Everywhere you turn, all you hear about is Cloud Accounting. There are a lot of advantages in moving your accounting to the Cloud which include:
- Anytime/Anywhere Access
- Minimal capital or IT resources required
- Automatic software updates
However, in a prior article we discussed some considerations that you should think about before moving your QuickBooks desktop data to QuickBooks Online which included:
- Different or more limited functionality
- Retraining of staff members
- No backup capability
So for many companies that need the ability to access their QuickBooks Desktop data from anywhere, QuickBooks Hosting is the way to go. We have many Transaction Pro users on Skyline Cloud Services (“Skyline”), a QuickBooks Authorized Hosting Provider, and have worked with them for many years. We receive a lot of questions about QuickBooks Hosting so below is a short interview we had with Bob Babcock, SVP Business Development at Skyline.
Karen’s Question: Could you provide me with a little background on Skyline like how long you have been in the Hosting Business, where you are based and maybe a little bit about your company’s philosophy?
Bob’s Response: SKYLINE Cloud Services was born at Uni-Data & Communications in 2009. A potential client called and asked how we could help to distribute software to 1200 franchises, and I told them that rather than try to install 1200 copies of the software, they should have the 1200 people log-in to our environment, and use a virtual desktop: this would give them better control of the software deployment. They asked if we could add QuickBooks, so I went to Intuit and got a limited exception to the EULA (End User License Agreement); this went so well that Intuit asked me to help develop and launch the pilot for the Intuit Authorized Hosting Program, we’ve been at the fore of QuickBooks Hosting ever since.
Last year, SKYLINE Cloud Services was purchased by Blue Diamond Solutions, Inc. (BDS) headed by CEO Patrick Carlile. Patrick lives by the mantra of “Wow Our Clients”. To that end, he’s led the new combined team the last twelve months rebuilding the infrastructure while I re-engaged our software partners, so that we can deliver more software content from an affordable Shared Cloud environment, as both stand-alone Virtual Software and a virtual desktop, across almost any internet enabled device. We upgraded our data centers from Tier II to Tier III, added thirty carriers to our Internet connectivity mix, and added the full Office365 and MS Dynamics suite to our catalog (we’re Microsoft CSP Partners, too). We reengineered our backup capabilities to give our clients options as to what gets saved and how often.
We’ve also completely revamped our support structure. First, we created a fantastic new account management interface that allows clients to assign and remove software directly to their client profiles, manage their integrations and billing, and keep track of their licensing. We rebuilt our Partner Portal to give ProAdvisors greater control of their clients’ Accounts. We brought on bilingual staff (Spanish, Russian; soon French and Mandarin) to better support our global clientele. SKYLINE had always been good, now with BDS, we’re much better.
Importantly BDS brings a strong Managed Services and Security component to SKYLINE’s offerings. This Fall, we’re rolling out a complete set of Managed Security for clients to protect their offices and home networks, and a Cyber Insurance Policy as well.
Karen’s Question: You provide client’s flexibility in that you allow shared hosting versus having your own private server. How does a client determine which environment is best for them?
Bob’s Response: Good Question. Sometimes, the software (or specifically, a client’s licensing thereof) dictates the decision, sometimes it’s a matter of industry compliance (HIPPA, PCI, etc.) that the environment be separated from others. We have a range of options that allow for single- or multi-tenant software installations that can minimize the monthly expenditure and “right-size” the solution, rather than oversell technology.
Karen’s Question: What differentiates Skyline from other QuickBooks hosting companies?
Bob’s Response: I think our differentiation is in the flexibility that we offer. Unlike some of the others, our entry to QuickBooks hosting was adjunct to other technology required by Small Business, rather than the Accounting team taking the lead. While employees of a company need to share files and communicate, it’s really very few of them that are permitted to muck around in the financials, and with good reason. We’ve built a really flexible system that eliminates the IT department for 90% of our clients, and allows business owners to focus on getting the right tool for the moment to the employee that needs it, without a six-month strategy or a burn in period—done often, engineering is turnkey; when it’s new, we’re quite clever.
Karen’s Question: Is there a free trial so I can test this out?
Bob’s Response: To test us out, we’ll give a new client a month rebate, and we’ll give every person that refers us a new client the equivalent of a month free under our Rainmaker Program. Call me for details at (646)759-7445 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you decide to go with QuickBooks Hosting we recommend that you take a look at Skyline Cloud Services.