One of the main selling points of QuickBooks Online is the fact that you no longer have to make backups of your data. You can sleep easy, Intuit says, knowing that your QuickBooks Online data will be secure and available. Between multiple servers, safeguards and redundancies, your data is solid, right?
Let’s assume that Intuit can keep their promises and your data is secure on their servers. Instead, let’s envision a couple different scenarios.
- You ask a friend to help you out with your bookkeeping and she comes in and “fixes” it. When your tax preparer reviews your data later that month, you get the bad news. Everything your friend did and all of her “fixes” actually messed up your whole quarter if not the whole year. You’re not even sure where to start with the clean-up.
- Maybe you started working in QBO one morning before that cup of coffee kicked in and you accidentally delete three months’ worth of invoices.
- What about the time you tried that cool, new app and imported a couple hundred transactions … incorrectly! (This would be one of the nightmare scenarios that I’ve actually lived through. It’s not pretty!)
In times like this, wouldn’t it be nice to have a backup of your QBO data? Maybe it’s a day or two out of date, but you could at least start fresh with the last set of “good data” that you had. That’s the promise of an app called SafetyNet by Jobber.
According to their site, SafetyNet is the only backup utility for QBO that puts you in control of the data. You control your history of backups and, if you need to, you can restore your QBO data from one of your backups.
SafetyNet is quick to point out that their backup isn’t 100% perfect. You won’t be able to restore Deposits, Sales Tax transactions or attachments. Budgets will also be lost if you restore your QBO from SafetyNet. There is also the possibility of errors with the restoration process, though SafetyNet does give you an error log to work from if you encounter problems.
With the Free subscription, you can keep your most recent backup. With the Pro subscription level, though, all of your SafetyNet archives are kept and any of them can be used to restore your QBO data. Please note: SafetyNet is still in Beta, so they are essentially making the Pro level available for free at present.
Setting up an account with SafetyNet couldn’t be easier, as you have the alternative to login with your Intuit account. Once you login and give permission for SafetyNet to access your QBO data, you have the opportunity to make your first “Quicksave” of your data. I used a fairly sizable QBO data file in my test and the first QuickSave took about three minutes. Each of your backups will be listed on the SafetyNet dashboard along with the statistics of how many transactions and list items are included in each.
The process of restoring your QBO data is almost as simple as the process of backing it up. Simply locate the archive that you wish to restore and click the “Load” button. That’s really all there is to it!
Obviously, SafetyNet is not a perfect solution. Compared to the alternative of a badly damaged QBO account, this imperfect app sounds a lot more appealing! While we’re waiting for that perfect app to appear, I would recommend a three-fold approach to maintaining the integrity of your QuickBooks Online data:
- Sign up for SafetyNet and make a backup at least once a month. At this point, it is free to use and it might save your bacon in the event of catastrophe!
- Set a Closing Date in QBO (Gear > Account & Settings > Advanced > Accounting > Close the books). By setting a Closing Date, you will prevent changes to your books before the date chosen. Already filed last year’s tax return? Then close out that data so no further changes will be made to those figures! Personally, I like to update the Closing Date after each quarter is closed.
- After you wrap up each month and have reconciled your accounts, save a PDF of your Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss Report. Then, Run a General Ledger report for the Year to Date and save that report as an Excel file.
With these reports and safeguards, you will always be able to reconstruct your QBO data in the event of catastrophe. You may have to recreate a couple invoices, but that is nothing compared to recreating a whole year! If you want to limit the amount of work that you have to re-do, then simply make your SafetyNet archive more often, update that Closing Date more often, and save that General Ledger more often. A little bit of preparedness goes a long way!
Have you tried SafetyNet? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think!
Deb Howard Greenleaf, EA, CEO and Principal, of Greenleaf Accounting Services provides virtual accounting and bookkeeping services and specializes in financial management to consultants, coaches, solo professionals, and other small business owners across the US. Deb is an Enrolled Agent (EA)—an IRS-licensed tax professional—and specializes in small businesses and entrepreneurs filing Schedule C or as an LLC. As an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Deb spends her day in QuickBooks Online and specializes in providing QBO support.