The Writing on the Wall
Much to the chagrin of most accountants in the US, Intuit has been pushing HARD to convince QuickBooks Desktop users to switch to QuickBooks Online for many years. And now it's becoming clear that it was all part of a plan to move to the cloud almost entirely.
First, they made it very hard to find instructional videos or answers to questions about desktop issues. Try as you might, the videos and blogs that would pop up would all be related to QuickBooks Online. If you were lucky enough to get a support person on the phone to assist you, it often seemed as if they were taken aback when you said you needed assistance with a QuickBooks Desktop issue. I could almost hear the look on their face and the mental shift as they realized they had to switch gears and assist with a different platform. (And yes, you had pressed the button for desktop assistance, but did that REALLY take you anywhere except to the online help desk?)
Then a couple of years ago the QuickBooks boxes started disappearing from stores and you had to order the software online for download. This was more environmentally friendly anyway, as the boxes usually only contained a download code. Then we saw the writing on the wall, clear as day. QuickBooks Desktop became a subscription plan, just like QuickBooks Desktop. If you were going to pay a monthly subscription to Intuit, why not have the ease and convenience of having your accounting in the Cloud?
See how Intuit gradually prepared you for the inevitable? They slowly phased out online assistance (unless you dug around - a LOT), removed the product from brick-and-mortar stores so online sales pages could bestow the beauty of QuickBooks Online, and then they got your wallet prepared by charging you a monthly subscription for the desktop program you used to purchase once every 3 years. (Or maybe once every decade if you weren't running payroll. Yep! I see you out there!)
So, what's next?
Prepare to say adieu to QuickBooks Desktop. Intuit just announced that they won't be selling any new desktop subscriptions after July 2024. They promise that if you're currently using it, you can continue to do so. (Where have I heard that before?!) What they didn't mention in the press release is that they only service a product (such as Desktop Version 2024) for 3 years. At which point the product will still work, but they will no longer service it. This applies to their desktop accounting and payroll offerings. With this in mind, expect to see them stop all service to QuickBooks Desktop in mid-2027.
If you're already using QuickBooks Online, you're ahead of the game, so no worries! Keep plugging away.
If you're currently using QuickBooks Desktop, you can continue to use the product you are used to for a while longer. But at some point, you may want to discuss a transition with your accountant so you can learn the new program, as it is very different from QuickBooks Desktop. You may also want to ask your accountant if they are familiar with the program and support its use. Many accountants and bookkeepers have been using it for years and are very comfortable with the platform. Some understood that the desktop version was more user-friendly and a better product and kept their clients on that platform as long as possible. They may have a little catching-up to do.
In any case, the future of accounting is in the Cloud and there's no looking back.
Just be patient with your accountant if they request that any transitional discussions be saved until June of next year. Most firms will want to tackle upcoming tax filings and IRS deadlines first. And December is the quiet before the storm for staff in public accounting. Intuit does have a habit of picking wonderful times to announce their transitions.
If you'd like to read more directly from Intuit, please follow this link to their press release. They include more specifics and FAQs.
Terri Johnson, CPA