QuickBooks has smurfloads of versions to choose from. Which one is best for your small business?
As a Microsoft certified expert and long-time QuickBooks user, I feel competent enough to dig through the fluff and simplify your decision. First of all, my analysis here is targeted to the 1 – 50 small computer office environment. Personally, for New York Computer Help, I have been the decision-maker for the last 10 years for the Quickbooks support purchasing. Let me tell you, it hasn’t been fun. We’ve had to upgrade the version about every 2 years to get full functionality of the features as well as QuickBooks technical support.
QuickBooks upgrades were also necessary for the Word, Excel, and pdf creation ability and plug-ins. So, Intuit, the QuickBooks software manufacturer, gets richer every year you’re with them. Obviously, our in-house tech support team has installed the new Quickbooks version every time, but on your end, you might have to hire an outsourced IT team like us to take care of the installation. More money wasted from Intuit.
From my perspective, there is one factor that should dictate your decision. Will more than one person need to use QuickBooks at the same time? If not, then I’d recommend going with the QuickBooks Pro version. It usually costs around $250 and has all the bells and whistles that you’d need. The Premier version is $200 more and just has a few more features, such as: business plan creation, forecasting, and industry reports. The other difference between the Pro and Premier versions is you can have 3 people working simultaneously on Pro and 5 with Premier. That brings me to my next point.
If you need two or more people working on QuickBooks, then go with the online version. You can go with the Essentials version at $25/month for 3 users + an accountant or the Plus version at $40/month for up to 5 users + an accountant. You might even consider the $13/month version, Simple Start, for 1 person if you like the idea of using QuickBooks via the Internet from any computer. The great part of the online version is it will be as fast as opening any web page which will be much faster than if you have simultaneous users on the Pro or Premier version. Plus, you can be on any computer to access QuickBooks. Plus, in the long run, it will be cheaper since you won’t have to pay for new upgrades or IT support setup fees. In terms of what Plus has over the Essentials’ features, the Plus online version provides purchase orders, inventory tracking, budgeting and planning.
I’d like to also shed a little light on the Enterprise version. This is for a multiple-office business where users need to access the QuickBooks database at the same time from different offices. We have set this version up as well as the other ones. The software versions all work well if, and this is a big IF, if the network speed and/or Internet speed for the Enterprise version is fast. With slow Internet speed, QuickBooks could stall when simultaneous users are connected. That’s the one prerequisite that must be taken into account when buying the QuickBooks software version for multiple users.
The best part of the online version is that your files are automatically backed up. Having that peace of mind that your financials are secure is priceless. I’m a big believer and current user of the online version. I was sold on being able to access the QuickBooks info from any computer as well as having an automated backup. Plus, I don’t have to upgrade every two years like with the desktop versions.