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Any business currently using the desktop version of the QuickBooks accounting software should know by now that on February 1st 2023, it will be discontinued. This has been a major blow for many businesses that rely on QuickBooks and the clock is ticking for business owners to find alternative accounting software.

While the online version of QuickBooks will remain available, anyone using the desktop version will need to rethink their accounting needs.

In many ways, this is good news. It’s confirmation that cloud-based accounting software will always be safer to use and considerably more reliable than anything that’s limited to desktop use only. And when HMRC is continuing to push their Making Tax Digital initiative, cloud-based software is looking like being the key to more streamlined business and financial management.

What happens next?

Intuit, the company behind QuickBooks, announced the discontinuation of QuickBooks Desktop on October 20th 2021. They stated that any business using the desktop version of QuickBooks would need to find a QuickBooks alternative by midnight of January 31st 2023. After that time, there will be no support for desktop, and it will no longer be accessible.

Intuit said in their email to UK desktop users, “We won’t be launching a 2022 edition of QuickBooks Desktop in the UK, but you will continue to receive full support until 31 January 2023.”

The cancellation is down to users missing out on vital updates thanks to outdated and even non-compliant software for their accounting. In their announcement about the discontinuation of QuickBooks Desktop, Intuit said, “Given the recent changes to accounting and tax regulations, and with more on the horizon, we need to ensure you’re on a product that can be supported with regular updates.”

Cloud-based accounting software is now an essential requirement for any business with one eye on the future. With the incredible pace of digital transformation required by firms in the wake of a global pandemic, digital services are becoming the norm. Streamlining those services is critical, and when users of QuickBooks Desktop had to utilise multiple add-ons to connect with their accounting service, it’s easy to see why it rapidly became obsolete.

Moving to QuickBooks alternatives

If you’ve been using QuickBooks Desktop, you will have to migrate your accounting data to an alternative before the deadline of January 31st 2023. All of that data will need to be exported to your chosen QuickBooks alternative. 

Customers aren’t happy about this decision by QuickBooks. The main issue is that exported data may not be sufficient for year-end accounts, which is vital for keeping HMRC happy. There are calls for the decision to be backtracked, but this seems unlikely. 

One other major issue is that QuickBooks Desktop is noticeably more robust than the QuickBooks Online service. For users hoping to export their data from desktop to Online, the fact is that there are entire sections available on the desktop that aren’t on QuickBooks Online. 

Dissatisfaction with big accounting software vendors

The announcement about the discontinuation of QuickBooks desktop comes as there is growing discontent with the big accounting software vendors in the UK. Xero, Sage, and QuickBooks have seen a growing number of complaints and criticisms about the lack of transparency, support, and communication with UK-based accountants and businesses.

For Intuit and QuickBooks Desktop, this is simply another market exit that doesn’t inspire confidence. It seems clear that there is little commitment from Intuit in terms of UK customers. That’s especially galling when Desktop will continue to be updated and supported in the US.

Can I export Desktop data to QuickBooks Online in Ireland?

Unfortunately, this isn’t easy to do. Intuit has provided no migration path for this process, so it will be a little laborious. First, you’ll need to import your lists of customers and suppliers, along with your opening and closing balances at the end of the fiscal year. That data will then need to be saved and then exported so that you can use it for reference.

It’s a convoluted process, which is why so many entrepreneurs and small business owners are looking closely at QuickBooks alternatives. The decision by Intuit might be based on how digital accounting is changing, but the announcement itself and the difficulties of upgrading and data transfer has been problematic.

Choose a reliable QuickBooks alternative

It can take work to take the pain out of accounting. If you’ve been using QuickBooks Desktop, the time has come to start looking for alternatives. There are several options, so take the time to do some research. Always have a clear idea about what your business needs from that software, and — as we can see with this announcement by Intuit — using cloud-based accounting software is clearly the best option.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the best QuickBooks alternative, contact the Big Red Cloud team today. We can help you manage your migration to avoid interruptions to your accounting workflows. You can even get hands-on with your new accounting software by signing up for a FREE trial. Find out for yourself how we can work together to make greater use of your finances to help your business grow.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)