Is QuickBooks Online Better than QuickBooks Enterprise? Part 3: Add-ons
As we continue our comparison of QuickBooks Online (QBO) and QuickBooks Enterprise (QBE), we’ve looked at:
- Cost of QBO vs. QBE
- 24/7 and Remote access of QBO vs. QBE
- Feature comparisons of QBO and QBE
Now let’s turn our attention to the add-on ecosystems for QBO and QBE…
WHAT’S AN ADD-ON FOR QUICKBOOKS?
Think about an ice cream sundae for a just a second.
There’s ice cream.
Then you add-on things like hot fudge topping, sprinkles, etc.
These add-ons enhance the taste of the ice cream (and “add-on” calories too!)
Add-ons for QuickBooks allow you to enhance its’ functionality or even add new functionality it doesn’t have (while these add-ons don’t add calories, they do subtract from your bank balance, as they usually have a cost to them).
Just so you know, add-ons are also referred to as:
- Apps for QuickBooks, etc.
They are all referring to the same concept, just with different words.
DOES INTUIT MAKE THESE ADD-ONS?
In most cases, the answer is no.
These add-ons are software that has been created by third-party developers and businesses that are not owned by Intuit.
These software applications connect to either QBO or QBE via an “electronic bridge” that moves selected information over the bridge from the add-on into QuickBooks. And in some cases, information returns over the bridge from QuickBooks into the add-on.
WHY USE ADD-ONS FOR QUICKBOOKS?
As we know, when it comes to our accounting and related tasks, QuickBooks:
- Handles some things quite well (invoicing for example)
- Covers some things kinda well (CRM or inventory, depending on your needs)
- Doesn’t handle some things at all (connecting to shopping carts or online stores)
An entire ecosystem of add-ons have been created around both QBO and QBE to enhance existing functionality or add functionality that they don’t have.
IMPORTANT POINT: Some add-ons will have you re-imagine the workflow of your business. For example, some inventory management add-ons take care of purchase orders, sales orders and all inventory management functions. QuickBooks is then used for bill paying and financial reporting.
THE QUICKBOOKS ENTERPRISE ADD-ON ECOSYSTEM
I have put together this graphic to help you visualize the ways add-ons can work with QuickBooks Enterprise (or click the graphic for specific links):
As you can see, there are many options available to enhance your operations, while keeping QuickBooks Enterprise as your core accounting system (the list above is definitely not all-inclusive).
Like the conversation of whether QBO or QBE is better, which add-on is better is an open-ended question too. It all boils down to the needs of your business and how well the add-on software meets them (if you find something with an absolutely perfect fit, please let me know, as “perfect” is nearly impossible as I see it).
THE QUICKBOOKS ONLINE ECOSYSTEM
As above, here is a graphic to help visualize the add-ons that work with QBO (or click the graphic for more details):
While the pictures may look the same as those in the QBE graphic above, the choices within each box are very different in most of the areas.
Why is that?
QBO ECOSYSTEM IS EXPANDING RAPIDLY. QBE – NOT SO MUCH
I’ve been amazed at how many new programs and apps have appeared over the last year that work with (and only with) QBO.
In talking with a number of developers of these programs, they say their decision to create packages solely for QBO comes down to two things:
- From a technical perspective, it’s FAR easier to write a program that connects to QBO than it is to connect to QBE
- From a business perspective, they see that QBO is where Intuit is headed as a company in the coming months (Intuit has publicly stated this many times), so why go backwards?
Does that mean there are no good add-ons for QBE then?
Not at all.
There are some excellent solutions out there if your business is committed to the QBE platform.
WHICH ADD-ONS ARE BETTER, QBO OR QBE?
I’ll close out this series of posts by saying once again – “it all depends”.
Hopefully you can see why I’ve been saying that as we’ve explored the various facets of this conversation.
For example, if your business philosophy is such that you’re not yet a “fan of the cloud”, then QBE is going to be “better” in your mind.
Alternately, if your business is a believer in the cloud and newer technologies, then QBO is likely going to be “better” in your mind, even if it has problems (real or perceived) when compared to QBE.
And yes, it’s possible that no version of QuickBooks is the right fit for your business, as you may be a better candidate for NetSuite or other packages.
WANT HELP TO FIGURE IT ALL OUT?
As part of my consulting practice, I help businesses get the unvarnished insights they need to make educated decisions when it comes to QBE vs QBO. Want to talk about your business situation in more detail? Contact me today…
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?
Please weigh in on where your business is right now on the QBE vs. QBO conversation so we can add some additional perspectives to those I’m offering above!