Quicken vs Quickbooks

The "Quicken vs Quickbooks" (note: Quickbooks, and not - as often mistaken Quick Books) conundrum is one that many considering using the most popular finance packages find themselves in. When choosing bookkeeping software it is easy to become dazzled with the features provided by the software house.

You may find the decision becomes easier , if before you start looking, you first take some time deciding what you would like to achieve with the financial software before you start.

Once you have clearly defined your requirements you can then decide with your checklist alongside, and the features of each package, what is absolutely essential to you, and what would be nice to have.

Keeping in mind that Quicken started out as personal finance software with the aim of helping you balance your check book account, and tools to help you keep track of expenses, it has now extended with deluxe, premier and Home and Business versions to make the lines between Quicken and Quickbooks even less defined.

The deluxe and premier versions include the ability to track and monitor investment portfolios, and pension fund holdings (401K) as well as download statements from your bank or credit card company.

Quickbooks is accounting software originally designed for the small business user, and has now become scaleable, to include multi user capabilities in the Pro version, and other add-on modules such as point of sale (POS).

If your business needs include the handling of inventories for sale, then the decision is made for you in the fact that only Quickbooks has the ability to handle inventory.

If you have or will have a small service business, then the Home and Business version of quicken can create customizable estimates, and invoices, as well as allow multiple jobs per customer, help you monitor unpaid invoices, and monitor vehicle mileage exclusively for business purposes.

Quickbooks operates much more like a traditional accounting software, with debits and credits (quickly moving on before our eyes glaze over) and as a result, will help you quickly manage basic accounting tasks such as printing checks, and reminding you when to pay, plus helping you track sales taxes and the useful feature of stamping “paid” on sales invoices, when your customer has paid.

Quickbooks also comes with over a hundred reports which include the most useful of Cash flow, Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet and sales reports.

You can also manage payroll processing, direct deposits and payroll taxes.

Quickbooks Advanced will also provide you with Time tracking, the ability to customize prices and job costing.

Interestingly, both pieces of software include information centers, aiming to provide you with useful and relevant information on topics such as local, state and federal requirements, licensing and start up guides.

So, Quicken vs Quickbooks. Who is the winner? It depends. If you want some software purely for personal use then consider Quicken. If you are a small business owner, and sell only your services then you’ll be able to use Quicken Home and Business quite happily, however, if you plan in the future to take on staff, handle inventory, or must deal with sales tax, then you’ll save yourself some money by not paying for Quicken, and subsequently having to upgrade, but invest immediately in Quickbooks knowing that you have scaleability to include more complex business processes, and multi user access.

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