Let’s not leave out this player from across the Pacific! Xero hails from New Zealand, by way of Australia. They landed here in California in 2011 and are steadily working their way into our consciousness.
Xero is 100% in the cloud. It has no pretty graphics when you sign in, and you need to wear your glasses to see the words. Some of the terminology is native kiwi, so you might not be able to find what you are looking for right away. Still, it works. As with QBO, it’s definitely better if you know what you are doing. If you need help, you can get a Xero certified partner to take over, fix, or share tasks with.
The folks who most like Xero tend to be tech-savvy millennials, and people who are tired of dealing with the behemoth of Intuit. I don’t have any problem with this. I don’t like behemoths, either.
If you really can’t decide between your deep and meaningful relationship with QB desktop and your growing need for professional bookkeeping intervention, you might be a candidate for hosted QB.
This means your file sits in yet another cloud, and everybody just signs in when they need to. It’s a good compromise. Of course, you do incur additional monthly charges for hosting, and your desktop QB will probably be upgraded annually. But if you are this big, this could be the smallest of your concerns.
There are so many companies offering QB hosting that a list, with or without rates, would be useless. Again, consult your CPA or QB Proadvisor who might be able to add you to their bulk license program.
QBO – aka QuickBooks ® Online
There are 2 reasons to use QB Online instead of QB desktop.
First, you need that invoice-as-you-go feature. QBO has a nifty app that allows you to invoice from your cell phone or tablet. Imagine standing there, talking to your customer, casually tapping on your phone or tablet, and then sending the invoice on the spot. Your customer receives it almost simultaneously (depending on the internet, of course.) Wild.
Second, you know nothing about QB, or accounting, and your accountant is probably going to need to interact with your data more often than not. Using QB Online allows you to do the invoicing, and leave the bookkeeping to the pros. You should then have or quarterly meetings with your financial people and learn to read the reports. If and when your business gets too complicated for QBO, you can switch to desktop. However, I expect they will expand the online capacity as time goes by. Once you get used to the anytime, anywhere flexibility, it is hard to give up.
QuickBooks® – the Desktop version
There are 2 reasons to use QB desktop instead of an online software package for your business.
First, you need the advanced functionality. But this goes hand in hand with a caveat: you know what you’re doing. If you run into trouble using desktop, it will be harder to get help. You might have to send a copy of your file to your accountant and wait for it to be returned. You might have to call in the QB paramedics. Or they might be able to remote in. And so on.
Second, you don’t have reliable internet. I don’t care what the internet or the phone people say, large swaths of this great country are still struggling to get – and maintain – a reliable internet connection. (And cell phone service, but we won’t go there.) Your business productivity goes way down if you work in the cloud but can’t get online.