March 21, 2022
Fifteen years ago, there was no debate about whether you should use QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop because the online version didn’t exist. Like every other kind of software you used, when you wanted to use accounting software, you went to a computer store and bought a CD.
Then you installed it on your computer, entered the serial number and product key, and used it, as is, for a few years. Then, when you wanted to upgrade, you repeated the process. Some people might say that if it ain’t broke, you shouldn’t fix it, but there are actually many reasons why you might want to consider switching to QuickBooks Online. Let’s take a closer look.
When you used to buy your software on CDs, you usually only had one license, so you could only install it on one device. If that device was a laptop, you had the option of taking it with you when you left the office, but if it wasn’t, well, you could only access your software when you were in the office.
QuickBooks Online, on the other hand, is account-based. So you don’t need to be in the same room as a particular computer to access it. In fact, you don’t need a computer at all since it also works on tablets and smartphones. So you could be on the beach during a vacation and access your accounting software if you were that way inclined.
After you’ve installed your QuickBooks Desktop on your computer, you’re pretty much stuck with the program you got until you purchase a new version to upgrade. There might be the occasional security patch or upgrade, but no major feature changes or updates.
QuickBooks Online, on the other hand, is constantly updated with new features, security patches and more. So you’re always working with the very latest version of the software – and you don’t have to buy anything to get that service.
Most companies have more than one person who needs to access and use their accounting software. That might include management, bookkeepers, estimators or sales people.
When you use QuickBooks Desktop, every one of those users’ needs to purchase a separate license to have their own version of the program. You also need to have a network to install it on, and the IT and tech support to keep things working.
When you use QuickBooks online, you can add up to 25 users on some plans, so you can all collaborate easily on the cloud with no extra licenses and no hardware worries.
When it comes to user-friendliness and ongoing support, QuickBooks Online has the QuickBooks Desktop version beat.
The online version is very intuitive and easy to use, and there’s help and support built right into the package. So you won’t have to pick up the phone and hold to find important information or instructions. Unfortunately, when you use the desktop version, very often that’s exactly what you have to do.
QuickBooks Desktop is certainly not a bad software package. But it does lack a lot of the features that make modern cloud computing such a time and labor saver.
QuickBooks Online allows you to integrate your software with all kinds of other cloud-based applications. There are even integrations like LiveFlow’s Google Sheets Add-On that lets you export data directly to Google Sheets, so you can share information with people who don’t use QuickBooks.
There are many other packages and platforms that have this kind of plug and play functionality too, from eCommerce solutions to point of sale systems.
QuickBooks Online also allows you to customize your reporting more than the desktop version, and there are several automation options that you can use to save time – like capturing receipts by taking a photo on your smartphone.
QuickBooks Online has some payroll features that you don’t get in the desktop version, but it also allows people in different locations to work in the same account easily. So if you have different branches doing different parts of your payroll process, they can do so directly into your online system. There are also self-service and full service options that you can choose based on your needs.
At LiveFlow, we’re all about automating the accounting and financial management processes that every business has to do. One of the best ways to do that today is to use as much technology as possible, and when that technology is in the cloud, so much the better.
QuickBooks Desktop is by no means a bad software package. It just doesn’t have the flexibility and ease of use that the online version does. Which is why for us, the online version will always be the clear winner.