure. What if someone forgets the QB file is “out” and they use the one in their computer? Now there are two active QB files.

For my file sharing, I discovered Qbox by CoralTree. At my firm, I pay for the Qbox subscription as a service to my clients, and invite them to be users. However, anyone can purchase a Qbox subscription and invite any number of users they want to have remote access.

Here are my reasons for using Qbox for file share:

  • When my team members or I log in to a client’s QuickBooks, we are doing so from whichever computer we want, no matter where we are located.
  • We do not tie up the client’s computer when we are in QB. The client is free to use their computer for other applications.
  • Sometimes the print was so small on a remote connection, we could not read it easily.
  • Since we are not on the client’s computer with their QB file open, no one in their office can see confidential data open on their computer.
  • We can collaborate with the client, as they can open the QB file in read-only mode while we have it in locked mode.
  • We can print from our location.
  • The client can review data and print reports while we have it in locked mode.
  • We share more than just the QB file. We can share bank statements, Excel documents, and whatever else we need to process our client’s data.
  • The data is subject to stringent security features.
  • Should a session not sync correctly, there are backups in the cloud.
  • Their team, from sales to support, are a delight to work with, responsive and helpful.
  • The cost is quite reasonable.

How does it work?  Here are some basics from my viewpoint:

  • Once I’ve purchased a subscription for my client under my dashboard, I invite my team members and any members of the client’s team and their tax preparer if they give me authorization. Now everyone has access when needed.
  • Only one remote user can have the file at one time in the locked mode. The locked mode simply means the one who is making changes to the file. Every user can see who has the file in locked mode.
  • All other users can go into the “locked” file (locked does not keep you from having access), but you will be reminded that you are not to make any changes because someone else has it locked.  
  • Once the person using the file in locked mode closes QB, then the changes they made sync into the cloud. You will see the sync action. Once it is complete, your status as the owner of the lock is released.
  • If you are the nonuser seeing the file is locked, once the user closes QB and it syncs up to the cloud, it will now sync back down to each person’s computer that has access to the shared file.  When it has successfully synced to you, the lock is released.  
  • Whoever last used the file in locked mode and synced the file will show in your Qbox dashboard.

It’s really pretty simple to use. The owner of the QB file is the one who initially puts the file into the Qbox shared file folder on their end.  If you need assistance with the setup instructions, you can request their support services.

Every user’s computer must have a unique email for that computer to sync the QB file. For example, my team member’s office computer uses one email address, while they use a different email address for their laptop.  

The biggest habit to develop is to be sure you leave your computer logged in until you are sure the sync has completed when you exit QB. On the receiving end, if you have been logged out of your computer and you start up and log in, be sure you wait long enough for the cloud to have time to sync the changes back to you before you open QB. You don’t want to interrupt a sync with the logging off or turning off your computer. As I shared above, the Qbox dashboard will give you the status, but sometimes it takes a few minutes for it to start up the syncs.

For a more comprehensive overview, please visit their website. If you decide to check Qbox, you can tell Chris Wise I referred you. For full disclosure as a licensed Texas CPA, as a Qbox Associate, I may receive commissions on accounts initiated through my affiliate link. If you decide to call, you can give my name to the Qbox rep. If you prefer not to, that’s fine; my goal is to introduce you to the use of Qbox, but if you do, I appreciate it!

Topics: quickbooks

Margie Monroe

Margie Monroe, CPA, LLC

Margie has been a CPA since 1980 and has always enjoyed assisting people. Whether it was her early years in both public and private accounting or her twenty plus years working with nonprofit organizations. For the last ten years, she has assisted businesses and individuals with their accounting needs using QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Enterprise, POS and Online through Margie Monroe, CPA, LLC. She can be reached at
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