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Tracking all your business expenses takes a lot of time, which is something that small business owners notoriously lack. Accounting software can be a huge boon, and two options are particularly good.
QuickBooks is a hugely popular small business accounting solution, but it works great for freelancers too. Meanwhile, Quicken is a simple personal finance management solution, but can handle some small businesses as well. Each one has strengths and weaknesses when compared to the other, though we'd certainly argue that QuickBooks is better than Quicken for small businesses.
In this guide:
- Overview – QuickBooks VS Quicken
- Pricing Plans Comparison
- Core Features
- Customer Service & Support
Both QuickBooks and Quicken are aimed at giving users an easy central location to manage their balances, budgets, bank or credit card accounts, and transactions. Users will be able to see their past history and predict future spending or investment trends.
However, the two services are aimed at different audiences. With its deeper functionality and far larger number of integrations, QuickBooks is best for most small businesses, while Quicken which does not support inventory or payroll management is best for rental property managers or even smaller, less complex businesses.
One big plus to Quicken? It's an order of magnitude less expensive than QuickBooks, making it an appealing option for those who need simple, straightforward accounting software. Quicken charges an annual fee that's in the same ballpark as QuickBooks' monthly fee. That said, Quicken offers fewer features, less customizability, and less functionality overall.
Office 365 integration
Unbeatable range of accounting features and some truly good value plans for growing businesses
A pared-down, inexpensive accounting solution
QuickBooks and Quicken both offer four plans, with the number of features increasing as the costs rises.
QuickBooks' plans support a set number of users, but all Quicken plans are designed for a single-user experience, either for personal accounting or for a small business with a single manager. Plus, Quicken charges on a per-year basis rather than per-month.
Does it include bookkeeping functions?
Does it include a range of accounts payable functions?
Does it include a range of accounts receivable functions?
Does it offers tools to track different projects?
Does it offer financial reporting tools?
Budget & forecasting
Does it offer budgeting and forecasting tools?
$15 per month
$25 per month
$40 per month
$70 per month
$150 per month
QuickBooks Simple Start
QuickBooks' Simple Start plan costs $25 per month, and supports one user. This plan supports unlimited invoicing and estimating, expense tracking, contact management, limited reporting features, and a mobile app. A range of third-party integrations offer further functionality, though some are paid add-ons rather than free extensions.
Next is the QuickBooks Plus plan, which costs $70 per month and supports five users. It has all the features of Simple Start, plus time tracking, project profitability tracking, inventory and bill management, and a project hub, which lets users tie specific labor costs, payroll data, and expenses to the project to which they belong.
QuickBooks Advanced costs $150 per month, and supports 25 users. It offers all the features of Plus, and throws in priority customer support, advanced reporting, online training courses, batch importing abilities, and role-based user permissions for better security.
Finally, the Self-Employed plan costs $15 per month for one user. This plan includes a few features you won't find in the others: There's quarterly tax management complete with alerts perfect for a freelancer as well as estimate tracking, 1099 contractor management, and sales/sales tax tracking.
That's it for the core plans, but there's also QuickBooks Payroll, an add-on available in three plans: Core, for $45 per month plus $4 per employee per month; Payroll Premium, for $75 per month plus $8 per employee per month; and Payroll Elite, for $125 per month plus $10 per employee per month.
Quicken's first plan is Starter, for $35.99 per year. You'll be able to tracking spending, bills and budgets, see your bank and credit card accounts, and categorize expenses, all across desktop, web, or mobile alike. You'll also get phone support, and be able to export data to Excel.
Quicken Deluxe costs $51.99 per year. It offers all the features of Starter, plus customized budgets and both tracking and savings goals for debts, loans, investments, and retirement accounts. That's not a huge increase in features, but it's also not a huge increase in costs, and the features you do get are essential to long-term retirement planning making this Quicken's most popular plan.
Quicken Premier costs $77.99 per year. This nets you all the Deluxe features, plus free online bill payment, priority customer support, and a host of tools to further streamline tax planning. These include better portfolio analysis, comparisons to market average returns, Schedule D tax report creation, and Quick Pay digital bill payments.
Quicken Home & Business
Finally, Quicken's Home & Business plan costs $103.99 per year, and comes with one big caveat: It's only available on the Windows operating system, unlike the other three plans, which are on both Windows and Mac. It offers all the features of Premier, plus a block of business and property management tools you won't find in any other plan: Categories to separate personal from business expenses, profit/loss projections, cash flow reports, Schedule C and E report creation, custom email invoices and estimates, and management for lease terms, rental rates, security deposits, rents (both outstanding and paid), and rental documents.
QuickBooks offers a 30-day free trial.
Quicken does not offer a trial, but does have a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is kind of the same thing if you're willing to be that person who asks for their money back. With the exception of Starter, Quicken's plans will all be 10% off for the first year.
Best Value for Money
Quicken is far less expensive than QuickBooks, charging an annual fee that's in the same ballpark as QuickBooks' monthly fee. That said, Quicken offers fewer features, less customizability, and less functionality overall.
