During the first few months of the year, and in certain circumstances throughout the year, accountants and bookkeepers receive calls and emails from one particular type of client: those who haven’t called since last year. Tax-only, year-end-only, or less complex clients have often been stuck in accounting limbo. While their needs do not necessitate full client onboarding, operating outside of the tools or system used for every other client isn’t efficient either.
Last fall, Intuit launched QuickBooks Ledger, a low-cost, cloud-based solution that gives your clients a secure landing place within QuickBooks Online and helps you reduce the time you would normally spend with higher-value clients.
Let’s dive into specifics about Ledger and why it is worth consideration.
What does QuickBooks Ledger do?
Ledger is an accountant-only offering through QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA) designed to serve clients with basic, low-complexity accounting needs. Ledger is not a bookkeeping or accounting system, but is meant to work in conjunction with QBOA.
The automation in Ledger allows your team to maintain their current QuickBooks-based workflows; categorize, collect, and organize a client’s financial information; route for proper approvals; and pass the information from bookkeeping to tax.
Who is the ideal client for QuickBooks Ledger?
It’s said tongue-in-cheek, but “shoebox” clients have never fit well in tax or bookkeeping software systems. Their needs and engagements often do not necessarily scale to the functions of larger product offerings. Ledger is designed with these clients in mind:
- In-house bookkeeping clients.
- After-the-fact clients.
- Basic write-up clients.
- Tax-only clients.
- Multi-company clients with non-operating entities or holding companies.
- High-net-worth individuals.
These industry verticals may be a good fit, especially if the clients have minimal or infrequent transactions:
- Real estate (property management).
- Trust and estate.
- Single asset/investor funds.
Clients do not have access to this software, correct?
This is a product offering designed for you, not your clients. Ledger is only offered through QBOA. However, a client can be added as primary admin on the subscription (see below) to allow access to review transactions, connect bank feeds, collect documents, and run reports.
The runway is there for clients to grow into QuickBooks Online product offerings that support their changing needs.
How do I give my clients access?
If you would like to add your client as the primary admin on the Ledger subscription, during the “Add Client” process, do NOT select “Make me the primary admin” checkbox. By default, your client is the primary admin when they first sign in to QuickBooks. You’ll be the primary admin until their first login.
Don’t worry; even if your client is the primary admin, you’ll still get the billing notifications and your client won’t be able to access your billing information. You’ll also remain on their Ledger subscription as one of the QBOA admin users.
If you’ve taken the primary admin role for the Ledger file, you’ll need to contact Support and submit a Primary Admin Change Request to transfer the permissions to your client. You will still have full access as one of the QBOA admin users.
Can we talk about cost and billing?
Ledger is $10 per month per subscription and is billed through firm billing. There is no direct client billing, and the client cannot directly subscribe to Ledger.
What about bank feeds? Will the information need to be added manually?
Some banks and credit card companies can provide accountant credentials to connect the feeds without the client having to be on Ledger. In the event your client doesn’t bank with one that offers accountant credentials, your client could be added to Ledger to connect their bank feeds as detailed above. If none of the options are available for the client, a .csv file can be uploaded, or you can use a third-party app or manually enter transactions.
So Ledger does not only have to be used at year-end?
It can be used anytime! A client’s financial information can be prepared for month-end, quarterly, or annual—any period. Ledger is not simply a year-end product, although it does make year-end work much more seamless.
I like how my spreadsheets are set up. Convince me why Ledger is better.
Workflow and process consistency are crucial for an accountant’s day-to-day work, but are especially important at the end of the year through January. Because Ledger adds the serviced clients to QBOA as all other QuickBooks clients, switching costs and access delays can be reduced. Out-of-flow approvals are also reduced.
Once the bookkeeping is finalized and reviewed, Ledger can be automatically synced with Intuit® ProConnect™ Tax.
I get why Ledger is important for bookkeepers and CAS professionals, but what are the upsides for tax accountants?
What is the dream of all accountants? Clean data. Quality data. Client organizers completed with reliable, readable documents. A trial balance that ties.
By taking the data entry work for the lower-complex clients into Ledger and out of spreadsheets, the changes, adjustments, and reconciliations are less manual, with workflows in place to ensure greater accuracy.
In addition, some accountants and teams offer bookkeeping, accounting, advisory, and tax preparation. For other firms, these teams are separate. Seamless passing of client information from one group or individual to another is possible using QBOA firm user access.
Through QBOA, Ledger can be mapped to ProConnect Tax or exported to a spreadsheet to be imported to other tax software. Ledger is also beneficial for small Schedule C taxpayers, passive rentals, and holding companies when considering the bookkeeping to tax transition.
Requirements for 1099s, such as adding vendors and mapping transactions back to those vendors, can also be managed in Ledger. 1099s can also be filed from Ledger using QuickBooks Payroll 1099 or exported to other 1099 software.
What is the integration with tax software?
Trial balances produced in Ledger can be synced to ProConnect Tax.
The employees who work with these clients are not in QBOA because they typically do not need to be. How will this work?
This may be trickier for larger practices and firms with separate tax teams, but given the automated capabilities of Ledger and how transacting data can move seamlessly, it may be worth considering granting access to other teams using client file access controls in the QBOA.
Can I downgrade a client from SimpleStart to Ledger?
There are no downgrades into QuickBooks Ledger.
Check out QuickBooks Ledger to determine if it is a good fit for your low-complex clients. Learn how to add clients or set up a time to speak to a member of the QuickBooks team.