For the past few years, Intuit has been heavily promoting its new darling â€“ QuickBooks Online, yet many accountants have grown increasingly worried that QuickBooks Pro is going away or wondering if QBO is truly better than Pro.
Well, I had the opportunity to attend the Scaling New Heights conference last month. If you haven't heard of it, Scaling New Heights is the premier conference for ProAdvisors where Intuit as well as technology vendors showcase the latest in tools, software, and trends in the modern accounting industry.
As Intuit executives addressed the audience of over 1,000 accounting professionals, you could feel the tension in the room around the question, â€œWhat are Intuit's plans for QuickBooks Pro?â€ Although Intuit cannot disclose their exact plans, they reassured the audience that they plan to continue supporting it, at least into the near future, and reaffirmed their commitment to QuickBooks Pro users.
However, lingering questions in many accountants' minds remain: Is QuickBooks Online better than QuickBooks Pro? Should accountants embrace QuickBooks Online and resign themselves to the fact that QuickBooks Pro will go away sometime in the near future?
My answer when I am asked the question if QBO is better than Pro is always â€œQuickBooks Online is not necessarily better than QuickBooks Pro. it is just different.â€ Moreover, in some cases QuickBooks Online is far better than QuickBooks Pro and in other ways, QuickBooks Online lacks some functionalities that non-hosted QuickBooks Pro has.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of key features:
QuickBooks Online alone is not the answer to every business and neither is QuickBooks Pro. In some cases, other desktop versions of QuickBooks may be a better fit for the client (such as QuickBooks Enterprise Solution). However, QBO integrated with software applications will match if not exceed the functionality of QBPro. For example, QBO integrated with SOS Inventory or Exact Online far outperforms the functionality of QBPro alone for companies with inventory needs.
Here are a few additional examples of how QBO integrated with other software applications will yield a more streamlined and efficient solution for clients:
Â· QBO integrated with Ebillity or BigTime or BillQuick for professional services companies.
Â· QBO integrated with Tallie or Expensify for web-based expense reporting and reimbursements.
Â· QBO integrated with Corecon or BuilderTrend for construction companies.
Â· QBO integrated with TSheets for tracking hours for multiple hourly employees.
What I have found in my experience that despite some shortcomings, QBO integrated with software applications is by far a better solution for certain clients. This is because I can recommend an integrated software application that is a better overall solution for my clients than QuickBooks Pro alone.
In addition, Intuit continues to improve QBO. In fact, they are currently working on improving the inventory functionality and they are continually releasing new updates and improvements.
What's the Real Question?
My question to accountants who are still uncomfortable with QuickBooks Online is, â€œwhat is the real reason for your discomfort?â€
Our profession is continually dealing with and adapting to change â€“ new tax laws, new accounting and audit standards, etc. Why is QuickBooks Online such a polarizing topic?
In my opinion, the reason that many accountants are uncomfortable with QuickBooks Online is because QBO is ushering in a new era in accounting. QuickBooks Online is forcing accountants to work in areas that we are generally uncomfortable with, such as:
Â· Cloud-based technology
Â· Collaborating with clients on their day-to-day issues
Â· Advising clients on software applications
Â· Providing clients with business advice
Â· Helping clients streamline workflows
Sure it's easy for us to recommend QuickBooks Pro and move on so that we can get back to compliance work. QuickBooks Online, on the other hand, forces us to move towards new roles, such as that of trusted advisor and technology consultant.
Are You Ready to Embrace QBO?
Whether you think you are ready or not, QuickBooks Online and cloud-based accounting technology is the way of the future; a future that is here now. You must embrace cloud-based processes and technologies or your firm will be replaced by firms who are already leveraging the power of the cloud and related applications
I can tell you this as well in all honesty: I started my journey four years ago by switching my own firm to QBO. The majority of my clients are now on QBO and I can say without hesitation that QBO has been a huge part of my firm's success.
Veronica Wasek, CPA, is an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, a public speaker, and a member of the national Intuit Trainer/Writer Network. She is the founder ofVM Wasek CPA, LLC, a QuickBooks-centric firm specializing in customized QuickBooks set up, training, clean up, consulting, and bookkeeping.