10 posts categorized "Alternatives to QuickBooks"

QuickBooks Enterprise Subscription Program - Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, it is true...

The only way you can now purchase QuickBooks Enterprise software is via the subscription pricing model. You can read more about this change to QuickBooks Enterprise subscription pricing in my previous blog post.

As a result of this change, a number of common questions have surfaced, so I wanted to take this opportunity to get them answered for you.

Q: How do I get QuickBooks Enterprise if I don't want to be part of the subscription program?

A: The only way to get Enterprise is via the subscription program. There are no other options available to you - if you do see QuickBooks available (especially older versions) out there on the web, exercise EXTREME caution. They are likely pirated/bogus copies of the software.

Q: Are there discounts or promotions available on the QuickBooks Enterprise subscription program?

A: I offer QuickBooks Enterprise at a 20% discount price for EVERY year of the subscription program - this discount program is offered every day. Beyond that, there are other promotions that may run at other times of the year. One of the common promotions that has run in the past is 40% off the subscription price of QuickBooks Enterprise - however, that promotion was ONLY for the FIRST year of the subscription period.

Q: Is it true there are three different levels of subscription available for QuickBooks Enterprise?

A: Yes, that is true. Currently, there are the Silver, Gold, and Platinum subscription levels of QuickBooks Enterprise. The Silver level is the "traditional" version of QuickBooks Enterprise. The Gold level includes all Silver features plus a subscription to the QuickBooks Enhanced payroll service. The Platinum level includes all Gold features plus a subscription to the QuickBooks Advanced Inventory module.

Q: Is QuickBooks Enterprise now "in the cloud" since it is subscription based?

A: This is one of the biggest areas of confusion - the answer is NO, it is not "in the cloud". While the pricing for QuickBooks Enterprise has changed, the software itself is still installed locally on desktops, laptops and servers, just like it always has been.

If your business doesn't want to be in the "IT business", you can always have QuickBooks Enterprise set up with a hosting company. This will provide you with anytime, anywhere access to your QuickBooks Enterprise. Generally for budgeting purposes, you would expect to pay about $50 per user per month for this hosting. Some services cost more, some less, but this figure is a good starting point. Keep in mind that you're NOT paying for your own IT in the case of hosting. The hosting company is providing it for you.

Q: How long is the subscription period for QuickBooks Enterprise?

A: When you sign up, the subscription period is for one year. You can choose to make one annual payment to cover it, or break things down into monthly payments (but you are still on the hook for a full 12 months). Currently, there is no discount or price break if you pay annually, so I tell my clients to keep their money in the bank and opt for the monthly payment plan. As mentioned above, my discount plan for Enterprise entitles you to 20% off the subscription price EVERY year of your subscription.

Q: What happens if I cancel my QuickBooks Enterprise subscription?

A: A couple of things happen if your QuickBooks Enterprise subscription is cancelled:

  • You would still owe the balance on your account if you cancelled before the end of the annual period (see the note above)
  • You would not be able to access your critical accounting and other information, as the software stops working after a 14 day period. And that would be a huge problem!
    • VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: No matter what, your QuickBooks company data file is always yours, even if you opt to have your QuickBooks Enterprise hosted. The problem crops up if you don't have the software to access your QuickBooks company data file. No software, no access to it. So, while you still own it, the value of it becomes questionable at that point.

Q: Can I downgrade from QuickBooks Enterprise to QuickBooks Premier or QuickBooks Pro to get away from the subscription pricing?

A: Not directly. There are no "magic buttons" inside the software that will allow this to happen. However, there are third party companies that offer this downgrade as a paid service. One such example is QuickBooksUsers.com QuickBooks Enterprise downgrade service.

Naturally, you'll want to ensure that taking this step makes sense for your business. You may be sacrificing speed, functionality, user security, and/or concurrent user access by downgrading out of QuickBooks Enterprise. Learn more about the key differences in QuickBooks Enterprise, Premier and Pro versions in my handy reference guide.

Q: Are there alternatives to QuickBooks Enterprise?

A: I put together a separate article that discusses the alternatives to QuickBooks Enterprise in more detail. As you'll see in that article, most of the alternatives are going to cost you significantly more than Enterprise and they usually add layers of complexity to your business that you may or may not need or want. But the choice is yours as to which software you choose to power your business.

Q: I am currently happy on an older version of QuickBooks Enterprise - should I continue to renew my Full Service Plan (FSP) again to avoid the subscription plan?

