A Look Inside QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Desktop

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QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Desktop

The progression of QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Desktop have been growing at a rapid pace before our very eyes in the technology world, in fact, QuickBooks Online is actually updated weekly. With changes constantly occurring, it’s important to be familiar with the latest and greatest versions of both QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Desktop. Whether you have a small to medium sized business or an entrepreneur just starting a business, it’s important to know which accounting software is best for you. Choosing the right software for your accounting company is a critical decision that will affect your company in the near and far future. While QBO and QBD are both very valuable in their own way, they equally have their own individual disadvantages.

See also: QuickBooks Hosting Services

The question is, which one to choose? Let’s start with QuickBooks Desktop.

The Pros for QuickBooks Desktop:

  • Inventory assemblies
  • Anytime/anywhere access through as Intuit certified host
  • Multiple users with appropriate licensing
  • Simultaneous access for data
  • Sales orders
  • Receiving purchase orders
  • Prepare 1099s
  • Annual fees
  • QuickBooks statement writer
  • Progress invoicing
  • Custom reporting
  • Profit & Loss by Class
  • Budget vs Actual job costing
  • Mileage tracking
  • Advanced Excel reports
  • Auto-calculators of statement charges

The Pros for QuickBooks Online:

  • Cost efficient, low cost for monthly packages
  • Compatible for iPhone, iPad and Android
  • Automated backup
  • Anytime/anywhere access with Internet
  • Multiple users
  • Simultaneous access to data
  • Automated email reports & customer billing
  • Activity log
  • Multiple AR/AP lines
  • Location tracking
  • Monthly packages

See also: Green Cloud Computing – Is Cloud IT Green

The Cons for QuickBooks Desktop

  • Costs varying per month per user
  • No IT support
  • Difficulty sharing files
  • Doesn’t integrate well with all 3rd party apps
  • Conflicts between inconsistent Windows and Mac versions
  • Escalations with pricing however good value for:
    • payroll subscriptions
    • ProAdvisor costs
    • Retiring older products after 3 years

The Cons for QuickBooks Online

  • Regular updates change the product making it difficult to re-learn and re-teach procedures
  • Lack of coverage of product features when compared to QB Desktop
  • Each company file requires a separate subscription
  • Difficult inventory tracking
  • Simple features on QBO leads to more basic bookkeeping options
  • Server downtime caused by heavy internet traffic prevents access to important data
  • Prepare and print 1099’s only on “Plus” Plan
  • Unable to integrate with QB POS
  • Does not offer QB bill pay
  • Does not do complete job costing, however does track expenses via jobs
  • Lack of features compared to desktop
    • No PO or inventory tracking
    • Report customization is restricted
    • Not as many graphs & reports

After going over the pros and cons for QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Desktop, you will have a better understanding of which one is the best fit for your company. Although QuickBooks Desktop can be more expensive than QuickBooks Online, several companies prefer it. Businesses that need the functionality of the desktop version have benefitted from the multi-user, anytime/anywhere access capabilities that are offered through QuickBooks Desktop in a hosted environment. Some important questions you need to ask yourself when deciding between using QBO vs QBD would be:


  1. What software do you use?
  2. Do you require remote access?
  3. Does your business track inventory?
  4. How many company files do you have?

QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop are both here in order to solve business accounting problems. Once you recognize the needs and goals of your business, the decision will be easier when it comes to choosing between the two products.


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Sarah Gardiner

All stories by: Sarah Gardiner