What QuickBooks Product Should You Use?

In a previous blog Critical Questions When Considering QuickBooks we looked at some of the things to consider when deciding whether to use QuickBooks or some other accounting software. Assuming you have decided upon QuickBooks, let’s look now at some considerations when selecting the actual QuickBooks product to use.

Your Needs

In the previously mentioned blog was a partial list of things to consider when deciding if QuickBooks was the correct choice. Take a moment to review that list, as it is also very helpful in deciding the correct QuickBooks product to use. For example, the first item listed asked if you will track inventory. Not every QuickBooks product can do this. Likewise, the question as to how many people will simultaneously use QuickBooks is another question that will determine the appropriateness of different products. Not every QuickBooks product allows remote access, so if you have sales people or others who need to access QuickBooks from outside your office, this will be critical to consider. Incidentally, this is something I personally believe will become more and more important as companies increasingly operate virtual offices. Just recently I spoke with someone who operates out of his home and each of his employees do the same.

There is no way a short blog can consider all the possible questions you will need to consider, but the purpose is to cause you to think before you simply go and buy QuickBooks without carefully considering your needs.

QuickBooks Online

The online product comes in three variations. QuickBooks Online Simple Start offers the least number of features and only allows for 1 user to access it at a time. One important limitation is the lack of ability to restrict what users can access. This can be an important area, particularly if you do not want all users to see sensitive financial data. It is really a very basic accounting system with few bells and whistles, so if you need to do things like manage and pay vendor bills, track inventory, create budgets, etc. then it will not be the correct choice. QuickBooks Online Essentials is a step above and adds more functionality with such things as allowing 3 simultaneous users at a time and control of what users can access. Yet again, if you need to track inventory, prepare budgets and a number of other things, it also is not the correct choice. QuickBooks Online Plus is the most feature rich of the online editions and adds quite a bit of functionality. It allows up to 5 users access at the same time, inventory tracking, budget creation, etc. Although it is unlikely you will need it, QuickBooks Plus does allow you to track inventory using the FIFO method. This is something that is important in certain industries.

This is a brief look at QuickBooks Online and is really only intended to get you to carefully review the capabilities of each. Management should discuss what they presently need and what they anticipate needing in the near future. In addition it is a good idea to discuss with your outside accountant the features they think are important as you may be surprised to learn the significance of some features.

QuickBooks Desktop

QuickBooks Desktop comes in several products, including QuickBooks Mac, QuickBooks Pro, and QuickBooks Premier. Of these, the Mac version has the least number of features. The Pro version adds a considerable number of features, and Premier adds even more. All of these, but especially Pro and Premier are very powerful and flexible programs. Pro and Premier also allow you to add functionality with additional subscriptions. The differences in features are more numerous than can be covered here, but suffice it to say that they are considerable. The range of businesses for which Premier is appropriate is multiplied by the fact that it comes in several editions. These editions include General Business, Contractor, Manufacturing and Wholesale, Non-Profit, Retail, and Professional. I suspect that one of these desktop products is the most popular, but that is irrelevant to your needs, so don’t let that be a deciding factor.

QuickBooks Enterprise

With QuickBooks Enterprise we are beginning to move away from just small businesses and now incorporating the accounting and reporting needs of mid-size companies. Because it can handle larger lists for things like inventory and customers, more users, and increases the ability to control the access of users to certain functionality, it is really a much more powerful accounting package. It also comes with a much higher price tag, so that is something to keep in mind if you are considering it. This is particular true when you understand that it is fairly common to upgrade to a later year’s version about every 3 to 4 years. The list of features for Enterprise is extensive, thus adding considerably to the number of businesses that can use QuickBooks.

A Final Word

If you really want to make an informed decision, it would be a very good idea to get the help of a local QuickBooks ProAdvisor. This person can walk you through the process of making the correct choice as to which QuickBooks program is correct. Your ProAdvisor will also know the questions to ask to determine what best meets your needs. He or she should also be willing to tell you if QuickBooks is simply not the correct software. But, assuming it is, they can also help you with implementation and training users. I will discuss that more in a later blog.

I close this article with some thoughts on what the future of QuickBooks may hold. Because of the increase in virtual offices, the need for remote access, and the concern for adequate protection of data with backups, we may well see the online QuickBooks product become more popular. If this happens I would expect Intuit to add additional features and functionality to their online products.

If you are a small business considering QuickBooks and are located in the north metro area of Atlanta Georgia, AimCFO is here to help.

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.


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