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Revised:  7 November 2011

Do I need Quicken or QuickBooks? QuickBooks Pro or Premier? An Online version or hosted access?

by: Mark Wilsdorf
Flagship Technologies, Inc.

  Why Quicken? ...Why QuickBooks?
  What do I get with the more expensive versions?
  Deciding: Quicken vs. QuickBooks
  Which version do I need?
  But I have a Mac...
  Is there an online version of Quicken? Of QuickBooks?
What about using an hosting service?
  How do I find Quicken and QuickBooks add-on software for my type of business?
  How do I find accounting help for my type of business?
  Any smartphone apps?
  The "Intuit App Center"...what's that all about?
  For more information:

Preface:  Each year Intuit introduces new versions of Quicken and QuickBooks, and the features offered in the various "flavors" of both products usually get shuffled around a bit. A particular reporting feature available only in QuickBooks Premier last year might be included in QuickBooks Pro this year. In other words, the mix of features offered in different versions changes so frequently (annually) that it's difficult to stay ahead of them.

I tell you this to emphasize that the purpose of this article is to describe general information about product differences, not an up-to-the-minute listing of current Quicken/QuickBooks product features. Where product feature differences are mentioned, understand that the information may not necessarily be current, particularly if it's been a while since this article's most recent revision date (shown above). For specific feature comparisons between the various Quicken and QuickBooks versions, I suggest you go directly to the respective product sites:  www.Quicken.com or www.QuickBooks.com, or phone Intuit at 800-4-INTUIT.

Why Quicken? ...Why QuickBooks?

The various "flavors" of Quicken and QuickBooks--Quicken Deluxe, Quicken Premier, Quicken Home & Business, QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier, and so on--are general-purpose accounting programs from Intuit. They enjoy wide popularity mostly because they are easy to use (as accounting systems go at least) yet are flexible and capable in the sense of allowing users to do a good job of accounting in keeping with generally accepted accounting principles.

Another benefit is the broad support these programs have among business- and computer-related professionals like accountants, tax preparers, CPAs, and computer consultants. This is more true of QuickBooks than Quicken, since QuickBooks is viewed as a business accounting system while Quicken is considered more a personal finance/accounting system. 

There's even a lot of support that's specific to particular types of business--landscaping contractors, real estate and property management, trucking, medical offices, professional services firms (lawyers, CPAs), farming/ranching, and many others. This is especially true for QuickBooks, and a bit less so for Quicken. For example my company, Flagship Technologies, Inc., publishes a book that's of specific value in farming and ranching, and add-on software for QuickBooks that's of special use in several specific business types. Other firms specialize in property management, auto repair shops, medical office billing systems, and so on.

Why is there less business-specific support for Quicken? (1) Quicken doesn't offer quite as many of the features small- to medium-sized businesses need, and (2) because again, it is viewed as a personal finance program rather than a small business accounting system. But don't let that label fool you! Quicken is fully adequate for many small businesses, and most people find it easier to learn--especially if you're someone not very familiar with computerized accounting systems. And yes, there is business-specific Quicken support available for several of the business types where Quicken is  especially appropriate, such as property management.

Finally, there are literally thousands of professionals available for general end-user support, and an equally large number of Internet resources:  blogs, articles, videos, message forums, and so on. Have a question? There are dozens of Quicken- and QuickBooks-oriented message forums where you can post a question and get an answer in usually less than a day--sometimes less than an hour.

One of my favorites has been forums.QuickBooksUsers.com. It's a non-Intuit-operated forum with a lot of message traffic from QuickBooks professionals. It's searchable set of "historic" questions and answers continues to be excellent resource, too. Intuit's own forums at community.intuit.com have a high level of message traffic too, and Intuit's product-related Web sites have many other resources like training videos and articles. Finally, Intuit's (fee-based) telephone product support is another option.

To sum up:  one of the biggest reasons for using either Quicken or QuickBooks is that it's easy to get answers to your questions, and help with your accounting and software problems. 

What do I get with the more expensive versions?

Regardless of the various product names, the core accounting capabilities of the different Quicken editions (Deluxe, Premier, Home & Business, etc.) is the same, regardless of the cost of each version. That's also generally true of the various QuickBooks editions (Pro, Premier, Enterprise, etc.)

So what are the differences? In Quicken, the main difference between Quicken packages is the number of additional software applications included--things like home inventory, tax planning, and so on. Quicken Rental Property Manager for instance, has special added features for property managers (...but I suppose you've figured that out already<g>).

