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.

QB Desktop is a robust software package with tremendous reporting options. It comes in a variety of flavors: Pro, Premier, and Enterprise, as well as Point of Sale, and Mac. Pro, Premier, and Enterprise allow for successively larger numbers of users, and numbers of transactions, and in turn provide more reports. This does not mean you should run out and buy Enterprise! The price naturally goes up with each stepped up product, too. Unless you specifically need a feature, such as more robust inventory and bar code scanning, start small and move up as necessary. Pro and Premier provide plenty of great reports.

Here is a link to a very detailed comparison chart.

QB Desktop can be hard to find. Recently, on two separate occasions, two different clients who wandered into two different big box office supply stores were told the desktop version no longer existed, and both were sold a box with a code inside to allow them to use the online product for a year. Bogus! Just read all the boxes. Or better yet, ask your accountant or bookkeeper to deal with it for you. If your accountant or bookkeeper is a QB ProAdvisor, you might even get some unadvertised discounts.

Once you do find it, you will be able to keep the same product for several years. QB stops supporting it after 3 years, but folks who don’t use an Intuit P/R module or merchant services, and yet do maintain stiff virus protection, manage to keep older versions running well beyond the 3 years. Of course, if you run into trouble and need help, your “help” might require an update.

Once you load your QB desktop software, you find that comes with a bunch of pre-set generic accounts, but this is not the time or place to go into detail, or to advise you on what to do next – that would take weeks of writing!