QuickBooks Desktop Review

Enables me to do deep dives into accounting research

How has it helped my organization?

With QuickBooks Desktop, you can open multiple companies. The program is on your computer, it's not cloud-based. I first used it when I ran a not-for-profit for nine years. I was also able to use it for my personal finances, and now that I am in business for myself, I use it with customers that do not want to do their own accounting, so they send me the data, and I set up their company, and I turn raw data into financial statements in less than two weeks.

What is most valuable?

  • The ability to do deep dives into accounting research
  • The simplicity of each of its modules with Customers, Vendors, and Employees
  • As a certified ProAdvisor, their customer service is the best I have ever experienced for anything.

What needs improvement?

In their journal entries, you cannot use Accounts Payable or Accounts Receivable more than once. For example, I owe company "A" $100, so company "A" is Accounts Payable, and I just want to list it one by one by one. If I want to add more companies, say, company "B" with $200, I can't list Accounts Payable in that entry. I would have to just say, company "A", $100, company "B", $200, Accounts Payable, $300." That's a shortcoming of it.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No stability issues. Twenty-one years of using it says it's a stable product. The other thing is, built into the program, it reminds you to backup your data. After you go in either three or five times, there's a reminder when you leave, "Don't you think you should backup your data?"

They also have a feature where, if you have a glitch, there are some options under the Company menu to try to rectify the problem yourself. And if that doesn't work, you call the most amazing, positive, helpful customer service in the world. I like them.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are some limits to what a company can do, number of transactions. But it's in the millions, and I have never dealt with any client that reached more than that. And, if you do, there is a follow-on product called QuickBooks Enterprise, which is designed to handle the really, really big companies with lots of employees, and lots and lots of transactions, and lots of users, etc. 

QuickBooks Desktop is the perfect software program for a startup company to begin keeping track of its accounts, to work with banks, to present financials to its CPAs so that they can get their taxes done. I'm not a CPA. I don't do taxes. I prepare their financial statements so they can get their taxes done.

How are customer service and technical support?

I rate them 11 out of 10. One of the reasons I stay involved in this product as a ProAdvisor is because I can rely on the customer service. You will always need to phone customer service about some issue. It's like knowing everything about Excel. Nobody, nowadays, knows everything about Excel because it has too many features. Well, there's always going to be something in accounting. I deal with service industries. You have a company that sells clothes: "Oh, that's retail." I might need help in figuring out this or that; or "How do you do this?" and, because I'm a ProAdvisor, I get a special number to call. But people can purchase QuickBooks Desktop, it's called Plus, and they get customer service with that, too.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I used Excel. Excel says it's a spreadsheet program but you can use it as a database program, too (which is what QuickBooks is, it's just a bunch of databases that are tied together). One time I was doing something, and I didn't check all of my formulas correctly, and I miscalculated, and I gave a wrong number to a client, and it was embarrassing. Thank God it wasn't costly, and that was when it said to me I need something better. Then I founded a not-for-profit company, and because I was getting grants I needed to keep track of them so I could report to the people giving me grants. Excel was not acceptable for that, so I got QuickBooks.

How was the initial setup?

I set it up myself. I'm trained as an accountant, my education is in accounting. The umbrella company to QuickBooks is called Intuit, and it's a very apt name because QuickBooks, especially if you have an accounting background, is very intuitive. And even if you don't have an accounting background, it makes it easy for non-accountants to put in their data.

Case in point: When you're working with customers who owe you money and vendors to whom you owe money, the screens are similar, it's just they do the "dark and mysterious" double entries behind the screen. So all you're seeing is "I'm entering a bill to pay," or "I'm entering an invoice to send to somebody," and then when you start exploring the company, and the more you know about accounting, you see the genius of how it's set up.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

When I first started, the only other options were the very expensive programs. QuickBooks Desktop you can find anywhere between $200 and $300 on Amazon or Costco. 

As a ProAdvisor I can offer discounts, but Amazon always sells it cheaper than I can, which is a good thing because I get no kickback from you buying the product. Therefore our relationship has more integrity because I'm not trying to sway you to buy my product because I will get $23, or something like that.

What other advice do I have?

Intuit really wants its customer to be happy with the product and to be able to use it. And, as an extension, when I teach people to use Desktop, I'm a reference too that they can call, and I use telephone conferencing so that I can look at their screen, and see what's going on and say, "Oh, you've got to move this from there to there, and it just doesn't make sense, so let's figure out a way to move this up."

QuickBooks, you can get it either on disk, or you can get it to download over the Web. They have a whole lot of security passwords, licensing agreements, so that your data and your program is safe. 

And then they have, "Let's walk you through it," introductions, to show you how to use it. And they even thought about different industries, so that if you're in a service industry, if you're in a retail industry, or you're in construction, they have set up some of the initial out-of-the-box setups, so that you have something that looks kind of like your industry. So for me, I'm an accountant consulting. I do not need an Account called "Dental Equipment." It's flexible to fit your industry.

QuickBooks Online is a second product that they offer. It is cloud-based, and if you are going to equate softwares to cars, Desktop is the Lexis, Online is the Volkswagen.

Initially, with Online, you might think, "Oh, this is so much easier to use, and I can use it on my phone." But unless you are dealing with customers, and having to create an invoice when you're over at your customer, there's no need to get the Online service. Most people think, "Oh, well, I want to be able to check my books all the time," and you get QuickBooks Online, and how many times do you check your books? You don't.

QuickBooks is intuitive and easy with the more background in accounting that you have. 

If you're new to the business, if you're new to forming your company, consult a bookkeeper or a CPA for advice on your initial setup. Yes, there is a lot that you can do on your own, but accounting can be confusing, and if you set it up wrong, you run the risk of creating a very profitable situation for me to come in and clean it up. One of my specialties is called "disaster accounting." I have a client who got embezzled. I have a client who had somebody put the information in completely wrong - and this was a former CFO and CPA - and I had to totally rebuild the books from two and a half years back. So when you first start, consult with a bookkeeper - a bookkeeper is cheaper than a CPA - and get some beginning guidance in how to set it up.

I rate it a nine out of 10, because there are always things in this program that you can improve. The problem with listing Accounts Payable twice in a journal entry, that's one of them. But these issues are not enough to make me not like the product. QuickBooks also has a tab that you can click on and make suggestions to improve it. I give it a nine because it's the best program I know that's out there, but it's not perfect - and I adore it.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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