QuickBooks ProAdvisor

In the Know: Role-based access control for client's books

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This show is designed to keep you up to date on the most exciting innovations across the QuickBooks ecosystem.

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Jaclyn Anku, ProAdvisor Training & Certification Leader: Hey, I'm Jaclyn, and welcome to In the Know. This is our weekly video show designed to keep you up to date on the most exciting innovations across the QuickBooks online ecosystem.

Today, we're diving into the world of role-based access control. Last year, we introduced role-based access and custom controls for QuickBooks Online Accountant to manage your team members' access to your books with more confidence.

But for clients' books, permission for firm users has been all or nothing. That's about to change. In today's episode, we're excited to share the details of the phase one rollout of role-based access controls for managing access to your clients' books. Phase one includes the ability to assign firm users to predefined roles to a given client's books. 

And now for the Fast Facts:

  • Role-based access control for your clients' books is available to firms with QuickBooks Online Accountant.
  • You can access it by going to your team tab within QBOA.
  • The phase one rollout will be available by the end of June to all U.S. ProAdvisors.

If you find this update interesting or helpful, go ahead and like, comment and subscribe to the QuickBooks YouTube channel for more.

Let me introduce you to Ben Martin, the talented product manager behind this exciting update.

Ben Martin: Hi all—I'm a product manager on the QuickBooks accountant team. Let's go ahead and jump into QuickBooks and take a look at what it's like to add a new user, and then add predefined roles for access to the client's books. 

Here we are on the team tab, and we'll click Add New User. Let's be cheeky and add myself as the new user to the firm. The first thing we'll do is assign an access level to the firm's books. We can select from a predefined role or a custom role we've added in here previously. Let's select “no access” to the firm's books, then scroll down and see the new experience for adding access to the client's books. Here we have a list of our clients, so let's say we want to assign this new user to Craig's Landscaping and we want to make me a payroll manager for this client. We can click in here to see more detail on what's included in the payroll manager role and into these dropdowns to see even more granularity of what's included and excluded. We'll save that.

One of the things that's great about this is that you're able to actually assign multiple different roles to the same user for different clients. So I can be a payroll manager for Craig's, and in Bonnie's company, I can be a very versatile employee of the firm and a bill payer as well. If you want to select multiple companies for multiple clients to assign access to, you can easily select which ones or search for them here. You can select all there and then edit that access.

Now let's make me a bill payer for all of those; that’s updated or reflected here. Next, we'll send the invitation. If there's any need, you can easily resend that invitation. You can see that it's been sent and Martin has been added to the team. In addition to assigning roles when creating a new client or a new user, you can also edit existing users and change their access to existing firms. We're very excited about this change and the ability it will give firms to delegate responsibilities in clients' books and reduce risk for the firm.

Jaclyn Anku: Ben, thank you so much for sharing all of these exciting updates and for your team's hard work on role-based access control for client’s books. 

Let's take it now to good friends and ProAdvisors Nayo Carter-Gray and Dan Luthi. Dan and Nayo, welcome. Thank you so much for being here to discuss this topic.

Nayo Carter-Gray: Dan was excited about this, but I did not know it was a thing until Dan brought it up. But I know Dan, the man here, has had an integral role in making sure this happened. So Dan, tell us all about this new feature. 

Dan Luthi: Nayo and I actually started a conversation with Intuit some six years ago regarding this because it was something we felt needed to change: Better controls for not only firm users, but also for our clients. The biggest thing about controls is setting them up to limit specific access people have in order to make sure personalized information from the firm or the clients does not get out to the wrong people.

That's one of the things I'm the most excited about, and I've been really lucky to participate with Intuit in helping structure some of these role situations. With role-based access, we can make sure that access, data, and information is secured not only in your firm, but also for customers and the experience they have. It's going to level up the user experience they have with QuickBooks, and change the way they interact with it and who they give access to information, instead of a client having to meet the centralized person who does everything in their business.

Jaclyn Anku: So for folks who possibly have smaller firms or firms that are growing, how does this functionality enable them to mitigate risk?

Dan Luthi: That’s a really good question. I think we can use our firm as an example of this, even though we're a little bit bigger.

