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QuickBooks Frequently Asked Questions for Contractors

FieldPulse | December 27, 2017

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks is one of the most popular accounting products for contractors in the world. Because it does so much, and handles so many different type of accounting needs, it can also be complex. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions we hope will help when considering buying QuickBooks or using it day-to-day.


How much does QuickBooks cost?

QuickBooks Desktop costs $299 per year, for a limited number of installations. QuickBooks Online is offered in several levels of service from a promotional rate of $10 per month for the self-employed to $50 per month for the full rate on the Plus plan. Here is a chart that offers a quick pricing comparison. The Plus plan comes closest to offering the full capabilities available on the Desktop version.


Is QuickBooks Online secure?

Cloud computing is generally very safe and secure. Intuit provides backups for your information and full tech support with QuickBooks Online. This can save you time and money, while being able to access the software anywhere that you have an internet connection.


How often do I have to update QuickBooks?

Intuit recommends updating QuickBooks Desktop once a year, but only requires it every three years to maintain access to connected services. Considering the tax implications of your accounting software, their recommendation is solid. The Online version is updated continuously and automatically. As a software user, you don’t have to do a thing, or even think about it. It is another advantage for contractors looking to save overhead expenses.


Does QuickBooks offer a free trial?

Yes, but only for QuickBooks Online. With QuickBooks Desktop, you have to purchase it before you try it.


Can I use a mobile device to access QuickBooks, or do I have to use a Mac or PC?

QuickBooks Online is accessible from any of the three – a mobile device, a Mac, or a PC. In fact, this is one of the reasons that Intuit is encouraging people to sign up for QuickBooks Online with most of their promotions. They expect QuickBooks Online to be a key area of growth, especially with contractors.


Can I use both QuickBooks Online and Desktop?

While you can’t use both side by side, you can migrate from one to the other. Since QuickBooks Online offers a free 30 day trial – but QuickBooks Desktop doesn’t – they encourage customers to try the online version first. If after 30 days you don’t like it, purchase the Desktop version. In a sense, it’s another promotion to encourage users to at least give QuickBooks Online a try. You can transfer your data from QuickBooks Online to Desktop, but it’s not for regular use. Consider it a serious, final decision, but know that it can be done.


Which version is more commonly used?

QuickBooks Online is used by 80% of users, and Intuit expects their future to look the same. The online version meets the needs of the majority of customers, between mobile capabilities and a focus on service based business.


Can QuickBooks Online handle batch invoicing or multiple inventory systems?

No, not yet. For now, QuickBooks Desktop is the choice for companies with these needs.


Is there an industry-specific version?

Yes, but only with QuickBooks Desktop. They are working towards adding industry specific versions in the future, so check back before your next software update.


I love QuickBooks Desktop. Will they make me switch to QuickBooks Online at some point?

QuickBooks knows they have had a loyal fan base since the 1990’s. They have no current plans to eliminate their Desktop version for these customers. Be prepared for more incentives to switch to QuickBooks Online as they add features and capabilities in years to come. However, if you use a Mac, there will be no new versions of Desktop in the future.


QuickBooks Online vs Desktop – Which one is right for me?

Do you sell physical products? Then QuickBooks Desktop is geared towards you. If you have a service-based business then consider QuickBooks Online first. Unless you have complicated, industry specific needs, then this version should give you the best return on investment. For more information on when to choose between the two versions, we’ve written a complete guide to choosing.

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