Understanding the Key Differences – QuickBooks Online Vs. QuickBooks Desktop


While both QuickBooks programs provide robust accounting tools, the decision between Desktop and Online comes down to individual business needs. Understanding the differences between these two programs will help you make an informed decision.


QuickBooks Online is cloud-based and offers four scalable plans. It’s ideal for businesses that value anytime/anywhere access and advanced features, like inventory assembly management.


Choosing the right QuickBooks product for a client depends on the business’s unique accounting needs. It is also essential to consider cost and accessibility when making a decision. QuickBooks Online is accessible from any web browser or smartphone device, whereas Desktop requires installation on each computer.

Both products offer support via email and telephone. However, there are sometimes long wait times when calling the telephone support line. QuickBooks Online also has a more comprehensive mobile application that allows users to view and update their data remotely, including adding receipt photos.

While QuickBooks Desktop offers more features and a more comprehensive accounting solution, it is expensive and needs cloud access. Intuit has indicated that it will stop supporting QuickBooks Desktop after May 31, 2023, which makes QuickBooks Online a more appealing option for small businesses. The company offers a free 30-day trial, and its most basic plan costs $9 a month.


QuickBooks Online has several third-party integrations that simplify and automate many accounting tasks. These include apps for payroll, inventory, and customer management. It also integrates with 750 popular business tools and platforms.

In contrast, QuickBooks Desktop only integrates with a few selected apps and requires a dedicated server for installation. The program is also less accessible than its cloud-based counterpart and has a dated user interface that may require accounting knowledge to navigate.

The company’s Desktop version is available through an annual subscription, which includes software updates and customer support. Users can select from four different plans based on their business needs. Additionally, the program offers industry-specific features designed to meet each business’s specific needs. Both quickbooks online vs quickbooks desktop can also manage payroll, record customer payments, and create invoices. It also provides a range of other features not found in the online version, including an extensive list of automation and more robust invoicing tools.


Regarding pricing, QuickBooks Desktop requires a one-time software purchase, while the Online version offers a monthly subscription. The latter model allows multiple users to access the company file in real-time, promoting efficient collaboration. However, this requires a stable Internet connection.

While both programs offer integration capabilities with third-party apps, the Online version has a broader range of options. On the other hand, QuickBooks Desktop only supports a limited number of add-on services.

Both programs provide robust accounting solutions, but the choice depends on your needs and budget. QuickBooks Desktop may be better if you need specialized features like advanced inventory tracking, job costing, or industry-specific functionality. However, it’s important to note that access to add-on apps for Desktop customers will end in May 2023. This makes QuickBooks Online a more practical and affordable solution for most businesses.


The security features of QuickBooks Online and Desktop differ significantly. QuickBooks Online offers automatic data backups and updates as a cloud-oriented solution, while Desktop requires users to update software versions and manually implement security protocols.

Both platforms offer integration capabilities, but QuickBooks Online has a broader range of third-party app integrations because of its SaaS nature and APIs. The flexibility of QuickBooks Online makes it a more desirable choice for those who require multiple business application integrations, while Desktop’s limited connectivity to other tools can be a drawback.

Whether you invest in the cloud-oriented QuickBooks Online or locally installed QuickBooks Desktop, your decision will depend on your needs and budget. Ultimately, both versions can help you achieve your accounting goals, but each offers distinct advantages and disadvantages. For example, the Desktop’s robust mobile app and enhanced functionality in areas like inventory management and job costing are not available with the online version. However, the advantages of a single purchase and universal access can be amplified with a secure cloud hosting provider.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *