Consultant’s Corner: Should I Use QuickBooks?


Question: It costs over $100 per month for an accountant to do payroll for my business. I could use QuickBooks and do it for under $50. What are the pros and cons of using QuickBooks for small business accounting?

With user-friendly software such as QuickBooks available, many business owners feel they should be able to keep their records on their own, even as they wrestle with finding the time and wonder if they’re doing things correctly. However, business owners who hire accounting help usually discover they weren’t doing nearly as well on their own as they thought they were.

In your case, since you already utilize an accountant, you may decide to switch to QuickBooks and see the opposite occur.

With that being said, we do not know the intricacies of your business financial situation; you may be able to perform bookkeeping and accounting procedures effectively and properly using QuickBooks while cutting cost significantly.

We have listed pros and cons below for your review regarding the use of QuickBooks for your accounting procedures.


On the positive side, QuickBooks offers…

  • Ease of Use — QuickBooks is designed to be used by the person who is not an accounting aficionado- helping you to get the basics done in a timely manner.
  • Affordability — The cost of an updated subscription to QuickBooks is much smaller than the price of a tax service. This is especially true for most small businesses who will have a small number of employees who need to access the software.
  • Just the Basics — The software has the capability to provide the basic accounts payable and accounts receivable functions like: creating checks and invoices, running basic reports, tracking inventory, payroll, time on the job, setting prices and processing credit cards.

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  • Pay to Play Functionality —  You are able to choose the version you need so you only have to pay for what you need.
  • Accessibility —  QuickBooks integrates easily with Microsoft Office- i.e. the world’s most commonly used word processing and spreadsheet applications. There are also many other 3rd party integrations available.
  • Customization — Many customization options will help you to tailor the program to your business.
  • Extensive Support — The sheer number of QuickBooks users ensures a robust community support center where you will probably be able to answer any question you have about the software.
  • Workability — QuickBooks is available for both Windows and Mac machines. No need to upgrade your machine in order to run this program. You can also access install QuickBooks locally or access an online version if you’re on the go.
  • Training Resources — You can find tons of training materials on QuickBooks to help you make the most of your purchase.


Some reasons you might consider something other than QuickBooks are…

  • Ease of Use — QuickBooks’ focus on the non-expert user means that it doesn’t include some of the more complex accounting methodologies. If your business uses these, this program may not work for you.
  • File-Size Issues — QuickBooks will limit the amount of information you can submit. For instance, the number of products offered by your company will be limited within the program.
  • Security Concerns — Isn’t everything a security concern these days? Using the online version will create various security issues (like your data being stored/protected by a 3rd party, worries of hackers, etc.)
  • Upgrade Costs — While it is relatively cheap to get in the door, ordering off the menu can get expensive… quickly.
  • Personal Time and Stress on You — Even if you are saving money, there’s always something else you could be doing for your business.

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Overall, QuickBooks is a very solid accounting program and can be a good fit for many small businesses. While it is definitely worth a look it’s important to remember that nothing can be everything to everyone.

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Rick Gossett

Rick Gossett

Rick Gossett has been COO of Tarkenton Companies for more than 20 years and is an expert in business operations, responsible for business software development, unique partnerships, business educational content, consulting, and more. Rick was the originator of Tarkenton Companies’ consulting services and, initially, personally answered every question. Before joining Tarkenton Companies, Rick owned and operated a private practice as a CPA. Prior to that, he was a Senior Manager at Pannell Kerr Foster in tax and audit, as well as Principal in Ernst & Young’s small business advisory group.