Today I made the transition from QuickBooks version 2006 to QuickBooks online. I’ve been contemplating an upgrade or possibly a switch from QuickBooks to a newer version or possibly even over two Microsoft’s new accounting system.
Update!A couple years after publishing this article, I eventually switched to a combination of Freshbooks and Outright.com for my online book keeping and online billing and collections. I cannot begin to explain how much this has helped me, save time with both processes, and save time on my taxes at the end of the year(taxes done in minutes instead of months!) Well, that’s not entirely true, I’ve attempted to explain how these have helped me in an article titled Freshbooks vs Quickbooks – Estimates, Invoices & Getting Paid
If you still must read on about Quickbooks and Quickbooks Online, great. They do have some useful things about them, but for your average online business I would no longer recommend them. They are overkill for most jobs, and overly expensive imho.
I’ve been using QuickBooks for about two and half years now and it has been a fairly reliable system for me. I am an accountant, and I have always felt like this particular software program was a little bit of overkill for the needs that I had. In addition to QuickBooks 2006 was not compatible with Microsoft Vista. To get a QuickBooks version that was compatible with Microsoft Vista you had to go with the 2007 version or something newer. QuickBooks is relatively expensive, and if you contemplate any or all of the modules that go with it can be downright expensive.
I have a relatively simple bookkeeping system and I didn’t really need most of the functionality that comes with QuickBooks. However there were times I wish I had some of the added features that do come with the other modules.
Well today I finally made a transition and I ended up going with QuickBooks online. The online system does not require an upfront payment of several hundred dollars like the software version does. The online version charges anywhere from $10 a month to about $35 a month with an additional $17 a month if you want to accept credit card transactions. The nice thing about this system is that it is scalable in cost and scalable in service and options. I don’t ever have to worry about installing or updating the software on my machine which was a bit of a pain in the butt with the software version in the past. In fact I’ve been prompted with QuickBooks 2006 to install an update on my machine for about a year and a half now every time I login. The only problem is that update cannot be installed on my machine for some of obscure reason I’ve never been able to find an answer for.
With the online version of QuickBooks I don’t have to worry about upgrades anymore I can leave that to Intuit. I will always have the most up-to-date version and I won’t have to worry about software eating up resources on my machine. On the downside, I will always have to be logged into work with my books. That can be a problem if my Internet connection is down, however I do have multiple backups for connections. I run three different Internet connection services for my business: one cable Internet, one DSL connection, and one 3G Internet connection as well. So if the Internet is down for me, then I will probably have bigger problems than trying to access my books online.
So far the interface for QuickBooks online seems almost identical to the interface that I’m used to with the software version. For anyone worried about having an interface that’s different, or getting used to a new interface and having to train or retrain people, from what I’ve seen so far the difference is extremely minimal. Most of the items from my old version of QuickBooks, the actual company data, was able to be uploaded to the online version, and within about 10 minutes I was able to transition all my book work from my hard drive to the online version of QuickBooks.
That seemed pretty impressive to me, and I do not seem to have lost any information or data with the single exception that my invoice formatting has disappeared. If you have elaborate invoice setups already done in QuickBooks I could see how this could be a problem area I lost my logo and the setup for my invoices.
I don’t personally have elaborate invoices and so this is not too big of a deal for me, however I do know from past experience working with many other companies that invoice customization can be a lot of work and if you have to redo that during the transition from a software version of QuickBooks to the online version of QuickBooks, that could be problematic and could cost you a couple weeks worth of work. That said all things considered, I think I made a wise choice and immediately post-transition, I’m very happy with the results.
I should also add that you don’t have to pay anything up front for the online edition. I’m currently on a free 30 day trial, even though I definitely anticipate paying for the subscription. My first question will be, what level of subscription will I need to continue doing business way I’m used to doing business.
From everything I’ve seen, I think I will be able to continue at about $9.95 per month. From mine perspective that definitely beats paying $250 or $300 out of pocket buying the software at Sam’s Club or even downloading online. Even if I have to pay $16 or $20 a month for a slightly more advanced version of the online system I don’t think it would be that big of an issue, and if the day ever comes where I’ve spent more money on the online version that I would’ve on the software, I think it will probably be a wash if I consider the amount of time to spend installing the software, maintaining the software, and dealing with a few issues that always come with a new software program that you install on your computer. Freeing up resources on my computer for the things that actually generate revenue for my company, well that’s just priceless.
Tax Filing Update
It’s December 26, 2012 as I write this update and I’m still using Outright to keep track of my business books. Life is easy that way. 🙂
This will be proved out in just a couple days when I file my business and personal income taxes. Nothing could be easier for me now since I let Outright automate the majority of my book work.
I like doing taxes. I even worked for H&R Block preparing tax returns in the 90’s after getting out of the military.
These days I use H&R Blocks software to file my own taxes. There are two ways of doing this. You can complete your return online through them, or you can pay a few extra bucks, download the software and do the same thing. I generally download it. I personally prefer having the software on my machine. I also help my in-laws prepare their taxes as well and with the software package I get, I am allowed to file up to 5 federal returns when I get the software. Regardless, do not pay the full price. If you click the link/image below you will see the discounted price for H&R Block whether you fill your return out online, or buy and download the software.