07
January
2017

QuickBooks Pro Versus QuickBooks Online

Which one is better for designers?

Our optional QuickBooks Connector module passes data seamlessly back and forth between DesignSmart and QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Enterprise. Most design firms will find that QuickBooks Pro has all of the functionality they need, but larger firms will migrate to the more flexible QuickBooks Enterprise. Both Pro and Enterprise operate on computers running the Windows operating system, have been around for many years, and enjoy a well deserved reputation for being solid and feature rich.

Each year we research if the online version of QuickBooks, imaginatively named QuickBooks Online (QBO), has matured to the point that we should modify our QuickBooks Connector module to work with it. If you haven't seen QBO, you might be surprised how it can almost make accounting software look cool and fun to use. It has an attractive and simplified user interface, some snazzy little dashboard widgets, and it can be accessed on mobile devices. If you go to the QuickBooks website, you get the impression that QBO is the best thing since sliced bread since the website promotes it almost to the exclusion of QuickBooks Pro. In fact you have to be fairly determined and dig around a bit to even get to the webpages about QuickBook Pro.

So is QBO better than QuickBooks Pro? Unfortunately, we have concluded yet again that while QBO continues to improve, it still is not as suitable for most interior designer firms as QuickBooks Pro. And this conclusion is shared by most, though not all, design firms that we have spoken with.

The primary advantage of QBO is that it is accessible from anywhere. Well here is a little surprise: so is QuickBooks Pro if you put it in the cloud like we do and many of our clients do. For more information about hosting QuickBooks Pro in the cloud click here.

So you might be wondering why the parent company, Intuit, that develops and markets QuickBooks is promoting QBO so aggressively. One word: profits. Most companies that purchase QuickBooks Pro will use that copy for two or three years since there is rarely any reason to upgrade. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that even though the monthly fee for QBO seems "cheap", after two or three years those "cheap" monthly payments add up to be several times more expensive than a license of QuickBooks Pro that you don't upgrade every year.

We will look at QBO again next year, but for now we consider QuickBooks Pro to be the better option for most design firms.