Have you heard the news? On November 30th, Intuit sent an email to all QuickBooks ProAdvisors in which they dropped the long-awaited bombshell that they are sunsetting sales of most QuickBooks Desktop products the end of July, 2024. The only product they will continue to sell to new customers is QuickBooks Enterprise. Below is a snapshot of the announcement.
Existing Desktop Pro Plus, Premier Plus, Mac Plus, and Enhanced Payroll subscribers can continue to renew their subscription after July 31, 2024*. Intuit will continue to provide security updates, product updates, and support for existing subscribers.
Why is Intuit Sunsetting QuickBooks Desktop?
This can be best summed up by Intuit’s Strategic Marketing Leader, Amy Clark in her November 1, 2023 post "Why we talk so much about Quickbooks Online".
“Some QuickBooks Desktop customers may feel we have been pushing the adoption of QuickBooks Online. With full transparency: Yes, we are. Intuit built an integrated, online platform because that’s the way innovative companies have transformed productivity, and because it helps provide the best time- and money-saving benefits. Simply put, an online platform can deliver benefits that a desktop product cannot. What’s more, our online products now meet the needs of almost all QuickBooks Desktop users.
However, we also understand that you or your clients may not feel QuickBooks Online is right for them yet. We want to take a moment to say this: At this time, we remain committed to supporting QuickBooks Desktop products and customers—and you and your clients can continue to renew their QuickBooks Desktop subscription.”
What Is So Much Better About QuickBooks Online?
That is a great question! Below are just five benefits on how QuickBooks Online delivers a better accounting experience when compared to QuickBooks Desktop.
Continuous protection. Cloud storage ensures data safety from physical disasters and enhances security through proactive monitoring for suspicious activities.
Continuously improved. New updates every month, including new services like integrated bill pay.
Productivity anywhere. On smartphones or tablets, you can manage your business no matter where you are.
Application connectivity. Hundreds of applications integrate with QuickBooks Online, creating a multiple of value in terms of functionality and automation for users.
Live collaboration. No more transferring large accounting files to your accountant. Work with your internal or Client Accounting Service team, in real time, at the same time in QuickBooks Online.
What Does This Change Mean For You?
You will need to take some action. These actions fall into one of two forms: Transition or Stay-the Course.
You can begin to transition your QuickBooks Desktop accounting to QuickBooks Online before July 31, 2024. We recommend you contact a QuickBooks ProAdvisor (like our firm https://www.ucentric.biz/) experienced with migrations in February or March. We anticipate demand will be hire for migrating to QuickBooks Online the first half of the year, so it would be wise to get started earlier than later.
You can transition your QuickBooks Desktop accounting to another accounting system entirely before July 31, 2024. Understandably, some businesses may want to move to a different accounting platform. We would recommend you begin vetting options as soon as possible to effect the change prior to the end of July.
If your business is on non-subscription versions of QuickBooks Desktop Pro, Premier, or Mac and wish to remain on Desktop, it is recommended you purchase a QuickBooks Desktop Pro Plus, Premier Plus, or Mac Plus subscription before July 31, 2024.
If you have Pro Plus or Premier Plus and have been considering Desktop Payroll, it is recommended you purchase a QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll subscription before July 31, 2024 or upgrade to QuickBooks Enterprise Gold, Platinum, or Diamond, which include integrated Payroll and can be purchased after July 31, 2024. Alternatively, QuickBooks Online Payroll is available to Desktop clients and is a standalone full-service payroll solution that also offers HR support, Health and 401K benefits.
It is also recommended that you should upgrade to the latest version of your QuickBooks Desktop software by July 31, 2024. QuickBooks Desktop 2024 includes the latest features and security updates. If you are on an active QuickBooks Desktop Plus subscription, you have access to QuickBooks Desktop 2024 with no additional charge and simply have to install the update.
Staying the course may be prudent in the short run, but it is important to note the following. In Intuit’s announcement near the top of this article there is an asterisk* next to the July 31, 2024 date; it is important!
