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Quicken vs. QuickBooks: How They Compare

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When deciding between Quicken Home and Business (QHB), QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop, the best accounting software program for you comes down to the type of small business you run. QHB is best for those with side businesses while QuickBooks products are designed for full-time entrepreneurs who need a comprehensive accounting toolkit. This Quicken vs. QuickBooks comparison guide explores each company’s features, costs and their respective strengths and weaknesses.

Quicken vs. QuickBooks: Cost, features and more

Quicken vs. QuickBooks
Quicken Home and Business QuickBooks Online QuickBooks Desktop
Software format Desktop software Cloud-based software Desktop software
Subscription Annual subscription Monthly subscription Annual subscription or one-time purchase of $399.99+
Price $93.59 for the first year;  $103.99/year for the following years Lowest tier is $15/month Starting at $199.99 for the first year; $299.99/year for the following years
Free trial Not available 30-day free trial 30-day free trial
Notable features Landlords can manage lease terms and rental rates, plus track loans and investments and create customized budgets Data backed up automatically in cloud, real-time collaboration with users inside your organization or outside accountants Calculate and rebill job costs, calculate discounts by customer
Multi-user capabilities Not available Up to 25 users, depending on subscription tier Up to 40 users, depending on subscription tier
Mobile app Available, but with limited features Compatible with iOS or Android; limited features on certain tiers Not available
Integrations Import bank transactions and balances into QHB with Web Connect Integrates with 650+ business apps, including PayPal, Square and Gusto Integrates with 200+ apps, including Stripe, Salesforce and Shopify
Payroll Not available Available as an add-on feature Available as an add-on feature
Support Phone, live chat and community forum Phone, message, community forum, resource database, classes Phone, message, community forum, resource database, classes

Quicken Home & Business

Good for: Rental property owners, Windows users Bad for: Employers, Mac users

Despite the product’s name, Quicken lists Quicken Home & Business (QHB) as a personal finance product. That’s because the company focuses on individuals who want to manage their household finances. But QHB might be a good fit for sole proprietors who prefer a single place to track business and personal expenses.  Rental property owners, for example, can manage lease terms, rental rates and track outstanding and paid rents.

Quicken Home & Business vs. QuickBooks

You can expect fewer business tools from QHB compared with QuickBooks. One crucial feature lacking in QHB is payroll — there is no built-in payroll feature or integration capability with third-party payroll providers. Moreover, QHB is available only for Windows computers, an automatic disqualifier for Mac users considering Quicken for home and business.

However, it has one advantage QuickBooks Desktop does not. While Quicken Home and Business is downloaded and installed onto your desktop, like QuickBooks Desktop, QHB users can perform certain, limited functions through a mobile app, allowing you to access Quicken online when you’re away from your home desktop.

QuickBooks Online

Good for: New QB users, employers Bad for: Budget conscious

QuickBooks Online is a full-featured, cloud-based business and financial management suite that offers essential business accounting tools for various businesses. But it’s also relatively expensive, requiring a monthly subscription. Here’s a look at the various subscription tiers:

  • Self-Employed, starting at $15 per month, allows business owners to track income and expenses, document receipts, estimate quarterly taxes, manage invoices, track miles and run basic reports.
  • Simple Start costs $25 per month and unlocks additional features, including the ability to manage cash flow and sales tax, generate general reports and send estimates
  • Essentials costs $40 per month and is ideal for service-based businesses owners that want to send estimates, manage 1099 contractors and track their time.
  • Plus and Advanced plans jump to $70 per month and then to $150 per month, respectively.  They offer useful features for product-based businesses, such as tracking inventory and projecting profitability.

QuickBooks Online offers a free 30 day-trial. Users may also skip the free trial and enjoy 50% off their subscription fee for three months.

Quicken Home & Business vs. QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online provides more than 650 integrations, making this software highly flexible for small businesses that use various business tools, such as Paypal, Square and Shopify. But, as we mentioned earlier, the monthly subscription adds up, particularly if you want to unlock the most powerful features. Its lowest-priced subscription tier, Self-Employed, might seem like an attractive alternative to QHB. However, QHB carries more features and at a lower price point. Self-Employed, like QHB, does not offer payroll integration.

With QHB and Self-Employed, you can track business and personal expenses, send and track invoices, estimate your tax obligations and track mileage. QHB, however, also offers various personal finance tools, including managing your bills, tracking debt and online bill payment — features unavailable to QuickBooks users.

QuickBooks Desktop

Good for: Owners with multiple companies Bad for: Owners on the go

QuickBooks Desktop shares many accounting features with its online counterpart, but with slight differences. Desktop-only features include rebilling job costs and calculating discounts by the customers, but you would not be able to restore company data and access your account via the mobile app — features available with the online version.

Also, QuickBooks Enterprise (only offered on Desktop) offers industry-specific solutions that certain businesses may find useful — manufacturing and wholesale businesses, for example, can automate builds and purchase orders for assembly components.

QuickBooks Desktop offers a one-time purchase price — $399.99 for Pro and $649.99 for Premier — or annual subscription plans starting starting at $199 for the first year.

