QuickBooks Online vs Desktop: Which Is Right for You

quickbooks online vs quickbooks desktop

You can easily access all QuickBooks Online features from the dashboard, where you’ll find a vertical menu bar to the left of the screen. While the dashboard is a bit cluttered, you can easily customize it to only display the information you wish. Those interested in trying out QuickBooks Online can access a free 30-day business etiquette in correspondence demo with sample data that allows you to easily explore system features and functions without spending a lot of time entering data. While the features are similar, QuickBooks Desktop offers more functionality, such as the ability to run checks to pay bills and more in-depth customer and vendor management capability.

  • It’s more fully featured than most other bookkeeping apps, so you’ll experience an upgrade when switching.
  • While both provide easy access to a variety of features and functions, only you can decide which one will work best for you.
  • Speaking of extra fees, QuickBooks Desktop also charges for e-commerce app integration, invoice-based payment acceptance, and online data hosting.
  • QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop have very different pricing structures, with QuickBooks Online available by a monthly subscription, while QuickBooks Desktop has an annual cost.

You can add payroll, more users, and cloud hosting for additional fees. To expedite product setup, you can choose to use the default chart of accounts that is included in the application. You also have the option to import products and services into the application to avoid having to re-enter the data. You can upgrade to any version of QuickBooks Desktop as your needs change. However, converting your data from one desktop solution to another can be a complex process.

Get QuickBooks

QuickBooks Desktop requires a one-time purchase, but long-term costs may be higher due to upgrade expenses. Cost considerations depend on individual business needs and preferences. Small businesses have become the biggest target for hackers, more so than individuals.

quickbooks online vs quickbooks desktop

QuickBooks Online operates on a subscription-based model with various pricing tiers, each offering a different level of features. The charges are on a monthly basis, which some users prefer for its flexibility. QBD has evolved substantially over time and now includes solutions for specific types of businesses. QBD includes an assortment of inventory management tools whereas QuickBooks Online only supports one method.

Windows & Mac support

If you’re looking for more from your subscription—like productivity on the go, collaboration with your team, and access on multiple devices (PC, Mac, and mobile)—QuickBooks Online may work better for you. QuickBooks Desktop software is as an annual subscription that will auto-renew with your credit card on file, so there’s no service interruption. If you purchased Desktop software via retail, make sure to place your credit card on file for uninterrupted service. The company has updated its help centers to be more user-friendly, but there’s still no email support.

  • With QuickBooks Online, you can add QuickBooks Online Payroll starting at $45/month.
  • It’s more affordable, easier to share with your accountant or other financial stakeholders, and offers better invoicing than its locally installed counterpart.
  • QuickBooks offers 2 core products, QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop.
  • What used to be a huge bulk of QuickBooks business is no longer so—it focuses mostly on its cloud version and actively encourages users to make the switch from Desktop to Online.

Sign up to receive more well-researched small business articles and topics in your inbox, personalized for you. Alternatively, you can hire a QuickBooks ProAdvisor to help with your bookkeeping needs. To help you get started, we prepared a guide on how to find a QuickBooks ProAdvisor. Meanwhile, if you or your accountant want to become a ProAdvisor to demonstrate expertise in QuickBooks, read our article on how to become a QuickBooks ProAdvisor.

What is QuickBooks Online (QBO)?

The desktop version has a far more limited range of integrations and mostly just works with the most common apps. QuickBooks Desktop also has many more filters and options when running reports that the online version simply doesn’t have. Overall, if detailed reporting is critical to your construction business, QuickBooks will likely make you much happier. There are a few key features construction companies typically want from their accounting software. Below, we’ll review how these features stack up between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online. If you plan on doing some accounting while at the beach or in a hotel room, don’t expect to do it efficiently or effectively with the QuickBooks Desktop mobile app.

QuickBooks Online is the cloud-based, mobile-friendly version of the popular accounting software. It began as a “light” counterpart of QuickBooks Desktop but quickly evolved into a sophisticated version in itself.Mobility and ease of use are the primary focus of the online edition. Thanks to cloud computing, businesses can manage their finances anywhere in the world using any device they choose. Its prominence also stems from its inclusion of tools its competitors lack, such as integrated advanced time tracking. QuickBooks Desktop still has a place in the accounting software industry. It’s an especially good choice for small-business owners without a consistent internet connection and big businesses with complex, industry-specific financial needs.

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QuickBooks also has a security team of people monitoring 24/7, and they can shutdown a server quickly when an intrusion is sensed. QuickBooks has ready-to-use templates for generating graphs, business plans, invoices, and spreadsheets. It can also help company owners save time and effort by automating signatures on checks. In terms of connectivity with other tools, QuickBooks provides a lot of advantages. It comes with an intuitive User Interface that guides users through all of the capabilities.

While QuickBooks Online offers many integrated apps, we believe there are only a few that stand out. Explore our list of the best QuickBooks Online integrations for different business purposes. QuickBooks Online allows you to track your activity, such as income and expenses, by class and location. This is useful for businesses with multiple departments or divisions and those that provide various types of services.


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