A: Here are some additional insights into the conversation surrounding the "should I renew" or "should I not renew" my QuickBooks support plan. It is essential to understand that if you do not renew your support plan, when you do go to upgrade your QuickBooks Enterprise at a future date, you will become part of the subscription program at that time.

Q: Does my QuickBooks Enterprise subscription include access to QuickBooks support?

A: Yes, it does. You have full access to the QuickBooks support desk as part of your subscription.


I know I didn't get all the questions here, but the ones above I'm asked regularly. Hope you find it helpful!




QuickBooks Desktop Version Outranks QuickBooks Online and Others

G2 Crowd recently released their research report to compare the best accounting software options for business. Thanks to them for making these results available!

Here is a graphic that recaps the results of the report (click the graphic for more details):


When ranked according to user satisfaction, here is how the packages stacked up:

  • Intacct - 95
  • Xero - 85
  • QuickBooks Desktop - 83
  • Freshbooks - 82
  • NetSuite - 49
  • Financial Force - 45
  • Sage 100 ERP - 44
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP - 17
  • QuickBooks Online - 10

Taking a look at the results of the direct comparison of QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online, note that QuickBooks Desktop scored a 4.0 out of 5 stars, and QuickBooks Online scored a 2.1 out of 5 stars.

The survey also offers other comparisons, such as the G2 score, # of ratings and market presence. Be sure to click into the report for detailed user feedback and many other product details and insights.


It is interesting to observe that of the nine entries listed above, three of them are the traditional desktop platforms (QB Desktop, Sage 100, and Microsoft Dynamics GP). All the others are strictly cloud based solutions.

The buzz has been building for small businesses to move to the cloud for their accounting needs. If your business uses QuickBooks, maybe the results above suggest that you don't move quite so fast off the desktop version? If you have graduated from QuickBooks, maybe the cloud is the way to go.


Please share your thoughts on the QuickBooks Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online and cloud vs. desktop accounting debate in the comment box below and let us know how your business views this debate...




Changing Software in Your Business? Required Reading Before You Do

Contemplating a change in the software your business uses, whether it be accounting, CRM, or any other package?

Converting - Past to Future Graphic - July 2014Before you get too deep in the process, you will want to dig into this article from Adam Bluemner, the managing editor at Find Accounting Software.

Titled "30 Ways to Ask Software Providers the Questions You Really Meant to Ask", Adam takes a very refreshing look at commonly asked questions and repackages them into questions that are much, much more helpful to you in your evaluations.

Well done Adam!


If you have gone through a software change and knowing what you do now, what questions would you add to this list?

Look forward to your thoughts...



QuickBooks Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online - Which is Better for Your Business?

This question is coming up a lot in conversations about QuickBooks right now.

If you didn't know better, you'd think QuickBooks Online (QBO) was the only edition available these days and that the desktop versions had been retired.

Go ahead and see for yourself...

Visit the home page of the QuickBooks web site and you'll see what I mean - the references to the desktop versions of QuickBooks (Pro, Premier, and Enterprise) are buried in the lower left hand corner and also buried in the "all products" link at the top of the page. You really have to look for them on the site.


Many of the businesses I consult with use QuickBooks Enterprise, so they are too big to use QBO.

However, I regularly talk with small businesses like yours and gather their insights on "all things QuickBooks".

When it comes to the question of which version is better, I'd like to share some feedback that I'm hearing on a regular basis...

I'm hearing these two common threads:

  • There are businesses that have previously used the desktop version of QuickBooks and decided to move to the Online edition
  • There are businesses that have had no experience with the desktop versions and have gone directly into the Online edition

First, those businesses that have had no experience with the desktop versions and went directly to QBO...

  • They enjoy the 24/7 availability of QBO
  • They enjoy the fact that there is no upgrading/updating needed
  • They appreciate the AppCenter and mobile capabilities of QBO
  • For some of them, they discover the functionality of QBO is a good fit for their needs
  • For others, they come to the conclusion that QBO is not robust enough for their needs and they begin looking at QuickBooks desktop or other alternatives

And now, for those businesses that have had some experience with QuickBooks desktop and then decided to move to QBO...

  • I am hearing that very few of them were glad they made the switch
  • By far, the majority of comments I am hearing from these folks center around the following:
    • How quickly can I convert back to QuickBooks desktop?
    • QBO just doesn't meet the needs of our business when compared to the functionality found in the desktop versions
    • Other words and comments that can't be printed in this family-friendly blog post!


