Using Dropbox to share QuickBooks for Mac

by Kelly Totten on July 6, 2009

I have clients using QuickBooks for Mac.  I like to work from my office and they like to keep QuickBooks on their machine.  Of course, I can take control of their machine with any number of applications and do my work directly on their machine.

An easier, free method is to simply share the data file using a Dropbox.  With this method, each computer will have its own copy of QuickBooks for Mac and will simply open the data file stored in the Dropbox.

A caveat: The QuickBooks file can only be used by one person at a time.  If it’s open and in use by more than one person, you’ll end up with “conflicted file” copies.  I solve this by letting my clients know which days/hours I’ll be updating their books.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

doug August 30, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Does the caveat still hold true with QB multi-user? I was wondering if QB takes care of conflict resolution with pro/premier mult-user.

Kelly Totten September 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Doug, I believe you are referring to the PC version of QuickBooks. Dropbox is not compatible with the Windows versions.

Jonathan Morrison November 23, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Kelly, why wouldn’t this work on a PC version? I am trying to do that.

Kelly Totten November 23, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Let me say that I’ve never tried it with the windows version. It *might* work, but not like a normal multi-user setup. Networking with the windows version requires a licensed copy of QuickBooks on the server. I used to use a hosted drive to share QuickBooks and that no longer worked after the change by Intuit. That’s what I was thinking about when I said it wasn’t compatible, but I could be wrong. If it does work, you still need to limit access to one user at a time.

Please let us know how it works out for you.


Michelle Long April 4, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Please read this post for details about using QuickBooks (or Quicken) files with Dropbox. Even with a single user, there are problems. There are quotes and advice from experts who understand the technical aspects of how QuickBooks writes to the data file and interacts with Dropbox.

Kelly Totten April 4, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Michelle, I agree with the analysis for the windows version of QuickBooks. The advice was intended for QuickBooks for Mac users on 2010 or previous versions. I’ve experienced no ill-effects from using this type of file with dropbox, as long as two users aren’t logged in at the same time. QuickBooks for Mac 2011 now has multi-user and I’m not sure that this would continue to be a good solution. Users should speak with a technical expert to determine if it would work.

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