9 Questions to Ask to Choose the Best QuickBooks Hosting Provider

Have you decided to convert from QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop to a hosted QuickBooks solution? It’s a smart move, and it’s easy to do with the right QuickBooks hosting provider. Working on the cloud has become business-as-usual due to the pandemic, and you’re likely familiar with the many benefits that the cloud can bring to your business. Reduced IT costs, greater productivity, easy collaboration, and added security are just a few.

A QuickBooks hosting provider worth their salt understands accounting inside and out and is able to help you find new billings, earn year-round revenue, and build stronger relationships with clients and customers.

What you might not realize is that you can and should expect more than just those basics. A QuickBooks hosting provider worth their salt understands accounting inside and out and is able to help you find new billings, earn year-round revenue (yes, there is money to be made outside of tax season), and build stronger relationships with clients and customers.

Which Company Is Best for QuickBooks Hosting?

The best QuickBooks hosting providers build their hosting platforms to address the needs of accounting professionals and offer bank-grade security with guaranteed uptimes of greater than 99% with daily backups. Check for an Intuit Authorized Hosting seal on their website — this shows Intuit endorsed the provider and they’ll support the updates you need as you grow your business.

As you go about comparing your options, there are several questions you should ask each hosting provider to make sure their services stack up. It’s more than just the technology. You’ll want a reliable partner that helps you make a smooth transition to hosting your desktop QuickBooks and that is at your side for the long haul, helping grow your business by adding new revenue streams.

Let’s get started.

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Question 1: Is Your Service Built Specifically for Accountants?

This may seem like a no brainer — you’re looking for a hosting provider for QuickBooks, after all. Not all hosting services are built with accountants and CPA firms in mind. Many providers focus on the technology first (which is important, don’t get us wrong!), but lack an understanding of what you really need out of a hosting solution.

In fact, this is how Swizznet got its start. Our founders were both the owners of their own CPA firm and CPAs themselves who wanted a better way to collaborate with and build stronger relationships with clients. Swizznet’s solution is reverse engineered and built based on how accountants really do their work on a day to day basis and throughout the year. We don't make you configure your business needs to our technology. Our technology will work with how you already do business.

Question 2: Will You Help Me Increase Billings and Earn Year-Round Revenue?

Hosting provides a modern solution for CPA firms to serve clients faster and smarter, which translates into new billing opportunities. With real-time, online access to your clients’ books, you will save time in many ways and be able to offer new services. For a look at the new billings you can find, try out our ROI calculator.

Moreover, offering cloud-enabled accounting services to your clients introduces an additional opportunity for new recurring monthly revenue streams for your firm. Partnering with Swizznet gives you access to HostShare®, our competitive referral compensation​ program. As you refer clients to Swizznet, you’ll earn monthly payouts and set up your business to scale. We make it simple to spread the word with free marketing tools, including custom branded login portals, online demos and desktop plug-ins. Not only will your clients benefit from our cloud hosting service, you’ll be rewarded too.

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Question 3: Will Your Solution Support My Business Growth?

Acquiring and retaining clients is a key concern for accountants. Landing new clients is costly, so we believe it’s smarter to focus more on providing outstanding service to existing clients so they’ll retain and use more of your services in the future.

Getting clients set up with hosted QuickBooks opens a number of new ways to increase the services you provide to clients. Instead of just connecting during tax season and going silent for the rest of the year, you’ll be able to shadow clients throughout the year and provide proactive advisory services based on the financials you’re seeing in the moment.

For example, once your clients are on Swizznet QuickBooks hosting, you now have the potential to manage all or part of their books, including providing payroll services, a monthly review of financial statements and more. It’s the first step toward building a digital accounting practice that accounts for the broader trends taking place in the business world.

Question 4: What Level of Security Do You Provide?

With the rise of remote working, staying secure is a big concern for accountants. While sending files through email is convenient, it’s also one of the most vulnerable areas of an online accounting practice. An estimated 91% of all data breaches and cyber attacks begin with a phishing email, which often appears to come from a trusted source but tricks you into downloading malware or ransomware. 

