Several months ago, Intuit released its first ProAdvisor certification for QuickBooks Online. I was proud to become one of the first ones to pass the test within the first week. I’m also proud of Intuit for coming out with this certification, because I think it lends more credibility to the system.
Let me give you a little background. QuickBooks Online has been around since December 2000, the desktop version of QuickBooks has been around since 1992 (the DOS version and the windows version came out in 1993), and the first ProAdvisor certification was released in 1999. It took just 7 years for the first certification to come out, but 12 years for Intuit to release it’s QuickBooks Online Certification for ProAdvisors.
The truth is that the desktop version of QuickBooks is different than QuickBooks Online. There are tons of similarities, but the differences are enough to make a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor struggle in QuickBooks Online. I think this is why a lot of ProAdvisors dislike the system (a dirty little secret that I try to explain to most prospects). Also, it has taken QuickBooks Online a long time to get to where it is today and most of those disappointed ProAdvisors haven’t tried it for a few years.
In the past, ProAdvisors could say they were experts in QuickBooks Online, but they couldn’t prove it. Now, those of us that are advocates for the system can be proud to display the badge on our site. Unlike some other certifications from different groups (AICPA and others), we don’t just pay for the right to call ourselves Certified QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor. Here are the steps we have to go through to become certified.
First, you have to become a ProAdvisor. This is the part where you do have to pay, but we are paying for value – NOT the certifications. Becoming a ProAdvisor gives you access to software, training, marketing, etc. It is a program where you are given a great deal of value in exchange for a fee. You can NOT say that you are certified until you pass one of their exams and you can only say you are certified in a product once you pass that exam.
The current available certifications from Intuit’s ProAdvisor program are the 2012 QuickBooks Certification, 2013 QuickBooks Certification, QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions Certification, QuickBooks Point of Sale Certification, QuickBooks Advanced Certification, and the new QuickBooks Online 2013 Certification.
The QuickBooks Online certification is one of those exams. In order to become certified, you have to pass 4 sections covering different areas of the program by passing with at least an 80% in each section. You can only take each section a total of 3 times, so you don’t have unlimited tries. Each section has 12 questions.
The questions cover all areas of the program:
- Identify the differences between the different versions of QuickBooks Online,
- Show an understanding of different add-ons available from Intuit that work with QuickBooks Online,
- Show how to identify and fix common client errors, and
- Identify the different ways you can customize QuickBooks Online to make the best fit for your client.
So, why did I tell you all of this? Because I’m excited! For years now I’ve felt like a red-headed step-child for being an advocate for QuickBooks Online. In fact, all of my clients are on the system, but so many other professionals out there speak poorly of this system. (Most of the time because they just don’t understand it!)
I’m excited Intuit has given the advocates (like me) a tool to differentiate ourselves from other service professionals out there. It shows that Intuit is proud of their system and wants ProAdvisors to get behind the system too. And most importantly, it provides the public with another metric to measure their consultants when choosing an advisor, bookkeeper and/or CPA.
Do you use QuickBooks Online? What have your consultants said about the program? Are you excited that Intuit is now offering this certification? Leave us your comments below.