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Quicken vs QuickBooks

Quicken vs QuickBooks
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Updated January 31, 2024

Quicken and QuickBooks are two of the oldest and most recognized names in financial tracking software. Quicken primarily focuses on individual users but includes some small-business features. QuickBooks is designed exclusively for businesses and consists of a full accounting suite and more. Here’s a closer look at each to help you understand which may be best for your financial needs.

TIME’s Take

Quicken is a reasonable option for real-estate investors and small businesses keeping simple finances on their laptop or desktop computers. QuickBooks is better for robust small-business accounting, billing, payroll, and other business features. Despite the higher cost, if your business is more than a small side hustle, you’re probably better off with QuickBooks.

How Quicken saves you money

Quicken

Quicken

Quicken

Fees
$3.99 to $8.99 a month
Features
Budget Management, Basic tax prep, invoicing, rental property tools

Quicken Classic is a computer program that downloads and manages your financial data on your personal computer. Founded in 1984, it’s one of the oldest personal finance apps in existence, though it also offers a financial tracking section for your small business. It has three tiers: Business & Personal, Premier, and Deluxe.

Quicken can help you save money by better tracking your budget. Knowing your personal and business expenses by category can assist you in making the best financial decisions. Don’t spend blindly. With budget tracking software in your arsenal, you’re better positioned to make informed financial decisions in line with your financial goals.

Quicken pros and cons

Pros:

  • Tracks your personal and business finances in one place.
  • Some users may prefer the added security of a desktop-based application.
  • Built-in tax reports speed up tax preparation.

Cons:

  • Works on mobile, but is a desktop-first application.
  • Subscription fee for all versions.
  • Not a full accounting and bookkeeping app.

How QuickBooks saves you money

QuickBooks

QuickBooks

QuickBooks

Fees
$30 to $200 per month
Features
Double entry accounting, quotes and invoices, integrated payment (fees apply), inventory tracking, full service payroll (added fees apply), extensive business reporting

QuickBooks is a complete accounting and bookkeeping software suite offering features including invoicing, inventory management, payroll, and extensive reporting. The modern version of QuickBooks is cloud based and has web and mobile app support. It has four tiers: Simple Start, Essentials, Plus, and Advanced. While the desktop version has comprehensive features, the mobile app is more limited and focuses on the basics.

QuickBooks downloads your business transactions with a single click after linking your accounts. You can track income and expenses by project, customize quotes and invoices, prepare reports to file taxes, save and organize receipts, and manage your inventory. Payroll management and business borrowing are available for an added cost.

The robust budgeting tools allow you to track expenses by category and subcategory closely. While it’s not perfect, it’s one of the best small-business accounting platforms available today.

QuickBooks pros and cons

Pros:

  • Complete accounting solution for small businesses.
  • Manage all aspects of your business payroll, inventory, and more from a single interface.
  • Many report templates, including profit and loss, balance sheet, and others.

Cons:

  • A complicated accounting system that can be difficult to learn.
  • More costly than some competing options.
  • Occasional bugs and significant limitations on mobile.

Quicken vs QuickBooks: Comparison chart

FeatureQuickenQuickBooks
Best for
Side hustlers and owners of simple small businesses
Any small business looking for traditional accounting and bookkeeping features
Cost
$10.99 per month (Business & Personal Edition)
$30 to $200 per month
Features offered
Budget Management, Basic tax prep, invoicing, rental property tools
Double entry accounting, quotes and invoices, integrated payment (fees apply), inventory tracking, full service payroll (added fees apply), extensive business reporting
Customer service
Phone and chat support
Phone and chat support
Links to
Most financial institutions
More than 750 business apps, as well as banks and credit cards
Availability
Desktop and mobile app
Web browser and mobile app

Feature comparison

Quicken and QuickBooks have several overlapping features, but for the most part they are different. Here’s a comparison of the most essential features.

User interface

Both apps are easy to navigate, though QuickBooks has more features and thus can be more challenging to learn for new users. Quicken is primarily a desktop-based application, meaning you install it on your computer. QuickBooks offers a desktop version as well, but the modern preference for most users is the cloud-based version accessed through your web browser.

Download transactions

Both QuickBooks and Quicken connect to your bank account and download transactions automatically. With Quicken data is saved on your computer locally, though it can go to the cloud if you want to use the mobile app. With QuickBooks your data is kept in the cloud by default.

