ChronoBooks, an app that helps users backup, restore, and copy data for QuickBooks Online, was founded by Nate Tippie, the next developer in the Intuit Developer Spotlight series. His vision for the app came as a result of time spent in the QuickBooks ecosystem, and if you go by customer reviews on the app’s QuickBooks Online App Store page, it’s doing very well.
The 51 reviews (as of the writing of this post) have all given ChronoBooks five stars. Here’s an example of what they have to say:
“I work at a small nonprofit that was recently given a donated version of QBO from TechSoup. The problem was that we already had a QBO account with 10+years of data… and no easy way to transfer that data to the new account. That is, until ChronoBooks came to the rescue! And when I had a question about how to backup, store, and refresh the data into the new account, Nate was there to answer all my questions and make the transition easy. I 100% recommend using ChronoBooks if you need to backup, store, or transfer data between online accounts. Thanks Nate and ChronoBooks! Awesome app!”
How has Nate been able to develop such a successful app within the QuickBooks community? He tells us the details today.
No Stranger to the QuickBooks Developer Ecosystem
Since 2013, Nate has been a part of the QuickBooks Developer ecosystem. He started by working with SaaSOptics, a company that has both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop integrations. During that time, he gained a lot of knowledge working with QuickBooks users.
“I heard them wishing for the kind of data management capabilities that they had with QuickBooks Desktop: namely, the ability to restore a QuickBooks Online company to a previous time and copy its data to another company,” he says. “I set out to create ChronoBooks in April of 2016; the first version was released one year later in April 2017, and it released onto the App Center just a few weeks later.”
Keeping it simple, Nate offers his ChronoBooks users a single plan at $10 per month, per company (though QuickBooks ProAdvisors do receive a discounted rate of $5/month). The plan includes every feature:
- Unlimited number of objects backed up
- Changes backed up in real time
- Unlimited historical data retention
- Roll back data to any time since first back up
- Copy a company or its historical data
And the app’s ability to continuously back up, migrate, and restore data securely is available to QuickBooks Online users in all countries.
Integration with QuickBooks and the Intuit Developer Platform a Perfect Fit
His experience within the QuickBooks developer ecosystem meant Nate knew exactly how ChronoBooks would work with QuickBooks Online and with the Intuit Developer platform.
“From my previous experience with the QuickBooks ecosystem, I knew that it had a powerful API, a responsive developer support group, and a large customer base full of other small business owners. It was a perfect fit, and I never doubted it,” he says.
He also knew that, for his app to succeed, he would need to utilize QuickBooks API to its fullest. “Copying a company with a lot of data can necessitate hundreds of thousands of API operations specifically ordered. To get these done in a timely manner, we push the request limits of the QuickBooks Online API by using batching and concurrent requests—when applicable.”
Throughout the process, Nate has worked closely with the Intuit Developer team. One of the things he’s enjoyed most is meeting them in-person at QuickBooks Connect events. He’s also benefited from hands-on assistance the team has provided.
“Intuit Developer has been there every step of the way since I first submitted ChronoBooks to the QuickBooks Online App Store: from providing guidance on our introductory call, to engaging for feedback on the functionality of the APIs, to proactively helping me properly optimize our requests, and now even with marketing support,” he says. “The Intuit Developer support team is so responsive! I’m always make certain to submit a support ticket whenever I see something awry, and they always respond quickly and informatively.”
Advice: Let Customers Be the Motivating Force
As ChronoBooks continues to grow, Nate has a few things in the works, including increasing data portability within the QuickBooks ecosystem. The app’s website also notes two other features coming soon. One new feature will allow users to compare historical data and jumpstart their audits and another feature will alert them when material changes occur in past periods.
Nate says everything he does in and for the app stems from customer feedback. “Let your customer service guide you. ChronoBooks was built upon customer demand, and that continues to be the motivating force in our product management.”
In addition to listening to customers, Nate has some other advice.
“If you want to bootstrap and still be able to scale, you have to make smart early decisions about your infrastructure. Delay those decisions for as long as possible by using a platform-as-a-service before switching to infrastructure-as-a-service,” he says.
He continues, “As you’re starting out with Intuit developer, spend as much time as you can in the API documentation and with the API explorer. Identify the entities you’ll need to be accessing and how they test out how they interact with other entities. ChronoBooks manages every accounting endpoint available, so this step was a very important one for us.”
Sound advice! For those who are new to Intuit Developer, the Intuit Developer Blog has a post showing you how to use the QuickBooks Online API. There’s also some posts with updates covering QuickBooks Online plan changes and revisions to developer documentation you may want to check out.
Stay tuned for another Intuit Developer Spotlight post coming soon. Until then, the Intuit Developer team is available if you have any questions or feedback.