QuickBooks is the most commonly used accounting software for small and mid-sized companies. In general, if you don’t have an integrated accounting package in the enterprise software you use, then some form of QuickBooks is probably a really good solution for your business. Whether you are just trying to get your bills paid and collect from your clients, or you want financial reporting in order to assess your company’s performance, QuickBooks can take care of you. I have worked with many (maybe all) versions of QuickBooks for different companies from distribution and service companies to manufacturing and non-profit and, for me, QuickBooks Online is the best fit for most situations.
Pros of Quickbooks Online:
- Always Up to Date: Like all online software you always have the most up to date version and you don’t have to make a separate payment to get the latest upgrade. You also get multiple users when you purchase this version so you often don’t have the expense of additional licenses.
- Available Anywhere: The single best part of QuickBooks Online is that it is available anywhere that you have internet access. If you have remote or part-time employees (this is often the case for small organizations) they can assess and take care of your accounting functions from where they are. I’ve been known to process payments or even payroll while out on vacation in order to hit a required submission date and this version of QuickBooks makes that easy. If you currently have your database on a server, you can still often access it remotely but you have to use the remote access. This can be fairly cumbersome to navigate and slow as you have to actually serve up the QuickBooks software as well as the data. This often requires quite a bit of technical support to get you clean and easy remote access.
- Easy Sharing to CPAs: If you are in the habit of making a CPA back-up copy to give to your CPA each year, you no longer have to do that with the Online version. You can grant special CPA access without purchasing an additional user. This is especially nice because now the CPA can work on closing your year or your tax return while you continue to work and everyone is using the up to the minute accurate data.
- Testing Modules: It is easy to test additional modules if you are working in the Online version as you just have to click them and they open up and you can explore as much as you’d like. Until you use it, you don’t pay for it.
- Strong Security: Intuit has a comprehensive set of security policies and procedures in place to protect your data, including: continual risk assessments, authentication, and audit logs. There is a secure connection to your browser (padlock symbol) using TLS technology to encrypt your data and it stays encrypted through Intuits firewall, and it is stored on dedicated machines protected via tokenization per NIST guidance. I don’t even know what this all means (though I know people that do) but there is a Whitepaper published on the QuickBooks site to address all security concerns.
- No Storage Limits: QuickBooks online does not have a file size limit or transaction limit as the desktop version does. However, there are restrictions on how much data you can import and when. Also, a huge amount of data will impact performance just as it would with the desktop version.
Cons of QuickBooks Online:
- Potentially more costly: While you don’t have to pay separately for upgraded versions and you likely won’t have to buy multiple licenses with QucikBooks Online, it can cost more than simply buying the software. QuickBooks Online is a regular monthly subscription cost rather than a one-time purchase price. So, if you only have one person accessing it and if you don’t plan to do the regular upgrades, purchasing it outright might be less expensive.
- Relinquish Some Control of Data: When you move from a desktop version of QuickBooks to QuickBooks Online, you have to give up a bit of control. It’s not like the purchased version where you can simply upload your current data to the QuickBooks Online servers. Instead, you must create files and send them to QuickBooks and they load it all for you. This can be a bit disconcerting as accounting data is highly confidential but I have found the support at QuickBooks to be fairly responsive. In general, there is a sense of a loss of control if you move to QuickBooks Online from another version. The data now resides “elsewhere” and you can’t just move the file location or download it all to your desktop for “safe keeping”. The non-profit I have done work for was worried about their donor information being accessible and not secure but the security listed above was actually higher than anything we could have quoted our donors by keeping it on our machines.
Have questions about QuickBooks? Ask in the comments section below and either Angie or someone from our team will get back to you!