Quickbooks Online Vs Quickbooks Desktop


Quickbooks Online (QBO) Vs Quickbooks Desktop

Quickbooks Online Vs Quickbooks Desktop: It is an often question the difference between the desktop version and the online version of QuickBooks so we would like to take you through this couple of systems and just show you a few of the advantages and disadvantages of each. Advantages – Desktop Version

  • Now just note that the QuickBooks desktop version is a software that you purchase and install on your computer. So this is something that is compatible with a PC or a Mac, but again you will have to purchase it and install it on your computer.
  • One advantage of the desktop version is, it is a one-time purchase so it depends on the version of QuickBooks that you purchase you may spend anywhere from $150 to $300 and it’s a one-time purchase.
  • One software purchase can be used for multiple companies, so if you are an entrepreneur with more than one business you can use the same software package for multiple companies and basically the that works is you kind of think of the companies as files or like if you had a Word document you would have multiple files in Word it’s similar to that in QuickBooks.
  • You can have multiple companies within one software and so it’s also advantageous for business owners who own multiple companies because they can purchase this one-time package and use it for all of their companies.
  • The QuickBooks desktop version also has features that aren’t necessarily available online and so if these features are really important to you in your business you might consider the desktop version.

Examples: Handling inventory, job costing, and customer discounts.

Disadvantages: Desktop Version

Here are a few disadvantages of the desktop version.

  • The automatic sync with the bank is not as streamlined as it is on the online version so it’s not really automatic you have to actually go and download the transactions from the bank and then import them into your QuickBooks file. If you want your transactions downloaded automatically there’s a fee for that and so and that fee can vary between ten to fifteen dollars a month depending on your bank.
  • There’s a new version of the QuickBooks desktop version every year now which requires an upgrade. Honestly, you don’t have to upgrade every year but QuickBooks will stop supporting the software after three years and so at the most at the via the most you would have to upgrade every three years.
  • The QuickBooks file is saved to a computer and this can be a disadvantage because if your computer is stolen or if your computer crashes you lose access to your QuickBooks file. It’s also a disadvantage in an environment where you may work on multiple computers like sometimes we work on desktop and sometimes we work on a laptop.
  • And if you’re one of those business owners who work on multiple computers being able to go from one computer to the other it might cause you a little bit of a problem.
  • So that’s something else to think about and then also transferring that file back and forth to your accountant can be cumbersome if it is something that you do on a regular basis. If you’re only sending your file to your accountant to prepare your tax return at the end of the year, it might not be a big deal if you have multiple users in your company that will need to access your QuickBooks file.
  • You will need to purchase a license for each user so you can’t buy the software and load it on multiple computers well you can physically but it is a violation of the Terms of Service Agreement when you purchase the software. So just keep that in mind.

Now let’s think up the QuickBooks online version, this version of QuickBooks is a cloud-based version of QuickBooks and so it’s just like the name says it is QuickBooks Online. There’s no software to purchase, all you need is internet access to be able to get to your file.

Advantages: Quickbooks Online

So some of the advantages of using QuickBooks Online, this is just some of them

  • It’s not the extensive list but the online sync with your bank account is automatic and this is a huge time saver because it allows you to the system will automatically download your transactions on a daily basis so this saves a lot of time when it comes to data entry.
  • You always have access to the latest version of QuickBooks when you are using the online version because anytime they make a software update or if they add new features that they are doing on a regular basis, so you always have access to the latest version.
  • It can be accessed from any computer or mobile device and if you are again that business owner who may work on multiple computers and you may move from the desktop to the laptop or if you have a physical office and then you have a home office the QuickBooks online software will give you a little bit more flexibility with that. Because it’s not stored on a computer it’s actually stored in the cloud so you can access it from anywhere.
  • QuickBooks online also comes with a maximum of twenty-five users, depending on the Pricing Plan you choose. So again if you have multiple users that you want to work on your QuickBooks file, you’ll be able to give them access to your QuickBooks file and you can limit that access so that they only have access to the things they need to do their job.
  • This is also one of reason lot of clients actually use QuickBooks Online or are moving to QuickBooks Online because it allows us to have simultaneous use in their file and so if they have questions about their QuickBooks file they can send us an email and say hey I have a question about my file can you take a look and they don’t have to send us a file and they can continue working in the file.
  • Also in desktop version when you send your QuickBooks file you kind of have to wait for the accountant to send it back.

So those are some of the advantages again not all of them but just some of them now let’s talk about the disadvantages to Quickbooks online.

Disadvantages: QuickBooks Online

  • Over time it does cost more because you are paying a monthly fee and that monthly fee just varies depending on which version of QuickBooks.
  • Now they have launched 4 different packages, Simple Start Essentials, Plus and Advance, so depending on which version of QuickBooks you want, it will determine what that monthly fee is but when you add up the cost over a period of time you tend to pay a little bit more for QuickBooks Online than you will the desktop version.

However that it’s worth the additional fee that it charges for QuickBooks online because of the values addition of Quickbooks Online version. But that is certainly a call that you would have to make.

  • Multiple companies with QuickBooks Online will require separate files so that means if you own two or three companies you will have to set up three different files and you will pay three different monthly fees for QuickBooks online so it another reason for the expensiveness on Quickbooks online. But again QuickBooks does give multiple company discounts so it’s something that we could definitely ask about before we proceed with the setup.
  • The online version doesn’t have some of the features that the desktop version has, so again those same advantages that it mentioned on the desktop versions become disadvantages for the online version.
  • So if your business is heavily into inventory if you need to do some heavy job costing or customer discounts those things are not available with the online version. But with the most recent updates Quickbooks online Plus and Advance versions have the Track Inventory option but that not much sophisticated as in the Desktop version.


Quickbooks Online vs Quickbooks Desktop – So when you make your call on Quickbooks package, it is better to consider the above facts and select the appropriate option based on your requirement.



  1. […] start by defining what is QuickBooks online, first of all, its online cloud-based accounting software. This means that the data, as well as the […]


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