While both services can be used to operating accounting services for a small business, QuickBooks is more likely to be worth the cost for any serious business owner. That said, Quicken is a great inexpensive solution for small businesses with no inventory: Freelance marketing or design, for instance, or rental property management.
Both services offer a range of core features across all plans, though the specifics vary by plan: Tax reports may differ, for instance, or extra benefits such as easy invoicing may not be widely available. Both systems are also designed to sync up whether they're viewed on desktop, web, or mobile. Here's a more detailed look at the functions that these services offer.
- Granular, customizable reports
- Mobile app lets you track miles driven
- 30-day free trial
- Customer support isn't the best
- A little pricey for small operations
- Easy to use
- Few integrations
- No free trial
- No inventory management
Budgeting – Winner: Quicken
QuickBooks lets each user create a budget based on their accounting data, letting them review, edit, and run financial reports using their own custom budget. Users can also match projected sales and expenses against the actual ones, gaining insights into how to tweak their budget in the future.
Quicken's dashboard lets you view all your accounts at once, and helps you to create and visualize your budget. Budget management tools are available on all plans, and with the Deluxe or higher plans, you'll also get greater budget customization options, debt tracking features, and savings goals. You'll be able to separate your spending into categories, and then see how much you've spent in each category (e.g. Food and Dining, Shopping, Auto and Transport, Kids) across the past 30 days, allowing for a better understanding of your recent expenditures at a glance.
A QuickBooks invoice template
Invoicing – Winner: QuickBooks
QuickBooks offers customizable invoice templates, including recurring invoices that will be automatically issued at set intervals. Once set up, a project's billable hours can be automatically folded into the correct invoice once the invoice payment rolls in, QuickBooks' automatic matching function will then find and pair the payments to its invoice, letting users know which invoices are done and which are outstanding. Automated alerts can also let users know when their invoices have been viewed by a client, even if they haven't paid.
Quicken also has robust invoicing abilities, however not as good as other invoicing software on the market. Users can create and email custom invoices from available templates within the software, adding their own logo and color scheme. Invoices can also be sent as PDFs that include a clickable PayPal payment link.
Automatic Payments – Winner: Draw!
QuickBooks lets users set up an automatic payment for their clients (with permission, of course). With this feature, a recurring invoice can be set for a daily, weekly, monthly, bimonthly, or yearly withdrawal. It can be set to end after a certain number of occurrences, for any installment plan you might need.
Quicken offers a similar function, called Recurring Payments, to let customers pay automatically. It can be accessed from the “Bills” section.
Payroll – Winner: QuickBooks
QuickBooks does not offer payroll services in its core plan, but instead includes a paid add-on to handle it. QuickBooks Payroll is available in three plans, starting from between $45 and $125 per month as a base price, with another $4 to $10 per employee per month, depending on the plan. It lets employers create paychecks, supports direct deposits and 1099 contractor payments, and offers state and federal tax forms (on certain plans only).
Quicken doesn't support payroll features. It does have paycheck features, but these are aimed at your own paycheck, not at supplying someone else's. The service integrates with Intuit Online Payroll.
Quicken's budget creation
Tax Capabilities – Winner: QuickBooks
With QuickBooks, you'll be able to organically track tax details on all projects and expenses. Notably, tax deduction maximization tools are available across all plans, ensuring an accountant can be easily brought into the software as a guest. Users can also group their income or expenses according to the right tax category, and can export documents when needed. Sales tax reports are also included in the reporting dashboard.
QuickBooks also sells its Payroll service, which includes payroll tax prep tools, in all its plans and even sells tax forms and envelopes as well. You can check out all the details and prices over here.
Quicken's tax tools also allow for sales tax tracking within the software. Users can create reports covering Schedules A to E, as well as Tax Summaries, Capital Gains, and custom reports for any tax schedule. Business deductions can be managed as well, and tax data can be exported to TurboTax with ease.
Inventory Tracking – Winner: QuickBooks
QuickBooks' inventory management tools are available on its Plus and Advanced plans. Auto-alerts can be triggered when inventory is running low, so reordering is simple. Product data can be imported with Excel, and thanks to third-party integrations, can be sent to other platforms including Amazon, Shopify, and Etsy. The total value of your inventory can be monitored easily throughout the day.
Quicken doesn't support core inventory tracking abilities. Users can track their inventory total, as long as they keep it manually updated, but they won't be able to catalog individual items, track items sales, or track how much is in stock and whether it's running out. If you sell inventory, Quicken is not for you.
Expense Tracking – Winner: Quicken
All of QuickBooks' plans include expense tracking, but the best abilities kick in with the Plus and Advanced plans, which include a project management function that collects all projects in a single location and lists all expenses associated with each one. This lets users quickly sort through their expenses when they need to find something specific. Photos of receipts can be linked to specific expenses for an extra papertrail.
Quicken scans its users' transactions, noting all regularly recurring expenses for easy budgeting. You can choose whether to do this automatically or manually, and can separate expenses into categories as well.
