Oct 05 , 2022

QuickBooks Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online

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Here's the scoop!

There’s been a lot of chatter in the financial industry about QuickBooks Desktop (the version that is loaded on your computer and is NOT accessible via the web) and QuickBooks Online. Have you been following it? Emily Taylor, AIOA’s Team Experience Manager, has started to see some trends we want to share with you.

In recent months, many QuickBooks Desktop users have experienced long load times, intermittent errors, crashes and freezing. Several of our clients have dealt with these issues to the point of it affecting their ability to run their business.

Intuit has taken responsibility for these issues and say they are working on a fix, and the release of the fix is expected to happen in October 2022. The cause of the issues is believed to be related to a software release that was pushed out at the end of May, including Intuit's patch for the end of support for Internet Explorer.

Tips & Tools to help

We have been working diligently with our IT provider, Solution Builders, to identify and test possible workarounds. This forum on Intuit’s QuickBooks Support webpage show just how big an effect these issues are having. The forum has been a very helpful resource to users and IT providers for sharing concerns and possible workarounds, including adjustments to a handful of settings within QuickBooks Desktop which have been helpful to some users. We'll be posting a Tips & Trick blog shortly with some of the more common fixes.

While Intuit has said they are working on a fix, unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the October release will solve all the issues, and much will depend on Intuit’s commitment to provide continued support for QuickBooks Desktop. That being said, we have communicated the ongoing issues to our internal team and encouraged them, and all of our QuickBook Desktop using clients, to keep QuickBooks Online in mind as a possible alternative going forward.

Why make the switch?

“About a third of our clients are still using QuickBooks Desktop,” says Emily. “While we feel QuickBooks Online is a more convenient and user-friendly experience, the cost is likely a big reason why our clients have stayed on Desktop.” User experience and cost have been barriers to entry in the past for a more comprehensive adoption of QuickBooks Online in the past. However, with the recent changes to Intuit's annual subscription model, it’s likely to push some to convert to QuickBooks Online sooner.

Taylor added, “Another concern with several of our clients are with those that have multiple entities as QuickBooks Desktop had not previously required them to have a subscription for each entity (and QuickBooks Online does). Beyond those, two other reasons for adoption reticence is likely the inconvenience of changing to and learning a new program."

Going forward, Intuit's new annual subscription-based model for pricing for QuickBooks Desktop will be comparable to QuickBooks Online, eliminating price considerations since every business entity you own will now require a separate QuickBooks Online subscription.

Other considerations

Intuit has recently announced that they are planning to invest more heavily in QuickBooks Online than their Desktop product. As a result, they will be begin moving most of their resources to QuickBooks Online, with the guidance that eventually everything will only be available online. However, there is no voiced timeline for that yet. It’s important to note, Intuit is not planning to “sunset” the QuickBooks Desktop software, nor end support of it for current users. In fact, they are introducing QuickBooks Desktop Mac Plus subscription at this time as well.

What does this mean for anyone who uses the desktop version?

When Becky Lewis, Chief Operating Officer, AIOA, spoke with Intuit recently, she was interested in their perspective on why a business should select QuickBooks Desktop over QuickBooks Online. “Intuit suggested an industry specific module, like for inventory, might be a reason to pick the desktop version,” said Becky. “But we all know, it can be inconvenient to learn a new program. Having to start something new, relearning navigation, getting used to a new user experience can feel disruptive.” As QuickBooks Desktop users continue to face the reality of fewer updates and obsolescence, making the switch will be an easier decision over time.

Here's how we can help

It is always helpful to understand the direction a technology, and software, is going to keep your business safe from disruptive changes. As Intuit expresses their intent to keep moving towards Online, this might be a cue for your company to follow suit and switch over yourselves. Which can seem like a gargantuan project, we know. Have no fear. We’re here to help. Our team has strong experience with the QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online transition. Emily Taylor notes, “Converting our existing clients from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online generally goes smoothly. We slate four hours for each conversion, but it doesn’t usually take that long. And after we get everything moved over, we check to make sure everything matches up.”

If we can help, please connect with us and be sure to check back for developing QuickBooks updates in our Resources section. Stay tuned!