If you’ve been a small business owner for some time, you’ll realize there’s been an ongoing debate about the best software to buy when setting up your small business. Presumably you are past the point where you decide IF you need software. Given the low prices and ease of use of many lines of accounting software, spending $100 or $200 on finance software really is a no-brainer, even if you’re on the tightest of budgets. Accounting software makes perfect sense and is affordable enough for everyone. If you doubt that statement, you’re likely to be in trouble and waste a lot of time figuring out accounting the “old way.”
QuickBooks and Quicken are the two dominant software packages on the market right now. Of course, there are free imitations, but my general experience has been that free imitations take a long time to learn and don’t save you much time in the long run. Yes, they are free, but how much is your time worth? Ironically, those two software applications are from the same company, Intuit, but for slightly different markets. Let me explain.
Quicken is for the small, sole proprietorship business that doesn’t need a lot of printed forms, customer receipts, purchase orders, invoices, or other accounting documentation. You can print invoices, but it’s not as easy as with QuickBooks. Also, between the two packages, Quicken has a smaller learning curve, making it easy to install, configure, and get started. If you simply need an easy to use checkbook balancer, this is the product to get. You can keep track of loans and repayment schedules. It also gives you the option to plan your finances and savings for retirement. Once again, its strength is its ease of use.
QuickBooks, on the other hand, is ideal for a small LLC, corporation, or limited company that actually employs people. If you need to keep detailed records of cash, inventory, or assets, you need QuickBooks.
This product includes robust features to automate general accounting tasks such as customer statements, payroll, and finance charges. A great under-discussed (and also underused) feature that QuickBooks has going for it is the compartmentalized security features that make it possible for your bookkeeper or CPA to keep your books without needing them to look into every area of your finances. It’s a rare feature, it seems.
Both products are good at what they do and are priced accordingly. You might even find coupons online to make shopping more enjoyable. Each app is packaged slightly differently with its own versions of Deluxe, Super Deluxe, and “We can’t put more features in this product without taking up massive amounts of hard drive space” Deluxe, so be sure to check each one out for the features. features that will be important to you and your business.