The question has been posed countless times to those in the accounting field and to clients attempting to properly manage and juggle their own personal numbers. Which one is best…QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop? Although there are advantages and disadvantages to both some key factors emerge as the benefits and downfalls to each program. Here are a few key points in each category that might help your business make a more informed decision in one direction or the other.
QuickBooks Online Strengths:
- Runs well from any computer with good internet access and incorporates simple multi-user access in a browser
- Low cost per user about $7-13 per user per month without payroll
- Automatic bank and credit card downloads
- Automatic backup provided
- QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA) provides a simple system for inviting and billing clients and managing them from a single console
QuickBooks Online Negatives:
- Additional cost for running multiple companies – each one requires separate subscription
- Retaining older company files will cost you
- Depth of inventory and costing is lacking
- Frequent updates are harder to document and teach
- Product features are not comparable to QuickBooks Desktop
Efforts by Intuit have been made in order to improve QuickBooks Online with revisions taking place in September 2013. Online currently has the largest installed base of any entry level SaaS product and with the goal of having 3 million users by the year 2017 it is clear this is where the company sees its future.
QuickBooks Desktop strengths:
- Can run more than one company file at no additional cost
- Broad ecosystem of third party add-ons to extend the product
- Longevity in the market
- Good reference and learning materials in books classes and consultants
- Improvements for users and consultants are easy to make
QuickBooks Desktop Negatives:
- Online access is expensive to host with costs varying from $30-60 per month per user
- Escalating prices
- Mac and Windows version inconsistencies
- Periodic updates have created other issues
Even with the move to QuickBooks Online and a user count of 5.2 million current Intuit forecasts expect no more than a 25% decline in QuickBooks Desktop licensing through 2017 which would bring the count of active users to 3.9 million. There are some licensing costs that can be reduced with the higher end versions but end user speeds still haven’t been noted to increase.
So what’s the bottom line? It really all depends on your business model. What features best fit your company goals? If your clients desire to have local control of their files and are running multiple entities the results you get with QuickBooks desktop may be perfectly adequate.
For others preserving the future of your business in the cloud is key so QuickBooks Online is the only solution.
If you need help deciding what your business goals are or want to learn more about how QuickBooks could help serve your business accounting needs click here and one of our tax professionals will get back with you to schedule a time to discuss. At Lindemeyer CPA we view every client relationship like a partnership.