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Part 3: Dispelling Myths About QuickBooks Online

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We often hear from clients that they don’t want to switch to QuickBooks Online because their previous bookkeeper said it was a watered-down version of QuickBooks and is inefficient.

And, to be clear, 5 years ago that was true.

Over the past 3-4 years, however, Quickbooks Online has made significant strides in functionality and stability. It’s easy to hear an opinion of a certain software and adopt that as your perspective too, especially if you haven’t given the time to investigate the differences (sorry, bitcoin), but here we tackle some of the biggest myths handed down year over year to us from our accounting forebears:



QuickBooks Desktop offers the convenience of opening multiple windows – allowing you to keep various reports and registers open for reference – and switch between them using the “Open Windows Tab.”

Since QuickBooks Online runs within a browser, it may seem as if multiple windows is not an option – however, the functionality is there. Remember that you can have multiple tabs open within your browser! If you’d like to keep certain registers or reports open, just duplicate your tabs or open other areas in a new tab and use the tab bar to switch between them. Want to view multiple tabs side by side? Some browsers offer this feature, but there is a workaround for those that do not – simply open multiple browsers.

So while it is true that QuickBooks Online does not do well with two separate company files open (often logging you out on one screen, or ‘refreshing’ a page to only show up as the primary company), it is definitely possible to jump between different “windows.”



This is half true. While it can be a pain to get support directly from Intuit, they do offer an active, online community for finding knowledgeable assistance with questions. Regardless of whether you have QuickBooks Online or Desktop, there are hundreds of posted threads and chat capabilities – along with a telephone support hotline – to help you find the solution you need.

The main difference with QuickBooks Online support relates to where it comes from. QuickBooks Desktop has a team located in the US, UK, and Canada, whereas QuickBooks Online has global support teams. In some cases, this could make finding a solution take a bit longer. However, in the majority of cases you will save time by experiencing fewer issues overall. This is not something to be overlooked. The perception that QuickBooks Desktop has better customer service may exist simply because users need its support more often.



Nobody wants to sacrifice security for ease and with QuickBooks Online you you don’t have to.

As we already touched on, since QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based service managed by Intuit, more time and resources are invested into protective security measures than the average small business can afford. Intuit has dedicated data security teams who recognize your information is a target for hackers and invest accordingly in encryption, firewalls, defensive technologies and security audits. Intuit is also a licensee of TRUSTe Privacy Program which requires them to abide by certain regulations to keep your information safe. Learn more about QuickBooks Online security here.



While there’s going to be some give and take between the separate products, for the most part QuickBooks Online can replicate many of the same activities and reports.

The key productivity differences come down to this: QuickBooks Desktop can track mileage (big deal, so can lots of other things), has an easier method of recording bounced checks (if you are depositing a bunch of bounced checks on a regular basis, you have bigger fish to fry), record batch entries (most rarely need to do this), record a larger amount of inventory data and has more inventory-based reporting available (it is still an abysmal inventory software, anyway), has more specialized reporting available, can provide slightly better job costing, and has the ability for a secondary company file to be open as well.

QuickBooks Online also offers some features the desktop version does not: bill pay thanks to integration with, time tracking to bill customers, separate bank reconciliations by type and filter dates, much more intuitive and efficient online banking system. These products have the capabilities to do so many of the same things. It really boils down to how your company plans on using QuickBooks and how you run your business.


NEXT WEEK: The QuickBooks Online User Interface Explained…