Desktop Accounting Software

I have spent time talking about the advantages of cloud software and comparing cloud solutions. In this article I discuss the following desktop accounting software:

  • Excel
  • Quicken
  • QuickBooks/ Sage Peach tree

I then add with a summary chart you can use to make your decision.


When starting out, most self-employed individuals don’t want to start with a subscription service so they try to find an excel template to keep track of their expenses. Over time, they outgrow this and realize they need a better solution. The next choice people consider is Quicken because it is the cheapest software that claims to track business expenses. Sometimes, this software is also installed by default when you buy a new computer.


Quicken is a more advanced business transaction tracking tool when compared to excel. It is great for tracking income and expenses and keeping track of your bank balances. However, just like excel it is highly prone to errors. As your number of transactions go up, or if you keep track of inventory, you will quickly find that this software becomes more problem than its worth.

QuickBooks or Sage Peachtree

The next level up is QuickBooks or Sage (used to be Peachtree). Both software are just as good. It all boils down to what interface you prefer. QuickBooks has different editions namely: Pro, Premiere and Enterprise. The pro edition will be good for most business owners who make less than 1 million dollars unless they have advanced inventory needs.

Here is a chart that can help you make your decision:

The cloud versus desktop debate is really a personal one. It all depends on what your dominant needs are. You should consult a professional to help you decide.

For this month only subscribe to my newsletter (on the right) and I will also send you an excel template that creates financial statements by entering data from your checkbook register.

 Choosing Accounting Software     QuickBooks, Xero and Freshbooks