Both the original desktop version of QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online are popular accounting software platforms for small businesses.

Inuit designed Quickbooks Online to update and improve the original desktop version by adding extra features but the original desktop version has its own benefits. Small and medium business will each have unique requirements and will need to choose the software which can meet its needs both in functionality and features.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both platforms.

Advantages

  • Installation

QuickBooks Online does not require installation. This online platform can be accessed from any device through the browser making it very accessible. QuickBooks Desktop requires installation on a designated device to be used.

  • Pricing

Quickbooks Online has different choices of price plans. The top version allows up to 25 users. QuickBooks Desktop has one plan, and you will need to pay for each additional user allowed to access the plan.

  • Upgrading

QuickBooks Online has free upgrades giving constant access to the latest software. Quickbooks Desktop requires an expensive yearly subscription or an extra license to get the latest version.

  • User Interface (UI)

QuickBooks Online has an incredibly intuitive user interface. The program is a modern and well-designed application that makes it easy for the user to find what they need and make use of all the necessary functions without needing any training.

This benefits new users but also those who transition from desktop software. The easy-to-use platform distinguishes QuickBooks Online from other accounting software.

  • Customizable

QuickBooks Online allows you to customize your reports through a range of features. The features allow you to choose the way you manage your company’s financial information and allows you to access the information you need with a click.

Rather than be limited by generic reports which may not tell you what you need to know you can fully customize the types of financial statistics and accounting reports which will provide you with meaningful information that can improve your business.

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Improvements

The initial launch of QuickBooks Online resulted in some concerns about the restrictions on its functionality. There were some improvements in 2013 but it is the latest version that has revolutionized the software.

Many sectors had felt that the original QuickBooks Online did not meet their individual needs. Fortunately, these industries have now been accommodated with new features that provide solutions to these key niche business areas.

New features include batched transactions, mileage tracking, and AI (Artificial Intelligence) powered automation.

Compatibility

A problem for many businesses is ensuring that the different software they use for different functions works together to provide an integrated approach that works for all the departments.

This allows companies to process their data for different purposes, be compliant with various regulations and make decisions that will help them to thrive.

The QuickBooks Online app integrations connect to other platforms such as payroll, payment processors and e-commerce ensuring there is a unified integration. As well as making accounting easier and improving workflow it also reduces the likelihood of human error.

There is a cost to purchase the add ons for the app from the app store. They will enable you to streamline your processes and take full advantage of your QuickBooks Online. You will be able to simplify your invoicing systems, sync customer data, and record items. You can track invoices and payments giving you the security of your data protection. Both platforms will reconcile the customer and transaction data listed individually.

Payroll Management

Payroll management is an important strength of QuickBooks Online. The latest version uses automated features to tackle all of your payroll tasks.

Add-ons such as Self-Service Payroll and Full-service payroll can take care of all your payroll requirements. Alternatively, additional applications will enable QuickBooks to complement existing payroll programs.

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Disadvantages

Whilst QuickBooks Online successfully offers a wide range of accounting processes, there are a few negatives that need investigating.

  • Restoring Previous Versions

QuickBooks Online is unable to recover transactions from previous versions of your books. This means that you are unable to retrieve an accidentally deleted item or go back to an item that has been modified. You are required to input the data manually.

Inuit explains that this is due to the system using cloud-based storage. You can pay extra for a plan that creates ongoing restoration points which will solve the problem but at a cost.

  • Cost

The basic version of QuickBooks Online does provide a host of accounting features. However, to access extra features, 25 users, and add-ons you will need to spend more money. The top plan is 6 times more expensive than the basic plan. It is sensible to look carefully at the features which are essential for your business to discover what the cost will be. Customizing, whilst being great, comes at a price.

  • Processing Payments

QuickBooks Online has a system to receive payments by credit card, debit card and bank transfers. The downside is the charging system. For example, there is a transaction charge of 2.4% on payment cards that are invoiced going up to 3.4% for payment cards that are swiped.

These rates are higher than the standard rate charged by other modern payment processors.

Summary

QuickBooks Online is a flexible, intuitive accounting system that can be accessed on every device. It has a host of benefits but some disadvantages which can be offset by using third-party applications that will integrate other functions.

  1.   Assess which functions are essential for your business and choose the QuickBooks Online plan that will meet your business needs.
  2.   Decide whether you can justify the cost of a more expensive plan for your business or whether you need a more cost-effective solution.
  3.   Compare the price of the basic plan with the cost of purchasing add-ons that make QuickBooks compatible with your existing software or other software for areas such as payroll and payments.

You may decide that it is more cost-effective to go with a basic Quickbooks plan and purchase applications that will seamlessly integrate other functions. Since one of the main advantages of Quickbooks Online is its ability to integrate with ease this could make your accounting, payment, and payroll work seamlessly together in a cost-effective solution.

 

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