QuickBooks edition differences are a bit more complicated to describe. What differences will you encounter as go up the price scale? Here are some of them:

  • Features. For instance, QuickBooks Premier (more expensive) has a number of features that QuickBooks Pro (less expensive) does not.
  • Capacity. The the number of inventory items the program can handle is higher in the higher-end editions, and this is true of some other lists as well. Most users never run into QuickBooks' capacity limits; however, if you do, a more expensive version is likely available to solve that problem.
  • Number of simultaneous users. If you're running QuickBooks in a multi-user environment this is important. The number of simultaneous users allowed also increases with price.

In general, the bigger your company (the more QuickBooks users you have) or the more complex your accounting needs (requiring more advanced features), the more likely you'll need a higher-end edition of QuickBooks.

Deciding:  Quicken vs. QuickBooks

Deciding between Quicken and QuickBooks is easy if you're running a medium-sized (or larger) business: you need QuickBooks because of the more advanced accounting, inventory, and tax-related features it offers. But if you're in that personal/small business "gray area", what's right for you may depend on several factors.

What is your accounting background/understanding? If you want double-entry accounting capability, go with QuickBooks. If you want simplicity and single-entry or checkbook accounting try Quicken. However, QuickBooks' double-entry features are "disguised" well enough that many people essentially use it as a single-entry accounting system without even considering the difference.

What are your accounting goals? Will you be keeping cash-basis records? If so, Quicken and QuickBooks don't really differ much in what they offer. I say this because, though QuickBooks has a lot more features, the features you're actually likely to use are substantially the same in either package.

Do you hire employees? QuickBooks comes with a complete payroll system, and can print the required quarterly reports, etc. Quicken does not have payroll features. (Quicken users who pay employees either do the payroll calculations manually or purchase separate payroll software, then enter the payroll figures manually.)

Do you have a sideline business? Quicken began (and remains to this day) as software primarily designed for personal financial management--keeping track of income and expenses, balancing a checkbook, monitoring investments, etc. QuickBooks, on the other hand, was designed to streamline the paper flow and accounting needs of a small business. If you do much invoicing, or need to keep track of accounts payable and receivable, or collect and report sales tax, or send customer statements, then QuickBooks is usually the better choice.

Where will you get support? Especially if you're new to using a computer for record keeping, your choice may be influenced by where and from whom you can get your questions answered. If your computer-expert friend uses QuickBooks, it might be your best bet. If the local computer store specializes in Quicken and holds Quicken classes during the winter, that might be the better place to start.

What does your accountant and/or tax preparer want to work with? QuickBooks is preferred by many tax professionals: you can take in a flash drive with your QuickBooks file on it, giving the tax preparer direct access to your QuickBooks records for preparing your taxes. While the same is possible with Quicken, fewer tax professionals support Quicken in the same way. (Fewer of them have Quicken installed on their computer systems; meaning they'll be unable to open your Quicken data files.) However, many tax preparers don't really have a preference--they're just as willing to work with paper reports.

Is there an "upgrade path"? Suppose you think you'd prefer QuickBooks, but maybe you're a novice computer user or just aren't comfortable with the idea of learning QuickBooks. A good approach in that case may be to start with Quicken instead. Many concepts in the two programs are similar, so you won't be wasting time by learning Quicken, even if you choose to upgrade to QuickBooks later. Nor will you be wasting much money, given Quicken's low cost.

And if you later decide that you really do need QuickBooks, you can upgrade easily. QuickBooks directly imports Quicken records--even several years of Quicken records will import just fine. None of your effort in Quicken will have been wasted, and you'll have a head start at learning QuickBooks because of your experience with Quicken. It's important to note that you cannot go the other way: QuickBooks records cannot be imported into Quicken!

And in case you're wondering, yes, QuickBooks records are upward compatible with newer and/or higher-end QuickBooks editions.

Do you need access to your accounting records from other locations? Quicken is a desktop application only; that is, it's installed on your personal computer. But QuickBooks has desktop and online versions. The desktop versions can be used stand alone or installed on a networked server for access by multiple users. The online version of QuickBooks can be accessed from anywhere--from any computer connected to the Internet.

But the distinction between "desktop" and "online" versions is less important than it used to be. You can now access desktop versions of either Quicken and QuickBooks over the Internet if you hire a hosting service (paying for a monthly fee for such access). This topic is discussed more farther below.

