QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Pro

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QuickBooks is maximizing the benefits of the latest Cloud technology with their SaaS product, QuickBooks Online. At the same time, QuickBooks’ top of the line desktop software, QuickBooks Pro, is far from outdated. Deciding between the two can be tricky. In order to determine which is the best option, you’ll need to take a careful look at everything they have in common as well as the features that set them apart.

What Do They Have in Common?

Whether you choose QuickBooks Online or a trusted desktop option like QuickBooks Pro, you’re guaranteed access to QuickBooks’ best features. You can easily track sales and expenses and manage accounts payable. You also have access to professional invoice tools.For instance, if you need reports or tax season rolls around, easily generate what you need with a single click. Both products ensure a smooth bookkeeping experience, but there are other features and fees you need to consider.

Free vs. Extra Fee Services

A key difference in QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Pro is which services come free, and which come at an additional cost. At the top of this list is phone-based technical support. If you use a desktop program, you’ll be paying about a dollar a day for this service. The same access comes free with QuickBooks Online. Online automatically downloads bank transactions as part of its regular features, but that service costs around ten to fifteen dollars every month for Pro users.

Data encrypted backups and Cloud storage access can cost desktop users hundreds per month. Both of these come as part of regular Online service. Even updates cost more for QuickBooks Pro. Users should expect to pay nearly three hundred dollars if they want the latest software updates. Online incorporates these updates as they come out for free. Last, but not least, is user licensing. A business with multiple users using Pro will need a five user license, which comes at an additional cost. QuickBooks Online is designed for up to five users as part of its regular program.

Unique Features

As a traditional desktop software product, QuickBooks Pro allows a few more calculation features than Online can. In Pro, you can calculate and re-bill job costs, and you can also calculate discounts by customer. Although these are fairly simple features, they are still very practical and worth consideration.

QuickBooks Online takes advantage of its abilities as a SaaS product to maximize flexibility. It’s compatible with everything from desktop computers to mobile phones, allowing rapid access to your information from multiple devices. This is possible thanks to the advantages of Online’s Cloud storage. Accountants can automatically access your files, too. Online steps up its invoice services by allowing users to automatically send and schedule them. Last but not least, QuickBooks Online allows users to access hundreds of Cloud-based apps.

Cost Comparison

Unless you plan to buy new bookkeeping software more than once every three years, QuickBooks Pro is the most affordable choice. Since QuickBooks Online operates as a SaaS product, you have to pay a monthly fee. Various packages are available, but the lowest packages are pretty basic, and an expanding business would probably need to upgrade before three years pass. Provided users use QuickBooks Pro for three years, the overall cost of Pro is cheaper than the cumulative monthly fees of QuickBooks Online’s cheapest options.

If you plan on adding any extra features to Pro, however, the cost will quickly pull even with Online’s plans. As we discussed above, QuickBooks Online comes with a number of features and services that Pro users must pay for in addition to their actual software. Before you make your final tally, make sure you account for all additional fees.

Which is Right for You?

Most QuickBooks Online users are willing to pay higher monthly dues in exchange for the flexibility and integrated services available through SaaS products. As handy as those advantages are, however, QuickBooks Online isn’t suited for all businesses. QuickBooks Pro gives users a long term solution for regular bookkeeping work, and for most businesses with limited bookkeeping staff, this works perfectly well. A lot goes into the decision between desktop and SaaS products, but at the heart of the debate are several key points.

First and foremost, businesses need to determine how much they can afford immediately, and how much they can afford in the long run. The extra features and services that QuickBooks Online offers are only worthwhile if they provide some kind of tangible value for your regular business operations. In the long run, it will cost more. However, it does cost dramatically less up front. At the very least, QuickBooks Online can serve as an interim as businesses save up for Pro or another desktop product.

In the end, the Cloud may be the determining point. QuickBooks Online relies on the Cloud as much as it benefits from it. QuickBooks Pro is compatible with the cloud, but it comes at a steep price. Determining how and where you’ll be using your bookkeeping software will help you decide which is the better option. Both products have their uses, but which will work best for you?

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