Difference Between Quicken and QuickBooks

By Avery Martin

Quicken and QuickBooks both aim to help you manage your finances and plan for life's unexpected financial situations. Depending on your needs, one option may better suit your situation. In general, Quicken provides options suitable for home users and helps you organize your family finances. QuickBooks gives you advanced inventory control and provides the necessary tools to effectively run a business.

Different Terminology

QuickBooks and Quicken use different terminology for many of the same functions. Since Intuit gears QuickBooks toward business owners, the terminology in QuickBooks reflects the needs of businesses. For example, in QuickBooks, you have customers, vendors, items and accounts. Quicken doesn't use customers or vendors; instead, you simply have payees. However, when creating an invoice using the Quicken Home and Business edition, you can select a customer from your list of payees. Quicken also uses categories instead of accounts.

Balance Sheet Accounts

Both QuickBooks and Quicken share many of the most commonly used asset, liability and equity accounts, but both software packages categorize these accounts slightly differently. QuickBooks provides a few extra accounts, depending on the industry you select when creating your business. For example, if you convert from Quicken to QuickBooks, liability accounts in Quicken become equity accounts in QuickBooks. Instead of use categories and subcategories, QuickBooks uses income and expense accounts that contain sub-accounts.

Inventory Control

Quicken does provide functionality to add items to invoices, but it doesn't provide the per-item tracking that QuickBooks provides. QuickBooks gives you the ability to track inventory, enter individual inventory items, track sales related to specific inventory items and keep track of the total inventory quantity. If you don't need to track inventory, then Quicken should provide you with all the tools you need to manage your finances. For the business owner, QuickBooks allows you to create complex invoices to bill customers by job, hourly rate or by project increments.

Using Both Products

QuickBooks and Quicken complement each other in some ways and many users decide to implement both products. If you use Quicken to track your personal finances and then import that information into QuickBooks, your original Quicken file remains intact. Only Quicken provides the ability to track investments, calculate loan payments and comes with several reports designed for use in managing your personal finances. For example, you can track savings goals with Quicken and create reports to show your progress.

Online Banking and Vendor Payments

Both Quicken and QuickBooks provide support for downloading transactions from your bank accounts and making online vendor payments. However, you can't use both Quicken and QuickBooks to download transactions from the same account as the information won't download correctly. You also can't use the same online vendor payment service with both products. You can get around this issue by keeping your personal and business bank accounts separate and by using Quicken only for personal finances.

Disclaimer

Information in this article applies to Quicken 2014 and QuickBooks 2014. It may vary slightly or significantly with other products or versions.