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Best way to share Quickbooks file on SharePoint

Posted on 2014-01-04
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Last Modified: 2014-01-08
We use Office365 with SharePoint online for everything except for our accounting. We use Quickbooks Pro for our accounting. We would like to put the actual Quickbooks .qbw file on SharePoint 365 online where people can access it. Each person will have a Quickbooks client app. We want someone to be able to edit their local copy of the .qbw file and have these edits also reflect on the copy of the file in the document library, so that each person's local copy is synched with the copy in the SharePoint doc lib.

So what is the best way to do this?

Seems like they have to work on their local copy which must be synched with the doc lib. Otherwise, they would have to download the file from SharePoint each time they want to work on it, and then upload it back as a different file since it's not an MS doc and can't do versioning.
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Question by:BobHavertyComh
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Expert Comment

by:chilternPC
ID: 39757250
I would upgrade QuickBooks to QuickBooks online
http://www.intuit.co.uk/quickbooks-accounting-software.jsp
and then the team could use the online system

or transfer your accounting to Microsoft's 365 accounting s.w
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Assisted Solution

by:Philip Elder
Philip Elder earned 150 total points
ID: 39757370
You cannot do this.

The QuickBooks database system is now based on MySQL (as I recall) and requires a database manager to run on the physical computer/server the database files are hosted on with the database user having permissions to that folder or folder set.

So, at best you can have one of your local machines host the file or look into Windows Server Essentials on an HP MicroServer for your local AD and file hosting.

Philip
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Author Comment

by:BobHavertyComh
ID: 39757581
Thanks for the response chiltern

They don't want QB online because they think that Intuit does data mining on stuff they store. Are there ngood, well known accounting packages that can work with office 365, and better yet, the sharepoint site that is part of office 365?
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by:BobHavertyComh
ID: 39757595
Thanks for the response Phillip.

Is it possible for each user to have the QB database file and QB client, and each user's local copy can be changed locally, but if the files were also linked to one SharePoint library, those file changes would also be reflected on the SharePoint library?

So, I guess my question is, would it be possible to do the same thing with both the workbook file and the database file, where SharePoint would only be a common repository for changes, but each person makes the changes locally, assuming each has the right set up, and via a link to SharePoint, all local changes are also sent back to the file in SharePoint?
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Expert Comment

by:Philip Elder
ID: 39757609
No. The database file set is one group of files that must be centrally located and managed by their database manager.

SharePoint does not like non-static files either. Given that the site is hosted on an active database structure one cannot host database and database like file structures on SharePoint.

The files _have_ to be hosted locally.

You could have a desktop set up to host the files for everyone and then back that up using something like ShadowProtect to a NAS and a locally connected drive for off-site.

Philip
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by:Richard Daneke
ID: 39757873
QuickBooks Pro can be installed and shared in a LAN, but not in SharePoint 365.  Reports, backup copies of the company files, transaction batches, templates, etc. can be stored in the SharePoint libraries.

Do you have a local network or is everyone in a variety of locations?   I assume not.

Are you wanting to share the data entry chores or reporting?  Can you dedicate a workstation or small lan for remote desktop?

Will you be using Android or iOS devices? The new QuickBooks apps can  work with here.
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by:BobHavertyComh
ID: 39758986
To all experts, I know that Quickbooks can't be opened from SharePoint, and has to be opened in a LAN server env, or a cloud based one with the necessary QB infrastructure.

DoDahD
QuickBooks Pro can be installed and shared in a LAN, but not in SharePoint 365.  Reports, backup copies of the company files, transaction batches, templates, etc. can be stored in the SharePoint libraries

That's what I was getting at. We just want the files to be stored on a central cloud location, preferably a SharePoint library. We do not expect SharePoint or 365 to execute QB, we want everybody to execute QB locally. I know that you can synch a SharePoint doc lib to a special folder on your hard drive if one has SkyDrive Pro installed locally, and changes made locally to the file will immediately upload back up to SharePoint and synchronize. I have done this with non microsoft docs such as psd and the synch works and the changes immediately reflect in SharePoint if connected to the net. So my thinking was that maybe, if each person synched this doc lib containing all needed QB files you listed above, to their own hard drive, and then opened the QB workbook locally, made changes, changes are written to their local QB db file, and since the workbook and db file are both linked, as soon as either of them change, the changes synch back to SharePoint.

Everyone is in a variety of locations. We want to do everything from Office 365 online except accounting, and if accounting could be done within 365, we would probably even opt for that instead of QB. We do not want any central LAN, we want everyone to operate via laptops/tablets, and all central meeting points of info and shared storage will be in the cloud. We considered QB online, but people have heard that they data mine info you store with them.

