The big player in both desktop and cloud is QUICKBOOKS® but this is by no means the only one. Intuit, the maker of QB, has huge market share largely by virtue of getting in the game so early. The owners are very clever men. They even specifically chose the name of the company to give the buyer confidence – You can do it yourself! It’s intuitive! (Not!)
I love QB. I want you to use QB. But I don’t believe the desktop version is intuitive. It may have been intuitive at one time, but it is now so very large that most unsophisticated (ie, non-accountant) users get lost and make a terrible mess. If you are just running the QB, you might figure it out. But if you are running a business (retail, plumbing, photography, caterer,) and QB is merely a tool that you use on occasion, chances are you are going to make a mess. I’m sorry, but I’ve seen it too many times.
The problem is, the software just does so much!
It started as a little business check register, not unlike Quicken. In fact, as mentioned in an earlier post, it didn’t even follow double entry bookkeeping procedures for the first few years. The founders, Scott Cook, a marketing manager from Proctor & Gamble, and Tom Proulx, a soft software engineer who Scott originally hired while Proulx was still a student, were very sensitive to their customer base, and worked to incorporate new ideas and functions. Some were good, indeed essential – like the audit trail, but others were there just because they could do it – like foreign currency translation. A few years ago, Intuit gave up some of its grandiose plans and settled for being a totally solid core software product (sun). Today, if you want to manage time or inventory, for example, you are better off adding an app for those functions (planets). Not that QB doesn’t have some basic functionality in these areas, but that you will get more robust features from the dedicated app.
Intuit retained payroll and merchant processing, but I’m not overwhelmed by their efforts in either area. However, there’s nothing more fun than reconciling in this software. (Oh, I am such a bookkeeping dweeb.)