Sunday, June 29, 2008

QuickBooks Online versus QuickBooks Desktop Software

Ahhh, the thought of being able to access your QuickBooks data from anywhere in the world…multiple offices in different locations being able to access one central file…being able to review reports from the comfort of your hotel room…just think of the possibilities.

Now, think of the price of doing this. No, not the monetary price…in fact, the QuickBooks Online Edition only costs approximately $200 more for one year of service than the actual desktop software version (such as QuickBooks Pro or QuickBooks Premier). The price I’m speaking of is in terms of speed, and functionality:

  1. The biggest downside for me and the average business owner is speed. The Online Edition adds a tremendous amount of time to your day-to-day operations…reports that generate in just a few seconds on the desktop edition now take 10-60 seconds depending on the size of your company file and the speed of your internet connection. Limitations on keyboard shortcuts add to the amount of time you will need to spend entering data.

  2. While all users won’t experience a decline in functionality due to their limited use of the program, any business that uses QuickBooks as more than just a “checkbook” program will notice a dropoff in features offered by the Online Edition. One of the features that I find most frustrating is the fact that you can only have one report/screen displayed at a time. On the desktop software, you can have several windows opened at one time and flip back-and-forth between them as needed.

If remote access is your main reason for leaning towards QuickBooks Online, I would suggest that you combine the QuickBooks desktop software with some type of remote access program such as GoToMyPC, WebEx, Citrix, VPN, or some other similar type of remote access software. This way, you have the full functionality of the QuickBooks desktop software and you are still able to access it from remote locations.

Already have QB Online? Don’t worry. QuickBooks has developed a wonderful conversion process where they take your Online Edition company file and convert it to a working company file that can be used with your desktop software. It takes about a 24-48 hour timeframe to complete, during which time you cannot add new data to your file. However, it is well worth that minor inconvenience in order to avoid the ongoing inconveniences of the Online Edition!


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