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TechTip: To SaaS or not to SaaS PDF Print E-mail

Many applications and application suites like Microsoft Office are quite expensive, especially if you’re buying for multiple computers. Alternatively, many of these are now available as SaaS, (Software as a Service) or by subscription. SaaS licenses can be less expensive initially, but over the long haul, in most cases will cost more. Further, you lose the right to use the software if you discontinue your subscription. Even so, a subscription may be the right choice for you or your business.

One of the most common applications you might need for personal or business use would be Microsoft Office. Microsoft has made this a most difficult process for most users, as the combination of choices are nearly endless.

Your first task is to determine licensing and features. If you’re a student and don’t need Outlook, Office Home and Student is the right choice. This package contains Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. If you do need Outlook for email, Microsoft Office Home and Business is the right choice provided you do not need Publisher (desktop publishing) and Access (database). For business users that need greater functionality, Office Professional includes Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher and Access as one package.

Application Suite

Recommended For


Microsoft Office Home & Student

Individuals and students and basic users.


Microsoft Office 2016 Home & Business

Individuals and business users that will require a quality email client.


Microsoft Office 2016 Professional

Business users or others that need desktop publishing or database capabilities.


These are all the basic office packages available for purchase at a one-time expense. These packages are available in PC and Mac editions for the 2016 version. The prices remain the same regardless of platform, and each are for 1 user / 1 computer.

The software suites also come as a subscription service, but also includes additional benefits available only in the subscription. While the software itself is identical in functionality, the subscription service also includes the use of suite applications on Android and Apple devices (iOS), online cloud storage, skype minutes, and advanced office email cloud services, depending on the package you choose.




Office 365 Home

Office 365 Personal

Office 365 Business

Office 365 Business Premium

Office 365 Business Essentials

Yearly Price






Monthly Price







Word, Excel, Publisher, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access

Word, Excel, Publisher, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access

Word, Excel, Publisher, OneNote, Outlook,

Word, Excel, Publisher, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint.

No Office Suite software.


5 PC/Mac,
5 Tablets,
5 Phones

1 PC/Mac,
1 Tablet,
1 Phone

1 User:
1 PC/Mac,
1 Tablet,
1 Phone

1 User:
1 PC/Mac,
1 Tablet,
1 Phone



1TB cloud storage for up to 5 users
& 60 minutes Skype calling for up to 5 users

1TB cloud storage for 1 user & 60 minutes Skype calling.

1TB File Storage

1TB File Storage,
Email/Contacts/Calendar w/ 50GB storage,
HD Video Conf., Online chat

1TB File Storage,
Email/Contacts/Calendar w/50GB storage, HD Video Conf., Online chat

Tech Support






Licensed for

Home Users

Home Users

Business User

Business User

Business User


QuickBooks is another application with the option of either purchasing a one-time license, or as SaaS. The products are nearly identical, but there are some minor differences between QuickBooks for Desktop and the online QuickBooks versions. One big difference between the two is that the data file that holds your accounting information is stored locally on your computer in the desktop version. The online version stores your data on Intuit servers. This has the advantage of being able to access your accounting information from anywhere, but at the cost of security. Further, the information is only available if you have a reliable internet connection.

As with Microsoft, Intuit provides additional features with the online version of the software. Such as an iOS and Android apps that help track mileage, access your information online and more. Online prices range from $10/mo. per user for the basic subscription to $87/mo. per user for enterprise versions.



Small Business



Simple Start



QuickBooks Pro






$299 (One time)

Track miles


Track income

Organize expenses

Maximize tax deductions

Send invoices

Work from PC, Mac, Smartphone, or Tablet

PC/Mac only

Download Bank Transactions





Manually, $10-$15/mo.

Automatic Backups


Phone Support

$89 for 90 Days

Send estimates

Track sales tax

Manage bills

Multiple users

✓(extra cost)

Track time

Track inventory

Track 1099 payments

Calculate and Rebill Job Costs





Calculate Discounts by Cusomter





As with most business decisions, a little research will go a long way to providing the best solution for your specific business needs. If you want additional features or to always have the latest versions of software available, SaaS is possibly the best choice. If you want to purchase less frequently, have added security, or need specific features of traditional software, use the desktop versions of the software.

If you need software, or more specific information on what choices you have, give us a call at 1-800-957-3730 for assistance.