QuickBooks VS Simply Accounting

QuickBooks VS Simply Accounting

Since it is the new fiscal year for most companies, it means starting again in regards to managing your finances and making sure you have the proper setup/resources to do so. Many people use an accountant, a software program or a combination of both. In terms of an accounting software, I was just asked if I use one for my business and if so which one would be the best to get.


In the market here, I guess there are really only two big players which is Intuit and its QuickBooks software along with Sage Accpac and its Simply Accounting program. I’ve actually used both of them before and without going into an in-depth review, as you can find those everywhere online, in the end I found myself preferring QuickBooks over Simply Accounting. The key reason for this is that it just seemed to be a lot faster and easier to set things up in QuickBooks. For the dollar you are paying, Simply Accounting looked like it provided you with more features for what you are paying for and so if you are an expert with that program it would probably be the one to go with.

An interesting note I thought to show how it seems to be easier to use QuickBooks is that for Simply Accounting I would frequently receive these notices on how I can buy this Simply Accounting Learning Guide to teach me how to use the program or that there are these official training seminars that I can attend to for about $249. With QuickBooks, it seemed pretty straight forward where if I do need to look anything up it would be more due to things such as wanting to customize certain features. If I was to complain about something bad about QuickBooks it would be that that they kind of force you to pay even more money if you want to handle your employee’s payroll as it nags you to upgrade just for it to calculate all of the taxes and final numbers.

So if I had to recommend one over the other, I would say QuickBooks would be the one to go with if you are not exactly an accounting guru type of person. For other accounting software, I was actually very interested in seeing how Microsoft’s Small Business Accounting performs compared to the two, but unfortunately from what I read it is available to US residents only at this time.


  • John Wong 1/24/2007

    please share your experience on the payroll processing Quickbook vs Simply Accounting? A/P & A/R are more straightfoward than processing payroll..thanks

  • David Ip 2/19/2007

    I bought Simply Acct 2003 and have been unhappy ever since. I am thinking of buying Quickbooks. Do you have any comments on the following:
    1. SA came with a third party software package called Crystal Reports which they claimed could be used to customize invoices, receipts, reports, etc. It did not set up easily, is not easy or intuitive to use (to customize), had several unforgiving bugs including the prepared templates. SA would not provide support because it was not their software. (One of their support staff said that they had many complaints about it.) CR said they would not provide free support because they did not sell it to me. (They offer support at $1.50 a minute.) I took a SA-approved user course ($229) but the instructor was an accountant who never used CR and had no suggestions. Does QB use any 3rd party products? Do you know if it can generate receipts (to give a customer at the check out counter)?
    2. SA only allows you to work on one year at a time, and archives the previous year (which can be worked on only by de-activating the current year). When you want to begin a third year, it erases the first year’s data. Does QB allow you to keep and access previous years’ data? e.g., bill payments for the previous year not recorded before Dec 31, or for analysis. Does it keep more than 2 years’ of data?
    3. SA does not allow discount items, eg, entering a -$10 value for a $10 discount, so that I can record how much I’ve given in discounts (CRA has a line for this on the tax form). Do you know if this is typical of all accounting programs, or just SA, or does QB allow it?
    Thanks for any thoughts.

  • Alan Yu 2/19/2007

    John Wong:

    From my experience in terms of payroll they are both kind of the same I’d say once you figure out how to use it. The same story goes though where I found that it was a lot simpler to get everything going with Quickbooks. I guess I would say that is mainly due to the interview wizard where in Quickbooks it seemed to be more intuitive.

    As for using accounts payable and receivable to process payroll, I don’t see how you can do it in that way with employees where you need to calculate and keep track of various employee related taxes and deductions. That would be more for simply paying a one time bill or say if you just contracted someone to do a one time job I’d say.

    David Ip:

    I feel your frustration with that Crystal Reports software. I tried to customize my receipts/invoices only to find that the program is so picky where when you change one thing it seems to change a whole lot of other things as well. I just decided to use the generic default template and every time I do business with a company that used that same generic template it always makes me wonder if they went through the same thing. For Quickbooks the process was so much easier as it is built into the actual program. It’s more drag and drop friendly I’d say and all I had to do was decide which logo picture I wanted to use, organize which data and text size I wanted to display and that was the end of it.

    For the years of data with Simply Accounting I never had an issue with it deleting previous years after two as I was using the Pro version. I believe that means you were using the basic version or say the entrepreneur one which is normal as to my knowledge those only store two years worth of data. From my usage so far Quickbooks doesn’t seem to have a limit as to how many years of data it can store and you can go back and find old bills and so fourth. Just for the record I use the pro version for Quickbooks too. In regards to generating sales receipt at the counter if you need something faster then I know there are point of sales versions that would do that along with providing you with the hardware to do so. It is a lot more expensive of course though.

    When it comes to discounting an item for Quickbooks during your invoice creation process you can actually just manually change the figure to whatever you want. Depending on what you sell, when you create your item you can establish an “at cost” figure and a “sale price” figure for the item. You can manually change your sale price when you bring the item up in your invoice. What I did for both programs though was that I created an expense account specifically for discounts as I created an item field for it. So if I wanted to take say 5% off a certain invoice I would just call up that item and place it into the invoice and it does the calculations. Makes life a lot easier I think.

  • RR 10/9/2009

    I agree. Quickbooks is the way to go. Much more user friendly and easier to handle. Even for me as an accounting professional.

  • terrbear 1/7/2011

    I am wondering if I am using quickbooks can my accountant transfer all the info off of my QB to his SA

  • Louis 4/21/2021

    We are going to change and use Quickbook. Why? Because of a v many-years ery bad user experience with Sage Simoply Accounting Pro. Here are 4 main reasons::
    1-We are entitled to 3 free calls for technical support: Firstm second and third call the sage Simply Accounting support did not help and could not resolve our issue. We were nevertheless kindly informed that next calls will be charged 85$/call. Nice, isn’t it ?
    2- In the middle of our fiscal year, a bug appears: impossible to perform a bank reconciliation. It took us a whole week to find a work-around by our own.
    3_ We wanted to reinstall sage Simply Accounting Pro on a new hard drive (following a HD crash ) but the Sage Simply Accounting online system is asking for a key code that we never had (we have an account ID, a Product ID, that’s all). To get one we must buy a new software or go to the cloud solution (we don’t want that for the moment).
    Sure, now our software is getting old but all these issues appeared the first five years of utilization.
    4- The version we have : export to excel function does not work.
    We hope QuickBook will be more reliable and more respectful towards customers.

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