As a Certified ProAdvisor, product expert and consultant of QuickBooks, I am excited about all the QuickBooks options that we have for our clients to fit their individual needs. When QuickBooks Online (QBO) became popular and marketed, there was a misconception that it would be replacing the flagship product, QuickBooks Desktop (QBDT). Instead, a few things happened, a number of reliable hosting providers entered the marketplace, and the need for QuickBooks Desktop remained strong. Both products offer different features, and it can be overwhelming trying to understand the differences.
There are many considerations for your client, and for your consulting practice. Before we begin, let’s discuss some facts that make the options seem confusing — which may be affecting your viewpoint.
Did You Know?
QuickBooks Desktop Is Alive and WELL
Intuit just announced a few months ago that they are reinvesting more resources in desktop products. See Charlie Russell’s article.
QuickBooks Desktop Has Bank Feeds
With all the product development work poured into QuickBooks Online to make bank feeds be their most prized feature, Intuit has ultimately fixed the feature in Desktop as well.
QuickBooks Desktop Can Be Accessed Anytime, Anywhere
All you have to do is add a hosting package, and you can access remotely from any location. Click here to learn more about hosting vs. online.
QuickBooks Online Is Great for the Service Industry
With the right features selected, QuickBooks Payments, or third-party apps, you can invoice from the road, track time, and collect credit card payment on the go.
GoPayment Comes with a QuickBooks Payments Subscription (no longer extra)
QuickBooks Desktop is Excellent for Construction Industries
In QuickBooks Premier or Enterprise Edition: You can track time, the full cost of payroll, and expenses by the job. You can create a sales order and work orders (Premier or Enterprise Edition). Included in this edition you will find industry-specific reporting for construction which allows for measuring jobs actual vs. budget.
Tracking inventory in QuickBooks Desktop Is Cost-Effective
You do not need to invest in expensive alternatives. Once set up correctly, it’s easy to use. It tracks your inventory through the workflow of purchase to the sale and values it at average cost.
Enterprise Is for Small Business
The perfect fit for growing companies is QuickBooks Enterprise, as it allows for data and list file growth. It can start as small as one user and go on up to 30 simultaneous users. If you are an existing QuickBooks user and your file size is over 100,000k (Press F2 while in a data file), it’s time to upgrade to Enterprise. Enterprise also provides advanced inventory functionality to track by serial number, lot, or location. Click here when considering Enterprise
As the popularity of QuickBooks Online grew, a common misconception developed that QuickBooks Desktop was being discontinued. This is just not true! Desktop is still very relevant and is a popular solution for the Construction Industry as well as any company tracking inventory. QuickBooks has a fantastic workflow — once the data file is set up correctly, it is simple and easy to maintain. A Desktop product is not just for local installation on a PC, as we also have the choice of paying for hosting — where you have access anytime and can use a MAC. That means OPTIONS!!
Briefly Summarizing the Options in QuickBooks
QuickBooks Self-Employed (QBSE)
QuickBooks Self-Employed is for one-person shops, which have no employees and do not need a balance sheet. One user. Please note: This product cannot move to any of the others, you have to start over.
QuickBooks Online (QBO)
QuickBooks Online is excellent for small businesses that are in the service industry. They have not experienced a lot of growth yet; 1-5 users. You can export/import from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop, but it’s a challenge.
QuickBooks Desktop Pro (QBDT Pro)
QuickBooks Desktop Pro is excellent for small businesses that need to track job cost or inventory. They have not experienced a lot of growth yet; 1-3 users.
QuickBooks Desktop Premier (QBDT Premier)
QuickBooks Desktop Premier is excellent for small businesses that need to track job cost or inventory and use Sales orders. They have not experienced a lot of growth yet. 1-5 users.
QuickBooks Enterprise (QBES)
QuickBooks Enterprise is excellent for small businesses that are planning to grow. It’s a smooth upgrade from QBDT Pro/Prem. The workflow is seamless, as all transactions can be linked together making searches powerful. 1-30 users.
A Wide Range of Choices
As a consultant, ask yourself what industry you want to serve and then become proficient in the QuickBooks products and solutions that best suit that industry. As one person, it is impossible to be best in class in all industries and all products. We recommend networking with other consultants to pass work back and forth.
As a client, make sure you are working with a consultant who is an expert in your industry. Ask for references and make sure they are putting you in the right product to solve your needs — not necessarily the one they know best. For example, they might only be certified in Desktop and do not know how to use QuickBooks Online, or vice versa.
It’s exciting for everyone involved that we have a wide choice of options. This range of QuickBooks options can accommodate every business from a client with a one-person shop all the way up to a growing small business with payroll that needs to accept payments with ease and track job cost and inventory as well as access other advanced capabilities. For successful experience with QuickBooks we recommend partnering with Certified ProAdvisors that specialize in the industry, and working with an Intuit Reseller who is a Product specialist in order to make sure you are in the right product at the best price available. Often these resellers are both certified in support and use the product in-house and so have real-world experience.