This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
A QuickBooks ProAdvisor is someone familiar with the QuickBooks product line who has joined the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program and passed a certification exam. There are four primary certifications: QuickBooks Desktop Pro/Premier, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks POS, and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions.
To become certified as a QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor, you must first sign up for a free QuickBooks Online Accountant subscription. This will give you free access to all training materials, including videos, webinars, virtual conferences, and in-person events as well as certification exams right from the ProAdvisor tab of QuickBooks Online Accountant.
Becoming a QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor is completely free, there are no contracts, and you can cancel your membership at any time. Once you obtain the QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor certification, you have the option of continuing on to other ProAdvisor certifications, such as QuickBooks Desktop.
Requirements for Becoming a QuickBooks ProAdvisor
You don’t need an accounting or bookkeeping background or any type of formal education to be certified. To become a certified QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor:
- Sign up for a free QuickBooks Online Accountant subscription.
- Invest at least 12 to 16 hours of studying to prepare for the exam.
- Complete an 80-question exam successfully with a passing score of 80 percent or better.
- You can take the exam up to three times if you don’t pass on your initial attempt. If you don’t pass in the first three attempts, you’ll be locked out for 60 days. When the 60 days are up, you can take the exam again.
Unfortunately, becoming a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor doesn’t make you a certified bookkeeper. It simply indicates that you’re knowledgeable in QuickBooks products. However, if you’re interested in becoming a certified bookkeeper, check out How to Become a Certified Bookkeeper.
The following are the four steps to becoming a certified QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor.
1. Sign Up for QuickBooks Online Accountant
Upon enrollment, you’ll receive a free QuickBooks Online Accountant subscription that can be used for your own firm’s bookkeeping as well as to access your clients’ QuickBooks Online accounts. You’ll manage your ProAdvisor account and certification from within QuickBooks Online Accountant.
The first step is to provide some basic information to create a free QuickBooks Online Accountant account. You’ll be asked to provide your:
- Email address (user ID)
- First name
- Last name
- Phone number
If you have already used your email account for any Intuit product, such as QuickBooks or TurboTax, you’ll need to use the same password. If you have never signed up for any Intuit products, you’ll be asked to create a new password. No credit card or other sensitive information is required.
2. Prepare for the QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor Certification Exam
Once you create your QuickBooks Online Accountant account, you have access to all of the study guides, webinars (live and recorded), and exams for free. Like any exam, you need to study to pass it successfully. To begin the training, go to the ProAdvisor link found in the left menu bar of your QuickBooks Online Accountant screen and click on the Training tab. Here, you’ll find courses for all of the QuickBooks products to prepare you for the certification exams. If you’re new to QuickBooks, it’s a good idea to start with the Introduction to QuickBooks Online for Accountants course.
To pass the exam, you’ll need a basic understanding of general accounting principles as well as knowledge of the QuickBooks Online Accountant system. The training course prepares you for both, but it isn’t mandatory. If you already possess this knowledge, you can proceed directly to the test and receive your certification. While preparing for the certification exam, you can also earn continuing professional education (CPE) credits, which apply to maintaining your certified public accountant’s (CPA’s) license.
You don’t have to complete all the modules in one session. The system saves where you end a session, which enables you to pick up where you left off later. These introduction courses aren’t required for certification but are very helpful if you’ve never used QuickBooks Online.
QuickBooks Online for Accountants
The Introduction to the QuickBooks Online Accountant course consists of seven learning modules, which can be completed in about 4.5 hours and will earn you four CPE credits. The topics covered in the QuickBooks Online for Accountants course are:
- Getting started in QuickBooks Online Accountant: Sign up and log into QuickBooks Online Accountant and learn about key features in the Accountant dashboard and navigation toolbar.
- Your client’s QuickBooks Online: This provides an introduction to workflows and shows you how to navigate your client’s QuickBooks Online.
- Sales and customers: Add customers, create sales receipts, create online invoices, and enter payments received.
- Expenses and vendors: Learn about the Expense and Vendor workflows and the Expenses center, how to enter expenses, and how to enter and pay bills.
- Banking: Learn about how to use bank feeds and best practice bank feed workflows.
- Building blocks for reporting: Review the Chart of Accounts and Products and Services list, which are the building blocks for creating basic reports.
- Bringing clients into QuickBooks Online Accountant: Review subscription levels and the different ways to add a client to QuickBooks Online Accountant.
QuickBooks Online Certification
The QuickBooks Online course consists of eight learning modules, which can be completed in about eight hours and will earn you seven CPE credits. The topics covered in the QuickBooks Pro Online course are:
- QuickBooks Online solutions for clients: Understand your clients’ needs to best advise them on the best QuickBooks Online subscription solution, learn how to set up a QuickBooks Online account, and learn how to discuss billing features with clients.
- Client onboarding: Learn how to select the right company settings, create new customers and vendors, set up bank feeds, create the chart of accounts, and more.
- Special client onboarding tasks: Learn about additional onboarding tasks and how to manage apps on your client’s behalf, perform a basic sales tax setup, customize payment settings and sales forms, and more.
- Managing your clients and work: Learn about the practice management features in Quickbooks Online Accountant and how to set up projects and track them for QuickBooks and non-QuickBooks clients.
- Supporting your small business clients: Find out how to use the features of undeposited funds, estimates, purchase orders, vendor credits, and more.
