QBO for the Client and QBOA for the Accountant - dummies

QBO for the Client and QBOA for the Accountant

By Elaine Marmel

QuickBooks Online (QBO) is the product for end users who need to perform typical accounting tasks. QBO is based on the same principles as the QuickBooks desktop product — that is, it uses lists to, for example, manage customers and vendors, and it includes transactions similar to the ones found in the QuickBooks desktop product.

But, QBO is not simply a “rewrite” of the QuickBooks desktop product for the web. Instead, it was written and optimized to be used in any of the major web browsers — Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer.

QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA) is a portal that accountants use to access client QBO companies, work in them, and communicate with clients. QBOA also comes with one free company that the accountant can use to track her own business.

An open company in QBO looks similar to the one shown. The most important thing to notice is the Navigation bar that runs down the left side of the screen.


If you have been a QuickBooks desktop user and you’ve used the Left Toolbar in that product, you might find the Navigation bar a familiar tool. The Left Toolbar and the Navigation bar work the same way; you click a link in either of them to navigate to that portion of the program.

At the top of the screen, you see tools that help QBO users create new transactions, search for existing transactions, and view recent transactions.

Now compare the preceding figure with this one, which shows what an accountant sees after opening a client’s company using QBOA.


The accountant’s view of a QBO company looks a bit different from a client QBO user’s view. First, the tools used to search for a transaction, go to a report, and view recent transactions have been combined into one Search box. And second, the Accountant Tools menu (the briefcase icon) displays tools not found in QBO that help accountants manage client companies.

Even though an open company looks a bit different depending on whether it is opened using QBO or QBOA, the basic functionality doesn’t really change, other than accountants having more options than end users have.