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.
WHAT SMALL BUSINESSES ARE SAYING...
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!
THE FUTURE OF QUICKBOOKS?
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.
WHAT TO DO?
A couple of thoughts to share with you on this topic...
- If the concept of 24/7 access to your QuickBooks is important (as offered in QBO), evaluate tools like GoToMyPC or QBox (both of these are best for single user environments),
- For multi-user environments, have your QuickBooks hosted through a service like Cloud9
- Be sure to build out a list of requirements for your needs, then compare versions. You may find that an alternative to QuickBooks like Xero is what you need.
AND BY ALL MEANS...
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.
RELATED INFORMATION/WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING:
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
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)