Bookkeeping always seems like a mysterious, dark art. It is never seen done in person, yet you give someone a bunch of transactions and receive a neat, orderly report in return. As confusing as it may seem from the outside, bookkeeping is very straight forward these days, with the help of some very useful programs. There are probably hundreds of bookkeeping programs available, each with their own pros and cons. At the Bean Team, we are QuickBooks fans.

So what can QuickBooks do that makes it so special, and universally used? The first, and arguably most important factor is usability. QuickBooks is marketed as a user friendly program. Which it certainly is, to a certain extent. The company that made the program is aptly named Intuit. And their programs are indeed, intuitive. Obviously, there is a learning curve, as with any program. But for most new users, they will find they are able to post invoices and deposits with very little  instruction. That being said, a basic understanding of bookkeeping goes a long way.

QuickBooks has also adapted a fair amount to the modern age. The program has been in circulation since the 90’s. Much has changed in the digital environment since that time. Intuit has done a very good job of keeping the iterations of QuickBooks modern, while still holding on to their more old fashioned customer base. It is a balancing act that many companies could learn from.

You see, while many of the basic functionality of the program has remained the same, new add ons, integrations, and internet linked features have been added to keep it up-to-date. These changes aren’t solely for appearance’s sake. With QuickBook’s success, has come a throng of followers that aim to create a shinier, more modern take of double entry accounting programs. And for the most part, they have succeeded. Web based bookkeeping programs like Xero, have taken many customers away from Intuit. Lured by a whole host of integrations, and streamlined bank feed downloads, many amateur bookkeepers have jumped ship.

While I, and many other bookkeepers, may concede that Xero is in fact easier to pick up and use, it is far less comprehensive than QuickBooks. Following a trail of transactions can be difficult, and often makes any form of forensic accounting painful. It lacks the tools, and ability to enable a bookkeeper to truly be in control of a company’s finances. If all you need is a place to download your bank feed, and assign them to an account, then Xero is perfect. 

When it comes down to it, QuickBooks is the most versatile. It can be used by many different skill levels, and is very in tune with what most accountants, bookkeepers, and business owners need when maintaining healthy books, no matter the industry. Obviously, it is important to do your research, and see what fits best with your business. Don’t blindly take my word for it. And no, I’m not getting paid by Intuit to plug their product, but if that is an option, I’m game. Really, I have used a hand full of accounting and bookkeeping programs, and always come back to QuickBooks as my go-to. Don’t get me wrong, it has its quirks like any other computer program, but at the end of the day it does the things I need it to, and without too much fuss.