Sending sensitive client data through email is a risky proposition, so using a reliable QuickBooks hosting provider is a way to secure sensitive data and avoid sending it through email in the first place. Instead of trying to secure your own devices and data, you’ll rely on their security systems and expertise to keep that valuable information safe.

Make sure your provider deploys enterprise-grade security and infrastructure to protect against ransomware and other security threats. You’ll want to check for accreditations like MSP Alliance’s Managed Services Accreditation Program (MSAP) and SOC 2 certification. Bottom line: your QuickBooks hosting provider should be delivering the same level of security you would demand from your bank or any company handling sensitive information.

Question 5: What Is Your Uptime and Backup Policy?

A big benefit of working with a hosting provider is that they are able to offer extremely high uptimes and automatic backups. Whether your computer fails or disaster strikes, you can rest easy knowing that your information is secure, safe and available. The best quickbooks hosting providers provide uptimes of greater than 99% and backup data daily. Swizznet takes it a step further. We back up every 30 minutes and nightly, to ensure your hard work is kept safe.

Question 6: What Kind of Support Can I Expect from Your Team?

Calls to support teams can mean hours of frustration – whether it’s being placed on hold, or trying to fix a problem with inexperienced staff. When issues arise, you want to be able to get the support you need, and fast. How can you get in touch with the team? Are they available 24/7/365? Just as critical, do they understand the ins and outs of QuickBooks? 

Rest assured, we believe support shouldn’t be another headache in your day, but, dare we say it, an enjoyable experience. Our US-based Obsessive Support® Team is always available 24/7/365 and happy to help with your QuickBooks hosting – whether you’re working late or checking in on the weekend. We’re only a phone call, email or live chat away, we have an industry-leading twenty minute SLA, and each and every member of our team is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.

For Linda Rost, owner of Better Bookkeepers, Swizznet’s Obsessive Support® is a huge selling factor and has helped her out in a pinch while on deadline. Listen to her share her story here.

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Question 7: How Long Does It Take to Get Started? Will I Need to Train My Team?

Good news. Hosting providers should allow you to take the QuickBooks desktop software and your licensed third party applications that you work in today and move them to the cloud in minutes. The hosted solution should look just like your desktop software (ask for a free custom demo!), so no training is required. You and your team can get right to work, only now from anywhere and on any device.

At Swizznet, we use a combination of Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and Citrix to provide a true desktop-like QuickBooks experience. Most QuickBooks cloud hosting providers just use RDS, but we layer Citrix for stronger security and extra capabilities like drag and drop, faster performance, and reliable printing. At the end of the day this means a faster, better user experience that’s easy for anyone to use, regardless of their technical background.

After getting started with your QuickBooks cloud hosting provider, the next step is to take your existing pen-and-paper workflows into the digital world. While this is a bit more drawn-out process, it all depends on selecting a solid hosting provider that integrates with the key apps you'll need in the cloud.

Question 8: What Is Your Pricing Structure? Are There Hidden Costs?

Many providers offer great introductory deals or too-good-to-be-true monthly rates. To understand what you are really paying for, be sure to ask for:

  1. An itemization of all fees to be charged. This will help you uncover hidden costs and compare what providers are charging for. It may seem small, but those costs can add up if they aren’t included in the introductory price.
  2. A complete overview of their technology and security standards. Many low-priced offers sound appealing but aren’t built to high-quality standards. To protect data and ensure a good customer experience, it’s best to bypass cheaper providers and spend a few extra dollars per month to guarantee top-notch service and security.

Before signing on the dotted line, ask for a quote that breaks down the costs item by item so you know exactly what to expect out of the service.

Question 9: Are You an Authorized Intuit Hosting Provider?

Intuit, the company behind QuickBooks, has endorsed a select number of hosting providers as Authorized Partners. Authorized Hosts can onboard customers with existing licensed copies of QuickBooks software, provide subscription services for new QuickBooks licenses, and provide customers with early access to QuickBooks updates. Be sure to look for the Intuit Authorized Hosting seal.

There you have it! Of course, if you have any questions about what you’ve read here or about hosting solutions to access your QuickBooks desktop software in the cloud, send us a message or give us a call at 888-794-9948 ext. 1.

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