For most small businesses, QuickBooks, from Intuit Inc., is the accounting software of choice. In addition to basic bookkeeping it is used to manage customers, vendors, inventory, expenses, and more. Intuit offers 3 on-line version as well as multiple desktop versions (3 for windows based computers and one for Apple computers). Which one is best for you? It depends on your particular needs, of course, but in almost all cases we recommend QuickBooks Desktop Pro for Windows.
With more than 30 years of service and upgrades QuickBooks Desktop Pro for Windows is the very best and most cost-effective software for small business. It will handle virtually everything that a small business may need. Its user interface is very user friendly and easy to learn. It is the version that handles the most functions and can be used by business owners with limited bookkeeping knowledge. You pay a small one-time fee for each computer you want to use it on indefinitely and it can also be transferred to a new computer if necessary. Up to 5 separate computers can access the same information simultaneously. Most CPAs know it and support it. It is the best version for start-ups. It also can be used on Apple computers if the computer is launched in PC mode. Desktop is also the better choice for more complex businesses such product-based businesses or contractors because of its powerful inventory management, job-costing, and reporting features.
QuickBooks Desktop Premier adds even more features and offers industry specific accounting and reporting. Such industries include contractors, manufacturing and wholesale, non-profits, professional services, and retailers. These are very important features that the online version does not offer.
QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions is used when a business needs more than 5 simultaneous users, additional features not found in QuickBooks Pro or Premier or has more complicated accounting or reporting needs.
QuickBooks for MAC is the version designed to run on Apple’s operating system. It is a different program from the Windows versions and contains most, but not all, features found in QuickBooks Pro for Windows.
One of the biggest advantages of QuickBooks Online is that, as a cloud-based product, users can access it from any device. QuickBooks Online also offers online support, auto-backup and auto updates. In our mobile era, the fact that the Desktop version is tied to the one device it is installed on may be viewed as a drawback for some people. However, evaluate carefully how much mobility you really need.
It is a completely different program from the Desktop versions. Many important or useful features found in the desktop versions are not included in QuickBooks Online. It is less user friendly and is not as regimented as the desktop versions allowing bookkeeping issues to happen. Online has a monthly fee that will quickly make the online version more expensive than the more robust Desktop versions.
Our Final Word
We believe QuickBooks Desktop Pro for Windows is the best choice for virtually all small businesses. It is the most cost-effective version as it has all the features that most small businesses need for a small one-time only cost. QuickBooks for MAC is the choice for a business that utilizes Apple computers and does not want to launch them in PC mode. We suggest that you review your needs carefully, consult with your CPA and then decide what’s best for you.