QuickBooks is the most widely used small business accounting software. Its list of features is too numerous to list as it can handle virtually any accounting need that a typical small business has. It’s important for the business owner and manager to have at least a basic understanding of how to operate QuickBooks.
There are two versions of QuickBooks software, each with different editions you can purchase at varying prices. The first is QuickBooks Desktop. This is the traditional version of QuickBooks. Although it’s updated each year with new features, it still looks and operates in a similar fashion to how it did when it was introduced over 30 years ago. There are three editions of QuickBooks Desktop: Pro, Premier, and Enterprise. I personally use Premier and most of my clients use Premier. Here is a link that shows an overview of features and pricing: QuickBooks Desktop.
The second version of QuickBooks is QuickBooks Online (QBO). QBO is newer but is receiving more attention from Intuit (the makers of QuickBooks) as they see QBO as the future of small business accounting. Intuit has publicly stated that they will always continue to make QuickBooks Desktop, but there are some, including myself, that are unsure if they truly will. There are three subscription levels of QBO: Simple Start, Essentials, and Plus. I personally use Plus (I use both Desktop and QBO so I stay familiar with both) but it offers some functionality that some small businesses don’t need. Here is a link that shows an overview of features and pricing: QuickBooks Online.
Which version of QuickBooks is right for you? They each have their advantages. I’ll list some of them below.
- It’s been around for over 30 years and it’s proven itself.
- There are hundreds of thousands of users who know how to use it. Chances are, you already know someone who is proficient at using Desktop. If you don’t, it’s easy to find a bookkeeper or accountant that can help you figure out your problem.
- It’s a one-time purchase. Unlike QBO, you purchase Desktop with a one-time payment and then you get to keep the software indefinitely. While you don’t have to renew, in my experience most businesses renew every 2-3 years.
- It’s not internet or cloud based. This means if the internet goes down, you can still use it.
- It’s faster because the computing is done on your computer instead of a server connected to the Internet.
- It handles large reports, like the General Ledger, much better than QBO does.
- It handles inventory much better than QBO does.
Quickbooks Online (QBO)
- It can be accessed anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. It can even be accessed from your smartphone.
- You don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars all at once. Imagine purchasing Desktop for $400 and then a few months later your business folds. With QBO, you pay month-to-month with no long-term commitment. Also, CPA’s can often get you a sizable discount on your monthly rate if you sign up through them.
- It works with Mac’s. Intuit no longer makes Desktop for Mac’s.
- It’s much easier to share your books with your accountant. With Desktop, you have to email, or use the actual mail if the file is too large, your company’s QuickBooks’ file to your accountant at the end of each accounting period. They then work on it and then send the updated file back to you. There are ways around this now with Cloud Hosting, but Cloud Hosting is an extra step that must be taken, and it’s not free.
- Most of the online forums involving QuickBooks are for QBO. Intuit has taken down many of the forums that showed solutions to Desktop problems. So now when you google how to do something in QuickBooks, the links that show up on your Google search are usually for QBO.
- Intuit’s call center representative are now primarily trained in QBO. They undergo some cross training in Desktop, but it is limited.
- Apps, Apps, and more Apps. Intuit purposely made QBO to be very simple, whereas Desktop is quite robust and can handle virtually all of your accounting needs. When you need additional functionality from QBO, the solution is usually to purchase a 3rd Party App. As of this writing, there are close to 500 Intuit endorsed 3rd Party Apps you can purchase for QBO. Some of them are very helpful, others not so much, but the list is growing. By the year 2020, there could be thousands of apps available for QBO. However, most of them must be purchased.
Why Use Robert E. Clark, LLC for QuickBooks Consulting?
I am a QuickBooks ProAdvisor in both Desktop and QBO. Sometimes a well-meaning CPA will fix a client’s QuickBooks problem with a Journal Entry. Fixing QuickBooks problems with journal entries usually is not a long-term fix and the problem with just resurface a few months later. You must be able to solve the problem using the proper QuickBooks workflow and procedures. I am proficient in doing this for the vast majority of problems a small business may encounter in both Desktop and QBO. However, I don't know how to solve every QuickBooks problem. If you have a complicated problem that will require me to do a lot of research to solve, I'll refer you to others who know QuickBooks even better than I do.
If you need to learn how to use Quickbooks from the ground up, we can help with that too. We pride ourselves in giving awesome QuickBooks training to many small businesses here in Key West. Our rates are affordable and will save you a lot of time and headache in going it alone.