Categorize transactions

Quicken transaction categorization primarily focuses on budgeting, while QuickBooks is a full accounting package enabling you to do bookkeeping and double-entry accounting. Both attempt to categorize transactions automatically, but you may occasionally need to fix them manually.

Key similarities

Small-business financial tracking

Quicken and QuickBooks both include features to track your business income and expenses. While QuickBooks is more robust and works for larger businesses, both include features to understand your business profitability and view transactions by category.

Initial help with tax preparation

With Quicken you can generate add-on forms for small-business taxes, such as Schedule C. With QuickBooks you can prepare complete accounting reports to create your small-business or self-employed taxes. Neither is a full tax-preparation suite, but both give you a head start on taxes as a business owner.

Desktop first with mobile support

Quicken and QuickBooks both work best on a laptop or desktop computer. The mobile versions offer helpful features on the go, but you can’t do everything with the same ease as using the computer versions. Quicken is an app you install on your computer, while QuickBooks Online works through the web browser.

Key differences

Here are the key differences when comparing Quicken and Quickbooks.

Accounting features

Quicken offers income and expense tracking but is not complete accounting software. Burgeoning small and midsize businesses will likely outgrow Quicken if it works for them at all. On the other hand, QuickBooks is an accounting software first. Most small to midsize companies will easily find everything they need with a version of QuickBooks Online.

Business finance features

Quicken offers basic financial tracking, but QuickBooks goes beyond that to include banking, lending, inventory, payroll, and other financial tools and features. Both include invoicing, but QuickBooks allows quotes, invoicing, payments, and project-level tracking. You can do a lot more with QuickBooks.

Pricing

Quicken and QuickBooks come with very different pricing options. You can use Quicken Home & Business for $10.99 monthly, though it’s cheaper if you don’t need business features. Paying annually yields savings compared with the monthly subscription.

QuickBooks is much more expensive. The lowest tier, Simple Start, costs $30 per month for the long term and doesn’t include all features. You need to upgrade to Essentials, costing $60 per month, to handle bills and get more-detailed reports. Plus and Advanced unlock further features for an even higher cost.

Where QuickBooks is better

Double-entry accounting

QuickBooks uses a system called “double-entry accounting.” It’s the industry standard for accounting and bookkeeping and keeps you in line with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Quicken works more like a basic budgeting app. You can track income and expenses, but it doesn’t use the robust double-entry system many businesses need.

Payroll and other add-ons

QuickBooks offers a full-service payroll system for owners and other employees. This includes automatic deductions and tax filing. However, it requires a significant additional subscription cost. Depending on your business, the added cost could be well worth it. Other integrations include QuickBooks banking and QuickBooks Capital.

Cloud-based system

As a cloud-based accounting system, you can log in and use QuickBooks anywhere and share access with your accountant and employees. Quicken is focused on a single user on their primary computer. It does have the ability to scale up for handling higher transaction volumes as your business grows and integrates with third-party apps and e-commerce platforms, providing greater functionality.

Where Quicken is better

Personal finances

Quicken also includes the ability to manage your personal finances in the same app. If you’re a solo business owner and want to handle all of your finances in one place, Quicken is a better choice. It’s also good for investors who want to track and analyze their portfolios and other aspects of their finances.

Cost

Quicken costs less than QuickBooks. If you pay for an entire year up front, you may save 90% compared with common QuickBooks tiers. With QuickBooks Payroll and other add-ons, you could spend much more with QuickBooks than Quicken.

Investment tracking

As a personal finance software program first, Quicken includes detailed investment-tracking features that QuickBooks doesn’t offer. You can monitor portfolio performance, asset allocation, and plan for retirement with Quicken tools.

Bottom Line

While Quicken is cheaper, QuickBooks is far more robust. You get what you pay for, and most businesses will get far more out of a QuickBooks subscription than Quicken. That said, some smaller firms with a single owner may find their needs met at a lower cost with the personal and business features at Quicken.

Quicken

Quicken

Quicken

Fees
$3.99 to $8.99 a month
Features
Budget Management, Basic tax prep, invoicing, rental property tools

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is Quicken good for a small business?

Quicken can handle small-business income and expense tracking, as well as some basic reporting. However, it’s not a good choice for businesses with multiple employees and offers subpar features for quickly growing and midsize companies.

Is Quicken no longer part of Intuit?

Intuit, the owner of QuickBooks, sold Quicken in 2016. It’s now owned by Aquiline Capital Partners.

What are the best budgeting apps in the market today?

Quicken is part of a crowded field of personal finance and budgeting apps. Top contenders include:

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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