Side by Side: SmartVault and QuickBooks Document Management

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 What You Need to Know About Each Solution

SmartVault’s unique patented toolbar for QuickBooks was introduced in 2008, and offers seamless integration for scanning, attaching, and locating documents directly from within QuickBooks. In addition to integrated QuickBooks document management, SmartVault also provides users with an online document storage and secure file sharing service to store and share all documents safely and easily—not just those attached to entries in QuickBooks.

By connecting online document storage with QuickBooks document management features, SmartVault gives you a central document storage platform for all your business documents. And although SmartVault introduces new features and enhancements on a regular basis, the core QuickBooks document management integration has remained unchanged since its launch, so as SmartVault users upgrade to new versions of QuickBooks, the SmartVault Toolbar has been consistent, appearing in the same place within the QuickBooks window, and with the same user experience, since 2008.

Now that we’ve explored the evolution of Intuit’s approach to QuickBooks document management, we’ll delve into a side-by-side comparison of what users need to consider when evaluating both offerings.

Storing and Accessing Documents

Today’s users want immediate access to documents. That means they want to be able to securely retrieve their documents at any time, from anywhere, and from any device – which is why cloud solutions are a good choice for most businesses. A centralized online document storage repository also gives users the flexibility of attaching and storing files inside multiple applications and then accessing them from whatever app they’re currently using. SmartVault’s seamless Toolbar integration does this in QuickBooks, so you can attach a document in QuickBooks and access that same document from another application (for a list of other apps that integrate with SmartVault, see Integrations) or securely from any web browser or mobile device.

Why is it important to attach source documents to QuickBooks anyway? The value of having the source document attached to the specific transaction means that the financial system (the system of record for a small business) is now the central repository for all of the financial data for that business, in addition to all of the back up source documents. QuickBooks document management gives users a simple, intuitive, built-in audit trail reducing time spent finding the file you need when you need it.

Below is a comparative summary of the document management functionality offered in SmartVault and in QuickBooks Doc Center (offered in QuickBooks 2012 and 2013).


QuickBooks Doc Center

Offers online document storage supporting 24/7 access to documents anytime-anywhere and from any device. Offers local document storage. Cloud-based storage is no longer available.
Enables a fully customizable folder structure within SmartVault, giving you complete control of how and where your documents are stored. Supports automatic storage of documents within local QuickBooks company files, meaning you do not have control over where your documents are stored.
Offers two-way sync functionality, so documents are automatically updated in QuickBooks when changed in SmartVault, or the other way around. Does not support automatic syncing of documents when changes are applied. So if you want to change a document, you have to delete the original documents and re-attach it in QuickBooks.


Security is always a concern for users when it comes to adopting cloud technology. When evaluating any cloud solution, you should take the time to fully understand the security measures that service providers have in place.


QuickBooks Doc Center

Supports online document storage in a secure data center. Documents are encrypted and users are authenticated through username and password requirement. Granular security permissions ensure that users can only access the files for which they’ve been granted permissions. Files are stored in a folder system at the local level. This means that anyone with access to QuickBooks and the local folder structure can access files attached to QuickBooks via the Doc Center
Enables easy and secure sharing of files associated with QuickBooks. You can easily send secure links to files, without having to attach files to email. (For more info on why sending links is a more secure alternative to emailing documents in the clear, see The Insecurities of Email. There are no built-in capabilities for securely sharing files from within QuickBooks Doc Center.

Secure File Sharing

Collaborative accounting is a key focus of small businesses and an important driver for adopting online or cloud-based technologies. By storing documents online and accessing them easily and safely from a browser, an application, or device, your business enjoys a far more collaborative workflow.


QuickBooks Doc Center

Offers easy, secure file sharing. The ability to send a link for direct access to files is both easy and safe. Users can access stored documents directly from SmartVault or via the SmartVault Toolbar integrated inside of QuickBooks. Users must work outside of QuickBooks to share attached documents (saved manually to their local computer).
Offers the ability to access documents from any web browser or web enabled mobile devices while working remotely. Does not support remote, online document file sharing.


Backing up data and documents is an important component of disaster recovery processes. Here’s a look at how SmartVault and Intuit approach backups of company files and associated documents:


QuickBooks Doc Center

Enables users to back up QuickBooks company files. Backups can be set to occur automatically. Combined with the offsite storage of your documents – delivering one solution that can provide an offsite backup of your QuickBooks data related source documents. QBB backup files can be created. However, the backup file does not include attached documents. Requires manual backup of related/attached documents.


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