Choosing the right software for your glazing business is always an important decision. We’ve worked closely with lots of Glaziers who have needed to review their accounting package, so we’ve put together a guide that compares QuickBooks Online and Desktop (including Desktop Enterprise), to help you decide if QuickBooks Online meets the needs of your business.
Three Different Options
While there are a range of packages available and different add-ons, there are 3 core platform options: Online, Desktop and Desktop Enterprise.
- Online – run on the cloud, accessed through your web browser, available anywhere you have an internet connection, on any computer or device.
- Desktop – installed on your computer, run locally on your desktop or laptop.
- Desktop Enterprise – also installed on your computer, run locally, but designed for large enterprises who require specific functions, such as 6x the list capacity, useful if you need to track 1 million customers, vendors and inventory items.
Pros and Cons of QUICKBOOKS Online and Desktop for a Glazing Business
While either system will give you the basic accounting functions you need to run your glass business, there are key differences between the packages, particularly when it comes to what is included as standard and additional extras that you need to pay more for.
Flexibility and Accessibility
QuickBooks Online is the most flexible and accessible choice and will suit most glaziers, giving you the core accounting tools you require. If you are out on the road you will benefit from remote access on a range of devices and built in automation options which are not always available on QuickBooks Desktop. It includes many features that are paid for add-ons when using the desktop platform, such as automatically importing bank transactions, encrypted back-ups, and unlimited free technical support, giving you a safety net for when things don’t go to plan. The larger number of integrations can help QuickBooks Online work with the tools you already use to run your glass business.
One benefit of QuickBooks Desktop is the high-level inventory management (which requires paying for the Advanced Inventory Add-on Module), however QuickBooks Online includes inventory management in their “Plus” plan for QuickBooks Online users.
Number of users
The number of users you need is another factor to consider. QuickBooks Online allows up to 5 users, where QuickBooks Desktop has 3. This can be limiting when you have multiple staff wanting to know what stage jobs are currently at and you need the right person at the right computer to access this. QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise does allow for a maximum of 30 users but comes at a much higher cost. QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise is usually only relevant for glaziers who have hundreds of thousands of customers, at which point there are newer (and more expensive) options to consider.
That leaves QuickBooks Desktop as mainly being useful for companies who are already using the Average Cost Method. QuickBooks Desktop has some basic job costing options, however there are often better software options available which have been specifically designed and customized for your glass business.
Additional Extras / Paid for Add-ons
QuickBooks Desktop requires you to pay extra for what most users would consider key features. On top of having to pay $299 to upgrade to the latest version (mandatory every 3 years, or earlier if you want the latest features), you may need to pay fees for important functions that are already included in the QuickBooks Online package. Paying extra to automatically import bank transactions, paying for support, paying extra for back-ups of your data and paying extra for cloud access adds up quickly.
What does Smart-Builder Recommend?
QuickBooks Online offers the most benefits to a glazing business and is what we recommend to our customers currently using QuickBooks Desktop. Being able to access QuickBooks Online from any location and from any device with an internet connection is a great fit with most glass shops. If you are interested in an alternative to QuickBooks, Xero is the second most popular online option available.
QuickBooks Online can reduce double handling of information through integrations with a range of third-party applications, including Smart-Toolbox, which looks after invoicing, quoting, scheduling and tracking and syncs the important accounting information to QuickBooks.
QuickBooks Online includes critical functions in the standard package, whereas QuickBooks Desktop often requires additional payments to access the extra functions, when they are available on that platform.
For a busy, growing business the automation within QuickBooks Online means you can free up the time you need to focus on what you do best, rather than worrying about managing your accounts.
How to get started with QuickBooks Online
With a 30-day risk-free trial and a 60-day money back guarantee, you can be set up in under an hour, without needing a lot of accounting knowledge. When you’re ready to get started, contact QuickBooks to get underway.
Additional resources and sources:
- From Wikipedia – “As such, the software soon claimed up to 85 percent of the small business accounting software market. It continues to command the vast majority of this market.”
- Pricing accurate as of November 2019 but varies depending on number of users and features required and any current discounts being offered by QuickBooks.