General feature differences. Here are some of the differences in the two packages as they relate to accounting and various goals you may have:

Easier to learn and simpler to use (fewer options). More features and options but more difficult to learn.
Basically a single-entry accounting system; fine for simple checkbook-based income and expense records. Essentially a double-entry accounting system, but can be used for either single- or double-entry bookkeeping. (Many users use QuickBooks as a single-entry system.)
Plenty of reporting capability for most users. More extensive reporting capabilities, including more "standard" accounting reports. More capabilities for exporting reports and data, such as to Microsoft Excel, where you can create your own specialized reports.
Has a classes feature you can use to associate income/expenses with specific activities or "departments" of the business. Supports a more professional uses of classes, because it allows for multi-level (parent and child) classes, up to five levels deep. Third-party add-on software for handling classes as profit centers and cost centers is available.
Has features to track stocks and other investments. No investment tracking features.
No inventory system. Has an inventory system, but with significant limitations for many types of business. It only supports the average costing method of inventory valuation, while most users would prefer a LIFO or FIFO approach. QuickBooks' inventory system is a good match for most retail businesses; a poor match for manufacturing-type businesses. Be sure to you 
No payroll capabilities. You can do payroll calculations manually or in a separate payroll program of your choosing, then enter the wages, taxes, and withholding manually in Quicken. Complete, easy-to-use payroll system. The biggest complaint about QuickBooks payroll is the annual fee Intuit charges for using it. Second biggest, is that Intuit typically "sunsets" payroll support for QuickBooks versions more than two or three years old. So besides the annual fee for using payroll, you also have to pay for a QuickBooks upgrade every couple years if you want to continue using payroll.
Desktop only; no online version. However, online hosting of Quicken desktop versions is an alternative that allows online access. Desktop and online versions are available. The online version (QuickBooks Online) can be accessed from any computer running a Web browser. Online hosting is another option, allowing QuickBooks desktop versions to be accessed from anywhere, as an alternative to using QuickBooks Online.
Limited support for invoicing, receivables, etc., but some support in Quicken Home & Business and higher. Many professional-quality small-business features:  invoicing, customer statements, accounts receivable, etc.
Single-user versions only. Can be used as either single-user or multi-user. The number of simultaneous users allowed depends on which version you buy.
No programming interface, so few 3rd-party or custom add-on programs are available except for those available from Intuit, such as Bill Pay and Medical Expense Manager. Since 2003, Intuit has provided the QuickBooks Software Development Kit (SDK), a programming interface software developers can use to write QuickBooks add-ons. The SDK has encouraged development of a healthy amount of 3rd-party software that works with QuickBooks. As for "cloud based" applications, the Intuit App Center offers developers both a development and marketing platform for creating and selling cloud based QuickBooks add-ons.
Single-user street price: about $50 - $150, depending on edition. Single-user street price: $150 - $500 for desktop editions. QuickBooks Online is sold on a monthly subscription basis.

Which version do I need?

Once you've decided that you need either Quicken or QuickBooks, which edition should you choose? Obviously I can't recommend which specific edition will be right for you, because I don't know anything about your computer/accounting experience or your business needs. But I'll provide some thoughts on how to choose the right one.

I've already mentioned most of the considerations--differences in included software applications, program features, capacity, number of simultaneous users allowed, and so on. Just figure out what your needs are (yes I know it's hard at the beginning, before you have any experience with the program), and pick an edition that you believe will do the job. Check out the feature comparisons on Intuit's Web site, or call Intuit's sales line (800-4-INTUIT) and ask questions. Or, contact a local Quicken or QuickBooks expert to see what they recommend. (You can search for QuickBooks Pro Advisors near you, at proadvisor.intuit.com.)

A side consideration worth mentioning, arises if you're planning to use any third-party add-on software for QuickBooks. Maybe you manage rental property and know there's a QuickBooks add-on software package you'll want to use for that. If so, check with the vendor of the property management add-on to see which QuickBooks versions it will work with. You wouldn't want to buy QuickBooks Pro, only to find out a couple weeks later that the property management software requires QuickBooks Premier or higher. (Though you can upgrade to a higher version of QuickBooks at any time, it will usually still cost you more than having started with the correct version in the first place.)

Another thing that can help:  you can download a free trial copy of certain (not all) Quicken and QuickBooks versions, from Intuit. That will let you try out program features without spending any money. But be forewarned that a 30-day trial is barely long enough to get started with an accounting package, let alone learn enough about it to make a good choice about which package you need. That's true for any accounting package, not just Quicken or QuickBooks.

