Despite the down economy, Intuit continues performing well, as evidenced by the company's projected income growth of as much as 21 percent. QuickBooks' popularity, and the role consultants play in deploying, maintaining, and troubleshooting the financial application, certainly play a role in that growth.
So what's your IT consultancy doing to get a piece of the growing pie? If you're like many of the IT consultancies I've witnessed, you're letting this opportunity pass you by, which means you're missing out on billable hours; worse, those billable hours may be going straight to your competitors.
At a minimum, IT consultants should be partnering with partners possessing Intuit certifications. Ideally, your staff should earn QuickBooks certifications.
Unlike better-known tracks from Microsoft, CompTIA, Cisco, and other vendors, most IT professionals are unfamiliar with Intuit's certification program. Here's what you need to know about Intuit's 2009 QuickBooks Certification.
What are the requirements?
IT consultants who are interested in the Certified ProAdvisor program don't need to be practicing accountants. These candidates just need to pay an annual membership fee starting at $449, leverage Intuit's online training Webinars, and score 85% or better on the Web-based tests that appear at the end of the three sections of the certification courses. Let's break those three requirements down.
First you must become a member. For a reasonable fee, your consultancy receives free certification benefits, software savings, technical support, and professionally prepared marketing resources and materials.
Next comes the training. This is the toughest part, and I speak from experience. Having spent hours with Intuit's online training tutorials, I can attest they are well written and easy for even non-accountants to follow. The trouble is finding the time to sit down, connect to the training portal, block out distractions, and complete the numerous modules. Helpful quizzes appear at the end of each module, thereby providing you with an accurate gauge of how well you understand the material. Since the training is self-paced, you can review sections as you need or proceed to the next when ready.
The QuickBooks ProAdvisor certification course consists of three sections; each section is based on a topical area in which Intuit feels consultants most need to possess expertise. The sections are: setting up clients, accounting elements, and recording transactions.
Most IT consultants will have little trouble with the client setup section. Technically trained staff are more likely to need to invest time learning the essential accounting issues (closing accounting periods, accounting for deposits, managing bad debt, etc.) and leveraging the software's features (methods of adjusting inventory, setting up and using payroll, implementing time tracking features, etc.).
Last comes the testing. Unlike programs from other major vendors, you do need to schedule your exam at a third-party facility, drive across town, and take your crack at passing the test. Instead, you can complete Intuit's testing online.
How much time will this take?
Many IT consultants will fare well using only Intuit's online training aids, which are plentiful, easy-to-access, and available 24x7. Optional books and CDs are available, too, should some staff feel the need to fill in any accounting or financial management knowledge gaps.
In all, Intuit reports most certified ProAdvisors invest approximately 16 hours in the initial certification. For more information, visit Intuit's certification site.Get weekly consulting tips in your inbox TechRepublic's IT Consultant newsletter, delivered each Monday, offers tips on how to attract customers, build your business, and increase your technical skills in order to get the job done. Automatically sign up today!
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.