The Significance of Primary Admin Access in QuickBooks Online

May 10, 2024

Bookkeeping Tips, QuickBooks

Why do I need Primary Admin access to my QuickBooks Online account? 

Reader beware: I am about to step onto my soapbox. 😉

The Role of Primary Admin

QuickBooks Online offers various user levels, but today, we’re focusing on a crucial one: the Primary Admin. Typically, accountants or bookkeepers assume this role during set up, overseeing your books. However, what often goes unexplained is the importance of granting business owners access to their financial data through the Primary Admin role.

As the person paying for the service, you should have access to and own your information. Granting this access to your books allows for this.

Ethically, I believe that business owners should have Primary Admin access or equivalent for all software/SaaS used in their business. As a business owner, you should always be able to access anything relating to your business at any time, even if you do not need to be in these softwares on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis.

Ensuring Access During Changes

First, the business owner will be the constant when other people may come and go. The business owner will need to be sure they can access anything, no matter what happens to someone else; employees quit, end up hospitalized, and go on vacation. Maintaining primary access to your software allows the business owner continuity to business operations and the ability to grant others access when needed.

Protecting Your Information

Primary Admin access allows you to hold power with your QuickBooks file and not have the information be held hostage. You will never be locked out of your data or have to spend countless hours trying to gain access to information you should have in the first place. This applies to all other software in your business as well; be sure you are the primary person on all accounts for your business.

If your employee or contractor is the only one with access to a system, you could very well be stuck, extorted, or your company rendered useless without access to the information.

Working in Partnership and Trust

By granting Primary Admin access to business owners, bookkeepers demonstrate their commitment to fostering a collaborative partnership. As I tell my clients, “I give you Primary Admin access because this is your business, and your information. I will not hold it from you, nor hold you hostage to my services. I will earn your business everyday. Now, while I encourage you to have access and set up your login, I do not expect you to do your bookkeeping; we will take care of all that for you.” Having access to all of your software should encourage the working relationship and extend trust between the business owner and the contractor or employee.

Real-World Examples

I would love to say that I have never had a client who has been locked out of software, but it is sadly more common than not. 

Just this week, I needed information from a client. The employee who provided this information is no longer employed and the task was not passed off to anyone else. Now, the other employee/owner is having to use their time to figure out how to access the software to get the needed information to me. This could be prevented by the owner having that primary access to the account.

In another example, a client is having to send their Articles of Organization to the vendor to prove their ownership in the business because a former employee set up the software for the business and left without the business owner having any access to it. Other employees have access, but the ownership of the software lies with the account originally set up with the former employee. Account management and changes to access cannot be done without access to that login.

These are issues that can easily be prevented when you, the business owner, make sure that all software is accessible by you. Demand it for anything you are doing with contractors or employees. After all, it is your business, and you are paying for it.

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