QuickBooks tops nearly every list of the best small-business accounting software—and with good reason. Intuit, QuickBooks’ parent company, has been an accounting staple since the 1980s; those decades of experience culminated in a user-friendly, hyper-accessible product that basically does it all, from sales tax estimation to extensive accounting reports. QuickBooks is one of the most scalable, versatile small-business accounting solutions out there. Whether you’re a self-employed individual with a limited software budget or you own a small to medium-sized business counting on growth, QuickBooks has a plan for you—though whether it’s priced right is another question. Here’s our honest opinion: QuickBooks is absolutely worth the hype. First of all, the software is, by and large, fairly intuitive. It’s easy to set up and use, which is crucial when you’re delving into the world of finances—the numbers themselves are hard enough to wrangle without clunky software to hold you up.
Post-setup, QuickBooks helps you stay on top of your finances with extensive reporting. The pricier your plan, the more reports you get, which makes sense; the heftier plans are built for bigger businesses, which usually have more complex finances (for instance, high-level inventory management and payroll). Most notably, with QuickBooks Plus and Advanced, you can access 60+ reports, all of which can give you at-a-glance information about how your business is performing.
And if you do most of your accounting on the go, QuickBooks Online is one of your best solutions. Of all our top accounting software solutions, it has one of the highest-rated mobile accounting apps. The app is basically an all-in-one accounting platform that lets you create invoices, scan receipts, manage expenses, track mileage, and reach out to customers from any web-enabled device.
In other words, QuickBooks’ app does just about everything the accounting software can do—a rarity among accounting software providers. Even better, both iOS and Android users are happy with the app’s performance. On Apple’s App Store, 123.6K users give the app an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars,2 and on Google Play, the app averages 4.2 stars between 33K users.
QuickBooks Desktop is Intuit’s other, older accounting software program. Unlike Intuit QuickBooks Online, which is cloud based, the desktop version is installed once on your computer. QuickBooks Desktop has most of the same features as QuickBooks Online, but you can’t access your account from anywhere in the world; your business’s financial data is saved to your computer instead.
While QuickBooks Online requires a monthly subscription, QuickBooks Desktop costs a one-time fee, starting at $299.95. If you want to update your software, you’ll pay that same price once a year to get all the upgrades.
Since QuickBooks Desktop lives on your, well, desktop, it’s not as flexible as QuickBooks Online. A few other desktop drawbacks? Customer service costs $89 for only 90 days of support. You also have to pay extra for each user you add, including an accountant or bookkeeper, and the QuickBooks app isn’t included. QuickBooks Desktop does have a few perks, though, like intensive industry-specific reporting. It lets you recalculate job costs and rebill customers, and there’s a little more customization.
Our advice? QuickBooks Online has better flexibility, data security, updates, and mobile access, so if those things are important to you, that’s the plan we recommend. If you’re interested in QuickBooks Desktop, get in touch with a QuickBooks representative; they’ll let you know if the older desktop plan can work for you.
QuickBooks is user friendly, flexible, and chock-full of smart features. If you’re okay with the price and aren’t worried about working through technical problems by yourself, QuickBooks can help you get your finances in line.