Say Goodbye To These 3 Technologies

3 Technologies Small Businesses Use That Will Be Obsolete by the End of This Year

Gene Marks

We hear a lot about all the technologies that will one day change our lives like drones, driverless cars and 3D printed body parts. That stuff is for real and, yes, it will have a huge impact on the world within the next decade.

But what about the short term? What about the next 2-5 years?

There are many technologies that you are using in your business which will become obsolete in that time frame. And the last thing you want to be doing is investing your money in the wrong place. Here are just three business techs that will be disappearing from earth sooner than you think. Not entirely…but they’ll be pretty much dead.

On-Premise Accounting Systems

Remember the good old days when you could purchase your QuickBooks, Peachtree or One-Write (what’s that?) accounting software, install it on your computer and be good to go?

Get ready to say goodbye.

The big software developers like Intuit and Sage are re-directing most of their development dollars to cloud-based applications. It makes sense – cloud applications are more easily supported, scalable, accessible, upgradable and integrated with other cloud-based systems. If you’re looking for a new accounting system this year, lean heavily to those either providing cloud-based solutions or that have a plan to.

Credit Card Machines

I know what you’re thinking. Sure, there are all these “mobile” payment options available out there, but I’m still using my credit card for 99% of the things I buy!

New mobile read credit card scanners are definitely there, but the transition is not happening as fast as expected. What’s the tipping point?

More adoption by Millennials?

Lower transactions fees to encourage retailers?

A digital driver’s license for your smartphone?

All or some of the above?

Whatever the answer, it’s ultimately going to happen.

Using mobile payments will ultimately be more convenient, more secure and more profitable for the credit card industry (and all those industries that indirectly benefit). If you’re a merchant, a restauranteur or do anything where you accept a credit card at your location, you’ll find yourself accepting far less cards and far more mobile payments over the next 2-5 years. The POS device that only accepts credit cards will be a thing of the past.

Office Phone Systems

Once upon a time you needed a phone system for your office and it was a big investment. There were servers and software and individual units. You had to hire a firm to implement it all and then train your people. For a small company it was a huge hit to cash flow, even when it was leased over a hundred years. Well, things have changed.

My phone system, provided by VirtualPBX, costs me $10 per month per mailbox. Like competitors such as Grasshopper and RingCentral, this company provides all the capabilities of an in-house system but through the cloud. Callers get an automated attendant and then choose from a dial-by-name directory. Calls are transferred to smartphones or purchased units. Voicemails are stored online. All messages are forwarded via text and email. It works! Look for those in-house phone systems to become a thing of the past, particularly for smaller companies with smaller budgets.

128 Responses to "3 Technologies Small Businesses Use That Will Be Obsolete by the End of This Year"
    • Jonathan Bello | January 2, 2020 at 9:51 am

      Michael | December 28, 2019 at 11:09 am Comment

      Unfortunately QBO has not become cheaper, the price has increase for Plus 50% over 3 years. From $50 to $70. Without discounts the annual price is $840 for 5 users. Compared to QB Premiere (5 users) of $1250 (discounted to $950) which you can buy and hold for 3 years before replacing.

      FYI – Online payment of AR invoices is available in desktop.

      Don’t get me wrong. I love the cloud and am building my business around it as a Accounting and Bookkeeping Service provider.

    • Sara Laidlaw | January 2, 2020 at 9:49 am

      Anysia: Me mentioning internet access in a car was a bad example. 😆

      Michael: The more people who adopt QBO the lower the price? For Intuit we see the opposite.

      They are steadily raising the price of QBO, which is now at $70 or $150 per month! With the latest price increase, we are getting many requests to go back to desktop. ACH used to be free, if wiling to wait five days. ACH is now next day, but 1% of receipts. The latest large increase is on their payroll products. These are outrageous prices for a product that is slow to add features and is nowhere near as feature rich as Desktop, which can cost under $200 and used for three years. The 2020 version can still be bought without a monthly subscription but the assumption is this will change. Enterprise is already sold on a required subscription and they are selling desktop by subscription.

      Most companies who move to QBO assume it is simply QuickBooks in the cloud when in reality it is a completely different product where Intuit use the same product name for brand recognition. It has been horribly confusing to have two completely different products named “QuickBooks.“ I am a premier reseller and a developer and we are forbidden to edit the logo to include “Desktop” or “Online.”

      The other most stated reason to move to QBO is remote access.
      Many of our clients put desktop on hosted servers at $50+ per month per user. Except for one client who truly needed multiuser access from multiple locations, I’ve been able to remove everyone from hosted servers and back to local computers using a syncing program called Qbox. $120 year for unlimited files and users. Game changer for us as we can share QuickBooks company files with treasurers, owners, bookkeepers and tax accountants.

      With Qbox on our laptops we aren’t tethered to my server. Office files are also local but synced to SharePoint.

      Now that everyone in my office has laptops, if the Internet goes out we can drive into town or use a hotspot and still get a payroll out. I can’t tell you how much stress relief this has been for me.
      But on a daily basis doing accounting in the cloud is slow, frustrating, and cumbersome. I for one am completely happy with desktop accounting.

      QBDT 2020 will get us to June 1, 2023. A lot can happen in three years!

    • One 8 Solutions | December 30, 2019 at 5:26 pm

      Well 3.5 years later, it hasn’t happened. Only the in 4th quarter of FY 19 did revenue from QBO close in on Desktop $272mil vs $277, but the online ecosystem exceeded the desktop ecosytstem, $459mil vs $446.

