03 May 2018

How can I buy Microsoft Office?

I get this question quite often and rightfully so.  There are many ways to purchase Office and they can be confusing.  Depending upon your situation one method may be better than another.  Here are the top two ways most small / medium businesses purchase Office.  I hope you find this explanation simple and informative.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions at all via our Contact Page.
Method One:  Purchase via Office 365 Subscription
Don’t immediately dismiss the subscription model.  I know that no one likes to have yet another monthly payment but this one has some serious benefits you may find handy.  I’ll keep this as short and simple as possible.
  1. You are always current.  The latest version is always available to you so you never have to worry about being out of date again.
  2. Each user is allowed to load Office on up to 5 devices!  That means the user can legally load Office on his office pc, laptop, home pc and iPad.  All the devices are then current and consistent.  That is a great perk.
  3. Management is easy.  There are no keycodes to keep up with.  What a pain that used to be!  The email address of the user is the magic key for doing the installs.
  4. I’m no accountant but since this is a monthly service fee it should be classified as an operational expense instead of a capital expense.  That means a business can immediately write it off each month instead of depreciating a traditional software purchase.  Check with your accountant to be sure.
  5. Depending on which Office 365 plan you have, the monthly cost is about $8.50 more than you are probably spending right now.  I am happy to help guide you through the plans to find the most economical one.
Method Two:  Purchase Microsoft Office Outright
This is the most common method I see but it is rapidly changing.  The subscription model makes more sense for most situations.  An outright purchase is limiting and does not allow for upgrades.  Here are some things to consider.
  1. Although the price is a one time fee (typically about $209 for the Business Edition), you can only load it on one machine.  This can get expensive if you need Office for a user’s PC, laptop, etc.
  2. There are no upgrades with an outright purchase.  Whatever version you buy is what you are stuck with.
  3. A product keycode or registration key is matched with the installation.  This can be a nightmare to keep up with in a large or growing business.  Frequently we see the codes get jumbled and it is very difficult to reinstall the software since the code has already been used before.
  4. An outright purchase is a capital expense and must be depreciated like any other software purchase.  Businesses must wait for their tax advantages.  Once again, consult your accountant on how this may apply to your business.
The Bottom Line Is . . .
  • If you like to stay current and/or your users have multiple devices, then the subscription model usually makes the most sense.  Hardly anyone has only one device these days and no one likes to be running old software so this model probably fits most of you.
  • If you only change software versions every 5+ years and your users only have one device then the outright purchase model may make the most sense for you.  Just be sure and keep up with those installation codes!  It will save you a lot of grief down the road when you need to reinstall due to a bad hard drive, etc.
Do the math.  Consider the choices and do what fits your need best.
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