QuickBooks Online for Nonprofits Accounting Guide

Blog post by Lisa London, author of QuickBooks Online for Nonprofits and other "Accountant Beside You" books

What's Changing?

Intuit, the company that makes QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop software, made a big announcement late last year.  QuickBooks will no longer be selling their desktop versions of Pro, Premier Mac or Enhanced Payroll to new customers after July 31, 2024. The only desktop version that will continue to be sold is the Enterprise version for large organizations.

This does NOT mean that you can no longer use or renew your desktop subscriptions, only that new customers will not be able to purchase it. Per Intuit’s website.

We will continue to provide security updates, product updates, and support for existing subscribers.

Lisa London

If you have read my previous blogs and books, you may note that I have liked the desktop better than the online version for several reasons-not reliant on internet strength and reliability, especially if you are in a rural or storm-ridden area; reporting is stronger, and screens seem to be more intuitive.

With Intuit’s announcement and their encouragement of accountants to move their clients to QuickBooks Online (QBO), I assume that future improvements will only be on the online side. And they have added many features over the last couple of years that bring QBO closer to the desktop version in many ways and others that desktop could never do that save tons of time.

Some things QBO can do that desktop can’t (or is challenging to do) are:

  1. Easily allows multiple users to access the data from almost anywhere. This means you need to be extra careful setting up your USER roles so you don’t have people accessing transactions that should only be seeing reports. If your employees are tracking time, you can set up users that only access time sheets.
  2. Bank feeds (called Bank transactions) in QBO sync much easier and rules allow you to split between programs.
  3. At year-end, QBO will eFile your 1099s with a few clicks.  This is so much easier than the old print and mail approach.
  4. If you are using an outside accountant, using QBO is much easier to share data.
  5. The ability to use some of the 1000s of apps that work with QBO is a huge time saver, especially if you have an outside donor management system or accept online payments through PayPal or other sites.
  6. Budget entry is much easier in QBO.

There are lots of other things QBO does well.  The area that frustrates me the most is the Reporting.  They still are not offering a report that allows you to see month and year to day on the P & L compared to budget, which I personally think is the most important report you can look at monthly. But it does allow you to easily export to Excel, so you can set it up that way.

Do I need to do anything?

If you are currently using any of the desktop versions, you can continue to use them. If you are using a 2020 or previous version, realize that Intuit does not update or support them if you have issues.  So PLEASE back up your data frequently. 

Per TechSoup, you can still request QuickBooks Premier 2021 and QuickBooks for Mac, but they assume Intuit will end support sometime in 2024 or 2025.

For those with a desktop subscription, nothing will change, but do not expect any improvements.

If you want to move to QBO, the conversion is quite simple. You can purchase a subscription for QBO at Techsoup.org for only $75 per year if you qualify. If not, check with your outside accountant or email me at questions@acountantbesideyou.com and I’ll let you know if Intuit is running any specials that can be offered to new users.

NOTE: check with your accountant or me before signing up for Intuit’s three month free trial. They sometimes don’t like to offer the discounts to people they already have in the system.

How do I learn how to use QuickBooks Online for Nonprofits?

LL multi-paper books tablet

Here’s where The Accountant Beside You can help. I’ve just released an updated and expanded edition of QuickBooks Online for Nonprofits and Churches-A Step-by-Step Guide available at AccountantBesideYou.com. It will walk you through how to set up a small nonprofit or church and how to convert the desktop information efficiently.

Use the FreeChurchAccounting discount code FCA10 and receive 10% off.

I also have classes you can access as needed available at NonprofitAccountingClasses.com. Use coupon code FCA20 for a 20% discount on any and all classes.

The classes are set up with dozens of 5-15 minute videos so you can pull up exactly what you need to see and not have to sit through hours of an accounting lecture at once. (I try to keep it interesting, but it is accounting!)

Hope this helps and happy accounting!

Lisa London, CPA

The Accountant Beside You