QuickBooks Desktop vs QuickBooks Online – QuickBooks Desktop May Not Survive

QuickBooks Desktop vs QuickBooks Online

I wrote QuickBooks Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online, Users and Revenue in January. Intuit keeps supplies and advisor revenue in QuickBooks Desktop (QBD). Without this, QBD July 2017 year revenue was $1,390 million vs QuickBooks Online $853 million. Three-year average changes have REVENUE almost even ($48 million) in the fiscal year ending in July 2019. QuickBooks Online then GOES UP MORE THAN TWO BILLION IN fiscal 2023. Intuit insists that it will keep QBD as long as there is demand, but here is why demand may drop and QuickBooks Desktop may not survive.

Before my 2011 temporary Xero use, Intuit CEO Brad Smith told me he was shifting 75% to 80% of development money to online. QBO has since gotten MANY new features and bug fixes. QBD is static, with bugs. Unless this changes, QuickBooks Desktop may not survive.

I have the greatest respect for Brian Tankersley and K2 Enterprises. It is an honor to have him answer my post, helping get it 2,700 views on LinkedIn alone. Part of what he said was:

Sure, it’s going to get more expensive to run QBD, but if you have a construction company or someone who has inventory, desktop remains the choice from a functionality perspective. While hosting is expensive, it’s a good way to cloudify a desktop app.

Only price increases let QBD revenue not drop as fast as users for 3+ years. As QBD prices rise (with few upgrades and bugs), the computer industry moves online and QBO gets more powerful, more users will drop QBD, so QuickBooks Desktop may not survive.

The Best Enterprise Accounting Software

A PC Magazine article, The Best Enterprise Accounting Software of 2018 has three online programs as Editors’ Choice. I know one is more powerful than QB Enterprise (QBE, #9 of 10), as a 2011 Business Week story featured it and me, so QuickBooks Desktop may not survive.

As to Windows hosting, I used it to import QuickBooks into ProSeries tax the night before a ProSeries Advisory Council meeting. Council members and Intuit personnel had not heard of this before. Council members approved my plan for Intuit to bundle products with hosting. I know this was in 2006 or 2007 because of a resulting September 2007 Accounting Technology cover story, Secrets of Outsourcing, featuring me (see my avatar). I hosted QuickBooks, Intuit ProSeries, Microsoft Office, and many other programs, for clients and us, locally, on Amazon and on other remote servers. QBD hosting alone can now cost $30 to $100/month/user ($150 – $3,000 total), so QuickBooks Desktop may not survive.

As to construction, a large multi-company construction company uses QBO for each company. One man reviews daily job costs vs. budgets (by project, line item and total, company and consolidated). He uses many QBO reports by PHONE! As to inventory, Fishbowl is often good, it integrates with QBO, costs less and can have more than the 30 user QBE limit, so QuickBooks Desktop may not survive.

This does not mean QBD cannot be good in some cases. I recently suggested 45 copies. However, the free QBO Accountant now links to QBO, QBD and other online and desktop apps. Intuit client-server technology makes QBO faster and more secure when linked this way, even if the internet goes down. To the contrary, the slightest short network drive or internet glitch crashes QBD, so QuickBooks Desktop may not survive.

Some say that Intuit will never discontinue QBD because of its billion-dollar revenue. However, I have been an Intuit lover since the first version of Quicken in 1984, repeatedly reading the great Inside Intuit: How the Makers of Quicken Beat Microsoft and Revolutionized an Entire Industry (If you order from this link I will get my first very small Amazon commission. Your copy is very unlikely to have been read and underlined as much as mine, including Today’s use.) That is why I can remind readers that Intuit bought Digital Insight 2007 for $1.35 billion in 2007 and sold it in 2013 at a loss. Intuit also sold its original Quicken product, so QuickBooks Desktop may not survive.

More important, however, is that all this shows HOW QuickBooks Desktop CAN SURVIVE. Some so dislike change that Intuit may keep QBD until it is too virus prone or does not run under Windows 2025 (???). However, Intuit also can easily give us QuickBooks Online Enterprise or an equivalent app, with all the functionality of the current QuickBooks Desktop. They may even manage the QBD user interface. QBO Accountant will easily link to these new versions of QBO, with client-server technology. This can give us speed, security, and freedom from crashes if the internet or local drives temporarily go down. Therefore, the QuickBooks Desktop programs CAN EFFECTIVELY SURVIVE as QBO variants.

I am sure that Brad Smith and his consistently brilliant Intuit team will make this happen.




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Fastest, easiest, accurate, low-cost QuickBooks! Intuit - QuickBooks CEO, "You're fantastic Mike! Absolutely fantastic!" Tax fighting CPA.

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