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I'm looking into moving a small non-profit business from a desktop-based Quickbooks Pro setup to Intuit's QuickBooks Online service. I'm primarily looking for a more reliable setup for them, as they've had reliability issues with their server from time to time, and don't have the funds to hire any IT personnel. I'm only able to help them out on a volunteer basis irregularly. QuickBooks features that they are currently using include: multi-user (2-3 users), payroll, billing

I've seen the page on Intuit's site comparing the desktop and online products, but I'm looking for reports from first-hand experience and comments on anything that Intuit might not be disclosing in their comparison.

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To be honest, this is the kind of question you probably want to ask accountants ( or the endusers of quickbooks, whoever they may be ), rather than sysadmins. – Cian Jul 16 '09 at 20:22
Yeah, that's definitely a major part of the decision. I am curious, though, about any issues related to sys-admin that this move would create or eliminate. Issues related to backup/restore, user management, importing, etc. – arathorn Jul 16 '09 at 20:30
couldn't they buy a reliable server for the price of a few months of online service? Doesn't the non-profit have regularoty issues with keeping financial data on server they have no responsibility and control over? – Jim B Jul 16 '09 at 20:54
Don't forget to ask the lawyers as well, sticking financial data on a server you don't own causes all sorts of liability concerns. Remember that legally once it's on someone eles's server you don;t own the data. – Jim B Jul 17 '09 at 16:06

We looked at doing that a while back, but it didn't have online banking support (transaction download). It looks like they've added that since then (in the more expensive version), so it looks like that is no longer an issue.

There is a free trial, so you could just get one and play with it to see how it works for you. I think it is an excellent option if it does what you need it too. I love making other companies responsible for services.

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I can't compare QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online for because it's been years since I used QuickBooks, and at that time it was only in a support position (not as a primary user).

A friend of mine uses QuickBooks Online to manage his small family-owned S Corporation. He had me do some review of the site prior to his beginning use (I have a modest amount of accounting training in my background) and I found it to be reasonably comprehensive and friendly to use. I wasn't keen on some of the lack of imprecision in the language (not using the exact "accounting terms" for things), but I'd imagine that it's the same in QuickBooks.

I'll echo AdamB on this one, too. Give the trial a try. That's the best way to see if it fits the bill.

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Its been a two years since I used Quickbooks, but the product changes sooooo slowly that my experience is probably relevant.

QB online costs $35 per month or $420 per year, which is pretty expensive compared to just buying the software. Also the online version had fewer features than the packaged version, but you will have to determine whether these features matter to you. As I said before, QB changes very slowly so there is almost no need to upgrade to newer version until your current version becomes obsolete, which usually takes 3-4 years. So if you compare QB online to a package (assume Premier) you are paying $1700 for 4 years vs $400.

I think the online version is NOT a good value.

One other consideration, if you should ever shutdown your business you can simply put your packaged software and databases aside if needed for an audit, but the online version needs to be payed for or it goes away. Intuit may have some way to deal with this, but I would be suspicious.

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We used to use a service provider that hosted Quickbooks. They just host your existing Quickbooks licenses for a pretty reasonable fee. We used them to host our 3 licenses of Quickbooks for a few years.

They provide access via a web based ActiveX rdp client over https. But you can also access it directly via the native rdp client.

It seemed to work pretty good...definitely worth a look and they may offer discounts for non-profits.

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protected by splattne Sep 1 '10 at 10:54

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