I get it. Intuit is directing a significant portion of their development resources toward QBO and the ecosystem built around that. They have publicly stated as much at various conferences.

Are they leaving the desktop users behind?

For now, Intuit says no - they are still developing the desktop products and providing support to them. And they pledge to do so in months ahead.

As I have watched the desktop vs. QBO story unfold over the last few years, it looks to me like that the desktop will indeed be left behind at some point in the future. Whether that is three years or ten years from now, the writing is on the wall.

A small sign of this pending change - Intuit is now giving priority to ProAdvisors that are certified in QBO over those that are certified with the desktop versions. Coincidence? I don't think so. Another much larger sign of this change - the fact I mentioned above that you have to look really, really hard to find a mention of the desktop versions. Coincidence? I don't think so.


A couple of thoughts to share with you on this topic...


In the event you currently use the desktop version of QuickBooks and are considering a move to QBO - be absolutely certain to take a test drive of QuickBooks Online (QBO) to ensure form, fit and functionality for your needs BEFORE making any switch. You will be very glad you did.




Care to share your thoughts on this debate? Feel free to drop your comments in the box below (or click here to visit the live blog page)



Should I Renew My Service/Support Plan for QuickBooks Enterprise?


My mailbox has seen a steady stream of messages asking this very question.


The reason the renewal of the QuickBooks Enterprise support plan has become such a hot topic comes down to this...

Many businesses are seeing increases in their annual renewal costs (those with 5 users or more) ranging anywhere from 71% to 200%.

That's correct - those are not typos...


In case you missed my earlier article, QuickBooks Enterprise has moved to a subscription pricing model as of October 2014.

As I see it, these increases in the renewal costs of the QuickBooks Enterprise full service plans are designed to eventually move those not on the subscription plan into parity with those that are on the plan. I see this happening over the next 1-2 years.

Eventually, it will be less expensive to be on the subscription plan the way things are going. We're just not there yet.


There is no right answer to this question - your business will have to carefully evaluate the options.

As a quick reminder, the QuickBooks Enterprise support plan offers you the ability to get the latest version of Enterprise when it is released and also get access to the Enterprise support desk for a period of 12 months. (I also offer consulting services on Enterprise, but separate fees do apply - gotta pay the bills somehow...)

If you DO renew your support plan, you are then exempt from the subscription plan for another 12 months. You'll get your update to the latest version of QuickBooks in the fall of 2015, and you will get access to the Enterprise support team. Pretty much business as usual.

Except when it comes to your checkbook - it will be lighter due to the increase in renewal costs.

If you DON'T renew your support plan (and that is your choice), then you simply keep using the version of Enterprise you currently have and you don't get access to the Enterprise support desk.


When it does come time to purchase an upgrade to your QuickBooks Enterprise (let's say you choose to do that in 2017), you will then be welcomed into the subscription plan at that time, however that may look. There won't be any other options.

And no, you can't purchase an older version of Enterprise anywhere to avoid the subscription. Many have asked that, and all have been told the same thing - no chance.


It's essential to know this - the alternatives to QuickBooks Enterprise will cost you 3 times or more than what you'll be paying for Enterprise.

Not to mention the enormous costs involved in converting, implementing and training on a completely new software package.

So making the quick reaction to move away from Enterprise will likely not be the best for your business for many reasons.


That's the straight scoop as I know it and I wanted to share it with you.

What are you going to do? Renew? Not renew?

Let your feelings be known and post your comments in the box below (if you are reading the live blog) or click here to go to the blog post and offer your thoughts.



QuickBooks Enterprise 2016: Alternatives to Subscription Pricing?

My post about the change in pricing for QuickBooks Enterprise 2016 to the annual subscription model has drawn a LOT of feedback.

QBES Box Shot (left) copy
Most of the comments have been provided to me privately, and they center around these two major themes:

  • Disappointment in the increased costs of accounting software for those impacted by the subscription model

  • What are the alternatives to QuickBooks Enterprise?


Let's take a closer look at this question, since it is on the minds of many at the moment.

First, we need to review one critical point before getting too far into this conversation. And that point is:

  • QuickBooks Enterprise, when properly positioned, is designed for businesses with 20-99 employees.

To expand on that concept, QuickBooks Enterprise does NOT play in the same space as any of the following that you may think are alternatives:

A business that tries to "squeeze" into one of the above packages and move out of QuickBooks Enterprise will likely be making a very poor decision.