Are you wanting to share the data entry chores or reporting?

Those would be our most typical reasons.

Can you dedicate a workstation or small lan for remote desktop?

That is what we would like to avoid. We don't want to have to maintain an IT infrastructure. Assuming any of this theory can actually work, will each person essentially have to operate as their own QB server? Are there any standalone versions where each person can install that?

Will you be using Android or iOS devices? The new QuickBooks apps can  work with here.
Droid. When you say Quickbooks apps, if you mean Quickbooks online, some people don't want to use that because Intuit supposedly does data mining of data you store on their cloud app. If we could just use Quickbooks online, that would be the easiest and most logical answer.
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by:BobHavertyComh
ID: 39759005
Hi Phillip,
You could have a desktop set up to host the files for everyone and then back that up using something like ShadowProtect to a NAS and a locally connected drive for off-site.

That is what we are trying to avoid as this starts to theoretically involve 24/7 up time and exposing things to the outside world (security), whereas we want to cloud to give us all of that. If we had a LAN at all, then this is an easy thing to solve via VPN and possibly RDP. We want to avoid having to maintain an IT infrastructure, security, backups..., and this is by far the biggest selling reason for the cloud.
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Accepted Solution

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Richard Daneke earned 350 total points
ID: 39759273
The SharePoint libraries, with the local synch options, could work PROVIDED no one is in the company files at the same time.  I think the risk for problems to lose transactions or damage the database would be too great.

If they use a portable backup file, it may be workable.  The portable backup is the full data without the customized forms.  The customized forms can be addressed separately.  

It would go like this:
1. Everyone would have a local installation of QuickBooks.
2. For one to update, they would checkout the current portable backup and restore it to their computer.
3. They perform their changes to the files and add/edit transactions.
4. They create a portable backup of the changes using the same name.
5. They check in the portable to SharePoint.
6. Everyone, if subscribing to status changes, get a notice the file is available.
7. The next person goes through steps 2-6 above.

Everyone would have the full company file for reference and reporting less the current changes at all times.  Their username/passwords in QuickBooks could restrict their activities, if necessary.

A standard procedure could be to update notes in the to do list or reminders on when/why they last used the portable file.
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Expert Comment

by:Richard Daneke
ID: 39759307
On the apps side, many third party and intuit apps can now be used for the QuickBooks Pro desktop products.  

They are detailed on the Intuit web page link that follows:
http://appcenter.intuit.com/search/a-mobile
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Expert Comment

by:Philip Elder
ID: 39759833
Not sure about the uptime and security comment? The ISP goes down that's it for the Cloud service. That's more likely to happen than the PC hosting the QBs file going down unless its a poor representation of a computer? ShadowProtect can be AES128bit or AES256bit encrypted so the off-site drive is safe.

We have setups like this for small clients in the 2-4 seat range though we use a MicroServer and Essentials to have AD for security. It's not that expensive.

I do not know of any Cloud service that can handle live data like QBs files.

Philip
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Author Comment

by:BobHavertyComh
ID: 39759958
Hi DodahD, I think you understand what I am getting at.

The SharePoint libraries, with the local synch options, could work PROVIDED no one is in the company files at the same time.  I think the risk for problems to lose transactions or damage the database would be too great.

I see this as applying checkouts to the doc lib before they could edit their local copy,, but I have not done this with QB files.

If they use a portable backup file, it may be workable.  

Wouldn't Office 365 be responsible for any backups? If I put the workbook file and the db file in a SharePoint library and manage to get these files to synch with anybody's client folder after they go to the library and select synch, would whatever file that is in the lib get backed up just like other docs?



It would go like this:
1. Everyone would have a local installation of QuickBooks.


Yes, but would they also need server software installed on their local machines to open the QB file locally and write to the SharePoint lib synched local db file that they have? They will not be opening it via a LAN.


2. For one to update, they would checkout the current portable backup and restore it to their computer.
3. They perform their changes to the files and add/edit transactions.
4. They create a portable backup of the changes using the same name.
5. They check in the portable to SharePoint.
6. Everyone, if subscribing to status changes, get a notice the file is available.
7. The next person goes through steps 2-6 above.


If the file that they work on and the db file that it writes to are both in the same local directory and know how to talk to each other locally, and this directory is synched to an SharePoint lib, won't the local changes made to both the workbook file and the db file it has written to be synched back up to SharePoint upon local save to that synched local directory?

Everyone would have the full company file for reference and reporting less the current changes at all times.

