Storing Your AccountEdge Data on Dropbox and Other Cloud Services
Dropbox, iCloud, and OneDrive are a few of the popular cloud file hosting services that allow you to save and share all types of files. The way they work is your information is stored locally on your machine and then the cloud service syncs this information to its servers as information is updated. This article primarily focuses on possible interactions between AccountEdge and Dropbox, but the information applies equally to any cloud service, like the aforementioned iCloud and OneDrive.
Don't Keep Your Current Company File on Dropbox, iCloud, or OneDrive
We do not recommend putting your AccountEdge data file in a folder that is synced with any type of cloud service. Sometimes, people who have users in different physical locations will want to use Dropbox (or one of the similar services) to store their file so it can be accessed by all of their users. The main issue with this type of setup occurs when two people open this file at the same time. With a cloud service like Dropbox, AccountEdge will actually open the file on both users' respective computers. But this creates a problem because both AccountEdge users are not actually opening the exact same file -- Dropbox will make a conflicted copy of the file because two separate users have opened it.
What this means is that if you have two users working in the file and they both make changes (creating invoices, adding cards, reconciling your checking account, etc.), there are now going to be two different versions of the company file: one with the information User A entered and another version of the file with the information User B entered. These two files cannot just be merged back together, and if you have two separate versions of your file, your accounting data will be incomplete. Some of the data will be in User A's file and other data will be in User B's file. But neither user's file will have the complete set of data. To make matters worse, both of these files will have the exact same name but contain different data, causing further confusion.
Even if you are the only person in your company who uses AccountEdge, we still do not recommend keeping your current company file on a cloud file host because there is a strong potential for data to go "missing" with this type of setup. AccountEdge does not cause this to happen but cloud services can cause data to "disappear" by taking outside actions on your AccountEdge file without your approval or knowledge.
Various situations can cause cloud services to replace your current data file with an older version. For example, if you enter several item invoices into your file on Tuesday but a connectivity issue causes the cloud service to replace your Tuesday file with your old Monday file, all of the invoices you entered on Tuesday are now permanently lost. The data you entered on Tuesday is now "missing," but AccountEdge did not delete it. The cloud service caused the data to "disappear" by overwriting your current file with an older version. We have seen a few users who lost days, weeks, and even years' worth of data due to a cloud service overwriting their current file with an older version. Do NOT work on your AccountEdge file while it's located in a cloud location to prevent this from happening to you.
Another issue is that Dropbox and similar cloud services may prevent you from using certain features in AccountEdge. If you are trying to complete a single user task while a file is located on Dropbox, you may receive an error message about the data file being in use by another application. This will prevent you from being able to complete a task that requires you to be logged in as a single user.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Can I Backup to Dropbox But Not Keep My Current File There?
When you back up your file to Dropbox and/or other cloud services, you are only storing your backup zip file there for safekeeping. You are not actually accessing your current company file and making changes to it. However, should you ever need to restore your data from a backup that you saved on Dropbox, you will need to take the backup off the cloud first. You should never work on a live file that is stored on Dropbox or any other sort of cloud service.
Why Can I Use Dropbox to Sync AccountEdge Mobile/Cloud But Not Store My File There?
AccountEdge Mobile and AccountEdge Cloud do not access your live data file. When you sync either one there are lists of information that are being pushed into dropbox and updated.
I've Been Using Dropbox to Store My Data File for Years and Haven't Had Any Problems - Why Should I Stop Using It?
There are certainly users for whom this is true. If you are a single user and there is no one else who uses your data file this might even continue to work for you. That being said, we have not done any extensive testing using AccountEdge and there is certainly a possibility for issues to occur -- especially if you have multiple people who use the same file.