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1.  Current thoughts on Quickbooks installed vs. Quickbooks online?

Posted Jan 17, 2017 11:09
I'm working with a small nonprofit (my religious congregation) that has been using Quickbooks installed for several years. We've been generously hosted on a server belonging to a member's business, allowing our part-time secretary and volunteer treasurer(s) to use the application via remote desktop whenever necessary. We now need to move off of that server, and are considering setting up an AWS server on which to install Quickbooks for a similar experience for the users, or moving to Quickbooks online. 

I'm wondering what current thinking is on the functionality differences between Quickbooks installed and QB Online. I can crunch the numbers on the relative costs, and there are certainly trade-offs in terms of the respective efforts to set up and maintenance and support. What I'm looking for are the other trade-offs in terms of application functionality. In this thread from a couple years ago (https://community.nten.org/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?GroupId=247&MID=30062&tab=digestviewer) the consensus was that there were some substantial gaps between the two, with reporting in particular being a concern. To what extent, if any, has the gap narrowed? 

Thomas Taylor Philadelphia PA

2.  RE: Current thoughts on Quickbooks installed vs. Quickbooks online?

Posted Jan 17, 2017 11:50
Hi Thomas. This kind of question comes up on Techsoup fairly often, so if you don't get an answer here you might try there. Here's one overview of the differences:


Robert L. Weiner Consulting
San Francisco, CA
Twitter: @robert_weiner

Strategic Technology Advisors to Nonprofit and Educational Institutions

3.  RE: Current thoughts on Quickbooks installed vs. Quickbooks online?

Posted Jan 18, 2017 05:15
Hi Thomas,
I don't want to sound condescending when saying this, as I mean it simply in a helpful way, I think it depends on the features you're using.  I think it best to go through the reports you regularly use, whatever features you may use in regards to any inventory, payroll, printing 1099s, etc. and then see what's available in the online version.  It appears more complete now and also gives you an easier time if you're trying to integrate with other web based applications.  You can also sign up for a free trial I believe so if you have some focused time you could just try it and see if it meets your needs.
Good luck.


Dovetail Associates on the Hudson, Ltd.

Feza D. Oktay  | 845.849.3680 | Feza@DovetailAssociates.com DovetailAssociates.com 

4.  RE: Current thoughts on Quickbooks installed vs. Quickbooks online?

Posted Jan 18, 2017 08:44

I am the treasurer for my church organization and we use QuickBooks online, it is fast efficient and easy for all to access, the cost per month far outweighs dealing with server issues, and software upgrades.  QuickBooks is always changing and enhancing their product and if you purchase and install on your own server.  The accessibility for all of our staff members online with an internet access with different logins and passwords is incredibly helpful as well.  I can create reports and email or export to file from online and that is very handy as well. 

We also use the online quickbooks for my husband's business as well and again no complaints.  I utilized QuickBooks many years ago internally on a server and the upgrades to move from one version to another were a bit of a nightmare.  I vote Online all the way!

PS I have 35 years of working in accounting, so I don't give this endorsement without a great deal of knowledge.

Susan Dennison
Finance & IT Director
Pioneer Resources, Inc
Muskegon, MI
231 220-2312

5.  RE: Current thoughts on Quickbooks installed vs. Quickbooks online?

Posted Jan 18, 2017 12:56
I can tell you that my father is a CPA and puts all of his clients on the cloud version. So much easier to access the system, backups are taken care of along with patches etc. They even allow for an extra CPA or auditor login on top of the licenses you purchase. I know I looked it awhile back for another nonprofit. Since they are hosted on another server anyways they would only be gaining by going to the cloud.  If the server was onsite and you were using it for more than basic accounting like their POS module then maybe it would be a concern but under the model you describe they are under now. Seems like the cloud is the way to go.

Anthony Caufield
North Las Vegas

6.  RE: Current thoughts on Quickbooks installed vs. Quickbooks online?

Posted Jan 19, 2017 11:01

I was an Intuit ProAdvisor – and I have generally had good experience with the online version.

I have not delved too deeply in the past couple of years – but the weakest area was Inventory – and Items.

So if you have inventory or warehousing – you might consider using the desktop – or looking at a 3rd party integration.  For basic general ledger and all QB is quite good.

But if you have some specialized needs – then a 3rd party application 'best in breed' may enhance the value.



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7.  RE: Current thoughts on Quickbooks installed vs. Quickbooks online?

Posted Jan 19, 2017 11:58
I use Online Quickbooks extensively and have had no issues EXCEPT with payroll, which I found to be so poor it was almost criminal. Other than that, I recommend it. 

I'm curious if anyone uses any of the "apps" that can plug into the Online Quickbooks. I've had a look around and tried out a few but nothing has blown my mind yet.

Jessica Holliday
Chief Operating Officer
NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network

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8.  RE: Current thoughts on Quickbooks installed vs. Quickbooks online?

Posted Jan 19, 2017 10:44
Generally, QBO is a reasonable choice for small congregations. I say this despite generally being opposed to nonprofits using Quickbooks of any kind. I believe most nonprofits reap enormous benefits from being in a true fund accounting system. Aplos is a very affordable choice for fund accounting, and is also online.

In the church/congregation space, there are some other options to consider, especially if you're looking for integrated membership management. Take a look at PowerChurch and Logos Fund Accounting for two affordable options with reach feature-sets beyond just accounting. I've worked with a couple of congregations around this topic, feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Isaac Shalev
Stamford CT

9.  RE: Current thoughts on Quickbooks installed vs. Quickbooks online?

Posted Jan 20, 2017 08:33
Edited by Brian Cavanaugh Jan 20, 2017 08:44
I would second Feza's suggestion to take inventory of the tools and features you regularly use in Quickbooks and put it to the test with a QB Online trial. We were running Quickbooks (Mac) for years and the upgrade process, in addition to managing and supporting Quickbooks Server, just couldn't compare to the ease of Quickbooks Online. Our administrator is glad we made the switch (I am too, from an IT perspective) and our accountants have adjusted and are perfectly happy with it.

We were unable to gather any definitive evidence, but I too wonder if Intuit's resources will shift towards online. It became clear over the years that Windows was always ahead of Mac, which made the switch much more convincing for us. I imagine it's more difficult for Windows vs Online.

Brian Cavanaugh
Director of Digital
The Vilcek Foundation
New York, NY

10.  RE: Current thoughts on Quickbooks installed vs. Quickbooks online?

Posted Jan 23, 2017 08:59
We took a slightly different approach. We run a full desktop multi-user version of Quickbooks but in a hosted cloud environment. We use a service from Right Networks https://www.rightnetworks.com/ that allows us a remote windows access using either a Mac or Win client. They maintain the remote desktop, the backup along with any plug-ins or add-ons we require. From an IT perspective we are supported and I don't have any headaches.  If you're looking for the desktop version but sitting in a cloud, this is def worth exploring.

Take care,

Michael Sola
Executive Vice President
Fight Colorectal Cancer
Springfield, MO