When it comes to accounting software, most people would be time and dollars ahead to just make an informed choice about which package they most likely need, then buy it and use it. In other words, do your homework and ask good questions of people who ought to know, then "take the plunge" and make a commitment to getting the software set up and working.

When software free trials do more harm than good...

The problem with free trial periods for software as complex as an accounting system, is that unless you already have a lot of experience with similar software the trial period usually won't be long enough for you to learn what you really need to know about the software.

Many companies will grant an extension to the free trial if you ask. But if your business' accounting requirements are complex, even 60 days may not be long enough to know for certain whether everything you need--like specific quarterly and annual reports, or certain kinds of tax reporting--is available in the package you're working with. Those "gotcha's" may not show up until you've used the package for months or maybe even an entire year.

Another problem I've seen with software free trials, is that not being committed to a product (not having spent any money on it) is both a blessing and a curse. Let's say you download and install a trial version, then get so busy with work or family activities that you don't find much time for trying out the software. All of a sudden the trial period is nearly over, yet you haven't learned all you want to know about the software! When this happens many users simply let the trial period lapse without making a yes/no purchase decision.

Maybe that situation isn't always bad--it may just mean that you weren't really serious about switching to different accounting software right now. But in some cases it's evidence of a foot-dragging resistance to change and a missed opportunity for improving your business processes. Actually spending money to buy a software product tends to make people committed to (1) learning to use it, and (2) making it work in their situation.

But I have a Mac...

The Quicken and QuickBooks landscape is more limited for Mac users than for Windows users. So you need to consider a couple more things when making your accounting software choice. This does not mean you should avoid either Quicken or QuickBooks for the Mac, though. There are a lot of happy Mac users of both products out there.

First thing to know:  In terms of software development Intuit seems to support Microsoft Windows versions of both Quicken and QuickBooks to a greater degree than it supports Mac versions. This only means is that, historically, Intuit has devoted more software development effort to its Windows versions. For example, new Quicken for the Mac versions haven't been released quite as frequently as Quicken for Windows. And a wider array of QuickBooks versions are available for Microsoft Windows (Pro, Premier, Enterprise) than for the Mac. But this does not mean the Mac versions are crippled in any way or that Intuit offers less end-user support for Mac users; only that the range of product choices is smaller if you use a Mac.

Second thing to know:  Intuit has published a Software Development Kit (SDK) for Windows versions of QuickBooks, which allows 3rd-party programs to access QuickBooks data. The SDK has encouraged development of a large number of applications that work Windows QuickBooks versions--everything from small utility programs, to inventory systems, to reporting add-ons. The SDK also makes it possible to hire a software developer to create a custom add-on for your business. Nothing similar exists for QuickBooks for the Mac, so you'll have limited possibilities for add-on software.

Third thing to know:  The "first" and "second" things to know are growing less important every day. This is true in all areas of software choice:  the old Windows vs. Mac argument is becoming moot as (1) good software emulators continue to be developed (WINE, for example, is a popular emulator for running Windows applications on a Mac), and (2) more and more software is offered in an online version or via a hosting service. For QuickBooks, you have the option of using QuickBooks Online from your Mac's Web browser, or even a Windows desktop version of QuickBooks via on online hosting service.

Is there an online version of Quicken? Of QuickBooks? What about using an hosting service?

Intuit only offers desktop versions of Quicken (meaning software you install on your own computer)--there's no online version. For QuickBooks there are both desktop and online versions. QuickBooks Online is the version specifically designed for online access (i.e., over an Internet connection). However, you can use an online hosting service to have access to a desktop version of either Quicken and QuickBooks over an Internet connection.

A lot of people use QuickBooks Online quite successfully and like it, but I'm not a fan of it.  It has limitations which can make using an hosting service more appealing in some situations. Want details? See the article QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks hosting...which should I choose?, found here:  http://www.goflagship.com/articles/qbonlinehosted.htm.

As for online hosting, here are the basics. You pay a hosting service--a business that maintains server computers accessible via the Internet--to maintain a copy of your software and data (Quicken or QuickBooks in this case) on their server computer, where you can access it via an Internet connection. For Quicken or QuickBooks you'll typically pay a monthly fee of $20 to $50 or more, depending on the program version and other options you choose. 

Not cheap, it it! Hosting costs quite a bit more than just running a desktop version of Quicken or QuickBooks on your own computer, so why would anyone use a hosting service? 

