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Quicken vs Quickbooks

Quicken and QuickBooks are both offered by Intuit, a publicly traded company. They also own the finance management website www.mint.com and are the makers of TurboTax. Although both software options are offered by the same provider, there is a different feature set to at to determine which could be the right tool to use.

Quicken is designed for families or individuals. The software tracks your account balances. It will also keep track of your investments, budget, loans, or other transactions that you have for your personal finances. One version even provides the option to track rental property income or small business finances with your personal finances.

QuickBooks is a financial management tool that is designed for small-to-medium businesses (SMBs). It provides everything from inventory and accounting to payroll and tax filing. You can track bank accounts, perform reconciliation, and do your payment processing from it. AR, AP, and other invoicing or budgeting needs can be completed as well.

In the Quicken vs QuickBooks debate, which option is better for you? Let’s take a look.

What Are the Advantages of Quicken?

Intuit uses Quicken to target individuals, sole proprietors, freelancers, and entrepreneurs who do not have the need to manage a payroll. The tools are fairly simple, but still helpful, when there isn’t a need to separate personal finances from business finances.

  • It is simple to use, which makes it easier to learn.
  • It offers a single-entry accounting system. Think of it as an online checking account registry that you can keep track of in real-time for income or expense records.
  • Reporting capabilities are available, though geared toward personal income rather than business income except on the highest-end version of the software.
  • You can associate different income or expense entries with departments, classes, or activities.
  • A budgeting wizard is included to help you locate expenses that could be hurting your bottom line. You can also use the wizard to design a savings plan.
  • You can track investments, such as your stocks or your IRA.
  • Pricing is quite affordable, with entry-level versions suitable for personal finance management being about $50. Even the highest-end versions are typically less than $200.
  • It allows you to analyze your spending habits in specific windows of time, from 1 month to several years, and then compare how your habits are improving.
  • Various visual representations, such as pie charts, are available to help users understand their finances.

What Are the Advantages of QuickBooks?

Intuit uses QuickBooks to target SMBs that need advanced accounting support. Payroll is an available option, but not required. You have access to everything from your Schedule C reports to tax deduction tools.

  • It offers features that are specifically helpful for SMBs and some freelancers/entrepreneurs who have extensive business records that must be maintained.
  • It is a double-entry accounting system, but offers single-entry bookkeeping.
  • Most standard accounting reports can be run from the entry-level versions of this software option. You can also export those reports to MS Excel spreadsheets or create your own reports.
  • Users can go up to 5 levels deep for handling classes, cost centers, and profit centers.
  • There is an inventory system though it is somewhat limited for many SMBs. It supports the average costing method only, making it a good system for retail businesses.
  • Single-user and multi-user options are available. You can choose the number of users based on the software version that you purchase for your finances.
  • Customer statements can be exported with this software.
  • Software development kits are available to developers so that add-ons can be created by third parties. Cloud-based applications create marketing platforms that enhance this development.
  • Payroll systems are available with this software, though it does come with an added fee for both the desktop and online versions.
  • Security features are in place that allow you to delegate certain accounting tasks to others without requiring you to give that person access to your full financial picture.

One additional advantage that applies to both Quicken and QuickBooks: Both software platforms offer the option to download transactions. You can do so from your bank account, your credit card statements, and your investment accounts. Your institution must support this feature for it to work correctly, however, so you’ll want to check with each provider before choosing whether Quicken or QuickBooks is your better option.

Intuit provides free trials for both software options so you can determine which has the right tools and reports to meet your needs.

What Are the Disadvantages of Quicken?

Quicken is designed to be the next step for individuals who are currently managing their budget or accounting needs on paper or a less-advanced software platform. It will take your financial management to the next level, but it is not going to be an all-encompassing system. If you run a business that is setup as anything but a sole proprietor, then you’re going to struggle with the limitations that are in place.

  • The number of available features and options is fewer when compared to QuickBooks.
  • There isn’t an inventory system that is available.
  • No payroll capabilities are offered in any version of this software. You must either do the payroll the old-fashioned way or use a separate program, then enter the wages, taxes, and any other withholdings manually if using it for your business.
  • There isn’t an online version that can be used at this time. You must download a desktop version.
  • Only single-user versions are available for this software.
  • There isn’t a programming interface, which limits the number of add-ons and third-party improvements that are available.

What Are the Disadvantages of QuickBooks?

QuickBooks is an excellent system for business accounting, but it assumes familiarity. If you’re just starting your business or transitioning into the gig economy as a freelancer, there is a good chance the structures and workflow of this software platform are going to be problematic in those first days. Once you get to know it, QuickBooks is a powerful system.

  • It offers a steep learning curve, especially for those who are unfamiliar with accounting principles.
  • There are no investment or stock tracking features available with this software.
  • LIFO and FIFO approaches are not supported, making it a difficult software option to use for those who are engaged in production or manufacturing.
  • Pricing for the desktop version can be up to $500. Entry-level versions are still $150 or greater.
  • Most payroll systems are upgraded by Intuit every 24-36 months, which requires desktop users to upgrade their software. Online subscribers receive the updates automatically, but pay a monthly fee for the privilege.

One additional disadvantage that applies to Quicken and QuickBooks: Although Windows and Apple versions are available, the Apple versions are limited in comparison. The software development kit, for example, is available for only the Windows versions of QuickBooks. A similar option doesn’t exist if you’re using a Mac, which means you’ll have a small range of add-on and product choices.

Updated versions for Apple products occur with less frequency than they do for Windows operating systems as well.

Some of the negatives can be solved with a work-around, such as a software emulator, but that does require an added step by the user.

Although there seem to be more negatives than positives with Apple products, Intuit has designed Quicken to interface with other apps, such as AddressBook and iCal.

Quicken vs QuickBooks: Which to Choose?

If you want to take your business finances seriously and you’re not a sole proprietor, then QuickBooks is really your only choice. It is designed specifically for SMBs and can provide many of the reports that you need to generate on a frequent basis. Add-ons are available, including payroll, which can help some businesses to stop outsourcing this service and save some cash.

For individuals and those who are not required to separate business income from personal income, Quicken could be a better option. If you have extensive business records, QuickBooks may still serve your needs better. Since the high-end version of Quicken and the entry-level version of QuickBooks are about the same cost, you’ll need to look at the specific business accounting features that are available to determine which will best meet your needs.

If you are trying to organize your family finances, then Quicken is the logical choice. You’ll still be able to track core income categories and manage your investments without needing to pay for the advanced business tools that really don’t apply to your specific situation.

Intuit released Quicken in 1983 and it has been serving individuals and SMBs effectively since then. It would not be until 2002 that QuickBooks would be released to help bridge the gap between single-entry and double-entry accounting. Just 3 years after its release, QuickBooks held 74% of the US market.
Recent innovations have brought improvements to the report viewing, automated report generation, and smart search functions that are available on both platforms.

If you need help with your accounting, then Intuit is the go-to company to meet your needs. Choose Quicken or QuickBooks, depending on your unique circumstances, and you’ll be able to take charge of your finances.

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