      In Q1 FY 2020 QBO does exceed desktop, $306mil vs 239, but the desktop ecosystem wins $545 vs $501.

      As an Intuit Advance Qualified Solution Provider (IE reseller), Intuit has shared its commitment to re-invest in desktop products. This exemplified by recent rebirth of QuickBooks Mac and the recent release of QuickBooks Enterprise Advance. As a long-time desktop user, it is only after Intuit is providing me with NFR (not for resell) version of QBO Advance am I considering moving to the cloud.

      It is very interesting to see how predictions are turning out.

      • Chloe Silverman | January 2, 2020 at 8:35 am

        Very interesting! Thank you for the comment!

    • Michael | December 28, 2019 at 11:09 am

      Just like anything, the more people adopt QB online, the cheaper it will become. My company is virtual and doesn’t have a dedicated office. It also does pretty basic transactions. I love the QB online invoicing tool. Makes paying them very easy and avoids paper checks.

      • Chloe Silverman | January 2, 2020 at 8:33 am

        Thank you for the comment, Michael!

    • Anysia | December 26, 2019 at 2:44 pm

      Sara Laidlaw, you should not be talking (or texting) on your phone while driving!

    • Dale | December 25, 2019 at 2:40 pm

      As the owner of a small IT services company (AKA MSP) I find that the software I use every day will connect to only the desktop version of QuickBooks. My account says that many of the features I use are also Not available with the Online Version. We won’t be making the to cloud based accounting.

      On the other hand, we have a cloud based PBX system. Business VoIP, Inc. (Bloomington MN) sold SIP phones to us and maintains the PBX in the cloud. We can use the Auto Attendant to answer calls but choose to answer calls personally (unless we are out of the office). This is the best of both worlds – the phone cost less than the proprietary phones that come with an in-house PBX and the service costs less that what we were paying for land lines for our old PBX. We saved about $14,000.00 plus annual maintenance fees. The Grasshopper and Ring Central type offerings are not satisfactory. We want our customer to hear the phone ring before we answer and we want to answer before an impersonal greeting does.

      Our biggest savings was trading our FAX machine for digital fax. The new total cost is $7.00 ($5 + $2 for the DID) instead of the $40.00+ for just the FAX line before. And the best part is that we don’t need to print all the junk faxes :o)

    • Susan | December 19, 2019 at 10:05 am

      My company ( a flower shop), uses a card machine. Half of our orders are taken and processed over the phone and not in person. Having a machine that can manually accept input will always be necessary for us.

    • David Peterson | December 19, 2019 at 8:57 am

      As a systems integrator I follow trends in the business more than most do. A lot of companies large and small are having second thoughts about what they put on the cloud. There are hidden costs, usage-based costs, and drawbacks that many haven’t fully considered and discover when they get deeper into it. Yes, there are times it can make sense, but not as often as you’ve been led to believe. A good compromise for some is a facility where you can rent rack space and install your own gear, but that’s not an option for very small businesses. Usually, this is to avoid the large expense of building out your own datacenter, with all the power, cooling, generator expenses.

      • Chloe Silverman | December 19, 2019 at 10:09 am

        Very interesting! Thank you for this comment, David!

    • Ruth Rowlette | December 18, 2019 at 6:58 pm

      As to fax machines, I represent clients before the IRS in contested tax matters. My fax machine is essential to communicating with the IRS on a daily basis. They have no incoming email capacity for taxpayers or representatives and very little outgoing. I do not see fax machines going away any time soon in my industry.

    • MIke | December 18, 2019 at 5:41 pm

      This is article is written from a very inexperienced perspective. Millennial? Cloud is not the end all. Someone would have you believe that it is better than any other configuration but it is not. If you believe in independence and not full blind trust to run your business then you will not put everything in the cloud. If you don’t care about the business you are building, fully rely on the cloud. Eventually someone will figure out how to exploit the infrastructure and it will be lights out. Its as dumb as putting your life on facebook.

      VoIP systems have numerous requirements and applications that cannot be fulfilled since they are not onsite. Cloud based voip does not integrate,nor do you want them to, with facilities based systems like video and access controls and when your Internet connection is crappy that day you will want to throw it through it the wall.

      Recurring costs for cloud offerings work for very small numbers but you can save a lot of money, if you know what you are doing and have an organization that is geographically singular at a user count of 15-20 users. The key is not cloud but actually to keep your monthly recurring costs to a minimum. Every network and need is different. You should have a balance of both cloud and on prem.

    • Mike Wakshull | December 18, 2019 at 11:37 am

      When I had to upgrade Quickbooks last year (2018) the Intuit sales rep convinced me to go with desktop rather than the cloud version. The cloud version was missing some features I needed and it would not transfer all portions of existing customers’ profiles from QB Accountant.

    • Michael Kepler | December 18, 2019 at 11:00 am

      Why on earth would anyone be willing to put their financials in the cloud? Who has access? Where is it physically stored? How secure is it? All of the data hacks going on these days makes me think not secure at all. Plus if that data is out there it can be gotten to by anyone. It just doesn’t make sense to me to have that kind of data floating around. Or even being transfered over the internet for a bot, keylogger or sniffer to get. I know that everyone is on the cloud bandwagon. And I am not a cloud buster. But there are just some thngs that do not belong in the cloud. I use a cloud based phone system and love it. I use cloud storage for some things. I just can’t see putting all the financial data for you company out there.