While the cost savings of moving into one of these packages may look enticing at first, the significant loss of critical functionality, database size/functionality, user security and other essential features will hamper most businesses almost instantly. Costs will rise exponentially once the business realizes their mistake and yet another alternative is explored.


As mentioned above, QuickBooks Enterprise is well positioned for those businesses that have 20-99 employees. Is it found in smaller or larger businesses? Sure. But that is the "sweet spot" in terms of comparing Enterprise to other packages in the marketplace.

Given that, we're now getting into a conversation of some of the "mid-market" packages out there. And this is where the numbers get interesting...


So let's do this - let's assume you are looking at the 5 user package of QuickBooks Enterprise on the annual subscription basis and trying to compare it to other alternatives out there.

Estimated total costs per year of QuickBooks Enterprise vs. others in the mid-market space:

Hmmmmm....the numbers that looked big a while ago don't look quite as big when stacked up against other competing packages.


Many have said that comparing QuickBooks Enterprise to other packages such as NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics GP isn't an accurate comparison.

They feel that alternate packages such as these have far more horsepower and functionality than QuickBooks Enterprise does. While I'm not an expert in these other packages, from what I have seen of them, I would tend to agree with this assessment.

However, with an increase in functionality comes an increase in complexity for your staff, increased maintenance costs and a bigger hurdle to obtain a solid return on investment.

Some businesses simply don't want or need all the "extras" that come with some of these other packages.

And that is where QuickBooks Enterprise fits in...do you see that too?


If your business decides to forge ahead with QuickBooks Enterprise, I welcome the opportunity to assist with your purchase. As a leading reseller of Enterprise, count on me for the best discounts and promotions for your purchase.


Agree with my assessment? Disagree in no uncertain terms? Share your thoughts in the comments box below - I look forward to hearing from you!



QuickBooks Enterprise vs. Net Suite: Part 2 - "On-Site" vs. "In the Cloud"

In part 1 of this series, we took a brief look at the “cheapest vs. best fit” considerations of both QuickBooks Enterprise and NetSuite.

Now we’ll examine another big decision point when considering new software – on-site vs. in the cloud.

Full Disclosure: I am a reseller for QuickBooks Enterprise and an affiliate sales rep with Brainsell who represent NetSuite.


NetSuite was built from the ground up to be a fully cloud based solution. Quite simply - if your business has access to the internet, it has 24/7 access to NetSuite.  Desktop or mobile devices included.

Having your accounting/ERP solution in the cloud removes the need to invest in servers and the related IT support eco-system that goes with it and can simplify your operations and reduce your costs.

Naturally, you’ll want do some contingency planning in case your main internet circuit goes down if this type of approach appeals to you. Many businesses purchase a "spare" internet circuit for emergencies such as these, so you'll need to factor in those costs too.



Currently, QuickBooks Enterprise is still a “desktop and server” based software product. That simply means you need to install the software on each desktop/ laptop that will be using QuickBooks Enterprise, and it also needs to be installed and configured on a server computer. In some cases, this configuration also then allows for remote access via “remote desktop” capabilities that have been baked in the server.

As a result of this approach, you have the embedded costs of supporting the desktop, laptop and server computers to consider. If you have a solid IT plan and support team in place, adding another application like QuickBooks Enterprise to the mix shouldn’t increase those costs dramatically. However, if the thought of having to deal with servers and other IT complexities is enough to cause gut-wrenching pain or sleepless nights, maybe this approach is not for you.


Alternately, a growing concept in the QuickBooks Enterprise world is to have it “hosted in the cloud”.  Without getting too technical, hosting provides the ability to access your QuickBooks 24/7 via the internet. It removes the need for maintaining servers, etc. as discussed in the traditional approach above.

For example, you would buy QuickBooks Enterprise from a reseller like me. Once you do that, you contract separately with a hosting company – they take these licenses you purchased and then install/configure the software in THEIR server environment (not yours). Once that is done, they give you the keys to access your QuickBooks information via the internet.

Keep in mind this key point – if you need an “add-on” for QuickBooks such as advanced inventory management, this add-on solution ALSO has to be hosted in order for QuickBooks to communicate with it – you can’t have QuickBooks being hosted and the add-on running on your local server. This is completely different than the NetSuite approach – all their modules are under one roof.

