Do I Really Need QuickBooks for My Start-Up Business? And, How Do I Figure Out Which One?

Do I Really Need QuickBooks for My Start-Up Business? And, How Do I Figure Out Which One?

QuickBooks for Start-Up Business
QuickBooks for Start-Up Business

If you’re a new business owner, you’ve probably heard time and time again that you should get your QuickBooks for Start-Up Business. This may be a great idea for most businesses, but the dizzying array of options can leave any business owner reeling.

First, consider why QuickBooks should be your first choice.

QuickBooks was the first nationally recognized accounting software program designed for business owners, rather than accountants. Starting in 1992, QuickBooks software has made computerized accounting accessible to all business owners.

QuickBooks uses actual accounting methods, but allows users unfamiliar with accounting theory to record business transactions using everyday forms. Most regular business transactions can be entered into the computer by completing traditional bills, invoices, checks, and deposits.

While the accounting profession generally rejected this revolution, business owners quickly embraced QuickBooks. QuickBooks listened and learned from its users, and 15 years later, it now has the most widely used accounting software. In fact, I’ve heard estimates that over 80% of US businesses use registered copies of QuickBooks.

Right now, QuickBooks really is your best choice in small business accounting software. Microsoft’s Small Business Accounting looks promising, but it wouldn’t be my recommendation for a start-up.

If you rarely turn on your computer, don’t feel bad or guilty about not buying QuickBooks. If you don’t use it, it’s really just a waste of money. Find a good accountant who can collect your information on a monthly basis (accountants call it a writing service) and stick with the things you do well.

If you just want to save time in certain areas of your business, like writing checks or keeping track of accounts receivable, you can link QuickBooks with a writing service. This is a very good option for many small or new businesses.

If you want to access real-time business information and are ready to 100% computerize, find a good QuickBooks accountant to help you set up and maintain your data file. QuickBooks makes business accounting much easier than traditional accounting packages, but it’s best to have your file reviewed quarterly, at a minimum, by a qualified accountant.

If you want to hire a professional, you can use an outsourcing service to enter all of your accounting details into your file for you, allowing you to use the software as a management tool to monitor the profitability of the business.

The options for using QuickBooks as a business tool are limited only by your imagination, but deciding on a version of QuickBooks can be like choosing a flavor of ice cream: all are good, but some may not be right for you.

If your business is truly mobile and requires multiple users to have access in multiple locations, you can use the online version. The first 1-3 users are around $20 per month. Previous online versions were somewhat limited, but the 2007 version offers almost all the features of QuickBooks Pro. Processing time may be a bit slower than using the internal software if your Internet connection is slow, but the monthly fee allows you to access the latest version without paying for updates. This is a great option for mobile businesses or service companies that have users in multiple physical locations.

If you’re just getting started with accounting software and don’t plan on using QuickBooks for payroll, you might want to consider the new version of Simple Start. Retail cost is around $100, and this version can perform all other basic accounting functions. You cannot have multiple users with Simple Start. This is the “no frills” option, and good for many small or home businesses, and even gives you the option to add credit card processing for an additional fee.

If you plan to use QuickBooks for payroll, you must purchase QuickBooks Pro or higher. QuickBooks Pro is the best option for most small businesses, retailing for around $200 per copy. You can add multiple users by purchasing additional copies, and you can perform all but the most specialized accounting functions.

If you want industry-specific reports and charts of accounts, QuickBooks offers a variety of Premier versions. The Premier version has a more advanced inventory assembly feature, as well as features for business plans and forecasts. The Premier version was offered on the QuickBooks website for around $340.

If you’re a new QuickBooks user, the extra bells and whistles in the Premier version probably aren’t worth the extra cost, unless you want a specialized preset chart of accounts. If you purchase the Counter version, you can “toggle” to each of the other industry versions, allowing access to ALL industry versions for the same cost. (Hint here: buy the Counter version if you buy Premier.)

Most new businesses won’t need to look further than this, but QuickBooks has an Enterprise version for larger businesses or groups that need more than five users. The cost ranges from $3,000 to $7,500, depending on the number of users. The beauty of this is that your company will have to grow a lot before QuickBooks completely slips away from you. The changes in this version make it highly plausible that your business can use QuickBooks forever, no matter how big it grows. As more dedicated QuickBooks users leave the smaller versions, the capabilities of the Enterprise version continue to expand.