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Noam Tamarkin

Comparing cost of SaaS to desktop - Intuit QuickBooks Online Plus with Desktop Premier

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In my previous post I discussed some cost issues of SaaS.

Yesterday I found a good source for cost comparison. The Intuit QuickBooks.
Intuit is trying to attract customers to it's On-line version of QuickBooks.
The product itself is aiming to small businesses and the Online Plus version is similar to the Desktop Pro or Premier versions.

Fortunately, Intuit has both On-line and On-premise solutions and I assume that those have parallel functionality.
There are some differences in the declared scope of functionality and there might be different level of functionality within the same scope. I will ignore that for this discussion.
I would like to compare the cost of using each of the versions: Online Plus and the Desktop Premier and Pro.

The parameters for comparison would be (as mentioned in the previous post):
Hardware, License, Application maintenance. This would be a rough calculation but will provide the right feeling.


  • Desktop Premier or Pro - A PC for each user and a server. The server could be one of the PC's if you follow the system requirements.
  • In conclusion, the hardware cost could be the same.
  • Online Plus - $34.95/month. Up to 3 users + accountant
  • Desktop Pro - $329.95. For 3 users.
  • Desktop Premier - $1099.95. For 3 users.
  • Intermediate conclusion - need to calculate the break-even point.

Application maintenance:

  • Online Plus - none. Maybe you will invest in a better internet connection that will cost some more
  • Desktop Premier or Pro- Depend on the technical skills in the office. It could be zero cost or it could cost the $299 /year.
Break-even figures:
  • Including the annual support cost:
    • Desktop Premier - 101 months.
    • Desktop Pro - 33 months.
  • Without support:
    • Desktop Premier - 32 months.
    • Desktop Pro - 10 months
The conclusion for this post: If you are not handy with the computer and you do not worry that Intuit will disappear with your data, go On-line. Otherwise, stay on Desktop.

I hope I did some good today.

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In this blog, Noam Tamarkin provides ideas for improving and better integrating your applications.

Noam Tamarkin

Senior software architect and CTO. Experience in solution design and implementation. Holds the ability to understand complex business processes and translate them to technology. Expert in Enterprise applications, integration, SOA, SaaS. Experienced in project management, technical infrastructure, procurement and manufacturing.


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