QuickBooks Desktop is Dead

QuickBooks Desktop is deadIt has taken a long time, but it looks as though we can say that the end has arrived. QuickBooks Desktop is dead.

Well, not entirely. Intuit will still sell new subscriptions to QuickBooks Desktop Pro, QuickBooks Desktop Premier, and QuickBooks Mac for another 7 months. They will still sell QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise subscriptions. But the evidence is clear that we are reaching the end of life for QuickBooks Desktop.

Haven’t We Heard This Before?

Yes, it isn’t the first time we’ve heard this. Heck, I predicted the end of QuickBooks Desktop over a decade ago (in posts in other websites, which no longer exist). Several times we’ve seen Intuit make changes that foretold the end of the product, at least in my mind. Intuit has been slowly turning the screws, making it harder to buy the desktop products, changing pricing to subscription only, not promoting or sometimes even acknowledging the desktop product. But it kept hanging on. High level Intuit executives in the past said “there will always be a QuickBooks Desktop”, and I scoffed. But this time, it is clear that we are looking at the end.

Intuit’s Announcement Ending QuickBooks Desktop

At the end of November 2023 Intuit sent out an announcement to QuickBooks ProAdvisors, from which I’ll extract a few items.

After July 31, 2024, Intuit will no longer sell new subscriptions of the following Desktop products in the US:
• QuickBooks Desktop Pro Plus
• QuickBooks Desktop Premier Plus
• QuickBooks Desktop Mac Plus
• QuickBooks Desktop Enhanced Payroll

QuickBooks Desktop has reached the endThey go on to say that existing subscribers to these products can continue to renew their subscription after that date, and that Intuit will continue to provide security updates, product updates, and support for existing subscribers.

They go on to suggest that if you want to continue to use the product you need to subscribe to the current release (and continue subscribing).

Interesting thought – Intuit waited until just a few weeks after the conclusion of their annual QuickBooks extravaganza, QuickBooks Connect, to make this announcement. Saving the bad news until after everyone went home? They didn’t want to mess up the good vibes from the conference?

Wait, Intuit Says QuickBooks Desktop Is Still Supported?

QuickBooks Desktop is almost deadAs they said, they will continue to support QuickBooks Desktop Pro/Premier/Mac as long as you have a subscription. And, they aren’t retiring QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise. OK, QuickBooks Desktop isn’t TOTALLY dead, just MOSTLY dead.

Intuit says that they will continue to support QuickBooks Desktop Pro/Premier/Mac subscribers? Keep in mind that Intuit always “sunsets” support for a release of QuickBooks after 3 years. That makes me think that support for the current release of the QuickBooks Desktop Pro/Premier/Mac products will most likely end sometime in 2027? No way to tell for sure at this point, but that is my guess.

How about QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise? Even though there is some life left in that product, this is not a product that is a good fit for the bulk of the users for the Pro/Premier/Mac products. It is much more expensive and takes more resources. It won’t continue to work for you if you stop paying the hefty subscription fees. And who knows how long THAT product will continue to be supported?

Another factor to consider, one that I’ve brought up many times in the past, the QuickBooks Desktop environment is antiquated, fragile, and prone to corruption. It is based on a very, very old set of technologies that may not be available in future versions of Microsoft Windows. The code has been patched and jury-rigged for decades, which makes it very hard for Intuit to maintain. Data corruption is a fact of life if you work with QuickBooks Desktop. So, I think that Intuit is realizing that the end is near for technical reasons, and they are starting to ease people out of the product.

What Should You Do?

Intuit has given us an advance warning, which is the one good thing about this announcement. Although they won’t be announcing this to QuickBooks customers until February 2024. You have some time to make plans, to make decisions on what you want to do going forward. Don’t wait until the last minute, though, talk to your accounting advisor about how to transition away from QuickBooks Desktop.

Here are the options that I see now:

  • You don’t have to change if you are using QuickBooks Desktop Pro/Premier/Mac. These products will continue to run even if there isn’t support and updates from Intuit. Heck, I run my business on QuickBooks 2020, which was discontinued earlier this year. These desktop products should continue to run for a long time (I can still run my copy of QuickBooks Premier 2006!). Keep in mind, though, that some features will NOT continue to work after a product is discontinued. See my QuickBooks 2020 Discontinuation article for a list of the features that will stop working when they retire a version. If you have simple needs, it may still work for you. However, you run a risk of having a catastrophic event that will stop things from working, with no remedy.
  • Update to a current subscription if you aren’t already. If you have a current subscription you will still be supported, at least for awhile. Good luck with that.
  • Update to QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise. This won’t work for QuickBooks Desktop Mac users. QuickBooks Desktop Pro/Premier users can easily move their data up to Enterprise. Be prepared for sticker shock, though! A typical QuickBooks Desktop Pro-plus user with 3 company files would be paying about $300 a year, but moving to QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise Gold would be around $1830 a year. Big jump! And who knows how long the product will be supported.
  • You can move to QuickBooks Online. For some users this may make sense. For a lot of users it will NOT make sense. QuickBooks Online is NOT just an online version of QuickBooks Desktop. Be prepared for frustration and confusion. All your workflows will be tossed out the door. Features that many users are used to in the desktop version just don’t exist in the online version. Look at this product very closely before you commit to changing. Maybe even get a subscription and do a test run, converting your data and just playing with it to see what is different, before abandoning your desktop product. For that Pro-plus user with 3 company files, QuickBooks Online Plus is going to cost you around $2260 a year! In the past, I’ve found that businesses moving over to QuickBooks Online from QuickBooks Desktop tend to be very frustrated. New users (those who aren’t converting) have had much better luck.
  • Dump Intuit altogether and convert to something else. This will take a LOT of planning, because everything will work differently. The costs you will run into are NOT just the subscription or purchase costs. Conversion costs, retraining, in many cases reworking how you integrate with your online or POS systems. It will be a major task. I can’t give you any specific recommendations, because the best choice will depend on the specifics of your business. You should work with your accounting/financial advisor for this kind of change. Some products to consider (again, no recommendations implied here) are FreshBooks, Patriot, Sage 50, Xero, Zoho Books, Accounting Suite. And there are a lot of other quality products out there. Note that just about all of these are online products.

QuickBooks Desktop is Dead

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