Ever wonder whether you should be on the online or desktop version of QuickBooks? Instead of a boring feature comparison, here’s a different way to think about which QuickBooks version is best for your business.
What Quickbooks Version is Best For My Business?
The AcuityComplete team regularly holds office hours for entrepreneurs and responds to a variety of questions from clients. A very frequent question relates to QuickBooks. Specifically, “which version of QuickBooks should I use – QuickBooks Online (QBO) or QuickBooks Desktop (QBD)?”
While these are two distinct products, they both are owned and supported by Intuit, and when all is said and done they pretty much do the same thing.
So, What Is The Difference?
Consumer buying decisions are often based upon price of the products and differences in feature sets. In this case, however, we’re going to throw those criteria out the window and look at a different approach (although you’re welcome to compare both Quickbooks products yourself).
Let’s ask this question: “Which product is Intuit more interested in?”
This approach puts more focus more on what the future of accounting technology will look like, rather than considering what has worked in the past. While this may seem logical to an entrepreneur, it runs counter to the mindset of most traditionalist accountant-types, who tend to prefer leaning on tools that have always worked well and remain within their comfort zone. So you won’t often see forward-looking analysis about accounting technology trends.
If you share in the belief that technology tools will improve, make our lives easier, and possibly cost less, it is worthwhile to consider what the technology roadmap looks like for the two products.
What is Intuit saying?
“As we continue to grow our software as a service, mobile and other offerings, we must continue to innovate and develop new products and features to meet changing customer needs and attract and retain talented software developers.”
“We are increasingly focused on reimagining our products with a mobile-first, and in some cases mobile-only, design.”
“We expect to be…moving to more open platforms with application programming interfaces that enable the contributions of end users and third-party developers. One example of this is QuickBooks Online, which now allows small business customers all over the world to contribute to localizing the product.”
These are all direct quotes from a recent Intuit public filing: Mobility, open development platforms, and innovate products all are strong indicators that QBO is more of a strategic focus than QBD.
What Do The Numbers Say?
Historically, QBD was the predominant small business accounting system. Everyone in the accounting technology world tried to compete with QBD and none was successful in doing so. Fast-forward to today and the story has changed dramatically. Compared to 2014, 2015 QBO revenues increased by 57% while QBD revenues declined by 22%. The once unbeatable QuickBooks desktop product, has been solidly surpassed by another product…… its modern counterpart, QuickBooks Online, which is now twice the size of desktop.
While you should have some knowledge of the pricing differences and feature set differences between Intuit’s QuickBooks offerings, we recommend that it’s more important to pay attention to the product that has Inuit’s focus. And it’s never been clearer that their focus is on QuickBooks Online.
Often, small businesses and many accountants retain their accounting software for years. Doesn’t it make sense to think about which product will have the best future functionality? We believe that product will be QuickBooks Online.
What do you think? What are other criteria in making this decision that you’d consider? We would love to hear from you. Join the conversation on Twitter or comment below!