Quicken Home & Business vs. QuickBooks Desktop

Like QHB, QuickBooks Desktop has offline accessibility, as the software is downloaded directly to your computer. You can also purchase cloud-based storage features for an additional fee. Payroll is also available on QuickBooks Desktop as a paid add-on, a feature absent from QHB.

Which one is right for your business?

QHB is ideal if you’re seeking a central location to manage your personal finances and sole proprietorship income and expenses. Since QHB lacks payroll capabilities, it may be a poor fit for small business owners with employees. That said, QHB’s price point at $103.99 per year (10% off for the first year) makes this software an affordable option, even if you added a separate payroll service.

When QuickBooks is a better fit for your business

QuickBooks is better suited for small businesses with multiple employees that need more robust accounting services. Both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop let you track inventory, generate business reports, automate workflow and complete payroll. QuickBooks users can also search QuickBooks’ database of ProAdvisors and hire QuickBooks-certified accounting professionals for advice on accounting, tax and financial planning and navigating their QuickBooks software.

Naturally, QuickBooks’ comprehensive accounting tools raise the price point — QuickBooks Online’s lowest tier costs $15 per month and adding payroll starts at $45 per month plus $4 per employee (payroll unavailable for QuickBooks Self-Employed). Like QuickBooks Online’s subscription tiers, you could choose between a 30-day free trial of its payroll plans or 50% off for the first three months. If you see yourself using QuickBooks long term and don’t mind forgoing QuickBooks Online’s cloud-based functionality, then QuickBooks Desktop might be an affordable solution with a one-time purchase starting at $399.99. Annual subscription tiers unlock added services.

Alternatives to Quicken, QuickBooks

QHB, QuickBooks Online and Desktop are just three potential business accounting solutions among many. If neither small business accounting software company fit your needs, consider these free and paid alternatives:

Freshbooks

Like QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting software ideal for service-based businesses. After a 30-day free trial (no credit card required), a FreshBooks subscription starts at $15 monthly for the Lite Plan, which includes unlimited expense tracking. You can receive payment via credit card or bank transfer for up to five clients. Freshbooks is currently offering 60% for the first three months but also offers an annual subscription option for additional savings.

FreshBooks’s project collaboration tools can help team members share files and create deadlines. Freshbooks doesn’t have built-in payroll but it integrates with Gusto, a payroll and HR software solution for small businesses, with plans starting at $19 per month plus $6 per month per person.

Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting is a web-based software ideal for small businesses with limited budgets because this software is entirely free (with the option to unlock additional features for a fee). For zero dollars, you can track sales tax, organize income and expenses, send unlimited invoices, and scan and record receipts. Wave Accounting also offers payroll services at an additional cost starting at $20 a month.

Sage

Sage Business Cloud Accounting is another online software that lets small business owners forecast cash flow, manage invoices and collaborate with their accountant in real-time. You can also monitor inventory and fulfill orders, making this software a suitable alternative for product-based businesses. Small business owners can choose from two plans — Accounting Start for $10 per month and Accounting for $25 per month. Sage also offers HR and payroll products, purchased separately.

FAQs about Quicken vs. QuickBooks

What is Quicken?

Quicken offers software with personal finance management tools downloaded onto your Windows or Mac computer (Quicken Home and Business is available for Windows systems only). Quicken and QuickBooks were originally sister companies owned by Intuit until H.I.G. Capital acquired Quicken in 2016.

What is QuickBooks?

QuickBooks is a software that offers accounting and payroll tools to small businesses, including invoice and inventory management. Depending on which product you purchase, QuickBooks can be an online cloud-based software or software downloaded directly onto your computer.

What’s the difference between QuickBooks and Quicken?

Quicken typically focuses on personal finances and is ideal for those with side businesses, real estate in particular. With Quicken, you can manage rental properties, create customized budgets and monitor your investments.  QuickBooks is generally better suited for small businesses with more robust accounting needs.

Which is easier: Quicken or QuickBooks?

If your needs are specific to personal finance or you operate a sole proprietorship, then Quicken may be easier to use, as it doesn’t contain the myriad of accounting tools that QuickBooks offers. However, both Quicken and QuickBooks may require a learning curve if you’re brand new to the software. Fortunately, Quicken provides a Getting Started guide after downloading the software to your computer. QuickBooks offers classes and has an extensive library of online video tutorials to help you learn how to use QuickBooks online.

Should I buy QuickBooks or use online?

Choosing between QuickBooks Online or downloading the desktop version boils down to pricing and accessibility. QuickBooks Online is cloud-based, making it easy to access anywhere with online connectivity but charges a monthly subscription. QuickBooks Desktop lets you operate the software offline. Some of its products are a one-time purchase fee, which may yield savings over time.

Is QuickBooks for personal use?

QuickBooks was intended to be an accounting solution for businesses but it is a possible (and more costly) option for home and personal use. Depending on which plan you choose, you can track income and expenses, organize receipts and manage cash flow.

Prices current as of publication date. 

 

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