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Many contractors are thinking of moving to the cloud. The lure of anytime, anywhere access to your QuickBooks company data is powerful and you might be considering making the move to the QuickBooks Online version.

Cost is always a factor – and cost doesn’t always involve money either…sometimes that cost is in functionality.  What will you gain and what will you lose?

don't let your profit go down the drainThe folks over at Radio Free QuickBooks put together this great QuickBooks comparison chart that will help you to compare the features and functionality of QuickBooks Desktop version and the QuickBooks Online versions.  What you’ll see is that while you’ll be gaining the anytime, anywhere access by using QuickBooks Online – you’ll be giving up many of the powerful job costing features of the QuickBooks Desktop version, such as:

  • billing rate levels
  • price levels
  • comparative Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss Reports
  • the ability to create a Purchase Order or Sales Order from an Estimate
  • industry specific reporting
  • Mileage tracking
  • Multiple Vendor ship to Addresses
  • Progress billing
  • Actual vs. Estimate Reports
  • job costed payroll*
  • and more

*While you can still do payroll in QuickBooks Online, you have to use the Online Payroll subscription.  Now you think that may not be such a bad thing — but your payroll transactions aren’t automatically job-costed in the same way as they are with QuickBooks Enhanced payroll and they don’t live in your QuickBooks file as “real” paycheck entries – they are imported as a check (just like a vendor payment) and you’ll need to manually do all the job costing.

If you use QuickBooks 3rd party integrated add-ons, such as those found at the Intuit Marketplace, you might be disappointed to know that many of them are not compatible with the QuickBooks Online editions, this means that you’ll have to find some other way of performing those tasks that you could automate when you used the desktop version.

So, any productivity gains that you might have from achieving anywhere, anytime access just went out the window, because now you’ll need to move your job-costing outside of QuickBooks and you’ll need to manually job cost your payroll.  That is a huge step backwards – especially if you rely on Progress Invoicing features, and use Actual vs. Estimate Reports to keep track of your jobs.  That’s a big price to pay!

You may also be under the impression that moving to QuickBooks Online will be cheaper – but let’s looks at that as well:

QuickBooks Online vs QuickBooks Desktop pricing

Right click on the image to enlarge it

Looking at our price comparison above, let’s assume that you pay a total of 10 employees each month at $1.50 each – that increases your monthly cost by $15.00 and your annual cost by $180.00.

Maybe QuickBooks Online isn’t the way to go – but having your QuickBooks Desktop version of Pro, Premier or Enterprise hosted certainly is worth checking into.

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