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Quickbooks or Quicken?

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Mike BrowningQuickbooks or Quicken?
by on Aug 1, 2008 at 5:27:34 am

Hi all, this question is directed to you strapping and intelligent small business owners:

I am finding my increasing amount of contract work needs better book keeping than merely Excel (in other words, time to quit being cheap). So which would you recommend - Quickbooks Pro or Quicken Home/Business? I don't need business forecast functions or payroll functions, just a simple way to log expenses and earnings, to keep track of certain categories of expenses, and a better way to prepare for taxes. I really like the ability to make and track invoices, purchase orders, and payments with QB but those forms aren't really necessary. Also there seems to be more of an emphasis on the audit trail with QB, which makes me wonder whether Quicken is secure? Your suggestions, please.

Or would you recommend I avoid both programs and get a different one?

Also, I've read some bad reviews on the Mac version of both of these Intuit programs - would you likewise give them bad reviews?

Mike B
Vision Quest Media

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Brendan CootsRe: Quickbooks or Quicken?
by on Aug 1, 2008 at 5:52:19 am

The mac version of Quickbooks is so bad that we returned it and dug up an old PC just for Quickbooks use.

I will say that Quickbooks is an excellent option if you need a solid, proven accounting system. While it doesn't require an accounting degree to use it, there is a learning curve and you CAN screw EVERYTHING up if you don't know what you're doing. Quicken may be the same, I've never used it.

Brendan Coots

Splitvision Digital

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Steve WargoRe: Quickbooks or Quicken?
by on Aug 1, 2008 at 7:09:13 am

We use QuickBooks but it is far above what we need. Talk too your bookkeeper to see what they prefer. My bookkeeper can shoot through our books in no time. It saves big bucks at tax time. We send her our file once a month and we back up on-line with Intuit. Very reliable.

We have built a bunch of customized reports and they save us a lot of work. You can input your monthly bills and it will prompt you to pay them.

You'll need QuickBooks if you own lots of gear, hire people, or need something comprehensive. A lot of single person shops get by on Quicken.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .

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Todd TerryRe: Quickbooks or Quicken?
by on Aug 1, 2008 at 12:26:11 pm

We use QuickBooks Pro, and it works very well and serves our needs. It is overkill (does things that we don't need), but then again we are not talking about something wildly expensive compared to other software that we use, so it's not that big a deal.

To be honest, I never touch it myself so I would be lost trying, but our GM is pretty proficient at it although he said there was a little bit of a learning curve. I know he does have to call our CPA on semi-rare occasions to ask exactly how to input something or where something goes. We did pay their yearly support fee for a while (unlimited telephone support), but always found they didn't know much more than he did (and usually lead to him grumbling about outsourced overseas tech support).

And from what I hear, Brendan is right about the Mac version. We are an all-PC house, but my best friend is a MacHead and in his particlar small business after a couple years of frustration he did the same thing... bought a PC just for accounting to run QuickBooks.

I think QuickBooks Pro is probably far from perfect... but it's probably about the best solution available.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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walter biscardiRe: Quickbooks or Quicken?
by on Aug 1, 2008 at 12:29:09 pm

We use Quickbooks here, have been using it I guess since we opened in 2001. The part I love is our Accountant can simply take a CD from us with everything on it and run our taxes that way with no paperwork from us. Works extremely well and just keeps getting better.

The only issue we ran in to was he could not work with the files from the Mac version of Quickbooks for whatever reason, so we have a lone PC in the office just to run Quickbooks.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!
View Walter Biscardi's profile on LinkedIn

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Trey GregoryRe: Quickbooks or Quicken?
by on Aug 1, 2008 at 1:45:58 pm

I can't speak about Quicken Home & Business, but I'm running Quickbooks Pro 2007 on my mac laptop, and I've never had any problems running it. I've used it through the last 2 versions of the OS and have not had any issues. (Intuit even released a patch for the program within a week of the new OS's release, quite impressive)

I am able to export a save a file that is compatible with windows machines. This is how I get my info to my accountant when taxtime comes, and he's had no problems w/ our files yet.

The learning curve is quite steep. And I find the invoice/estimate creation tedious and clunky.

Make sure you have a CPA to advise you when you need help or don't know how to classify something. This will save you a lot of headaches come taxtime.

Quickbooks Pro does come with MANY features that a professional service business will never use. You might want to pick up a copy of the industry-specific version of Quickbooks. They make a version that is specifically for service businesses.

Best of luck.

