Our QuickBooks Buyer’s Guide
Our comprehensive QuickBooks comparison grid and QuickBooks reviews will help you determine which version best fits your needs. Below are some guidelines to help you make the right choice and to make sure you get the most out of our site.
Determine which QuickBooks version best fits your needs
There are two different types of QuickBooks software from Intuit; the original, Desktop software and QuickBooks Online. QuickBooks Desktop Pro, Premier, and other industry-specific versions must be paid upfront, but include a 60-day money-back guarantee, while the QuickBooks Online has a monthly subscription fee that includes a 30-day free trial. Unlike the Desktop software, the Online versions include remote access, unlimited customer support, and online backups of your data. Recently, Intuit has given more comparative features to the Desktop software by offering Desktop "Plus" versions that are the exact same software as the Desktops but paid for with a monthly subscription fee that includes online access, 24/7 customer support, and more. Check out our QuickBooks Online vs. Desktop page for a detailed explanation of these differences.
Whichever version you choose will ultimately come down to the version has the bookkeeping features your business needs. Some of the more notable differences between them that you should take into account when choosing your QuickBooks software include:
Local Copy Availability
While online access to your books may be important to some, having a copy of your financial data always at your disposal is essential, especially during tax season. QuickBooks' servers (that run the QuickBooks Online software) have had problems in the past of crashing during vital periods like these, and it can be extremely frustrating if you need to use your books and cannot get to them. QuickBooks' Desktop software maintains your books directly on your hard drive, and will even create a shortcut on your desktop for even easier access to them. For people who don't absolutely need remote access to their books, we highly recommend going with the Desktop software.
Remote Access Capability
Having remote access allows you to access your QuickBooks information and data online from any computer with Internet access. If this is what you are looking for, then the QuickBooks Online is your best bet. The Online versions give you full access to your books from any computer with and Internet connection, while the Desktop Plus versions only give you access to a few basic features through the online interface of QuickBooks Connect. However, if you prefer to have a local copy available for times when you do not have Internet access, the Desktop Plus versions are the way to go.
Most people like to test out a service before paying in order to make sure that service is exactly what they need. The Online software includes 30-day free trials to try out the service. While the Desktop software does not offer any kind of free trial, they do have a 60-day money-back guarantee in case you decide the software isn't right for you after you purchase it.
If your business is a start-up, you’re probably trying to save money anywhere you can. Both the Online and Desktop Pluses allow you to pay monthly fees to access the full software. There are no contracts to sign, and anytime you wish to end your QuickBooks account you can without paying cancellation fees. With the release of the QuickBooks 2012 software, the Desktop Pluses now have the option to be bought on an annual basis, which can help you save big (between $110 and $130 a year, depending on the software). The QuickBooks Desktop versions require you to pay for the entire software before accessing it. However, once you pay for the Desktop QuickBooks software you can use it for life. While some features like online banking within the software expires after three years, the majority of the bookkeeping capabilities are accessible forever.
Having access to experts and customer support representatives is very important for when you have any questions or run into any problems with your QuickBooks software. For unlimited customer support, including phone, email, and live chat support, the more advanced Online software and the Desktop Plus versions are a good choice. You can get 24/7 customer support with the Desktop versions, but it costs $149 per year.
Once you’ve determined what features in bookkeeping software are important to you, it will be easy to distinguish which QuickBooks version is perfect for your business.