Quickbooks is a giant in the world of accounting, and it’s not hard to see why; their products are reliable, easy to use, and fairly scalable. But as an e-commerce seller, is it better to use Quickbooks Online or the desktop version, Quickbooks Enterprise?
Enterprise is Quickbooks’s long-standing pillar product. Formerly known as Quickbooks Desktop, this is the Quickbooks your father’s accountant was using 20 years ago, and it still holds up today.
Enterprise’s history means it’s been amassing features for a long time. Some of these features are relevant to e-commerce sellers, and a lot of them are superfluous; this is a software that does 100 different things 80% well.
One thing that Enterprise does very well is inventory management. Normally, trying to manage your inventory within your accounting system is a recipe for disaster, but for sellers with a small number of warehouses (usually those who are not an FBA business), it’s a great tool for keeping everything in one place. The most important thing is to make sure that you have enough staff to manage your unit counts so that your numbers stay consistent.
Some businesses require that customer information be collected along with each purchase. In a system like Quickbooks Online, thousands of imports like this will bog down the system, but Enterprise has the processing power necessary to get the job done.
Quickbooks Online (QBO) has been around for less time than Enterprise, and it has less features to show for it. However, what it does have, it does very well, and overall, it better caters to the needs of an e-commerce seller.
If you have non-local members of your team, like a warehouse manager in another state or an outsourced accounting firm like Seller Accountant, QBO is the best option for accessibility. While Enterprise can run on a remote server, QBO creates a better paper trail that incorporates activity from all users in one place. If there are errors, it’s easy to tell who has changed what data within QBO.
Third-Party Software Integration
QBO also has a relationship with a number of third-party software applications that are widely used by e-commerce sellers. Tools like A2X, PayPal, Webgility, Katana, and even sales channels like Shopify offer QBO integration that makes pulling data into your accounting system almost fool-proof.
As a firm that works exclusively with e-commerce sellers, Seller Accountant prefers the reliability and ease of use that Quickbooks Online offers.
While Enterprise can do a lot of tasks within a single system, we’ve learned through working with our clients’ books that things like inventory management and customer relations are better off managed separately from the accounting side of the business. Separating this data keeps the accounting clean and uncluttered, which is important for filing taxes or prepping for a sale.
Any business that is truly too complex for QBO is more than likely better off skipping Enterprise altogether and investing in a heavy-duty system like NetSuite, which can cost upwards of $60k/year. This would be the best move for 8-figure sellers who have unusual inventory or data needs that neither Quickbooks product is equipped to handle.
All in all, different accounting teams and processes prefer different systems, so there really is no right answer, just the software that works best for your needs. We use QBO even for large sellers doing $30m/year in sales, and we’ve seen Enterprise work well even for smaller businesses. Seller Accountant has chosen to work exclusively with QBO for reliability, ease of access, and scalability, but many firms are doing great work in legacy products like Enterprise.
If you’re ready to outsource your accounting or would like to learn more about how Seller Accountant uses QBO to deliver clean, accurate financials, book a free discovery call today.