    • Kat | December 18, 2019 at 10:54 am

      While these may be true in urban areas this is not necessarily the case in rural middle America. I find many customers barely use a credit card, many still do not have cell phones, refuse to shop online, and several still do not even have computers. In addition to those we have only moderately decent internet service, cell coverage can get pretty spotty, and power outages due to weather conditions happen more than any provider will admit. So, my accounting is on paper. No one can get to it from outside and I can always access it, unless I am traveling. Then it is a simple save receipts (made easier with electronic receipts) and do books when you get home. Is it a lot of time? Sure. But I would have to do the same data entry on the computer and with paper I don’t pay someone else or worry about updates, subscriptions, or hacking. Cell phone for phone service as I am a fairly mobile business. Seems like the take away is more that yes, technologies will change but I don’t ever see a one size fits all coming around.

      • Chloe Silverman | December 18, 2019 at 3:34 pm

        Great insights! Thank you for sharing Kat!

    • Milo Grika | December 18, 2019 at 10:35 am

      While I agree that the three techs will likely disappear eventually, I think they’re a bit of a ways off, especially credit card machines; we still have a living generation that continues to use checks/cheques — they are not going fully mobile for the rest of their lives.

      On a different but related note — stop using “on-premise”! It is not correct. It is “on-premises.”

    • Brian | December 18, 2019 at 10:31 am

      What Sarah Laidlaw said: I’m in a location where internet speed/accessibility is not sufficient to run cloud based software. If Quickbooks quit desktop versions, that would leave me in a real pickle.

    • John Senner | December 18, 2019 at 10:09 am

      I am still waiting the day we can cut the fax line.

    • Sandy Erickson | December 18, 2019 at 9:49 am

      The non profit I work for was forced a few years ago into converting to a cloud based software which I use for tracking donations, membership, volunteer hours, etc. We had a stand alone version but the company we purchased it from was sold and the “new” company wouldn’t allow us to continue using it, even though it was stand alone on our PC and we had paid for it only two years previous. To use the cloud based software, we had to start paying $90.00/month which, for a small nonprofit, is nothing short of highway robbery. We also use QB, so I hope Intuit will continue to support stand alone versions because forcing your loyal customers to switch to cloud based systems is just plain bad business. And there’s also the issue of internet access in rural areas that is a problem. Also, though it is unlikely, the internet could have a catastrophic failure…then what?

    • Todd Busteed | December 18, 2019 at 8:51 am

      First, I’m enjoying the irony that this article – about the fast pace of technological advancement – was first published in 2016, and reposted a few times since…

      Secondly, swing and a miss regarding online Quickbooks. Any savvy money manager sees the cash drain a subscription based accounting platform represents, even before comparing reduced feature sets, data vulnerability, and issues with internet access. Inuit is notorious for finding ways to make money off existing customers. Cloud based Quickbooks leads that onerous parade.

    • Erik | December 18, 2019 at 8:29 am

      I disagree on 2 of these. The credit card machine will not go away because even on a slow intermittent connection it is more reliable than square and it has the option of negotiating lower fees. Square and the others do not give that option. As far as phone systems with a years worth of dial tone costing $50 and Asterisk for free running on a $30 dollar raspberry pi $80 will cover a 10 mailboxes with a recurring yearly charge of $50. Cloud services always seem like the best idea but recurring charges on something like a phone system when the open source options are dead simple is pissing money away. Besides phone service is really dated. $120 for a year for 1 makes no sense when you can do 10 for $80 and have a recurrence of $50 each year. I put ours in 5 years ago and touch it 4 times a year for holiday closing messages. Yes it took me 8 hours to initially set up but over 5 years that is nothing. Fire your futurist and hire an economist.

    • Dan | December 18, 2019 at 7:26 am

      To use off-premises accounting software you must post enough information to the cloud for every employee’s identity to be stolen. We live in a time where every major bank, most large retailers, many medical organizations and even the Pentagon has been hacked. Sure it is convenient for companies like Intuit to offer cloud-based solutions but that does not make them the right choice. Further, you have no idea where your cloud data is stored. It may not even be stored in this country and, therefore, not subject to the same laws leaving you with little or no recourse if something happens.

      Regarding electronic banking, have you ever read the agreements closely? I have. The banks guarantee to provide you with a secure connection. They do not guarantee that any transaction conducted over a secure transaction is yours. If your computer or cell phone has malicious software that waits for you to open a secure connection, then uses that secure connection to make transactions against your account, you have no recourse. And yes, that type of malicious software has been in the wild for years now.

      Do you have identify theft insurance? I have yet to see a policy that make you whole. Instead, they simply guarantee to register you with different credit bureaus and work on your behalf to pursue the matter if something happens.

      You may be right that that everything is moving in that direction, but most people are not aware of the risks and fine print. It is not a more responsible approach for companies to offer cloud-based services, it is more profitable.

    • Scott Henry | December 18, 2019 at 6:37 am

      I’m a CPA with many QB clients. I’m with some of the Others on this thread. QB OnLine is MILES behind the Desktop version. Very much more cumbersome. I believe Intuit will eventually make the cloud based program better. But right now, Desktop is still easier for most of my clients. I’m sold on Cloud based programs, as a whole. Intuit and QB aren’t there yet.

      • Chloe Silverman | December 18, 2019 at 8:23 am

        Interesting!! Thank you for commenting, Scott!

