QUICKBOOKS - WHY IT DOESN'T WORK FOR PERSONAL FINANCES
In case you weren't aware, QuickBooks actually evolved out of Quicken.
Quicken was first created (way back in the days of DOS!) as a solution for tracking household income and expenses. Then the developers said - "but wait, what about tracking business income and expenses?" And thus QuickBooks was born.
From the very first time you see the opening screen of QuickBooks, you just know it is a business solution. I mean, how many times do you refer to "create invoices", "create purchase orders" or "use the chart of accounts" in your home finances? Probably not often, if ever. However, a business will use one or all of these functions daily.
In addition, if you tried to look at the cash flow statement that QuickBooks offers for your personal finances, I would encourage you to take two aspirin and retire for the evening. How helpful is it that you see a line that says "adjustments to reconcile net income" or "net cash increase provided by investing activities" when monitoring your home cash flow? Not very. This statement is even a bit hard for many businesses to comprehend.
Finally, QuickBooks has no clue when it comes to tracking an investment portfolio. You can't download stock or mutual fund information to it, no matter how hard you try. The reason? Most businesses have a hard enough time keeping cash in the main business checking account, let alone worrying about other investments like you might with your personal finances.
QUICKEN - WHY IT DOESN'T WORK FOR BUSINESS FINANCES
Over the last 10 years, I have worked with many businesses that thought they could pocket the $90 price difference between these products and start out with Quicken. Most of them very quickly came to the realization that Quicken "didn't quite cut it" when it came to the needs of their business.
For example, Quicken knows nothing about purchase orders. Yet these documents are integral to many business operations. Nor does Quicken know anything about sales orders - another very useful tool, especially to manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors. I won't even get into the real accounting-speak like "chart of accounts", "journal entries" and the like. Quicken comes up empty there.
Also, Quicken doesn't have the wide range of reports that are geared to a business like QuickBooks does. QuickBooks comes with 120+ different reports right out of the box that are conveniently broken down into such groupings as "company and financial", "customers and receivables", "vendors and payables", "inventory", etc. Won't find many of those in Quicken.
In addition - you can't buy add-on software for Quicken like you can for QuickBooks.There are over 450 applications that integrate with QuickBooks to help solve a specific business need that may not be handled well (or at all) within QuickBooks. For example, you can use the SmartVault document management system that ties very nicely into QuickBooks - tools like that just aren't available for Quicken.
BUT WAIT - I SEE THAT YOU CAN MIGRATE FROM QUICKEN TO QUICKBOOKS
That is true. There is a "migration tool" inside QuickBooks that will allow you to import Quicken data and information.
Here is the reality - in every situation where I've used the "migration tool" over the last ten years, it ends up getting about 70% of things right, and makes a mess of the other 30%.
That 30% that isn't "clean" is a big deal. It is already putting you in a bit of a hole, since there is information and things that show up in QuickBooks that shouldn't be there or that simply cause confusion in the way they were converted.
The tool itself does what it is supposed to - it converts Quicken data to QuickBooks format. However, the end result is not a sparkling clean setup in QuickBooks in my opinion.
ONE FINAL NOTE
When I refer to QuickBooks in this article, I am referring to QuickBooks Pro. While there is a free "Simple Start" edition of QuickBooks, most businesses usually outgrow it pretty quickly. Your business is worth the investment in the Pro version.
There is no question in my mind, that when used properly:
- QuickBooks is the right choice for a business finances
- Quicken is the right choice for home and personal finances
Those are my thoughts about these two very popular software packages. It would be great to get yours - just drop a comment in the box below. Thanks for reading!