  • The main benefit is that you can access your accounting records from any computer that has an Internet connection--you can enter bills at the office, print reports at home, or look up customer information from your smart phone. 

  • Most hosting services give you multi-user access to your accounting software. You can have the benefits of using QuickBooks or Quicken* on a network--you, and employees to whom you've given a password, can have access to the same accounting data--but without the cost or hassles of maintaining a network. And since all that's required is an Internet connection, you and your employees or partners will have access to the same data even if you're in different cities. 

*Quicken is designed as a single-user system. I haven't checked into the potential limitations or "gotcha's" of accessing Quicken as a multi-user system via a hosting service. So if that's something you're interested in be sure to ask lots of questions of the hosting company and/or try it out before assuming it will work exactly as you expect.

  • Extra services like daily data backups and access to the hosting service's professional support personnel can be sizeable benefits. By the way...when was your most recent accounting data back up done? If you were using a hosting service, the answer would be "last night". And even if you're someone who is diligent about making backups, consider how much time you devote to making and managing backup sets.

How do I find Quicken and QuickBooks add-on software for my type of business?

Because Intuit has not published a programming interface for Quicken, Intuit is the source for essentially all available Quicken add-ons:  programs like Bill Pay, Home Inventory Manager, Medical Expense Manager, and others. You'll find them on the Quicken Web site:  www.Quicken.com.

For QuickBooks add-ons, one place to look is Intuit Marketplace (marketplace.intuit.com). You can search for QuickBooks add-ons there in a number of categories. But software vendors have to pay Intuit a fee to be listed in Intuit Marketplace, so not all vendors choose to have their products listed there. This is especially true of some vertical markets add-ons (those designed for specific types of business) and for small-market niche products. 

Another good way to find business-specific QuickBooks add-ons is often with Google or another Internet search engine. Be creative with the search phrases you use, and you should find a long list of software possibilities for your type of business. For instance, to find property management add-ons you might search for "QuickBooks property management software".

Web-based message forums are another place to ask about software add-ons. One of my favorites is forums.QuickBooksUsers.com because of the free flow of information promoted there. Anyone--including vendors of the products you're looking for--can respond directly to your questions. You can also ask in Intuit's forums (community.intuit.com), though Intuit doesn't permit vendors to directly respond by suggesting their own products.

An excellent source of information is a QuickBooks professional who specializes in working with your type of business. They'll usually be knowledgeable about what add-ons are available and appropriate for your situation, and will have opinions about which ones work best. But how do you find that person? You can search within your zip code at proadvisor.intuit.com, but that will only connect you with QuickBooks professionals who are local to you, not necessarily those who are experts in your type of business. What you really need, is to get connected with a QuickBooks specialist who knows your type of business

How? A Google search is one good way, but there are a couple "indirect" ways that may even be better. If you've found even one QuickBooks add-on software specific to your type of business, ask the software vendor who their competitors are...they'll usually be willing to tell you, along with providing reasons why their product is "better". They'll also usually be able to connect you with QuickBooks professionals who specialize in your type of business. Those people will often be dealers for that specific software package, but they may also have considerable knowledge of what software alternatives are out there.

And did any of your Google searches turn up books, blogs, or forum messages that relate to your type of business? If so, contact the authors or reply to the forum messages, asking questions. They'll usually either be knowledgeable in that area, or will know who else you should ask about software add-ons.



How do I find accounting help for my type of business?

[QuickBooks users often face more accounting complexity--and therefore need more accounting assistance--than do most Quicken users, so this discussion will focus on QuickBooks. But the same ideas apply if you use Quicken.]

Think of this question as a continuation of the one immediately above. Most of the information you turn up when looking for business-specific QuickBooks add-ons will also lead to QuickBooks professionals with special knowledge about your type of business. Even if they are only available for phone and e-mail consultation, they may still be your best bet for getting informed recommendations about using QuickBooks in your business. 

Whether you find someone with industry-specific knowledge or a local QuickBooks "generalist", hiring a QuickBooks consultant to help with initial setup can be money well spent. He or she can greatly reduce the amount of time you spend getting QuickBooks set up properly; plus, they'll be available to answer those questions you'll inevitably face ask during your first month or two of using QuickBooks.

However, your consultant cannot convey "everything you need to know about QuickBooks" in the short amount of time they're on site (or by phone), and they may not be available--or may be too expensive!--for answering every little question that comes up during your first year. Consequently, most people also want to have other sources of information available too. Here are a few of them.


