Candy asked me to take a look over here and explain the process.
QuickBooks Online has a lot of problems. So do many of the the other online QuickBooks hosting solutions. That is why OffAssist was determined to create its own solution. Initially, this was for internal use only, however, it is working so well that we are in the process of determining if there is a market among other VA's for the service.
QuickBooks Online uses your web browser to access the file online. Web browsers were not designed to be efficient for heavy tasks like this. So with Quickbooks Online, you will see a definite performance decrease for any applications you are trying to run while the web browser is open.
OffAssist uses the Remote Desktop protocol. Most Windows based computers come pre-installed with this and a client is available for Mac's as well. Remote Desktop uses only two parts of your computer: the video and your internet. If you minimize Remote Desktop, your computer will run almost as if you were not connected to a server. Your local applications should not suffer from any noticeable performance decrease.
The way our system works: you can send e-mails, you can export Excel data, you can save to your own hard drive, and you can print to either OffAssist's Printers, PDF, or even your own local printers. Sorry, but you can't print to other peoples printers. That is a security issue and not something I can work around or cut corners on.
Now, I have heard a few other misconceptions out there, and I will address those here:
1.) "Your file is still on your computer, so when other people access it your computer will slow down."
This is not the truth with OffAssist hosting. Our servers handle all the files. When you open your account, you will upload your file to us and we will have it set up and ready to go. Our system handles all the load associated with multi-person access.
2.) "You need to have QuickBooks installed on your computer."
With the OffAssist server, you will not need QuickBooks installed at all. The server provides all the software needed. You must, however, own the appropriate number of licenses.
3.) "You do not need your own QuickBooks license."
OffAssist is not a software sales house. When you create your account with OffAssist you will sign a contract stating that you have the appropriate client license for the number of logins you wish to create. Our service is provided to allow multiple clients to use a single file no matter where they are or the time of day. Our price will reflect this. That said, you do NOT need an additional license if only you are using QuickBooks with us and on your office system. You need 1 license per person.
4.) "Windows Servers are not secure."
In the past this may have been true. However, we use a 3-tier, 5-stage system to protect our clients information. We use 2 firewalls (1 hardware, 1 software), virus and spyware software, and a 2 part password authentication system. I haven't seen another system that provides so much protection while interfering not at all with the service to the customer.
Beyond QuickBooks hosting, we are also looking at other services. However, QuickBooks will be the first service available to our clients. If anyone has any direct questions for me, feel free to post them here or e-mail me at email@example.com