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Benefits of QuickBooks Online

sBefore discussing my experience with the many benefits of QuickBooks online, I feel the need to talk about where the software started. I have used it for so long now, and have seen many different versions of it over the years.

In the beginning of my bookkeeping career, I started with QuickBooks in 1998 when it was labeled “QuickBooks 6.0”. I remember it distinctly because I was out of college and doing bookkeeping for a local construction company. The software was really nice and made debits and credits easy. Data entry in QuickBooks was very simple with great reporting features and many other tools that were useful.

Each year Intuit would release a new version of QuickBooks. The software was relatively the same, but the company added additional features each year. I remember we would upgrade the software every two to three years. We had to do this because the technology in the computers was changing so rapidly. The software in the computer became outdated within six to nine months.

As the internet became more prominent, the software changed in that direction as well. Eventually, the software accommodated the downloading of transactions from the banks and the credit card companies. I tried the feature myself, but initially I felt it was poor and chose to continue entering transactions manually.

The Arrival of QuickBooks Online

I still remembering hearing about QuickBooks online about five years ago. Many software companies were moving to a subscription based model. They charged a monthly or annual fee for use of their software and download it from the internet.

QuickBooks Online followed the same general idea as the other software companies. The software was based upon a subscription price paid monthly or per year. However, QuickBooks online differed because the data entered into QuickBooks was stored on a server and not on the local computer. I chose to keep using the desktop version of the software mostly because I didn’t want to have another monthly fee for software that was working fine already on my computer.

Initial Feedback I received

Occasionally I would hear about QuickBooks online from other users. They gave mostly poor feedback about their experience with the software. The main thing that I heard is that it didn’t do everything that the QuickBooks desktop version did. The software was more difficult to use because things were in different places. Overall, I wasn’t impressed with what I heard. I chose to continue with the desktop version for as long as I could.

Changes in the Pricing of QuickBooks desktop

The next change that Intuit rolled out was with the desktop version. To start, as a payroll user, Intuit required me to buy a new version of the software every three years. I went to purchase the software in 2022 again and this time I had to pay for a subscription. The software cost for QuickBooks desktop was now $300 per year.

I paid for three years because I needed the software. But now the desktop was a subscription as well. It was obvious that Intuit was pushing people to their online version. The subscription was one of the big reasons I shied away from QuickBooks Online, but now that was no longer a difference.

Starting with QuickBooks Online

I started using QuickBooks online with a client in another town. The client was already using this version of the software when I began working with them. The client already had been using QuickBooks online for years. I think this was helpful for me to start because I was able to see it filled with data. That definitely helped me to learn where things were located.

My initial observation was that QuickBooks online had most everything that QuickBooks desktop had. The software did the same thing, but things were located in different places. Entering certain transactions was different. After I learned the differences between the two, I started quickly finding many benefits to QuickBooks online that I didn’t expect since I had previously only hear bad reviews.

The Benefits of QuickBooks Online

  1. Bank Connectivity
    Connecting to the bank is easy and one of the biggest benefits of QuickBooks online. The ability to connect accounting software to banks in order to download transactions is very common. I have seen this in a couple different account software programs that I have used over the years. But I have been most impressed with QuickBooks online and how easy it is to download transactions from the bank.
  2. Remote Bookkeeping Access
    Of course this is the first benefit for me. QuickBooks online allows me to do bookkeeping remotely for clients in other cities and states without needing to be present in their offices. I am able to market my business to customers in other cities and states that were difficult to reach before.
  3. Portability
    Being able to login to QuickBooks using a browser made the software easier to access. I could use the software on my desktop computer, and then have access to it on my laptop later. I didn’t have to be in my physical office in order to do much of my work. I can work out of town or really anytime that I am away from my office.
  4. Immediate Backup
    Because QuickBooks online is a web based software, the data actively saves in the cloud. That means that the accounting data is backed up live as work done. As a comparison, QuickBooks desktop relied on local backups performed on a schedule or manually. Those backups are stored either on a local computer or a backup drive and those drives need to be maintained. QuickBooks online though does not require any local backups. Even if your computer crashes, the data updates regularly on the cloud and is accessible from another computer.
  5. Working with a CPA/Tax Professional
    As another comparison, between the desktop and the online version of QuickBooks, it is easier for me to work with a CPA to have business taxes done. Each year at tax time, the CPA requests a copy of the QuickBooks file. Instead of sending a backup data file, or dropping off a flash drive, now I only need to invite the CPA as a user and they have instant access.
    Also, when a CPA makes journal entries, they are able to directly make the changes. I will see those changes the next time log in. Previously, the changes had to be sent and keyed in or imported.

These are just five benefits that I have experienced. Overall the software is different from the desktop version. However, these benefits I listed have made my job easier as a bookkeeper. As you use the software, you will likely find features that are great for you as well.