The Quicken dashboard
Reporting & Dashboards – Winner: Draw!
QuickBooks offers detailed, flexible reporting abilities, with a long list of preset templates that can be modified to fit each users' specific needs. Report templates include audit logs, balance sheets, statements of cash flow, open invoices, customer reports, sales tax reports, budget overviews, and profit-and-loss reports ranked by month, class, customer, or year-to-date. All of this is available from the Reports Center on the navigation menu.
Quicken's comparable dashboard, the Reports & Graphs Center, also lets users run a variety of reports: Spending by Category and by Payee, Transactions, Banking Summary, Cash Flow, Current vs. Average Spending by Category and by Payee, Missing Checks, Current Budget Spending, Account Balances, and Cash Flow Comparison Reports.
QuickBooks has a library of more than 650 integrations, letting users easily tie in their data from major business platforms like Microsoft's 365 and Google's G Suite. Other third-party services cover tasks in a range of categories, including marketing, file storage, CRM, ecommerce, and payments.
Some of the most popular integrations available for QuickBooks users include:
- Housecall Pro
Check the price before you commit: Some services are paid and some are free, so the monthly subscription costs might add up if you need a large number of integrations.
Compared to QuickBooks, Quicken offers a very limited selection of integrations. These include integrations with PayPal, home valuation tool Zillow, and with Intuit Online Payroll. Square is not included, and Quicken doesn't make a full list of integrations available.
Security Features – Winner: Draw!
QuickBooks offers 128-bit SSL encryption across all plans. QuickBooks Advanced has role-based user permissions, which means that each user will have access only to the information they need to know, thus limiting the possibility of an information leak.
Quicken offers even stronger 256-bit encryption, and allows additional password protection on Quicken data files. It doesn't include role-based permissions, but it only supports one user, so there's no need.
On the whole, both services offer strong security protocols.
Both QuickBooks and Quicken offer a similar visual experience. Their software gives users a main dashboard composed of customizable graphs and charts (e.g. listing recent transactions, categories of spending in the past 30 days, spending over time, or an investment summary), with a sidebar that links to the main categories of useable features, like Bills, Invoicing, and Reporting.
One big differentiator is that QuickBooks' range of plans supports between one and 25 users, while Quicken's plans all support a single user. QuickBooks offers role-based permissions and allows third-party accountants to join as guests, and while Quicken lets data be exported to be shown to accountants, it doesn't have any multi-user functionality. QuickBooks is also more customizable overall, and allows for greater scalability due to the depth of features in its more advanced plans.
Quicken's layout is fairly clear, but it does have one issue worth noting when it comes to User Experience: It's a little slow, and will frequently take a few seconds to load when a user is entering information or switching from one screen to another within the software. While not a dealbreaker, those lost seconds can add up to an annoying experience if you're spending a lot of time with the service.
QuickBooks is supported on all common devices and browsers, while Quicken requires Windows 8 and higher, OS 4.4 and higher, Mac Mojave and higher, iOS 9 and higher, or the latest versions of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Firefox.
It's also worth noting that Quicken's Home and Business tier can only be used on Windows or a browser.
In addition, QuickBooks supports six languages English, Chinese, French, Italian, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese. Quicken only supports English language settings, and has versions designed for use in two countries only: Canada and the United States.
Both services offer similar customer support options, with an emphasis on online resources that walk users through their accounting solution's features and abilities.
The first stop for QuickBooks users will be its online help portal, which offers articles and video tutorials split into categories such as Reports, Payroll and Workers, and Advanced Accounting, among others. QuickBooks has another, separate resource center, as well as training courses, a blog, and a community forum.
Quicken also has a help portal, with a video university and an FAQ section categorized by topics including Order Questions, Product Registration, Online Banking, Install and Update, Planning Tools, and more. There's also a community forum that lets users ask each other additional questions.
Online & Phone Support
QuickBooks users will need to log in to access the live chat (6am to 6pm PT Monday through Friday) or phone support.
Quicken also makes staff support accessible through the website's live chat or by phone, although it does not make its support hours public. One other thing sets it apart from QuickBooks: Quicken does not require an initial login in order to access the live chat and phone support team.
Both softwares can be installed on Mac and Windows operating systems, as well as iOS and Android. The one exception is Quicken's Home & Business plan, which is only installable on Windows (although it is accessible through a browser as well).
They can also be deployed through a browser window for entirely web-based access.
We'd recommend QuickBooks for most small businesses, given its depth of features, integrations, and customizability. Quicken isn't designed for many small business needs, given its lack of inventory management features. That said, Quicken is the far less expensive solution, and it fits the needs of rental property managers in particular as well as individuals planning their personal finance management who should consider it first.
If you know which solution is best for you, there's a clear next step: Take a minute to review our page on all the best accounting softwares. This gives you a full look at the top accounting software solutions, including the best alternatives to QuickBooks and Quicken, such as Xero or Sage.
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