My business is at a complete stand still

A few days ago, QuickBooks Online suffered a short term outage.

Man oh MAN, you would have thought that the world was coming to an end, reading some of the comments online about this!  I’ll admit: I had a minor panic attack, because I was scheduled to present a four hour QuickBooks Online certification prep webinar to a few hundred people. A webinar that pretty much requires me to to be in QBO the entire time.

You read that right. FOUR HOUR WEBINAR. Most of it in the product, showing fellow accounting professionals how it worked. Hard to do when I can’t login to the product, you know?

So yeah, I had a moment of panic and thought: “I need to email someone to get this rescheduled, stat!”

Then I thought, “Well, shit happens”, and realized that I couldn’t rely on my west coast Intuit people to get the email about the outage in time, and had to figure out alternatives, if QBO didn’t come back online.

I came up with 2 options:

  1. Have my host of and good friend, Woody Adams, handle all of the in product demo, if he was able to login (the outage was spotty – and not everyone had issues)
  2. Do the webinar entirely from a slide deck, with screen shots.

We decided on the first option, even though by the time the webinar started, QBO was pretty much 100% back online. The best part? It turned out really well, both for Woody and I, but also for the attendees.  So yay!

The one thing that compelled me to write this blog, was one of the comments that I read online about the outage:

“My business is at a complete stand still.”

Really? I mean, REALLY?? You’re entire business is unable to function because your accounting system is offline?

I want to tell this person: “Shit happens.”  It’s called every day life. Unexpected stuff comes up – stuff that you have no control over – that may prevent or delay you from reaching whatever goal you’re attempting reach, big or small. In those situations, you have to do what I did: come up with backup plan. And probably a backup for the backup.

I’ll be the first to admit that this doesn’t always work out as well as it did for that webinar. I’m not always as on top of this sort of stuff as I was that morning. To be honest, if I hadn’t already had slides with screen shots, I don’t know that the second option would have been doable.

I’ll also tell you this – I absolutely have a backup plan for running my business; for times when I can’t access my documents or accounting software, for whatever the reason. We keep the documents and templates that Kildal Services uses on Google drive, and we use QBO for accounting.

If for some reason I don’t have internet access, or I can’t login to QBO and/or Google Drive, I keep a few templates on my local drive – so that my business never comes to a complete standstill. These are MSWord docs (yes, word!). I have templates for an invoice, sales receipt, engagement letter and credit card authorization form. This way – I can always prepare them outside of the systems I can’t get to, then print them on actual paper, send them via email and then upload or enter them when I do have access.

Think again about this comment:

“My business is at a complete stand still.”

What if they were using QuickBooks desktop, and their hard drive failed? What if they had a power outage? What if a disgruntled employee changed all of the passwords to their systems? What if someone accidentally deleted their QBW file? What if their internet provider was having issues and they couldn’t get online?

My point is this: if a few hours of not being able to use a particular application in your business brought the entire operation to a complete stand still, your business has much bigger problems than not being able to use that application.

Shit happens, man. You need a backup plan.


  1. Karen Magno

    Thanks for this article. Yes this outage may have been an inconvenience for QuickBooks Online users but there are still ways to accomplish critical tasks when a system is down.

    • StacyK

      Thanks for the comment, Karen!

      For what it’s worth, I’m speaking more about small businesses in general, not an accounting or bookkeeping firm. Obviously an accounting system being down could bring one to a halt, if all the client data is on that system. When I say that we have offline systems, I mean that we can still send invoices, take payments, etc.

      Yes, outages can be annoying. And yes, they CAN bring certain businesses to a standstill; no matter what your industry, you should have that back up plan. Maybe you have an impromptu staff meeting. Maybe you tackle some miscellaneous admin work that has been put off. Or maybe you send everyone home to watch Law & Order 🙂


  2. Tina Kritzer

    When I worked in the Financial Industry it was mandatory to have a backup plan AND to do annual testing. Now that I am running my own business, I also need to get off my buttons and implement a backup plan for me and my clients. Banks aren’t allowed to come to a stand still and if a business you run or support has such a strong need to be up and running 24/7 then stop complaining and implement a plan. Great blog Stacy

    • StacyK

      Thanks Tina!!

      For me, (and my clients), the convenience that online systems offer far outweighs the inconvenience of occasional or minor outages. I had one client tell me that he took the outage last Wednesday as a sign from the universe, and decided to make use of the time away from work by spending a few extra hours with his kids.


  3. Cyrel

    When you’re in the business, you always have to have contingency plans even if things are going smoothly. You’ll never really know, right. So, I completely agree on having a backup plan.

    • StacyK

      Thanks Cyrel! I don’t always have a plan b ready, but I try to!


  4. Quickbooks Girl

    Oh, man. With bookkeeping, not being able to access QuickBooks is a pain. Even still, business doesn’t come to a complete standstill. There are precautions in place and backups for the backups. It’s madness to rely on your technology having a 100% uptime. I’m really wondering what kind of setup this person has. I’m going to hope that it was just an exaggerated reaction to QBO being down.

    • StacyK

      I agree that QBO down is a huge pain for a bookkeeping/accounting firm, but for the average small business, it shouldn’t shut it down. (And, even as a bookkeeping company, we still had plenty to do, work on marketing, catch up on admin tasks, take a mental health break and catch a few episodes of Suits…

      Thanks for your comment!


      • Quickbooks Girl

        Yes, exactly. A few months ago our computers at the office were severely damaged because of an electrical fire. It was very frustrating, not being able to use a computer for work. Our business is ran primarily online and we didn’t have access to important files for a while. We had backups, thank goodness, but even during the downtime there was some filing to be done. If the need arose we would have been able to get some invoices out, too. Keeping your business functional at all times should be a top priority.

  5. Laura Dodson

    Very few employees are understanding when their payroll checks are late. Just say’n. 🙂


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