    • Jerry Cubbage, small business owner. | December 18, 2019 at 1:57 am

      Great questions and answers even today.

      • Chloe Silverman | December 18, 2019 at 8:22 am

        Thank you! We are so glad you enjoyed this article.

    • Donald Kramer | December 17, 2019 at 10:48 pm

      I have used Quickbooks online for many years. While not as good as the desktop version, I really like and think it is great. Unfortunately Quickbooks has raised the subscription price from $21/mo to $70/mo on 3 years!!. They are offering a discount that puts me at about $50/mo (but that will expire shortly). I am switching back to desktop. I cannot afford to pay for subscription services from that keep rising through the roof!! I cannot afford a subscription service for the 5-6 important programs that I regularly use. It would put kill me. Quickbooks is the worst! They are the Martin Shkreli of software subscriptions and should be ashamed of themselves.

      • Chloe Silverman | December 18, 2019 at 8:21 am

        Thank you for the comment Donald!

    • Scott | December 17, 2019 at 10:42 pm

      Amazing how quick books peach tree and the other programs for accounting have replace my spreadsheet, which was free in the excel format. Quick books desktop goes for $325 and I get to play data entry clerk for my accountant and add additional hours to my already full week learning accounting. Cloud base has been pushed at my small company in all directions the only problem I see with it goes to electricity and internet connections. At least if it’s on my desktop I can get to it, in the cloud not so much. Other cloud based services we use which are internet dependent including EHR -electronic health records – internet security, Voice over internet connection for phones the list is endless. Having lived with internet outages and cloud based solutions in both clinical and hospital based operation I will only say it get very interesting when the various departments pharmacy, ER, Surgery, Supply and Lab can no longer communicate and the phones don’t work because everything is cloud based. And what a wonderful opportunity for data mining but that’s another subject for the aware.

      • Chloe Silverman | December 18, 2019 at 8:19 am

        Great info! Thank you for sharing!

    • Patti Murphy | December 17, 2019 at 10:36 pm

      Cloud? we do not need a cloud to make people work together. We do not need AI to take over our jobs either. Stay strong and stay old school small. Cloud based services to pay for this and pay for that do not work. Big Brother is out!

    • GLENN CUNNINGHAM | December 17, 2019 at 5:17 pm

      I have a very small business – just me. My phone “system” is my mobile phone. I do all my AR, AP, banking and accounting with excel. My checkbook is coded such that it produces an automatic corporate return at year end. I don’t like the idea of my company’s data being out of my control. I am one of the people that write the software you are describing. That software is great for the cookie cutter companies, but I’m here to tell you that most competitive and smartest companies in the world are the ones that still have their own legacy systems and have control of their own data.

      • Chloe Silverman | December 18, 2019 at 8:18 am

        Great insights! Thank you for the comment, Glenn!

    • Lauriston S Taylor | December 17, 2019 at 5:05 pm

      I could not disagree with you more on cloud-based applications. Being tied to an internet pipe is the worst form of torture known to man. Slow and unreliable is the watchword for the service providers. You cannot beat an on-prem accounting package for speed and reliability.

      Cloud-based apps: “Cheap and Cheeky!!!”

      Merry Christmas!

    • Melissa | January 2, 2019 at 2:11 pm

      I have resisted cloud-based accounting systems, but after my town suffered unfathomable destruction in Hurricane Michael, I have to say I am rethinking the cloud. Our accounting department was completely down for three weeks, as citizens found a way to live without the necessities of life. Once electricity and water was restored, we began hobbling together a plan to get accounting up and running, which we were able to do, as our servers and accounting computers were not damaged. We were lucky, as many companies lost their servers, backups, and backups to their backups, as there was such wide spread destruction. Everyone on the Gulf Coast has hurricane plans, but few had plans for a war zone. Lessons have been learned and the cloud will certainly be part of the future plans for the companies that manage to survive.

      • Hannah Sullivan | January 2, 2019 at 2:24 pm

        Thank you for sharing your experience Melissa! We are glad you could recover your systems after the hurricane and that everyone was safe.

    • Bill Conant | December 30, 2018 at 12:10 pm

      The cloud is a solution for Big Brother, not Small Business.

    • Becki Benson | December 27, 2018 at 11:28 pm

      Better deal than Ring Central (terrible service and equipment) is Nextiva. I’ve had the same account manager, great features and price, and equipment is reasonable. You can get it from other places and they’ll support it. QuickBooks online stinks right now. They know it, so they’ll support the desktop until online gets faster and has more features. With Square,Android, and Applepay I agree about credit card terminals.

    • Octavia Andruzzi | September 20, 2018 at 10:16 pm

      I got what you mean ,saved to favorites, very nice website .

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 24, 2018 at 9:12 am

        Thanks, Octavia!

    • Yan Montanye | September 16, 2018 at 11:48 pm

      some really interesting points you have written.

    • David Peterson | September 14, 2018 at 12:14 pm

      Upgrades to Peachtree Premium for Distribution used to be around $500, and I’d upgrade every few years. Then they did away with that version and want me to upgrade to Quantum, hosted, at around $1k/year last I looked. That’s every year, and if you don’t pay they turn you off. Guess who is still running a 2012 edition? I will put it off as long as possible. Cloud is great for the vendors, who get a steady stream of revenue, not so much for users.

