Finance & Accounting Articles

QuickBooks Online vs the Internet Rumor Mill!

by Todd Spear
Published on 4 September 2014

myth-bustedIntuit QuickBooks is the go-to accounting tool for many businesses around the globe. In use in more than 124 countries , QuickBooks Online was putting accounting activities on the Web, way back when no one was calling it "the cloud." And it's still paving the way, even today.

Nevertheless, there are many myths about QuickBooks Online - one of the most pervasive being that it's just a repackaging of old, desktop versions of Intuit software.

Is there any truth to the claims other apps makers and users are making? Let's try to find the truth, the facts among all the fiction when it comes to the Web's rumor mill vs. QuickBooks Online

When we recently wrote about alternatives to QuickBooks Online, we received a deluge of comments (and tweets!) for and against the app. The ensuing comments are giving us an opportunity to clear the air about a few things, namely the extent of "legacy code" prevalent in the current version of QuickBooks Online.

Let's take a look at a piece of accounting app royalty, Intuit's QuickBooks Online to find the truth beyond the rumors, and beyond the cloud-crazed hype. To do these, we're going to tackle three key QuickBooks myths. Frankly, they're all busted.

QuickBooks Online Vs. Myth #1: QuickBooks Online Uses "Legacy Code" (Busted!)

The beliequickbooksf that the current version of QuickBooks Online employs so-called legacy code, potentially a decade or more old owes much to a Forbes article from January of 2014. In that article, Gene Marks writes:

"Many current QuickBooks customers (perhaps you?) who are frustrated with the software's older architecture but have suffered with it because they/you did not feel the need (or were just too lazy) to change will now be forced to change in the next few years."

The weasel words here are "older architecture." The truth is QuickBooks Online was redesigned in July of 2013, addressing the need for scalability and real-time data in modern, cloud-based accounting applications. The redesign that occurred in mid-2013 was from-the-ground-up - meaning no old code, no legacy cruft. Literally: none.

QuickBooks Online Vs. Myth #2: "Migration is Not Possible" (Busted!)

In a different Forbes article (from 2013), Marks poses some concerns around cloud-based accounting migration, and quotes Sage One's Mark Savory, as follows:

"They may talk a good game, but none of these vendors have really come up with a seamless way to migrate data from your old system to theirs. Even if it's their system. 'It's our biggest obstacle,' admits Sage One Product Manager Mike Savory. 'Migration can be complex and expensive.'"

"So you better watch out - if you want to get anything more than a basic list of customers and vendors into your new system you're going to meet up with some challenges. Expensive challenges. Your most cost effective strategy will likely be to keep the detailed historical data in your old system for reference purposes and just journalize your opening general ledger into the new system."

Bonk! Incorrect.

The obvious omission? That great big pronoun "they" refers to everyone except Intuit! The concern is with moving QuickBooks data to other applications, like Xero and Sage.

Intuit QuickBooks itself still supports older files from earlier versions of QuickBooks.

QuickBooks Online Vs. Myth #3: "Newer Apps Have More Integrations" (Busted!)

QuickBooks Onlin's visualizations are a thing of beauty.

The problem here is that, as we've already clarified, QuickBooks Online is a new app, period. Secondly, Intuit has direct access to more ultra-important integrations than any other vendor. Namely, QuickBooks Online has access to more banks and financial institutions than any of its competitors.

Case in point: I have a checking account with Ameris, an East Coast, USA regional bank that is not everywhere. QuickBooks Online interfaces with my bank. I have an eTrade account and two Motif Investing accounts as well, and Intuit has integrations with both - not to mention many others. Having access to account information is the bottom line when it comes to financial apps, and QuickBooks Online makes it a snap by virtue of Intuit's shear power, reach, and access to a broad spectrum of financial institutions.

On the add-on front, QuickBooks Online integrations include major players like Shopify and Lettuce, among others. There's just not much that doesn't work with QuickBooks, thanks to Intuit's lion's share of the account app marketplace.

QuickBooks Online, still running strong

It's obvious at this point that Intuit QuickBooks Online is not the only game in town, but it's sill the most widely used, with more than 5 million small businesses using the application as of now.

When comparing it to ther accounting apps, remember that QuickBooks Online sports the features that set the standard, including:

  • Create & manage invoices
  • Track sales & expenses
  • Multi-device document sharing
  • Print checks
  • Track payments
  • Automated online banking
  • Create estimates
  • Enter & manage bills
  • Export data to Excel
  • Smart phone compatible
  • Support for Mac23
  • Free Trial
  • Dashboards and feeds
  • Mobile receipt capture
  • Actionable insights
  • Banking data synchronization
  • Create custom invoices
  • Automatic tax calculations
  • Pay online link in invoices
  • Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet reports

All that's really happening is that the cloud revolution is presenting more competitors for Intuit. Just as Burger King, Wendy's, and Hardees/Carl's Jr. compete with McDonalds, many app newbies compete with Intuit. But there is only one original, Intuit, and it's just as serious a contender as it ever was.

The fact remains, though, that Intuit is already a well-established company, one esteemed for its bullet-proof balance sheet (a factor worthy of consideration indeed, for an accounting app). Are there new kids on the accounting app block? Sure. Are there alternatives to QuickBooks Online that will work for certain companies? Sure. But is there a max exodus away from QuickBooks Online looming on the horizon? Heck no. Intuit is still the biggest name in the business, and more companies trust its QuickBooks Online than any other accounting app on the market.

You can check out QuickBooks Online Vs all the other accounting app alternatives at GetApp and find the one works best for you. That said, Intuit's QuickBooks Online is a great place to start for small business accounting.


Apps mentioned in this article