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QuickBooks Tips | Which Version is Right for Your Business?

Posted by Lauri A. Lisanti, CPA, MAcc, CPS, Certified QB ProAdvisor on May 8, 2017 1:58:00 PM
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This is the second of multiple posts in a series on using QuickBooks. QuickBooks holds the largest market share of accounting software in the United States. Yet there are many other accounting software options available and we encourage you to explore the Best Accounting Softwares for your business.

In our first post in this series we discussed the benefits of accounting software versus manual accounting practices. 

This post discusses the benefits of accounting software versus manual accounting practices.

There are many versions of QuickBooks on the market. There are versions of QuickBooks that range from the most basic, which is like a check register, to a more sophisticated version to imitate an enterprise planning “ERP” system.

QuickBooks Tips | How to decide which version is right for your business?

There are two things to consider when you compare QuickBooks versions for your business.

  1. The industry your business is in
  2. How your business is run

Generally the first factor businesses look at to determine which version of software to purchase, is cost; however, QuickBooks is relatively inexpensive depending on the number of licenses needed. Considering how your business is run and the industry it's in compared to the different features offered in each version, is the advisable approach.

Compare QuickBooks Versions:

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is a web-based software packages that allows full access to QuickBooks anytime, anywhere. The cost is a monthly fee depending on the version you need and the number of users (anywhere from one to five simultaneous users – however, your accountant is considered a “free” user for the Online system).

  • Great for those who want to access their information at any time by just using an Internet connection, on a smart phone or for businesses with different locations that are not connected by a network.
  • Another advantage is you do not have to worry about backing up your data as it is done for you automatically and you do not have to pay for any upgrades.
  • With the higher-end online version, you can set permissions based upon your employees’ authority levels and use class tracking (separating product lines, different locations, etc. for ease of profit and loss reporting).
  • Some disadvantages are that the inventory module is not as extensive as the desktop versions, the monthly cost of the software can be greater than the ones purchased for desktops and you cannot have multiple windows open at the same time.

QuickBooks Simple Start

QuickBooks Simple Start is the basic “check register” accounting package. It is inexpensive and easy to use.

  • It is best used by a company that does not have inventory and just wants to track income and expenses.

QuickBooks Pro

QuickBooks Pro is the next step up. It too is relatively inexpensive; however, there can only be three simultaneous users in the file.

  • This version is good for those businesses who need full general ledger accounting and who want to be able to organize all their customer, vendor and employee information in one place.
  • Pro can also integrate with FedEx and UPS to print packing slips and shipping labels.
  • Two disadvantages; the software does not handle advanced reporting or inventory needs.

QuickBooks Premier

QuickBooks Premier is designed for anyone who requires tools and reporting tailored to their industry.

  • It has all the features of the Pro version but additional inventory management controls such as build assemblies and setting price levels per item.
  • There can be up to five simultaneous users in the file and Premier offers industry specific editions such as:
    • Retail,
    • Manufacturing and Wholesale,
    • Professional Services,
    • Contractor,
    • Non-Profit
    • And accountant Editions.
  • Automatically creates forecasts and business plans.
  • The cost averages about $200 higher than the Pro software per license.

QuickBooks for Mac

QuickBooks for Mac has all the features of QuickBooks Premier but is designed specifically for the Mac operating system.

QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions

QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions is the top-of-the line QuickBooks product.

  • It works best for a business that requires advanced inventory management, i.e.:
    • inventory management in more than one location,
    • more than 3 users or multiple locations,
    • process a large number of transactions,
    • require comprehensive and customizable reporting tools.
  • Has the largest set of user permissions of any of the QuickBooks products for segregation of duties.
  • Allows first in first out inventory costing, whereas all other versions use the average cost method.
  • Businesses can also have up to 15 simultaneous users.
  • The biggest disadvantage to Enterprise Solutions is the cost. It starts at $3,000.00.

Regardless of which version you choose for your business, you are getting an easy to use accounting package that can be customized to fit your needs.

Topics: Certified QuickBooks Proadvisor, QuickBooks Expert, Quickbooks Tips, Using QuickBooks

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