Intuit’s well regarded accounting software QuickBooks Online (QBO) is worth considering if you are looking at cloud accounting software and need some of its unique features. It has a built in inventory system which is very simple, but if sufficient, would be easier and cheaper than using Xero with an add-on. It also has purchase orders which can be important. The other clincher for QBO is that you can't bring historical transactions when converting a QuickBooks Desktop file to Xero without manually re-entering them. Not surprisingly, you can automatically do this when converting from QuickBooks Desktop to QBO.
Apart from that, we’re still recommending Xero which is better on a number of fronts, at least for the time being.
In most respects QBO is great software, it’s serious and works well. There are a few functionality gaps when compared with Xero, for example, it doesn’t have bank rules, ABA files, integrated payroll or multiple invoice templates. But these aside, and more importantly, Xero has properly embraced the opportunities of cloud and it’s paying off, most obviously with two fundamental advantages:
- Collaboration – Xero is better structured for collaboration, a major benefit of using cloud accounting software. Expense claims, the “discuss tab” and invoice approving are examples of where different people in a business process can get online and work together efficiently inside the accounting software. QBO just doesn’t have that feel to its design, and it’s pricing increases with more users, which discourages collaboration.
- Partner integration – Xero appears far more future proof with its vast and growing network of add-on and integrated software partners offering everything from web site integration, project management, time billing, CRM, inventory and point of sale to reporting & analysis and consolidation. QBO had just four partners at last look.
Intuit have been working hard to build their Australian presence, with road shows and advertising nationally (though no local support as yet). As a software agnostic bookkeeping firm, we’re keen to see QBO develop and use it where it best solves problems for clients. With millions of QuickBooks desktop users globally, you’d think QBO has a strong future so we hope Intuit continues to develop and innovate for the benefit of businesses everywhere!