Shopping for great bookkeeping software is easier when you know what brand you’d like, but that’s not the end of the journey. QuickBooks, one of the most popular and successful bookkeeping software manufacturers on the market, has a wide selection of products. In order to choose the right fit for your business, you’ll need to figure out what you currently need, what you can afford, and where you’re headed over in the next few years.
How Big is Your Business?
QuickBooks provides a range of products that enable businesses of many sizes to take full advantage of these intuitive products. That variety makes the shopping process a little harder, though. The trick is finding the right product for your business. In order to find the right product, you’ll need to look beyond storage limits.
The first step is determining how many users need access to your software. Depending on whether you use SAAS or desktop products, you may need to pay more in order to accommodate your full bookkeeping staff and relevant decision makers.
The next question you need to address is the number of physical locations you control. If you have a single brick and mortar business with an online shop, you can use basic software packages that are designed to service a single business. QuickBooks has special versions dedicated to businesses with multiple locations that make jobs like inventory management vastly easier.
Consider Additional Features
The differences between QuickBooks products aren’t limited by the separation between products like pro and enterprise. You can customize your products with options for payroll, checks, and point of sale syncing. Some of these features require the purchase of multiple products. Therefore, a business going through a software overhaul may find it cheaper to buy these products in a bundle that will save both time and money.
There are also differences between different versions of the various products. Advanced, pricier versions of QuickBooks software include additional services, such as payroll tax assistance and even help filing your year end taxes. Although additional features and advanced programs cost more upfront, they are invaluable for many successful businesses. In order to determine if such features are right for your business, calculate the time it would take to work through such chores on your own. Add the cost of that labor time to the additional expenses required to perform the job well. These may include overtime pay, in-office dinners, and basic office supply consumption. Taxes are expensive. The true cost isn’t limited to what you send to the government. Your business will also have to spend money to complete the complicated filing process. Due to the time and expense involved, many users find QuickBooks’ advanced services more than worth the additional fee.
SAAS vs. Desktop
There is a use for both software as a service (SAAS) products and traditional desktop software. SAAS products are great for businesses experimenting with new brands and products that aren’t sure they want to commit. Desktop products allow businesses to invest once and then keep their software forever.
QuickBooks divides products into desktop solutions and QuickBooks Online products. QuickBooks online charges monthly subscription prices based on what product you order and what additional features you choose. It’s more flexible, but the monthly charges eventually outweigh the cost of a desktop product’s initial investment. That said, QuickBooks Online does come with some special features. Some, like access to Cloud-based apps, are unique to QuickBooks Online. Others, such as phone support and automatic data-encrypted backups, cost extra for desktop users. Be sure you know how much you can afford up front and what services you absolutely need before deciding between Online and desktop products.
Look to the Future
Overall, QuickBooks is known for its versatility. Most products accommodate growing businesses pretty easily. However, choosing the right product can save you a lot of money down the road. This is especially true for desktop users. Investing in a full QuickBooks program, or suite of programs, upfront is a major expense, especially for small start-ups. If your existing business plan includes significant expansions in the next two or three years, you may be better off with an Online product, at least until you’ve reached a certain size. You can also invest in a product that contains a few features you don’t need now that you will need within the next few years. Either option provides long-term savings.
QuickBooks is popular based in part on the company’s ability to serve so many different kinds of businesses. Whether your company has a handful of employees or several locations, you can find a well-tailored bookkeeping solution. Keep in mind as you shop that the best product will not just suit your immediate needs. It will also provide the flexibility and options you will need in the coming months and years.
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If you need help deciding on which QuickBooks product is best for your best, check out our free quiz.