Online Accounting Software: A New Alternative

A few months ago we wrote our first blog for the LedgerSync site titled “The Accounting Software War Has Begun”. Quite a few people read that blog and asked me questions about it. In my responses, I usually talked about an alternative that I have been working on for some time that gives most of the advantages the online accounting software’s provide, but still allows me to use my desktop software which is much, MUCH more affordable…

Today I want to outline that package, one that I think you (the accountant) should consider before you move to an online software. I don’t believe that you can stop online software, eventually I think (like most software executives) that we will move most things online. What I do believe is that right now is not the time to change. I have a number of reasons for that:

  1. The online software offerings are not as robust as their desktop cousins.

  2. The pricing model for online software is DRASTICALLY different than desktop

  3. I am not convinced clients want ACCESS, rather I believe they want INFORMATION

  4. Software tools can make desktop software very similar to online software in several ways

  5. With online software I do not OWN the data

  6. Online software does not integrate with tax software as well

There are some aspects of the online accounting software that I really like. First has to be the bank feeds options. Updating client accounts each night is interesting. I also see some pitfalls with it (ie clients logging in before I have had time to reconcile or bank feeds going down for long periods of time) but overall that is compelling.

I also like the integrations the online accounting software companies are doing. It seems to me the online integrations are a bit easier and less clunky than the desktop integrations. Online software can do somethings the desktop cant and it is always up to date.


But that is about it, and they are not compelling enough reasons for me to change. Now- I have been working on finding a software package that will let me offer most of those advantages of online software while using my QuickBooks desktop program and I think it works really well. In a nutshell here is the package:

  • QuickBooks Desktop
  • LedgerSync
  • Finagraph
  • Hosting provider (InSynq, My Real Data, etc.)

Here is how it works:

First, you need to setup a hosting provider for you and your employees to share your QuickBoo ks Desktop software on. I recommend getting the 3 user pack so you can have up to 3 people in the same company file.

Next you would sign up for 2 other services:

  • LedgerSync- This will allow you to import transactions to QuickBooks Desktop at an interval that works for you (monthly, weekly, daily) so you get all the advantages of the real time bank feed.

  • Finagraph- This software will create a web based dashboard your client can use to view financial statements, critical ratios and metrics, and messaging between client and accountant.

  • Once you have both software’s setup, the result will be a system all your employees can access (at the same time if needed) , transactions going into QuickBooks quickly and often, and an online portal where your clients no longer need the bookkeeping software at their finger tips, because they have the information they want anytime they wish to view it.


The cost savings is significant as well. Lets imagine I have 50 clients.

If I put those 50 clients on QuickBooks Online and I get a volume discount from Intuit to make each client about $20.00/month. So my monthly bill to intuit would be about $1000.00/mo

Using my package of services, my hosting cost is about $130.00/mo, the QuickBooks cost is $50.00/mo, my finagraph bill would be $5.00/client so $250.00 per month and my LedgerSync bill (2 accounts per client) would be $4.00 per month or $200.00 per month total. That makes my total monthly outlay $630.00/mo.

That is almost 40% off, and if I have more clients that discount is even larger.

I also would get some benefits the online so software does not provide:

  • I get to stay on my desktop software that I am familiar with and has the speed of desktop software (online software takes time to load page to page)

  • A much more familiar mutli-screen environment

  • If a client leaves I can keep their data, shut down the other services, and don’t have to pay a monthly fee to keep in storage

  • If I support multiple clients using the desktop software themselves, I have staff and solutions that I can use to support them (not maintaining training on 2 different software systems)

  • My pricing does not fluctuate based on how many clients I have.

  • No more clients asking why the current month has transactions that are unclassified, Finagraph only shows data for the period you have reconciled and completed.

  • LedgerSync gives me tools to manage client logins (emails to clients when you don’t know their bank logins, help with new clients, etc.) in QuickBooks you have to email the client a login to the QB software and hope they know what to do when they get in there.

  • AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: LedgerSync gives you the check images and bank statement so you can complete your work. With QB Online, you still have to ask the client to get you that information.

My goal is not to bash QB Online, I think it is a fine product for a certain type of business. But for accountants I think you should explore both these options as our needs are very different from that of the business owner doing their own work.

If you are interested in hearing more about LedgerSyncFinagraph, or InSynq,  please click on the links. Both LedgerSync and Finagraph offer a free trial so you can test the system without any risk.

Please leave comments if you have any questions or modifications.

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