Many small businesses struggle with what type of financial accounting software to use while setting up a new business and to manage finances throughout the life of their business. It is a good idea to choose one accounting software that will continue to meet the needs of the business over time as it is not always easy to migrate data. Which do you choose when there are dozens of comprehensive small business accounting software options available? Do you go for simplicity and user-friendliness or a comprehensive program? What features matter to most businesses?
Many people look to the tried-and-true folks at Intuit when looking for a business (or personal) accounting software solution and will eventually come to choosing between Quicken vs Quickbooks. Intuit also owns Mint.com and Turbotax. Although Mint.com is a little more obscure as a personal accounting software, most people know or have used Turbotax. Folks are simply willing to take a chance on a product made by the familiar and reliable Intuit, and luckily, they offer two of the best accounting software available, Quicken Home & Business and Quickbooks Online. Here, we hope to help you decide between Quicken vs Quickbooks for your business accounting needs.
What Are Quicken and Quickbooks Online?
Quicken Home & Business and Quickbooks Online are both accounting software solutions that have some similarities and a lot of important differences, which we will explore below. Essentially, accounting software is designed to help you track your money in and money out of your business. As a business owner, keeping track of income and expenses is one of the most important steps toward ensuring financial sustainability over time. As time goes on and business needs change, accounting can become more complex than simply collecting money and paying the bills. Depending on the type and size of your business, either Quicken Home & Business or Quickbooks Online is likely to work well for your accounting needs.
Quicken vs Quickbooks: Similarities and Differences
Before exploring the features of these products, we recommend writing a list of the financial management software needs of your business. It will help you when sorting through the details so you have a sense of your unique business needs. After you have that knowledge organized and read through these summaries, we are sure you will have a better idea of which software to consider when deciding between Quicken vs Quickbooks.
Similarities Between Quicken Home & Business and Quickbooks Online
As mentioned above, Quicken Home & Business and Quickbooks Online are both made by Intuit, which also owns Mint.com and Turbotax. They have some other important similarities. Both have robust help websites with knowledge bases, FAQs, and support available. Both have the option for 24/7 email case submission when you run into a snag with your accounting. Both software have "getting started" guides and are fairly easy to set up if you follow directions. Both have mobile apps for iOS and Android.
Quicken Home & Business and Quickbooks Online will both allow you to track money in and money out, which is the primary reason for accounting software, and both will allow for bills to be entered. Both allow for bank and credit card reconciliation, including connecting directly to the bank to import transactions. Both have invoice tracking and the ability to track sales tax, and both will work fairly well for very small businesses. Beyond that, Quicken vs Quickbooks divides sharply.
Quicken Home & Business
Quicken Home & Business is primarily designed to track personal finances and is a single user login. It costs $99 to purchase software, and it is recommended that software is updated with each tax year, so monthly costs are about $8.25 per month. Quicken Home & Business software is desktop based, has no cloud storage options, only works with Apple or Windows, and has few extra add-ons. It is really good for managing account balances, transactions, loans, investments, mutual funds, and retirement plans. It allows the user to separate home from business accounting, which is great for do it yourself accounting. However, accountants still do not favor it. Quicken Home & Business does not have the option for eCommerce and uses PayPal for credit card processing, so it is not a great option for online sellers. However the “home & business” edition can work for certain small businesses including sole proprietorships and a side business, and it can be very useful for businesses that focus on housing rentals. For landlords, Quicken Home & Business has a rental property center that allows tracking of tenants and leases, Dropbox integration for storage of documents, and Zillow home valuation tools. Quicken Home & Business is a well-liked software that gets 4 out 5-star ratings from actual users who say they would recommend it 90% of the time.
Quickbooks Online, in all its available variations, is designed to be used by businesses of all sizes. It costs between $15-$50 a month, depending on which edition your business needs and runs on a monthly subscription program. It allows you to access the most up-to-date software and store data on a cloud server. It can grow with a start-up business or manage the accounting for multi-million dollar companies. The base program allows for three users. Really, if your business may grow enough to justify an LLC at any point, you are best starting with Quickbooks Online. It isn’t great at personal finance tracking, but most accountants recommend keeping business and personal in separate programs, and most accountants prefer when their clients use Quickbooks Online. Quickbooks is also a well-liked software that gets 4 out 5-star ratings from actual users. Users say they would recommend it only 60% of the time, but that is likely due to the steep learning curve.
Quickbooks Online can do whatever your business needs it to, and much of it can be automated after initial set up. Features include business financial management, accounting, inventory tracking, tax filing, invoices, banking, account reconciliation, managing budgets and expenses, accounts receivable and accounts payable. It has payroll integration with Intuit online payroll including time tracking and 1099 reporting, payment processing including credit card transactions through merchant services, and eCommerce using Shopify and Square. Hundreds of apps and additional features (some at extra cost) are available to customize to your business. For example, nonprofits can use the donation and fundraising CRM, and businesses with internal collections can use apps for managing overdue accounts. It is so comprehensive, that it may have many features that must be ignored for functionality, but don’t let that worry you. In addition to the getting started guide, Quickbooks Online provides online training webinars and videos.
Quicken vs Quickbooks: Which One Should I Use?
Deciding between Quicken vs Quickbooks is really simple. If your business is a small sole proprietorship, side gig, or if your only need is for business accounting software for managing rental properties, Quicken Home & Business may work well for you. It can manage small-scale business accounting that does not need robust features, merchant services, or inventory tracking. It is a far simpler software to use than Quickbooks Online, and therefore more user-friendly. It is also about half the price of the most basic Quickbooks Online version.
If your business will ever grow to the size of an LLC or have the need to pay workers, track sales or inventory, or run complicated reports reflecting the health of your business, Quickbooks Online is a far better choice. In some cases, your accountant may insist on it and for good reason. With careful setup, taking advantage of the included training webinars and videos and utilizing the help ticket system and customer support, you will be able to set up a complete business financial software system that will do exactly what your business requires for all things money.
We feel that when deciding between Quicken vs Quickbooks, most business owners would be best off defaulting to Quickbooks as it can serve the smallest and largest businesses equally well. It includes all the financial management features a business owner could imagine and is constantly allowing new add-ons that provide for more customization. It is also one of the oldest, if not the oldest, business financial management software available. Quickbooks offers a lot of information on their website that you can explore to decide if this business financial software will work for you. For business owners who are certain their business will be small and confined to the limits of Quicken, for landlords or people who want robust personal financial software that can also be used for a very small business, they could consider Quicken to save some money and avoid the extras they do not need. To look at what Quicken Home & Business include, visit their website. Remember, it is hard to migrate financial data from one software to another, so spending some time researching before deciding Quicken vs Quickbooks is a good idea. After all, who wants to waste money on software designed to help them manage their bottom line?