QuickBooks Online Vs. Desktop: Which is Right for Your Business?

QuickBooks Online Vs Desktop - Verito Technologies

QuickBooks accounting software is known as the industry standard for many small and big businesses. Whether it is about managing reports and business finances, keeping a check on the inventory, or tracking sales, QuickBooks software can help you do it all with its all-inclusive features.

While it all started with the launch of QuickBooks desktop product range by Intuit, the software is also available in online form these days. Intuit – QuickBooks maker, offers solutions within the two core branches of its product suite – QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks desktop versions.

While some businesses like the remote connectivity offered by QuickBooks Online, others love the multi-user support provided by local-hosted QuickBooks. This is the reason why many individuals are looking for detailed QuickBooks Online Vs. Desktop comparison.

Are you looking for the correct answer to make an informed decision between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks desktop products? Here’s a detailed guide that covers various aspects of QuickBooks Online Vs. QuickBooks Desktop comparison.


QuickBooks Online or Desktop: A Comparative Overview

QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online are suitable for small businesses as accounting software. Both these versions have features for double-entry accounting and automatic processing of closing entries.

If you have been using QuickBooks desktop products, you might have come across the option to switch to QuickBooks Online. What matters the most before you decide is to understand the differences and similarities between the two. While many QuickBooks Online users consider anytime/anywhere software access as its significant benefit, you can also host QuickBooks desktop software on a dedicated server for easy cloud access.

Let’s dig further into the QuickBooks Online Vs. desktop comparison.

Who Can Use QuickBooks Online?

QuickBooks Online was originally developed for users who needed easy online access to the software. Nowadays, it has evolved into an all-inclusive small business accounting application paired with cloud benefits. As a result, you can easily access QuickBooks Online from any device and any location.

Who Can Use QuickBooks Desktop Products?

QuickBooks desktop products – Pro, Premier, or Enterprise, have been designed to simplify various business processes related to small and mid-size businesses. In addition, it is a good fit for different niche-specific companies, including CPA firms, non-profit organizations, construction companies, etc.

Feature-Specific Comparison Between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop

What does QuickBooks Online Offer?

While setting up QB online, you can select the features that you will most likely use. In case you skip selecting any feature you need, it is easy to add it later. The feature list of QuickBooks Online also depends on the plan you choose. Some of the general features of QuickBooks Online are:

  • Easy to include up to 250 accounts in the standard plan
  • Automatic bank reconciliation feature 
  • Budgeting to create periodic budgets
  • Sales features, such as custom invoice creation, payment reminders with payment links, etc.
  • Expense tracking on a single screen 

For the complete feature list of QuickBooks Online, click here.

What do QuickBooks desktop products offer?

QuickBooks desktop products come with a host of features in each of the specific versions. Some of their primary features include:

  • Invoicing
  • Sales tax tracking
  • Bills and accounts payable management
  • Inventory tracking
  • Payroll (as an add-on) and many others

Here’s the complete feature list for QuickBooks desktop products.

QuickBooks Online Vs. Desktop Comparison At a Glance

QuickBooks Online  QuickBooks Desktop
Available as: Simple Start, Essentials, Plus, and Advanced Available as: Pro, Premier, Enterprise
Supports a maximum of 25 users and three accounting firms with its Advanced plan Supports up to 40 users with its Enterprise version
Can support up to 250 financial accounts for Simple Start, Plus, and Essentials; unlimited accounts supported with Advanced  Support 10,000 accounts when you buy QuickBooks Pro and Premier; 1,00,000 accounts with QuickBooks Enterprise
Cloud-hosted in nature; mobile app available for both Android and iOS based devices Locally hosted in a desktop environment
Easy to upgrade to any of the QuickBooks online plans Easy to upgrade to any of the QuickBooks versions as your business grows
Pricing ranges from $25 to $180 per month depending on the plan chosen Pricing starts at $349.99 per year and onwards depending on the version chosen

Also Read: Differences Between QuickBooks 2019 Vs. 2020 Vs. 2021

Parameters Based on Which You Can Do QuickBooks Online Vs. QuickBooks Desktop Comparison


  • Accessibility via cloud

QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based application that you can access from anywhere. On the other hand, QuickBooks desktop products require a local PC to install the software for use. However, you can host QuickBooks desktop products on cloud with the help of a QuickBooks hosting provider.


  • Pricing

Both these types of QuickBooks applications vary in pricing, as given above.


  • Mileage tracking

You get an automatic mileage tracking feature available with QuickBooks Online – all versions but not desktop software. In QB desktop, you need to add the mileage manually to your account.


  • Inventory management

QuickBooks Online Plus and Advanced come with inventory tracking features. But QuickBooks desktop software can offer even better tools for inventory management. 


  • Job Costing

This feature is available in a more advanced form in QuickBooks desktop products than QB online.


Who Should Go with QuickBooks Online?

Businesses can go with QuickBooks Online if they want:

  • A software that is easy to learn and use
  • Remote access using mobile apps
  • Easy integrations and automation
  • International invoicing features
  • Access to QB Capital Lending


Who Should Go with QuickBooks Desktop Products?

A business should go with QuickBooks desktop software if it requires:

  • Local-hosted accounting software
  • Industry-specific features as available with QuickBooks Premier and Enterprise
  • Sales orders


QuickBooks Online Vs. Desktop Comparison – The Bottom Line

Both QuickBooks desktop software and QuickBooks Online have robust features capable of serving a wide range of business needs. However, the final decision of selecting between the two should be based on your understanding of the products, their similarities, and their differences. The one that matches your needs best is the one you should go with. 


QuickBooks Online Vs. Desktop Comparison – FAQs


Is QuickBooks desktop better than QuickBooks Online?

Each of these modes of using QuickBooks software has its unique pros and cons. Hence, it is advisable to go through the detailed QuickBooks Online Vs. Desktop comparison before making any decision.


What is the main difference between QuickBooks Online and desktop?

The main difference between the two is that QB desktop needs to be installed on a local computer for use, while QB Online is a cloud-based product. 


Is QuickBooks Online similar to desktop?

QuickBooks Online has many similarities with the QB desktop product range in terms of various features and benefits.


What are the pros and cons of QuickBooks Online Vs. Desktop?

The pros and cons of these two types of QuickBooks solutions are specific to various businesses. A QuickBooks feature that looks like a disadvantage for one industry may be highly useful for another. 


Can I use QuickBooks desktop and QuickBooks Online at the same time?

Yes, you can. But there is no need to do so as it would not be economically feasible for your business. Neither does it make sense to pay twice for the same/similar products.


Is QuickBooks Online cheaper than QuickBooks desktop?

Please refer to the pricing mentioned in the comparison table above. 


Can I switch from QuickBooks Online to desktop and vice versa?

You can switch from one version to another depending on your business needs. However, it is advisable to understand the differences between the two as detailed in the QuickBooks Online vs. desktop comparison before making any choice and avoiding any hassles later.

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