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Quicken Versus Quickbooks

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.


What are the differences between Quicken and Quickbooks? What are the similarities between Quicken and Quickbooks, and how does Quickbooks differ from Quicken? What can Quickbooks do that Quicken cannot?

And what are the strengths and weaknesses of both financial software programs, Quicken and Quickbooks?

Differences Between Quicken and Quickbooks

Quicken is intended for personal financial management and sole proprietorship. Quickbooks is intended for small and mid-sized businesses. Quicken uses income and expense categories. Quickbooks uses expense accounts and income accounts to track expenses. Quickbooks comes with many business specific reports and functions no version of Quicken like Quicken Home and Business has.

Both Quicken and Quickbooks can generate a number of basic reports.

Both Quicken and Quickbooks can generate a number of basic reports.

Similarities Between Quicken and Quickbooks

Both tools allow you to track expenses, create budgets and pay bills. Both Quicken and Quickbooks allow you to import data from your bank or credit union and pay bills online. Both financial software applications let you upload data from Excel. Quicken and Quickbooks can both track loan amoritization and repayment schedules, such as tracking the payoff balance and interest schedule of an investment property or personal residence. Intuit states that both Quickbooks and Quicken can find tax deductions for you.

Strengths of Quicken over Quickbooks

Use Quicken if you want simple single entry accounting and checkbook accounting. It is also easier to learn than Quickbooks.

You can upgrade from Quicken to Quickbooks. However, you cannot import Quickbooks files into Quicken.

Quicken is cheaper than Quickbooks.

Quicken can support many functions needed by a sole proprietorship like Schedule C report generation and profit and loss statements.

Only Quicken allows you to track the cost basis and market value of investments.

Quicken comes with personal financial wizards like estimating how much to save for college or retirement or plan debt repayments.

Quicken can help you track taxes for your investments; Quickbooks cannot.

Weaknesses of Quicken

Quickbooks is better for generating customer statements or collecting and reporting sales tax. Quicken can only create checks and invoices.

Quicken lacks the balance sheet reports Quickbooks can create. And all businesses need a balance sheet report except for sole proprietorships.

Quicken wants to track business financial transactions like capital contributions and owner draws as an income or expense, though they are neither.

Strengths of Quickbooks over Quicken

Quickbooks has payroll functionality. Quicken won’t let you track hours worked, calculate paychecks owed and track tax withholding, though you can write a check and track it in Quicken.

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Quickbooks is better for invoicing, though this can be done in Quickbooks.

Tax professionals who work for small business clients prefer QuickBooks. It is easier to give the tax preparer access to Quickbooks files to generate a tax return for you than using Quicken files. You can even share the Quickbooks file via Intuit’s online file sharing service so that the accountant gets an email to access the file without the security risk of emailing your most sensitive financial files to someone.

Quickbooks has online versions multiple users can access at once. Furthermore, Quickbooks can be set up to give different access levels to different users, such as allowing a clerk to update inventory and asset tracking information without seeing payroll information.

Quickbooks supports accountings payable and accounts receivable. Quickbooks can create purchase orders, customer statements and customer receipts Quicken can’t.

Use Quickbooks for double entry accounting, but you can use it as a single entry system. Quicken can’t handle double entry accounting at all.

Quickbooks can generate 1099 and W2 forms.

Quickbooks has inventory tracking and fixed asset tracking if you buy the enterprise edition.

Quickbooks is able to handle project estimations, time tracking and job costing. It also supports different price levels and expenses by class.

Quickbooks allows you to create sales forecasts and business plans.

Quickbooks comes with a customer database for tracking contact information for your customers and suppliers.

Quickbooks has a programmable interface Quicken does not, so there are many industry specific add-ons and apps to make life easier for users in various roles and product lines.

Quicken can't track inventory or do activity based costing.

Quicken can't track inventory or do activity based costing.

Weaknesses of Quickbooks

Quickbooks cannot track investments like 529 plans or 401ks. You cannot use this tool to track your investments.

Account reconciliation can be much more challenging with Quickbooks.

Quickbooks requires asset accounts to be created when making large capital expenditures.

Accepting credit cards via Quickbooks Merchant Services is an extra charge.

Proper use of Quickbooks requires training in bookkeeping as well as how to use the software itself.

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