Source: Insightful Accountant      Author: Liz Scott

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Recently, I was asked to add a partner in a sort of view only access to QBO. The question was, “Can the partner view all areas of QBO without doing anything to jeopardizing the bookkeeping?”

Because this type of user is not often requested, I researched what a QBO View Reports Only user was able to see and do with this type of permissions user.

The results are quite interesting. Because QBO is a web-based program, the type of access granted looks very different than the typical QBO user. There is no Dashboard, Navigation Bar, Gear Icon or Quick Create, which makes absolute since the user won’t be doing actions that require these tools.

Instead, the user has a unique home page with Reports and Lists.

So, let’s take a look at the restricted access of View Reports Only users.

The View Reports Only Home Page

Here’s the user’s Home Page. It’s not your typical QBO Dashboard is it?

I must say I’m very impressed with the purposeful limitations of the View Reports Only user.

One of the requests my client asked for was “the ability to be transparent to the partner without allowing for accidental changes, additions or deletions of data” to the QBO bookkeeping.

The View Reports Only user accomplishes the request perfectly for this client. It’s definitely a “view but don’t change” environment.

Interesting Notes about the View Reports Only User: You must have a QBO Plus subscription for this type of user

  1.  You must have a QBO Plus subscription for this type of user
  2. A report only user can access all reports except payroll, as well as customer, vendor and employee details (thus limiting his viewing of sensitive payment information or Identification numbers)
  3. This user does not count toward the QBO Plus user limit

The View Reports Only User’s Memorized Reports

In listening to the areas of interest of the View Reports Only user, Custom reports were memorized so they could view the specific information they desired:

In this case, they wanted to see Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet last month, outstanding invoices and bills, and view the check register detail. As you can see, we were able to do that. So let’s look a little closer.

Their Check Register request:

The View Reports Only Partner user wanted to ensure QBO bookkeeping matched with the Bank statement, while the QBO Admin wanted to ensure the Partner could view the check register detail, but not be allowed into the actual transaction to accidentally change the transaction:

Note that the Report lists all activity, but there’s no ability to open the transaction. The View Reports Only user handled this request marvelously.

So, how are you going to do it for your clients? Let’s look at setting it up.

Creating a View Reports Only User Step-by-Step

Step 1 –Manage Users (you’re going to create a new user): Company Gear > Manage Users > New

Step 2 – Select the User Type (you’re creating a new “Reports Only” user): Choose Reports Only




Step 3 – Add the User (you’re configuring the invite of your Reports Only user): Enter the User’s Email Address and Name (Optional) > Next




Here’s the invited user with View Report Only Access Rights:



Step 4 – Customize Reports:

As the View Reports Only user, select the Tool Icon from the Home Page one by one:



The Tool Icon opens the Customize Reports dialog box. In the example below, we’ll customize the Profit & Loss Report:




Customize this report the way you would for any other user and according to the specific needs and limitations of our Reports Only user.

Step 5 – Memorize Each Report (to the save the customized report for the user).

Give each of the memorized reports a Name. You also can select a group or share the report if you want.



Overall, I’m really impressed with the capabilities (including limitations) of View Reports Only user in QuickBooks Online. This feature gave a level of comfort to both partners, which ensured transparency of bookkeeping and limitations of changes, additions and errors