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Why you should choose QuickBooks Online over the (outdated) Desktop version

Whether you're starting a new business or you've been operating for some time, the choice of which accounting software to use can be daunting. Every business owner has different ways of operating, different goals, and different metrics on how they evaluate their business. That's the secret to running your own successful business, right? Plus, there's the added task of record-keeping for the tax agency: Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") or the state Department of Revenue ("DOR"). Let's take a look at QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop to consider what options might be best for you.

QuickBooks Desktop seems to have more features, but does it? At first glance, it seems like Desktop has more built in right out of the box. The online version seems too basic and almost naked compared to the Desktop version. However, when you check out, there are so many internet-based apps that you can almost surely make up for whatever QBO lacks compared to QBD. Plus, the apps are constantly updated with new features whereas QBD is not updated as often, nor with as many improvements.

Another compelling feature might be the fixed price (the idea of paying up front is better than paying small amounts over time). You buy it once and that's all you have to pay for two years, which seems like a good deal to a business owner who's looking to control monthly costs. On the flipside, small businesses looking to manage liquidity and minimize startup costs might enjoy the lower monthly fee. Regardless, the overall cost is going to be about the same whether you're paying small amounts every month or one large amount every two years. Wouldn't you rather hold on to your money longer instead of spending it all at once?

Unfortunately, the latest awful threat to QBO is from the outside: hackers. After numerous security breaches, we are all wondering if it's safe to store all of our business data in the cloud. Intuit understands our concerns, so they created this explanation here and this white paper here. But is our data any safer than the cloud if it's on a desktop computer that could still be hacked from its internet connection? What about the lack of security from outdated versions of QBD for those businesses who haven't updated in more than two years? Maybe, the cloud is actually a better alternative. Data that's constantly backed up and continuously monitored for hacking attacks seems like a better bet than stagnant data exposed on old operating systems. Plus, you shouldn't be storing passwords or any other login credentials in QB anyway, so even if someone gets a hold of your data hopefully they wouldn't be able to take action with it.

Finally, let's talk about the elephant in the room, the biggest disadvantage of QBD is that you can only use it on set computers at a time. The advantage of mobile access is the clear winner because what business owner doesn't want to generate invoices on the job site or access up-to-date bank balances when shopping for new equipment? For those businesses on the go, QBO is a must because you can access it from anywhere in the world and right from your mobile device.

Overall, QBO is still new and revolutionary and not everyone is onboard with Intuit's latest product. Some are hesitant on the new interface that's streamlined and possibly too simple. However, most businesses can embrace the future and (hopefully) get a leg up on their competition who is still stuck on the old desktop machines.

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