      As for hosted PBX, I sell a premise PBX that’s very feature-packed and aggressively priced. I’ve run the five year costs on it versus hosted, and a fair apples-to-apples comparison, using similar quality handsets, optional licensing on cloud services to give the same functionality as the PBX (many nickle-and-dime you with optional add-on functions), and cloud never competes, not even close. If you want to avoid the upfront nut of buying premise, then lease. At end of lease, buy it out at the residual and it’s yours cheap. I could go on and on with the various considerations.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 17, 2018 at 1:36 pm

        Thanks David!

    • Marc dos Santos | September 11, 2018 at 10:11 am

      For a long time we used a very simple phone system which allowed any one of us to pick up the call. While this certainly offered a personal touch, it didn’t allow people to easily get in touch with the person they wanted when folks were traveling. Our new system does, routing the calls easily to a desk phone or mobile number. And most importantly, our system tells the caller right at the beginning that they can press zero at any time to immediately get to a person. The systems that don’t let you get through to person without following a preset sequence are indeed very frustrating, so we didn’t want to have anything like that.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 11, 2018 at 11:09 am

        Thanks, Marc! We appreciate your feedback.

    • Rachel Simon | September 11, 2018 at 9:08 am

      AI phone systems- do you enjoy calling a business and not being able to find a person? Just one recording after another, asking you to enter more information, and then the black hole of no one answering your real question.
      Not for me or my customers. Customer Service is a vital part of Small Business connectivity. When we discuss the future of Small Business, let’s try to honor the human voice and what makes us different from the Big Businesses.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 11, 2018 at 10:03 am

        Thank you for your feedback, Rachel!

    • Gene Marks | September 10, 2018 at 8:42 pm

      For Joan; In cases where suppliers and customers are calling in and do not know a name, how would the cloud system handle that?

      All good cloud based systems have an automated dial by name directory or can be customized so that the system prompts the user for things like ‘dial 1 for customer service’ or “dial 2 to check on an order.”. And just wait….soon these systems will use AI so that customers can just punch in an order number and the system will give them a status (i.e. “scheduled to ship on Sept 3rd”). Hope that helps!

    • Dennis Sweeney | September 10, 2018 at 11:42 am

      Our company is an independent telecom company. We have seen a shift toward cloud based technology, however this is not a perfect world. The hybrid solution is very strong as well. There may be situations were new premise based wiring is nearly impossible. We see more use the internet services(SIP) to communicate. Each customer has unique needs. The cloud based solution will grow exponentially, however it is not for everyone. There may be a requirement for a high quantity of phones, yet limited communication. This is the case with Hotels, Schools and Manufacturing industries. The price per seat can be cost prohibitive. I am not ready to suggest an IP phone for your elevator line or Fire Alarm panel.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 13, 2018 at 8:25 am

        Thanks, Dennis.

    • Sg | September 9, 2018 at 10:22 am

      I hate everything about the cloud push. It’s all about cornering people into subscriptions. Cloud based computing, cloud based storage, cloud based services, tied to subscriptions and premiums, pay to play based. I’ll stick to my homemade posted until I’m forced to boycott the computer, I have a nice oiled up type write waiting. No I’m not 80. I’m almost 30. Bad move ceos.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 10, 2018 at 7:46 am

        Thank you for your feedback, Sg.

    • Pat S | September 7, 2018 at 11:39 am

      I too tried QB on line and went back to desktop. Agree with other posters that desktop has more of the features I need for my small business.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 7, 2018 at 11:42 am

        Thanks for the feedback!

    • Stephen Johnson | September 7, 2018 at 10:42 am

      In regard to cloud apps, I’m concerned about making our company vulnerable to the loss of one more utility– the internet.

      Cyberwar make take down the grid and the internet. Are cloud advances worth the risk? Will the cloud apps be there when the chips are down, or will they make it even harder to do business when things go south?

      Also ,regarding cloud accounting, will I have access to my old data when I move to another cloud platform? That’s NOT something I have to worry about now.

      The subscription model largely benefits the developer, not the user.

    • Elke | September 6, 2018 at 10:34 pm

      When we decided to ditch the landline I did a lot of research and went with We purchased some handsets for the home office but the system is incredibly customizable, i.e. forwarding to cell phones, notifications, international calling, hold music, much more. You can add their app to your cell phone so when you make a call using the app your office credentials show as the call from line. Very happy with it.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 7, 2018 at 8:19 am

        Thanks for your advice, Elke!

    • Joe Beckner | September 6, 2018 at 9:24 pm

      Quickbooks Online is not nearly as good as Quickbooks desktop.

      We provided Managed IT Services. We recently migrated one of our customer’s On-Premise Quickbooks Desktop to a cloud server at Amazon AWS.

      This works great, all the robust features of Quickbooks Desktop installed on a cloud server!

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 7, 2018 at 8:20 am

        Thanks, Joe!

    • Cynthia Welman | September 6, 2018 at 4:06 pm

      I have my own business helping my clients with their bookkeeping and office needs. At the moment, all of my clients use one version of QuickBooks or another.
      My youngest client absolutely loves QuickBooks Online, even though he is a solopreneur. He would not even consider using a desktop product if the cloud option is available – it’s just how he thinks. The monthly fee doesn’t offend him in the least.I love it because we both are in and out of QB all the time, and it doesn’t matter where we are. We can even be in the program at the same time.
      I also have a client who uses desktop in their physical office only, a client who uses the desktop version hosted remotely by their accountant, and a client who chose QB Online because the one of the three partners lives 1000 miles from the others.
      I agreed with the opinion of this article that desktop products are on their way out, but would add that there is more to consider right now than how sophisticated the program is. Yes, QB Desktop currently has more features and can handle more complexity than QB Online, but the online version gives companies so many options for really easy access from multiple users, both in and out of house. There is a lot you can do with just your smartphone.
      So speaking as one who uses both versions of QuickBooks, I am becoming a fan of the Online version more and more.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 4:08 pm

        Thanks for sharing your insights, Cynthia!