But current changes are very important. I was hoping to use checkouts on the synched lib to prevent simultaneous editing so that the synched file in the lib always has the latest


Their username/passwords in QuickBooks could restrict their activities, if necessary.


I was hoping that will be asked for locally and provided locally as the client app tries to open the file, but when the file is saved locally in that synched directory, it is also immediately saved out to SharePoint due to the synching properties.
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by:BobHavertyComh
ID: 39759981
Hi Phillip

Not sure about the uptime and security comment? The ISP goes down that's it for the Cloud service.

But that's Microsoft's problem to keep all of that up, not ours. This is one of the main reasons we would like to use the cloud and have no formal LAN.


That's more likely to happen than the PC hosting the QBs file going down unless its a poor representation of a computer? ShadowProtect can be AES128bit or AES256bit encrypted so the off-site drive is safe.

We have setups like this for small clients in the 2-4 seat range though we use a MicroServer and Essentials to have AD for security. It's not that expensive.

I do not know of any Cloud service that can handle live data like QBs files.


We are not trying to run Quickbooks via SharePoint or on SharePoint or in SharePoint at all. We are merely using it as a repository for the latest QB files that are needed for QB, so that various users can access them. The requirement of this repository is that all users have a local client folder where all of their QB files and db files live. But, this directory will also be synched with a SharePoint lib, so that when someone saves the QB file locally, and the database has been changed and saved, the synch function will overwrite the QB files in SharePoint lib with the latest changed files from the person who edited the file locally, since that person's local directory that stores all the QB files is synched with the SharePoint lib.  So even the db file itself will have changed after the person makes entries, but hopefully even the db file changes will be synched back up to SharePoint and will overwrite the existing file
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Expert Comment

by:Richard Daneke
ID: 39760157
Thank you for the kind words.

I think placing the company file in the local SharePoint folders and letting them synch can create problems if more than one person is entering transactions.  The issue here is that you are hoping that SharePoint will  arbitrate the changes in the files like a database system would.  I would expect SharePoint to arbitrate more  like storing word processor files.

Certainly, a testing environment would not be that hard to establish to see.  Use a sample company file from Intuit!    Let me know what happens.
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by:Richard Daneke
ID: 39760171
Office is responsible for backups.   My mention on the portable file would involve downloading and restoring before any transactions and would not be reasonable for a growing company.

Yet, the new apps for Android and iOS designed to interface with a desktop company file may address your operational concerns.  But, here we would need to discuss the set of transactions and data that you want to share.   Especially in the app world -- Caveat Empor
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Author Comment

by:BobHavertyComh
ID: 39760592
Hi DoDahD

I think placing the company file in the local SharePoint folders and letting them synch can create problems if more than one person is entering transactions.

I tried this with a text file. I required checkouts for the library. I was able to go to my local folder linked with SP and edit this file, However when the automatic synch that happens when the file is saved locally started, instead of seeing green I saw a red x. The synched failed and it was because I did not check the document out. Checked it out, and resaved the file locally and the synch worked. So people can edit these files locally, but they cannot synch back unless they first check them out in the SP lib. Then the synch works. So the solution to the problem you mentioned seems to lie in requiring checkouts

Certainly, a testing environment would not be that hard to establish to see.  Use a sample company file from Intuit!    Let me know what happens.

You are correct about that, but I have to buy QB first as they offer no trial version for QB Pro, and I don't want to have to get my money back for something that was never going to work in the first place, hence my initial exploration here

Yet, the new apps for Android and iOS designed to interface with a desktop company file may address your operational concerns.

But I think these are all the online version of QB. The online version would clearly be the best and easiest solution for us, but there are concerns of Intuit data mining of their online app and data storage that others I am working with have heard about, so they are reluctant to go this route
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by:Richard Daneke
ID: 39760782
You can get a trial version(30 days) from the Intuit web.
Some Apps can work with Pro version and other desktop installs. Other apps work with online.
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Expert Comment

by:Philip Elder
ID: 39760934
"Running QuickBooks via SharePoint" < I am not sure what that means?

"...using it as a repository for the latest QB files that are needed for QB" < SharePoint can't be used for this.

As suggested above QB Online is pretty much the only way to do that.

One need only read the Terms & Conditions and the Privacy Policy for any Cloud vendor to find hooks for their own use or access to the data. Some are worse than others but one essentially surrenders one's data to another as soon as it is in the Cloud. The exception to that rule is usually _very_ expensive. Those Data Centres cost a lot to build and maintain. :)

Philip
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Author Closing Comment

by:BobHavertyComh
ID: 39765170
Answers here were accurate. Seems like I just have to get Quickbooks and try it to see what it actually does with my theory.
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