Storing your QuickBooks data file at My Docs Online

If you’re in business for yourself you know that in small companies you get to wear a number of different hats.  One of the hats that I wear for My Docs Online is a QuickBooks hat, meaning that I do the majority of the accounting work.

During the course of a given week I may need to access the QuickBooks file from my home, from the office, or when traveling.  There may also be others who need access to QuickBooks so I can’t just keep the file on my computer and hope I have the computer with me all the time.

My solution?  Well, it’s My Docs Online of course, right?

(Best viewed Full Screen)

I store the QB data file on My Docs Online and I can access it from wherever I happen to be.  The problem with that has always been that if I’ve downloaded the file myself how do I let others know not to use it until I’m through?  In the past we’d cobbled together a “check-in” and “check-out” method for accessing the file but it was not a great solution.   What we really needed was file locking for QuickBooks so that anyone trying to access the file would know when it was in use.

Well, since we needed functionality we figured you might need it as well so we build it into the new My Docs Online desktop app.

Now when I’m ready to access the QuickBooks file I just launch the desktop app, highlight the QuickBooks file and click the “Lock and Open” button which locks the file and launches QuickBooks so that I can work.

Then when I’m done I reverse the process.  I just close QuickBooks, then click the “Unlock and Save” button, which uploads the new file into our account and removes the lock so that someone else can use it.  It also moves the file to the top of the date ordered list so that anyone can see that it’s been recently updated.

Being able to apply file locking to QuickBooks has been a real benefit to me while I’ve been testing the My Docs Online Desktop App.  If you have the same need for file locking please check it out.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kerry Kerstetter February 4, 2011 at 5:49 pm

As a long time used of MyDocsOnline, as well as an even longer user and Certified Pro Advisor of QB programs, this is very interesting to me. I have been studying different online cloud based methods of working with QB for the past few years and am always looking for more efficient methods to share with my clients and readers.

I watched your video, with an XLS file being opened and changed. I would love to see a similar demo with a QB file. Specifically, I am unclear as to which type of QB file you are working with and bandwidth requirements this will involve. Are you working directly with the largest QBW files and moving them back and forth between the desktop and your online server or is it possible to work with one of the compressed file types (QBM or QBB) that would require less bandwidth? As someone operating with a very slow DSL lite system as our only available ISP, this is a critical issue.

Thanks for any additoinal info you can provide.

Steve February 4, 2011 at 8:35 pm

We do plan on doing a QB specific video within the next week or so. We are working with the larger files but the Desktop app compresses them so download speeds, at least in higher bandwidth environments, are not much of an issue. We’ve not done any experimenting with trying to use the smaller compressed file types so I can’t respond to that yet.

As a My Docs user you might just want to give it a try. The first step would be to upload the QBW file into your account using the new Desktop app. Then, once you have it there just use the app to do the “lock and open” of the file. That will launch download the file and launch Quickbooks. Make a small change to your account and then close Quickbooks. When it’s closed just highlight the file in your account in the Desktop App and click the “Save and Lock” button. That will compress and then copy the file back up to your account. When the file upload is compete the list of files will refresh and your QB file should be on top (assuming you sort in date order)

What’s happening under the covers is that when you click the “lock and open” the file is compressed, then downloaded to a temp file on your computer where QB can access it. When you close QB the data file is closed. When you “save and lock” the file is compressed again, then uploaded back into your account. Essentially it works exactly the same as the XLS file on the video, but on the file I use it takes about 20 seconds to compress and download.

Please let me know how it goes and keep and eye out for our QB video some time next week.

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