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Is QuickBooks Desktop Sunsetting at the End of the Year?

Posted by Audrey Ehrhardt, Esquire, CBC

Recently, Intuit, the creators of the widely used accounting software QuickBooks, made an announcement regarding the discontinuation of the 2020 version(s) of QuickBooks Desktop (QBD) on May 31st, 2023. This news has sparked various inquiries, causing law firm users to question the implications of this decision.

We find many of the firms we speak with are wondering about the future of QuickBooks Desktop and whether it is being phased out entirely. For those currently utilizing QBD, alternative options are being sought for the way forward. Additionally, there is a curiosity about the distinctions between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop, prompting law firms to explore their choices in detail.

When deciding what to do as a current user of QuickBooks Desktop 2020, there are several factors to consider. Let us share more information with you on this right now.

First, although QuickBooks Desktop 2020 is being phased out, there are newer versions available. QuickBooks Desktop 2023 was released in September 2022 and will continue to receive support for the foreseeable future. While Intuit does not actively promote this edition, interested users can contact their sales team for more information. QuickBooks Desktop 2023 will operate on a subscription-based model, unlike the one-time purchase option of the 2020 edition. Intuit has been gradually transitioning to subscription models for its applications.

Second, it is important to note that QuickBooks Desktop 2023 is more expensive compared to QuickBooks Online (QBO). The annual cost for the desktop edition is $549, while QBO plans start at $180. Additionally, adding users to the desktop edition comes at a higher cost. This suggests that Intuit is actively encouraging users to consider migrating to the online version of QuickBooks.

Many of our clients are asking us if they can continue using QuickBooks Desktop 2020.  Technically, yes. However, it is strongly discouraged due to several reasons. As part of the sunsetting process, Intuit will cease live support for QuickBooks Desktop 2020. This means that if any issues arise, you will be left to resolve them without assistance. In the worst-case scenario, you may encounter difficulties migrating your data, requiring you to either start anew or manually transfer everything, which can be time-consuming and inconvenient.

Moreover, QuickBooks Desktop 2020 will no longer receive security updates, leaving your system more susceptible to potential vulnerabilities. Whether you choose to transition to a newer Desktop version or consider moving to QuickBooks Online, it is highly recommended to discontinue the use of QuickBooks Desktop 2020 for the sake of optimal functionality and security.

But, what is the main difference between the two offerings?  QuickBooks Online operates as a cloud-based service, enabling users to access the software through a web browser or application rather than relying on an installed application. This web-based approach necessitates an internet connection, but it offers the advantage of accessibility from any location, irrespective of distance. There is also a tremendous level of security built into the cloud-based software. In contrast, QuickBooks Desktop functions as a locally installed application, limiting access to the computer on which it is installed. Users can expand access points by installing it on multiple computers, however there is an additional cost.

Unsurprisingly, one of the major advantages of QuickBooks Online lies in its cloud-based infrastructure. This feature provides unparalleled mobility compared to the Desktop version. Rather than being tied to a particular computer, you can access QuickBooks Online from any device equipped with a browser. It is worth noting that an internet connection is necessary to utilize QBO. In today's era, however, it has become commonplace for individuals to have constant access to the internet in various settings.

We know this article raises more questions than it answers. You need a bookkeeping solution you can trust to get your law practice books right each month. The Practice42 Premier Law Books Team of bookkeepers know just how important staying on track with your books, and your cash flow, is to the success and growth of your firm! Use this link to schedule a free 30 minute Practice42 Strategy Session with us so we can share with you how we can help you reach your goals for success in your law firm!

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