    • Sam | September 6, 2018 at 3:57 pm

      You got to mention “fax machines “ as outdated. The Amy of junk received, the Amy of paper wasted, is incredible

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 4:08 pm

        Thank you for your comment, Sam.

    • carl | September 6, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      For a TRUE SMALL BUSINESS 10 or less employees. It does not make sense to pay monthly fees for software.
      Because when you look at the price at the end of the year or 3 years, versus the one time pay and own. The online versions is a money losing decision.
      We are in business to make money. Not give it away.
      The cellphone companies tried to make us think they were going to take the place of pc. We all see that did not happen.
      Think people…Think.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 3:33 pm

        Thanks for your feedback, Carl!

    • Ron Metz | September 6, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      I run a technical writing business in a rural area that has no true high-speed Internet and spotty cell phone service. The only reliable phone is a landline. Trying to do work on the cloud would be a remarkably ill-informed exercise in futility. There are many businesses like mine across America.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 2:46 pm

        Thanks Ron for providing helpful feedback.

    • Sara Laidlaw | September 6, 2018 at 2:32 pm

      There are tools that enable us to stay with on-premise QuickBooks but share work remotely.
      I agree with Javier Labra about using a hosted server if remote access is needed AND if multiple users in different locations need to access the software at the same time. Hosted desktops with Office & QBDT average $50 per user per month.

      We found that clients simply needed to access QuickBooks from different locations and not necessarily at the same time. For them, we install QBDT on their local machine/laptop and use QBox as the syncing engine to share out fresh copies of the data file to each user when the person posting logs out of their data. It will work in multi-user mode on a LAN. At the end of the day, I can tell when clients are logging out of their QuickBooks as I receive a fresh copy of their data. If we need to work, we work locally and sync back to the client.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 2:47 pm

        Thanks Sara, we appreciate your feedback!

    • Elle | September 6, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      Just a quick note regarding cloud accounting programs. I use QuickBooks desktop and QuickBooks online bookkeeping. The desktop version is far superior in many ways. I spend quite a bit of time “cleaning up auto entries, etc. from QB online. For my own company, I will use desktop until it is no longer available.

      Another weak point of on-line is terrible inventory tracking…

      Just my 2 cents…

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 2:20 pm

        Thanks for providing your feedback, Elle!

    • Javier Labra | September 6, 2018 at 1:57 pm

      The best of both worlds is having your Quickbooks Desktop hosted in the cloud by You have all the power of the desktop, with the flexibility of a cloud system. I’ve been doing this for 3 years now and love it. It even works a lot faster than Quickbooks Online.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 2:19 pm

        Thank you, Javier!

    • Sandy | September 6, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      We are a small company and the fee for the number of users on a cloud based system is just not affordable to us. The monthly maintenance fee we pay for upgrades and our payroll option is much less expensive. We have also had times when our internet is down for whatever reason so if we were on the “cloud” we would be unable to process our orders. We continue to use QB desktop and probably will as long as it is available.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 2:19 pm

        Thanks for sharing your feedback, Sandy!

    • RaLinda Ginocchio | September 6, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      QuickBooks on line wasn’t working for us either so back to desktop we go. Also, we bought our phone system and the customers like that we pick it up and they don’t get voice mail. As a small agency it is key to provide service and get back to people quickly.
      When the fires hit in California our office was down an entire day because of the power outage. It stopped our phones so we couldn’t call back our clients. Really made us think about going back to landlines.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 12:53 pm

        Hi RaLinda, thank you for sharing your feedback with us.

    • Jeff | September 6, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      As a QB desktop business, I prefer full control of my data and how I use it in my small business. I’ve never entertained the cloud conversion just because it creates another point of reliance to not only Intuit, but to your internet provider.

      As far a credit card processing, the 2 – 5 year window is far too optimistic. We do a lot of work with multi-channel retailers and their credit card processing. The trend may be going to alternate payment methods, but it is nowhere near that pace of acceptance for replacement. Small biz, yes square is simpler, lighter and easier. But it’s still dependent on the same backend. Phone wallet options may be attractive to millennials, but they are also far more trusting with their own information in general.

      Electronic information is only as secure as the systems that house it, and the risk is multiplied since if the systems are breached, then it’s not just a small number of compromised individuals or businesses, it’s usually in the hundreds of thousands or millions. The list of high profile breaches is lengthy, and exposes tens of millions of individuals and businesses.

      Being in the industry makes me far more aware of the risks and more cautious to embrace newer payment technologies.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 12:52 pm

        Thanks for the feedback, Jeff!

    • Howard Littman | September 6, 2018 at 11:59 am

      I wrote and customized accounting systems for nearly 40 years. In my current business my accounting is so simple I could do it on 3X5 cards in a shoe box, so I don’t need to “upgrade” to a cloud based system. However, I have a laser cutter in my shop and I have not upgraded the software for that either just because the “upgrade” is a cloud based system. With this software on-premise I can produce product when my connection to the internet is down, which happens more often that my internet provider would care to admit. With a cloud based system I would be shut down. The same applies to my accounting.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 12:50 pm

        Thanks for sharing your feedback, Howard.