The fine print for this asterisk reads as follows: “QuickBooks Desktop Pro Plus, Premier Plus, Mac Plus and Enhanced Payroll subscriptions. Availability, terms, conditions, pricing, special features, and service and support options subject to change without notice.” Essentially, these applications are on life support.
So what does this mean? Intuit just completed this same process in the UK, which give us credible information on how long life support may last. Intuit sunsetted QuickBooks Desktop in the UK in October 2021 and support for the UK QuickBooks Desktop ended on July 1st, 2023 – just 21 months after the original announcement. How long this process is for the US is anyone's guess. It does, however, give us a good baseline for the time available to transition to QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Enterprise or another accounting system.
CONSIDERATIONS AFFECTING MIGRATION TIME LINE:
Should you decide to move away from QuickBooks Desktop, it is important to allow adequate time to migrate to and successfully launch the new system.
First, you’ll want to review and test different platforms. This process can take between 3 – 6 months (maybe longer) depending on the specific complexities of your accounting situation. Important considerations to address in this phase are:
Budget/Price – What is your budget for an accounting system. This will help drive what software to consider up front for testing. The lower the budget, the fewer accounting options to consider. Another consideration here is budgeting for the implementation and onboarding. Replacing a legacy accounting platform with another successfully usually requires outside assistance, even with a conversion tool. Be sure to vet candidates and plan for that cost, too.
Upstream/Downstream Processes – It’s easy to consider the accounting platform as a stand-alone system and not consider the impact on your business processes when a change is made. Make a list of your processes that directly integrate into or out of your accounting system currently. This list will save you time, pain, and money as you evaluate alternative accounting systems.
Features Required (and Desired) – What features do you require in your accounting system? If you are an inventory-based business, the options for accounting systems in the low-price range are very limited. Again, this will help you target the right accounting platforms to test.
It’s also important to consider what features you may NOT have with QuickBooks Desktop that you wished you could have. Many of the online-based accounting platforms have built-in features and external app integrations which can dramatically improve efficiencies and reduce errors.
In-house Skill Set – Any time you employ a new software solution, the learning curve is high. Carefully assessing the internal skill set of those who may be implementing the new accounting system is an important aspect of this process. Be realistic. This may drive you from one accounting platform to one that better matches your in-house team, even if it means leaving some feature set or functionality behind. That may not seem like a problem, but it may not be in your best interest in the long run. We would suggest software training to get your team over the hurdle. If your accounting talent is light, an outsourced accounting team like ours could be an option.
Conversion Process – Most accounting platforms have conversion tools to bring over your company data from QuickBooks Desktop. Not surprisingly, the best options when it comes to converting from QuickBooks Desktop are QuickBooks Enterprise and QuickBooks Online. Once you leave the Intuit ecosystem, it gets tougher and more expensive to convert.
In addition, you’ll need to make some decisions regarding what data you leave behind. For instance, do you have a file with 20+ years of data in it? Pulling all that data over to a new platform is either not possible in some situations or not advisable in others.
In those cases where you’ve selected an accounting platform with no conversion tool, you’ll need to determine what and how data can be transferred and who has experience with these migrations. As mentioned above, that’s an additional cost to consider when reviewing accounting platform options and can add to the migration timeline.
Technology Limitations – For many small businesses, technology will not be a limiter on what accounting platform they select. Having said that, if your business is in a rural location, internet options can be a significant limiter. Cloud-based accounting apps may simply not be an option in some cases, so you would need to consider desktop accounting software options, which (1) are becoming increasingly rare and (2) most have some cloud-based connectivity requirements or options for updates, etc.
Sometimes hardware capacity can be an issue, as well. Does the new desktop accounting platform require a server? That may require a new computer with specific requirements to fulfill that role. With a desktop platform, onsite backups should be maintained. Manual updates are required on a periodic basis, too. With cloud-based accounting platforms, backups and updates run automatically by the system and the software can usually be accessed on any device with internet access.
Considering ways to boost internet connectivity or select and purchase the right computer hardware can add to your migration timeline, too.