If you're just getting started with QuickBooks, and especially if you're setting it up on your own, what you need are details...about how to set up your chart of accounts, daily accounting procedures and workflow, program features to use (or avoid!), etc. In short, you need a complete, well organized reference to setting up and using QuickBooks, and a book is often the best source for that kind of information.

There are literally dozens of QuickBooks books available, many of them industry-specific. But which books are "good" and which aren't? As I mentioned earlier, your quest for industry-specific add-on software, and your contacts with software companies, consultants, and message forums should turn up a lot of interconnecting information. Somewhere in all of that, you'll probably notice recommendations for books that others have used and liked. And if you don't see any, visit one of the message forums and ask. 

Blogs & white papers:

If your business niche is quite small, it's possible that no one has written a QuickBooks-related book specifically for it. If you are launching a fast-food chain to sell pickled artichokes to yak herders in the Himalayas, I doubt you'll find a book on that (but I haven't Googled that, so I wouldn't want to rule out the possibility).

In any case, if you don't find a QuickBooks-related book specific to your type of business you may find blogs, white papers, or other internet resources that can help. Just be creative with your search phrases, and you'll usually find some specific articles that will help.

Oh, and be sure to bookmark (in your Web browser) useful sites, blogs, etc., that you find, because it's often difficult to find them again:  hard to remember exactly what search phrase you used to find that obscure site with exactly the information you needed. 

Also, "web sites come and web sites go" all the time. A useful Web page or article that you can access today may be gone tomorrow. So if you find an online article or explanation that's really useful to you, it's a good idea to copy and paste it into a file on your computer, or to print it out.

Online forums:

Yes, I've already mentioned QuickBooks-focused online message forums plenty of times in this article--maybe too many times! But they really are a great place to get answers to your QuickBooks questions. 

However, the best people to answer questions specific to your type of business are often ones who work with QuickBooks every day in the same line of business as yours. And those people tend not to hang out in QuickBooks-specific forums! They are construction office managers, or ranchers, or landscapers, or printing shop operators, etc., not accounting professionals nor QuickBooks "groupies". 

Your best bet for finding those people then, is in an online forum related to your type of business rather than to QuickBooks. If you're in construction, look for construction forums. If you're in agriculture, look for farming and ranching forums. Once you've found a forum that's popular (has a lot of daily message traffic), see if it has a sub area for "business" or "accounting", and if not, just ask your question in whichever forum area it appears to fit.

By the way, it's important to note that Intuit's community.intuit.com forums do have some industry-specific message areas, such as for contractors, real estate and property management, and a few others.

Any smartphone apps?

Yes! Lately there's been a lot of software development activity in this area, for both QuickBooks and Quicken. In fact, there's so much variety out there--a broad mix of products available for the various smartphone operating systems and accounting activities (mobile credit card processing, transaction entry, synching with desktop Quicken or QuickBooks, and so on)--that I won't address any of the specifics here. I just wanted to be sure you were aware that there's a lot going on in this area.

To find smartphone apps, you can visit Intuit's App Center, at appcenter.intuit.com. You can also use Google for some searching that includes the name of your smartphone OS and/or the product or activity you're interested in. Here are a couple searches that turn up some interesting results:

"QuickBooks Android"
"Quicken Pocket PC"

The "Intuit App Center"...what's that all about?

You've no doubt heard of cloud computing. Although it sounds like something mystical and magic, all it that really means is having some or all of data and applications (programs) accessed from server computers on the Internet. That's a change from the desktop model of computing, where all programs and data reside on your own local computer.

In terms of the Intuit App Center, cloud computing means that companies can write software which is hosted on their servers on the Internet, which can interact with your QuickBooks program and/or data. In most cases instead of purchasing these programs you'll pay the vendor a monthly fee for using them.

There can be both advantages to accessing programs and data across the Internet. Software and data maintenance costs for both you and the software vendor can be lower. Sometimes there can be an advantage in exploiting data relationships between software applications, or additional services (like printing of address labels or form letters by a third-party vendor, or even customize mailing services) can be greatly streamlined.

There can be disadvantages too. What happens when the vendor's server is down (inaccessible)? What if the vendor goes out of business...will you still have access to your data? There are a number of questions like these to consider, but cloud computing is here to stay because of the benefits it offers in many situations.

You can visit the Intuit App Center to find out more, including trying some of the applications available there:


For more information

Have questions or want to discuss points from this article? Visit our user forums and post your question or topic there, and let's talk about it.

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