For discussion purposes, hosting QuickBooks Enterprise can run about $50 per user PER MONTH. Additional applications such as Microsoft Office and/or other applications will increase that price. So – in some respects, we’re back to the “cheapest vs. best fit” discussion mentioned earlier.


There is definitely no easy or right answer…

The answer to this question boils down to the philosophy, needs and budget of each individual business. The pros and cons of each approach need to be carefully evaluated before a decision can be reached.


QuickBooks Enterprise






QuickBooks Enterprise vs. NetSuite: Part 1 - What's Your Objective?

If your business is outgrowing the Pro or Premier editions of QuickBooks, you're probably looking around for another solution to better meet your needs.

Your research has led you to a couple of potential options - QuickBooks Enterprise and NetSuite.

Which one is the better choice?

Full Disclosure: I am a reseller for QuickBooks Enterprise and an affiliate sales rep with Brainsell who represent NetSuite.


Having worked with small businesses of varying shapes and sizes over the last thirty years, I've seen them dig into a software evaluation and selection process like this from all different angles.

However, one of the primary decision points that brews to the top of those conversations is - "which one is the cheapest"?

My first response to that thought would be to remember that the cheapest may not be the best, especially when it comes to the software you will rely on every day to power your business.


Generally speaking, QuickBooks Enterprise is going to get the nod for being cheaper than NetSuite. Pricing for Enterprise starts at $3,300 for a 5 user package and scales up to $8,800 for a 30 user bundle. Remember, these are list prices - discounts on QuickBooks Enterprise are usually available.

Remember, these values are for the software only - the costs of installation, data migration, training, and IT support costs will be extra.

By comparison, a NetSuite solution for 5 users would generally start about $8,000 or so and work up from there.


If you're thinking beyond the checkbook toward the solution that is the best fit for your growing business, the conversation gets MUCH more interesting (and complex).

Here is a perfect example - QuickBooks Enterprise doesn't have much to offer in the way of a CRM module. Sure, it has a "customer module" to track basic customer information, but compared to a traditional CRM solution, it isn't even in the same league.

There is an entire eco-system of software products that "plug-in" to QuickBooks Enterprise, and several that focus very nicely on the CRM space. But once you go there, you're now talking about an additional investment in software, training, etc. for the CRM package that plugs in. The economics of the QuickBooks Enterprise vs NetSuite can change quickly at this stage.

NetSuite comes bundled with a full CRM solution as part of the base pricing - no plug-in required and no concerns about the issues that sometimes revolve around integrating different software packages. It's all under one roof.

Of course, CRM is just one aspect of the QuickBooks Enterprise vs. NetSuite discussion. There are several others as well, and I'll be reviewing those in future posts.


QuickBook Enterprise





Alternative to QuickBooks Online: LessAccounting

If your business is considering cloud-based accounting software, one of the first options that comes to mind is QuickBooks Online.

However, it is important to know there are alternatives as well. One of those I'd like to introduce to you is called LessAccounting.

Here is a short video I created that gives you an overview of LessAccounting:


Naturally, you'll want to evaluate the features and benefits of any accounting software package against the needs and requirements of your business. LessAccounting could be a good solution for many small businesses, but those with more complex accounting (think inventory or job costing for example) may find that it doesn't work for them.

In addition, here is a handy page that offers a feature comparison of LessAccounting vs. other accounting software packages.


Feel free to share your experiences with LessAccounting, QuickBooks Online or any other solution you have been considering or using in the comment box below - love to hear them!




Win a Full Year of Solo FreshBooks - A $240 Value

It took me a while, but I finally got it...

QuickBooks is simply overkill for many businesses. They don't need a full-blown general ledger and the related complexity to track the finances of their business. But in many cases, it is the only choice that their accountant provides them or the only solution they see when visiting the big box retailers.



I have forged a relationship with the folks at FreshBooks to provide a very viable alternative to those businesses that don't need the horsepower of QuickBooks and that desire to have anytime, anywhere access to their books.

To kick off that relationship, we have put together an opportunity for you to win a full year of their Solo FreshBooks product. That's right - a $240 package could be yours for free!

To enter the contest - all we ask is that you answer a few questions about how you keep informed about ways to keep your business sharp. That's it!

The winning entry will be selected and the winner set up with a full year of the Solo FreshBooks product for free.

Good luck!

Questions about FreshBooks? Give them a call at 877-262-5122.

Last date for entries: Friday, August 27, 2010 @ midnight EDT.One entry per person. Void where prohibited.