Trey Gregory
ECG Productions - Atlanta
HD Production and Post

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Mike BrowningRe: Quickbooks or Quicken?
by on Aug 1, 2008 at 2:28:35 pm

Thanks for the input, all.

Mike Browning
VisionQuest Media Solutions

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Nick GriffinRe: Quickbooks or Quicken?
by on Aug 2, 2008 at 8:49:28 pm

[walter biscardi] "The only issue we ran in to was he could not work with the files from the Mac version of Quickbooks for whatever reason"

Walt, I think that's been fixed, at least it hasn't been an issue between our accountants and us for a couple of years. We use Quickbooks Pro 2007 and have no problems. The only serious problem we've had with Quickbooks was a year or so ago when one of it's auto-updates also auto-wiped out the Mac it was on's "desktop file." As they say in software, "That's not a bug... it's a feature."

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Craig SeemanMYOB
by on Aug 1, 2008 at 1:46:58 pm

There's MYOB which is also cross platform.
You'll even find it for sale in Apple stores.

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Bruce BennettRe: Quickbooks or Quicken?
by on Aug 3, 2008 at 11:50:06 am

I use QuickBooks and am happy with it. You may want to check into the "contractor" version which has some features that work well with video production companies.

Some features are sold as add-ons for QB, like "payroll" and "online transactions." My accountant figured out what I need to pay the government for payroll, so I don't need to purchase that add-on option.

Like several people indicated, backing up your files is important. I backup my QB on a USB stick (you don't want to backup up on the same computer that QB is installed on).


Bruce Bennett
Bennett Marketing & Media Production, LLC

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David RichterRe: Quickbooks or Quicken?
by on Aug 4, 2008 at 3:22:43 am

Back when I used a PC, Quickbooks was the way to go for all my business needs. Has a learning curve but not too bad. Quicken was just too limiting. When I moved to a mac we switched over to MYOB. Same issues as Quickbooks. A bit of a learning curve and you have to purchase the add ons if you need them. However for Mac users MYBO seems to be more interested in serving our needs. At least from my perspective.

David Richter

Richter Studios

Chicago's Video Production, Interactive and Presentation Services Company

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Rick DolishnyRe: Quickbooks or Quicken?
by on Aug 10, 2008 at 6:19:03 am

Funny thing I just two weeks ago found myself on month two of way to busy and hired a bookkeeper. The awesome thing was I was probably incorrectly using Quicken98 Home & Business and I hated it, so I let the bookkeeper install a fresh copy of QuickBooks 2008 Pro and start totally from scratch.

Two weeks (maybe 20 part-time hours total) and my books are in order and I just finished my first automatic GST (Canadian tax) with basically one button. I can see the light ... and also can see the value of craigslist and hiring a local bookkeeper for a couple of bucks. :)

Maybe if someone set me up with H&B right in the first place I would be OK, but I get a feeling that QuickBooks is sort of the Avid of the accounting world. Kind of a bloated dog (takes like 20 seconds to boot up), kinda strange interface, lots of quirks (uh, features) but it's the industry standard so deal with it and get on with life.

Rick Dolishny
Discrete Editors COW Leader

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tad newberryRe: Quickbooks or Quicken? Still no Mac?
by on Oct 11, 2012 at 6:55:50 pm

I know this thread is four years old, but my Quicken Home and Business 2009 is no longer supported by Quicken, i.e., i can't get no mo' downloads from my bank, so just seeing if there has been any progress made in the area of a Q H&B for Mac these days (yes, still short of QB). I'm about to run to Office Depot to get a disc, but just thought i would check. Still got my little XP PC sitting here JUST for Quicken...

thanks for helping out a bonehead!

2.66 GHz Quad-Core Mac Pro
NVIDIA GeForce GT 120
...and a few TeraBytes o' storage
(then it's on to PetaBytes, ExaBytes and MosquitoBytes!)

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Craig SeemanRe: Quickbooks or Quicken? Still no Mac?
by on Oct 11, 2012 at 7:20:40 pm

Currently there's Quicken Essentials for Mac
and info on moving from Windows to Mac.

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Steve ModicaRe: Quickbooks or Quicken? Still no Mac?
by on Oct 11, 2012 at 7:32:34 pm

I've used quickbooks for mac (currently 2009) for quite some time, although I don't do bank downloads with it. I also use quicken essentials for mac (I hate it, but I don't want the hassle of going to the new 2007 Mountain Lion supported version either).

Steve Modica
CTO, Small Tree Communications

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