In 2013, we made the decision to move to a private virtual server. We immediately offered to host QuickBooks Desktop files for a few of our best clients. In two years, we have increased the number of client users on our server nearly tenfold, which surprised even us.
Below are some of the questions we ask ourselves before offering to host client files on our server:
Are they (or will they be) an ideal client?
Do they fit our profile of an ideal client? If not, do they have the potential to be? Do we already work closely with them?
Will we be able to provide more complete and efficient service?
Are we providing consulting or training services that will benefit from direct file access? Are we setting up the file and helping them manage it?
Will it ultimately make their lives easier?
There may be trade-offs when using a private virtual server. Do the benefits outweigh the trade-offs? Most notably for us, clients sometimes experience a lag (albeit minute) when working in a file on the server compared to a copy installed directly on their desktop. Can they live with that?
Do the benefits outweigh the cost?
There is a cost to being a user on the server. Will the client’s benefit be greater than the additional cost?
Below are some of the questions we ask our clients:
Do they need access to their data from multiple locations?
Do they have staff in different physical locations that need to access the data? Do they need to access the file while they travel?
Do they have a good internet connection?
I can often be heard saying, “Your experience on the server will only be as good as your internet connection.” Do they have a backup internet source in case their main connection is unavailable?
Are they using software or hardware that links to their file or imports information?
Are they using a scanner, a check reader or other hardware that must be connected to the server? Are they using software that automatically imports information into QuickBooks? If so, is it something we can or want to have installed on our server?
Moving to a private virtual server was a very big decision. It has been one of the most important changes we’ve made in revolutionizing our practice. Our clients agree, it is one of the most valuable services we offer. The best part… It has enabled us to create efficiency, flexibility and freedom for ourselves and our clients!