Consider this from the position that you have someone who does payroll in your organization for all of your clients. You're actually going to be able to limit what that payroll person sees, along with the ability to connect and touch any of your client's QuickBooks files. That gives you the ability to start controlling the potential mistakes happening by someone else. It’s also making sure that people are really focused on their job and what they're doing, but also helps the client feel more confident. Whether they have a payroll person, bank rec person, accountant, and a controller, or if it's just two people in a firm, the company will know who's touching what and when, and it's going to show them much more visualization into that context.

From just a compliance standpoint, this is a huge win for accountants—100%. Also from a visibility standpoint, this is going to make the client feel so much more confident that people aren't just changing things at free will, whenever they want with their books, because you're actually now controlling access to what people see and touch.

Nayo Carter-Gray: It’s really a way to avoid that malfeasance, right? I am all about cybersecurity and am a big, big fan of limiting access to things people don't need. Even though we're a smaller firm of four versus Dan's 30, I still have people in the firm who don't necessarily need full access to our clients' books. At the same time, I'm teaching my clients that if you're inviting someone to your books, do they really need access to all of the things? I'm teaching them that you can assign roles in your firm based on what that person is doing. For example, your accounts payable clerk does not need access to payroll. Why does she need to be able to go in and look at how much her coworkers are making?

Role-based access also opens up larger conversations for us to really help our clients understand how things happen with cybersecurity and how to limit access to data. Now, they can sleep a little bit better at night knowing things like this that get sensationalized on social media and the news does not worry or concern them. This is a way for me to help them ease into things and not be as stressed about it. They know that they're doing their part in order to limit the amount of access and data people have and need in order to perform the functions in their businesses—as am I.

Jaclyn Anku: You bring up a really good point about how explaining to your clients how the roles their team members should have—or what roles they can expect your team to have—can lead to a much larger conversation about who's doing what. Dan, I love your point of view on how this new feature and functionality might enable further advisory conversations with your clients as you communicate it to them.

Dan Luthi: I love that Nayo hit the nail on the head when it comes to presentation for our clients, along with what's happening in the market or what's happening in the world. Security is becoming so much more important to them, so having the ability to share and walk a client through how they can change the type of visualization and the type of data their team can have access to gives them peace of mind. The nice part about it, too, is that it actually gives you the ability to talk to clients about controls. It gives you the ability to be able to really coach them and help them understand how limiting certain people's access to things can give them more control within their organization, as well as more control over what their team potentially can do. So instead of them having to be the central point for literally everything, they can actually start treating their company as a “company” where multiple people are interacting with it by limiting what access people have and what people can do.

Dan Luthi: I think it's also important to note that QuickBooks is changing. Six years ago when we started some of this conversation, QuickBooks was a very different product than it is today. Payroll is dramatically different. We really only have three SKUs now instead of the 77 SKUs we had previously. AP is now a feature set, and loans and AR are much more prevalent within the core product. Going into the future, the user experience is going to be dramatically different. QuickBooks is setting up the opportunity for people to have one place, or have a more centralized place for them to interact as an organization, which I think is just going to be huge. 

Jaclyn Anku: Dan and Nayo, thank you so much for sharing these powerful insights and stories on role-based access control now for client’s books, and how this will help you help them uplevel their overall processes and systems. We'll move into one quick question with the theme of today's episode being all about customization, personalization, and control—and it’s a very serious question. How do you customize your froyo? 

Nayo Carter-Gray: My froyo? I love it; typically, it’s a Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia froyo. 

Dan Luthi: My wife eats those—and I 100% respect it, but, my go to is usually something cheesecake-based, honestly, when it comes to my froyo. I love raspberries and fresh fruit. Dump some of that on there and then put in your cheesecake crumble pieces and graham cracker crumbs across the top. Or add a crushed-up waffle cone. 

Jaclyn Anku: Well, I'm out. I need to go get my froyo. But Dan and Nayo, thank you so much for joining us today and for sharing all of your thoughts and insights. It’s been so amazing to have you all here. We'll catch you next time.  

Dan Luthi: See you guys. 

Jaclyn Anku: And thank you for watching this episode. I'm Jaclyn, host of In the Know and leader of ProAdvisor Training and Certification. Be sure to like, comment, and subscribe to this channel so that you don't miss a single episode. I mean, heck, why not drop your favorite froyo topping into the comments? I know what mine is. It's brownies and cookie dough. I usually can't decide, so I do both.

We'll catch you next time.

Meet the ProAdvisors

ProAdvisor Nayo Carter-Gray : Founder, 1st Step Accounting

ProAdvisor Dan Luthi: COO, Ignite Spot

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