    • Melissa Curran | September 6, 2018 at 11:54 am

      What I really intensely dislike about cloud-based software is the fees. Once you start with this, you have absolutely no control and you’re at the mercy of the “cloud”. Over the last 3 years, my cloud-based accounting fees have gone through the roof. I’m exploring options with my accountant as this is a major problem. I appreciate technology and the ease it provides the program creators, but I don’t like being financially held hostage – that’s what it amounts to.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 12:50 pm

        Melissa, thanks for your feedback. We appreciate you sharing your opinion with us!

    • Alan | September 6, 2018 at 11:44 am

      Good piece but there is so much more technology that is on the way out, such as wired phones, password-based security, phonebooks, and more.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 12:49 pm

        Thanks for your feedback, Alan.

    • Deb | September 6, 2018 at 11:15 am

      We have used Peachtree for many, many years. But we have not updated it. Our version is a 2011 desktop version. We paid for it one time and still use it today. I update the Tax tables each year manually. Now Peachtree requires you to pay a monthly fee and an update fee. We will continue to use our 2011 version until we can no longer update it manually.

      Sage (who owns Peachtree now) is just looking for a way to charge people to use their software monthly and to charge for updates instead of the way they used to charge 1 price for the software package and then a charge to update the tax tables each year……not playing that game until we absolutely have to!

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 11:20 am

        Thanks Deb!

    • Tim Daugherty | September 6, 2018 at 10:59 am

      Our accountant specifically told us NOT to upgrade to a cloud based version of our book keeping/accounting software.

    • Kerry B | September 6, 2018 at 10:48 am

      We have one client who uses cloud based QuickBooks and it is a complete pain. Similar to other comments it is incredibly slower and increases time we do not have to spend reviewing activity. If they go to cloud based only platforms, which are primarily for Intuit’s benefit, we will look for other options.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 10:54 am

        Thanks for sharing your opinon, Kerry!

    • Jack R Phillips | September 6, 2018 at 10:43 am

      When the nebulous ‘them’ can guarantee me that I will NEVER see “no cell service” or “wifi not available” and GUARANTEE me that weather is not responsible for many of those above messages, then and only then will I go to the cloud. I used the Apple ipay/whatever once. Within a few days I was getting all of that retailers account information delivered to my phone! I cannot and will not risk that breech happening to me.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 10:48 am

        We appreciate your feedback, Jack. Thanks!

    • Jacqueline Tarleton | September 6, 2018 at 10:35 am

      Great article for businesses controlled by old people who won’t change. All of these obsolete business tools apply to restaurants *Credit Card Machines* *On-Premise Accounting Systems* *Office Phone Systems*.

      For the rest of the millions of small business owners, we like Square and other handheld devices for credit card processing. We are not transitioning to the phone transfer system. Why? I am unsure. One concern is safety. We know that credit card theft is a problem. We don’t see phone transfer as safer.

      I tried online accounting through a major business and found the PC based system to have much more customization. I also did not like the constant updates and payments each year. I enter the data then send the data to the accountant. The accountants pay for the updates and yearly fees and spread out the costs to their clients. Many of us remember when accounting software was free through Shareware. A time will come when the newest generation of entrepreneurs won’t know that accounting software can be better and they will adopt the Cloud system because they will assume their data has been hacked.

      Office Phone systems will be adopted by a smaller percentage of business owners. I tried several virtual PBX and liked them. I referred virtual office phone systems to other small business owners. Some adopted the virtual assistants and some did not. I found the virtual PBX systems excellent at keeping my small business professional and at not wasting my time with marketing and spam calls. I placed an ad in a free marketing newspaper and received 100 calls in one week – the majority of which were spam. Several years later, cellphone apps began to appear to identify spam and unsolicited marketing calls. I highly recommend virtual phone routing systems for large and small businesses.

      Sometimes people don’t read the articles to the end, so I have pasted the last paragraph to the end. I have not tried the recommended company and have no financial incentive to recommend it. I have, however, tried several virtual phone systems and found each of them beneficial in different ways. I recommend business owners find the one that works for their business style. Thank you again for the great article. The article really gave me some things to think about for the coming business year.

      “My phone system, provided by VirtualPBX, costs me $10 per month per mailbox. Like competitors such as Grasshopper and RingCentral, this company provides all the capabilities of an in-house system but through the cloud. Callers get an automated attendant and then choose from a dial-by-name directory. Calls are transferred to smartphones or purchased units. Voicemails are stored online. All messages are forwarded via text and email. It works! Look for those in-house phone systems to become a thing of the past, particularly for smaller companies with smaller budgets.”

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 10:40 am

        Thanks for your feedback, Jacqueline!

    • Bonnie | September 6, 2018 at 10:05 am

      I also agree with Elaine. I get frustrated if the option I want isn’t there or get put back to the beginning. We have live people answer our phones.

    • Bonnie | September 6, 2018 at 10:01 am

      I agree with Jim.

    • Marc dos Santos | September 6, 2018 at 9:52 am

      I hear all the advice that cloud based accounting is safer because “the big companies know how to keep everything secure better than the local IT guy”, but no matter the efforts the large companies put forth, there’s always some hacker out there that can get a step ahead. I think competitors will arise in the coming years to offer on-site solutions.

