QuickBooks Online offers small businesses a cloud-based accounting system that offers many features. But is it right for you? Here are some pros and cons of QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks Online is Intuit’s premier accounting and bookkeeping offering, if their marketing priority and even the order of the products on their main store page is anything to go by. Following a trend that has by this point thoroughly established itself in much of the personal and enterprise software spaces, QuickBooks is now primarily a service, rather than a standalone boxed product.

Quickbooks Desktop is the updated branding for the original Quickbooks line. This product remains in active development as it targets a different audience than the primary Online suite. So with the industry standard accounting software now split into two distinct families of products, it may be confusing to parse out which is right for your business.

In that spirit, let’s take a look at the new concepts Quickbooks Online brings to the table, as well as the potential drawbacks for enterprise-level bookkeeping compared to Quickbooks Desktop:

Harnessing the Power of the Cloud

The all-encompassing difference between the Online and Desktop variants of Quickbooks is that Online eschews the long-established software side of the equation entirely.

Quickbooks Online is a cloud-powered, web-based suite that works across desktops, tablets and smartphones seamlessly; all you need is a login and an active membership tied to one of four subscription tiers.

Experienced users of old-school Quickbooks will immediately notice an incredibly streamlined interface, meant to provide the most commonly-used features to users with no interruptions. Everything about the graphical user interface (GUI) is thoroughly modernized and simplified to make the path from inputting data to outputting an invoice seamless even for inexperienced users. The only aspect that runs counter to this philosophy is the prevalence of some accounting jargon throughout the GUI that may throw off the greenest users.

At all four tiers, the software remains relatively barebones. For most users, they’ll link to an online banking service, their business email, and get right to generating simple invoices. If a more complex issue comes up, third-party plugins, both free and paid, fill in many of the gaps piecemeal.

Where Quickbooks Online Misses the Mark

For private users, self-employed people, and (very) small businesses, Quickbooks Online is the perfect tool for the job. However, once the scale expands, the tried-and-true Desktop offering is a must.

For example: we can all agree that for most businesses with multiple employees, accurate payroll management is a bare minimum requirement for accounting software. Quickbooks Online does not meet this bar. 

For project management, you’ll have to get either a collection of Quickbooks Online third party plugins, or get a separate software suite that integrates with it.

And — depending on the circumstances of your business — you may have issues coping with the fact that an active, stable internet connection is 100% required to use Quickbooks Online. There is no ability to edit offline and push the new information.

Choosing the Right Version

For medium to large businesses, the answer is clear: Quickbooks Desktop includes core features like payroll that Quickbooks Online simply doesn’t offer.

On the other hand, Quickbooks Desktop is a powerful but complex tool, that requires a higher level of training and includes many features that, say, a self-employed consultant who essentially sells their personal time would not need to use.

There’s something of a gap in the market that the two versions of Quickbooks have left open: the point where powerful accounting tools targeted directly at small businesses converges with a seamless leveraging of the cloud to enhance workflow.

Alternative to QuickBooks Online

E&E created a custom-made accounting and bookkeeping software, targeted directly at this niche. It retains all of the key functionality of both versions of Quickbooks that is relevant to small business accounting, in a form tailored for the needs of the small to regional businesses.

This targeted, custom approach guarantees an easier data entry and financial records tracking experience for the niche needs of the small business space.

Interested in learning more about deploying the exact software called for by your accounting needs? We have a great deal of experience with online accounting systems. Contact us to guide you through your upcoming accounting or bookkeeping software transition.

E&E Professional Accountants has years of experience in assisting businesses with their accounting needs. We are founded and managed by an experienced corporate auditor and a former CRA tax auditor. Feel free to contact us for assistance with all your accounting and bookkeeping needs.

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