I am looking for articles on Quickbooks, the ease of set up by a layperson vs. an accountant.


Is it easy for a non accountant to understand accounting terminology or should they hire an accountant to set up and show them how to use Quickbooks online? do you have to be a cpa to set it up? Those are the questions I am asking for my research paper.

Answered By: Linda Kern
Last Updated: Dec 12, 2016     Views: 40

Oh my... that's an interesting question to a small business owner, but not a very "researchable" one. The answer is more about risk management and knowing what it is that you don't know. After all, QuickBooks is just the tool, and garbage in/garbage out applies online as much as it does on paper.

I've spent a lot of time searching for articles, and my searches were generally unsuccessful. I found no evaluations on QuickBooks and the level of experience needed to be successful with it. I did find a couple of articles that provide context -

Perry, G. (2014). The evolution of small business accounting system. CPA Practice Advisor, 24(5), 8-9. "In an interview, founder Scott Cook and CEO Brad Smith discuss the evolution of small business accounting. Smith said they accidentally discovered the use of small businesses in their consumer software, Quicken. They transformed that surprise into QuickBooks, the first accounting software without the accounting in it. Small business owners could run their business, send invoices, make accounts invisible. Smith said they foresee 4 major trends that will not only shape customer behavior but will shape technology: 1. Products become platforms that users can configure and make their own. 2. Work borders have come down. 3. The mobile experience has won. 4. We are in the era of big data for the little guy." 

Sleeter, D. (2014). What SMBs want from their accountant - have you asked? CPA Practice Advisor, 24(3), 38-39. "We are in the middle of a fundamental shift - from client-centric accounting, where clients do their own bookkeeping and then send the records to the tax preparer once a year - to an accountant-centric model, where accountants use cloud-based tools to provide accounting services as well as higher level consulting services. There's no doubt that specialization is becoming highly desirable by clients, if not required. Success in the coming years demands that you be flexible and agile with regard to learning and using new tools."
You may want to stop by your local bookstore or go online and look at the introductions and prefaces of some of the QuickBooks support books. There you will see information such as "You are reminded to call your accountant before making a decision" or "Check with your accountant before you choose cash or accrual accounting" among the instructions for using the software.
From personal experience using QuickBooks in a small business, I can attest that the biggest deal about doing your own accounting is having the information you need in good order at tax time. That might be another topic to look up in the guides.
One last suggestion is to interview small business owners who have used the software for a few years.
Good luck!


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