      On the phone side, I absolutely agree with getting rid of the clunky office phones. Everyone has a mobile device that works better than the desk phones ever did. While there are a number of better marketed services available, we settled on the lesser known Anveo, served through an OBI202 device in our office. Works great to distribute calls to the right person, and allows us to use data to make calls when traveling internationally, making them basically free. The better solution in my opinion would be for the mobile carriers to offer the call distribution service to all the phones on the plan. They’re already managing it to some extent. Offering a central number to ring all phones or go to a virtual receptionist should be a small step away.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 10:00 am

        Hi Marc, thank you for your feedback!

    • Eric | September 6, 2018 at 9:46 am

      We tried QB online but found it was slower and there were many features only available on the Desktop version. Also we were not comfortable having our data in a cloud that is subject to hacking and attacks. Lastly, based on the emails I received for additional services and offers, I knew that our cloud data was being analyzed. We quickly went back to in-house version.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 9:59 am

        Hi Eric, thank you for highlighting your personal experience.

    • Rachel Simon | September 6, 2018 at 9:42 am

      I agree with Sara Laidlaw. As much as I would like to change to the Cloud for QB/Intuit, the desk top version has many features required to run a small business that the cloud versions do not offer. Yet.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 9:59 am

        Thanks for sharing your opinion!

    • TONY | September 6, 2018 at 9:39 am

      I think the main reason companies are touting cloud based systems is that you will be paying a monthly fee for life rather than just installing it on a computer and updating from time to time.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 9:58 am

        Hi Tony, we appreciate your feedback. Thank you!

    • Elaine | September 6, 2018 at 9:29 am

      One thing MY small business is proud of is the personal touch. Call in and a real person answers the phone – no pushing buttons or being on hold. These modern phone systems don’t work that way so they don’t work for me.

      A very successful local insurance agent

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 9:58 am

        Hi Elaine, thank you for your feedback!

    • Rachel Simon | September 6, 2018 at 9:18 am

      We tried Ring Central in Brooklyn NY. Ring Central has expensive equipment that is non-refundable. Their system is clunky and customer service average at best. When we moved our factory we dropped Ring Central and went back to Verizon office system, bought our own phones and we are saving money.
      Ring Central cost us approx $5,500.00 with equipment the 1st year and $3,000.00 for continued contract the 2nd year.
      Off the shelf phone systems are very competively priced. The Verizon contract is a bundle with phone and FIOS. This way our internet and phone are 1 bill.


      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 9:28 am

        Hi Rachel, thank you for your feedback!

    • JOAN bURKHOLDER | September 6, 2018 at 7:50 am

      More info on how the actg. systems, credit cards & phone systems will work. We are not Retail. I can see where some issues as briefed here could be less than optimal for a manufacturing environment. E.g. Phones. not all calls should interrupt workers at machines during the day. Could be very unsafe in that area. Due to size of the mfg. building and much interaction is required between departments, phones and computers are used heavily internally to conduct various aspects of the business. In cases where suppliers and customers are calling in and do not know a name, how would the cloud system handle that? Also, especially for customers we prefer a very personal touch. Our customers love it!

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 10, 2018 at 3:11 pm

        Thank you for your feedback, Joan.

    • Sadie | September 6, 2018 at 7:38 am

      Excellent stuff thank you

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 9:23 am

        Thank you for your feedback, Sadie. We are happy you found this information useful.

    • Jim | September 6, 2018 at 6:21 am

      It may be that software companies want customers to migrate to the Cloud but MANY companies do not want their data out in cyberspace where it becomes part of a larger target for hackers. No thank you, we will stick with on-premise applications. #ResistTheCloud

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 9:27 am

        Thank you for your feedback, Jim!

    • Ron Talerico | September 5, 2018 at 10:46 pm

      I own an electrical service company with five trucks and seven employees.

    • Jacqueline Greff | September 5, 2018 at 10:04 pm

      I’ve tried Quickbooks online, but went back to my desktop system. The online systems are considerably slower, less flexible and much more expensive than the desktop versions. Of course the companies want to promote them, but they aren’t the best option for users.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 9:24 am

        Hi Jacqueline, thank you for sharing your feedback!

    • Perry Wybranski | September 5, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      This is refreshing to hear what’s upcoming instead of learning all to late

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 9:23 am

        Thank you, Perry!

    • Marianne Cordillo | September 5, 2018 at 8:57 pm

      Can I please have more info on Virtual PBX?

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 10, 2018 at 3:10 pm

        Hi Marianne, you can find more information here.

    • Gary Bakken | September 5, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      Useful information

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 9:22 am

        Thanks for the feedback! Happy you found this article valuable.

    • Sara Laidlaw | September 5, 2018 at 7:13 pm

      Yes, big software developers like Intuit and Sage are re-directing most of their energy to cloud-based applications, but think of this. When you are driving and talking on your cell phone, are you ever dropped? How about in your own office or home? Are there businesses outside of the limits of big cities and towns? Yes, of course.

      On-premise software will not be obsolete in 2-5 years unless the infrastructure is there to support it. While they do not advertise it, Intuit has renewed their commitment to the desktop versions and for much longer than 2-5 years. QuickBooks online has nowhere near the feature set of desktop, but I have no doubt it will catch up at some point. Until then, the sky is not falling.

      • Hannah Sullivan | September 6, 2018 at 9:24 am

        Thank you, Sara, for sharing your feedback.

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