- Banking and tools: Connect bank and credit card accounts to QuickBooks, reconcile bank accounts, create recurring transactions, manage receipts and bills, and more.
- Reporting and analytics: Edit, customize and run reports like profit and loss, balance sheet, and sales and expense reports.
- Close the accounting cycle: Learn how to prepare a client’s books for the year-end close.
3. Take the QuickBooks Certification Exam
You can access the QuickBooks certification exams by clicking on “Take exam” in the upper-right corner of the QuickBooks Online Certification list of courses, as shown in the above screenshot. There’s no cost to take the exam, which has a total of 80 questions, broken down into five sections. It should take approximately three and a half hours to complete all five sections.
During the exam, you can review your answers for a particular section before confirming the submission. The test for each section, however, must be completed in a single session. You must answer at least 80 percent of the questions in each section correctly to obtain your certification. You have three attempts to pass the exam. If you fail the exam three times, you must wait 60 days before you can retake it.
This is an open-book exam, and it’s recommended that you have your study guide open to the section of the exam that you’re taking. You should also have QuickBooks open so you can access it easily if necessary.
4. Consider Other ProAdvisor Certifications
After you have completed the QuickBooks ProAdvisor certification, you can consider other certifications such as QuickBooks Online Advanced, QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise, and QuickBooks Online Payroll.
This article is about the QuickBooks Online certification. If you’re interested in learning more about the QuickBooks Desktop certification, add QuickBooks Desktop to your ProAdvisor membership within QuickBooks Online Accountant. A QuickBooks Desktop ProAdvisor membership costs $499 per year and includes the QuickBooks Accountant Desktop Plus software.
Depending on your clients’ needs, you can choose to be certified in QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop, or both. While QuickBooks Online is best for companies that have multiple users or need remote access, QuickBooks Desktop allows you to do accounting for multiple companies. It’s also flexible enough to accommodate the needs of farmers and ranchers as well as construction companies, with the QuickBooks Desktop Premier Contractors Edition.
5. Complete Your ProAdvisor Profile
Be sure to complete your profile as soon as possible. Your profile includes the certification badges you have earned, an “about me” section, number of years in business, services that you offer, any industries that you have experience in, and your social media links. You can view a sample QuickBooks ProAdvisor profile here.
Recertification as a QuickBooks ProAdvisor
Your ProAdvisor certification doesn’t last forever. Recertification frequency varies, depending on the type of certification you hold:
- QuickBooks Certification: To remain a Gold Level member, you must be certified in one of the three most recent versions of the QuickBooks Desktop Certification or certified within the past year for QuickBooks Online. However, we recommend that you update your QuickBooks certification status annually to provide the highest level of knowledge and support to your clients. Only members who are certified in the latest version of QuickBooks are listed in the top section of the QuickBooks Find-a-ProAdvisor Website.
- QuickBooks Online Certification: Your QuickBooks Online certification is valid until July 31 of the following year. We recommend that you take the updated exam each year to stay current. As with QuickBooks Desktop Certification, members who are certified on the latest version of QuickBooks Online are listed in the top section of the QuickBooks Find-a-ProAdvisor Website.
- QuickBooks Point of Sale (POS) Certification and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions Certification: These certifications are offered on a two-year cycle. To stay updated, you only need to certify in these once every two years.
- QuickBooks Desktop Advanced Certification: Once you complete the QuickBooks Desktop Advanced Certification exam, you never need to take it again, and you remain Advanced Certified as long as you maintain your annual QuickBooks Desktop Certification and complete the required nine CPE credits of ACE-approved training every three years.
Benefits of Becoming a QuickBooks ProAdvisor
There are many benefits that come with being a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, including valuable knowledge of the most popular small business accounting software. In addition to discounts on products and services and dedicated telephone and chat support, you’re added to the Find-a-ProAdvisor online directory listing. This allows you to connect with potential clients, build your client list, and earn their trust.
Your ProAdvisor Profile also climbs in the ranking as you earn more points. As you advance in rankings, you can grow your business and take advantage of more features of this program, as well as discounts, product support, and training opportunities. Here’s a summary of additional benefits:
- Display your ProAdvisor certification badge on your website, emails, and business cards
- Boost your credibility and increase your profile ranking
- Distinguish yourself as a true expert with QuickBooks software
- Access unlimited US-based phone support from QuickBooks experts
- Receive free or discounted products and supplies
If you plan to support clients who use QuickBooks Desktop instead of Online products, you can add QuickBooks Desktop to your membership for $499 a year. In addition to the benefits we’ve discussed, you also receive the following:
- $5,000 worth of QuickBooks Desktop software
- 30% discount on QuickBooks software that you can pass along to clients
- Expert United States-based chat and phone support
- Training materials for QuickBooks desktop products
- Access to certification for QuickBooks desktop products
If you’re a bookkeeper or accountant who offers bookkeeping and payroll services, it’s extremely beneficial to become certified in QuickBooks. QuickBooks has more than 80 percent of the market when it comes to the accounting software that small businesses use most often, meaning that the majority of your clients will use QuickBooks.
This information should assist you with taking the next step and becoming a QuickBooks ProAdvisor. To explore this option further, complete step one to sign up for your free QuickBooks Online account. There’s no requirement that you get certified. If you decide to increase your knowledge and skills in QuickBooks, complete the remaining steps to become certified.
Be sure to check out our free QuickBooks Course. It includes 46 free video tutorials that provide QuickBooks instruction and serve as a resource for training clients on how to use the software.