QuickBooks Online Vs Desktop Comparison 2024

quickbooks online vs quickbooks desktop

You can also integrate QuickBooks Online with Zapier, which lets you connect QuickBooks to thousands of other apps in your business’s tech stack. You can do things like automatically add customers to or create receipts in QuickBooks when payments happen in other apps, or track new QuickBooks invoices or payments in another app. Here are a few pre-made workflows to show you what’s possible, but you can use Zapier to connect QuickBooks to almost any app you use. QuickBooks Desktop, on the other hand, is installed locally, meaning you download and install the software on your computer or multiple computers in your office, for example.

  1. The decision to use one QuickBooks version over another (QuickBooks Online vs Desktop) isn’t one that’s written in stone.
  2. Businesses that have purchased one-time licenses of the locally-installed QuickBooks Desktop versions that have been sunset can still use the software’s accounting features.
  3. Unlike its counterparts, this edition of the software can never be upgraded to the small business editions of the software.

Both include the basic reports you’d expect to find with accounting software, such as a balance sheet, a Profit & Loss report, a cash flow statement, etc. The main difference between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop is that QuickBooks Online is cloud-based accounting software, and QuickBooks Desktop is locally installed. All QuickBooks Desktop Plus and QuickBooks Desktop Payroll products, excluding QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise, will no longer be available to new users beginning July 31, 2024. Existing QuickBooks Desktop Pro, Premier, Mac, or Enhanced Payroll users will not be impacted.

QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Desktop: An overview

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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. Both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop can integrate with over 650 cloud-based apps. QuickBooks Online integrates with many other software platforms, such as PayPal and Square, but these platforms do not always have desktop versions.

QuickBooks Online vs Desktop: The Ultimate Guide

That’s why QuickBooks maintains a list of apps for QuickBooks Desktop that you can use to determine which desktop apps you can pair with your Desktop software. QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online are separate platforms that do not sync with each other. However, in addition to its mobile app, QuickBooks Online has a desktop app. Any info you enter into the QuickBooks Online desktop app will sync with your cloud-based QuickBooks platform if your computer is connected to the internet.

The decision to use one QuickBooks version over another (QuickBooks Online vs Desktop) isn’t one that’s written in stone. While you should strive to avoid multiple and consistent back-and-forths, your choice of QuickBooks version isn’t written in stone. The first — and probably most significant — difference refers to how you actually access QuickBooks. The licensing agreement specifies when and how you are able to use the software, as well as who is allowed access to it. Though there is a Mac version of QuickBooks Desktop, it’s not as well liked as the Windows version.

Users often attest to its sluggishness and lack of reliability, both issues that have been echoed in my own experience. There are two versions of QuickBooks Desktop (Premier Plus and Enterprise) and four versions of QuickBooks Online (Simple Start, Essentials, Plus and Advanced). Live Bookkeepers aren’t responsible for errors resulting from incorrect information that you provide, or if you re-open the books by overriding closure after a Live Bookkeeper completes the month-end closure. Sign up to receive more well-researched small business articles and topics in your inbox, personalized for you.

Otherwise, you’ll need QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise, which supports up to 40 users. However, if you’re not a Mac user, you can choose from all three QuickBooks Desktop  plans. The QuickBooks Desktop Premier Plus plan is particularly useful for business that want industry-specific features. Most notably, Premier Plus has 150+ customizable reports for nonprofits, general contractors, and retailers. If you’re searching for accounting software that’s user-friendly, full of smart features, and scales with your business, Quickbooks is a great option. Probably not, unless your business absolutely needs advanced inventory management features, barcode scanning, or assembly builds.

Speaking of extra fees, QuickBooks Desktop also charges for e-commerce app integration, invoice-based payment acceptance, and online data hosting. If you choose QuickBooks Desktop Pro Plus, you’ll also need to pay extra if you want to access customer service via live chat. Notably, only QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise includes 24/7 customer service. Pro Plus and Premier Plus limit customer service hours to just 12 hours a day, weekdays only. QuickBooks Self-Employed is a QuickBooks Online product for contractors and freelancers, specifically for those who do not have separate business and personal financial accounts.

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QuickBooks Online is user-friendly, but it requires some prior accounting knowledge to get the most out of it. You can send a copy of your company file to your accountant and import their changes. You can switch from QuickBooks Online to Desktop, and many users who are used to traditional accounting and working with QuickBooks tend to do so after giving QBO a try.

The software itself may look like an outdated image on some monitor within a cubicle maze, but it’s versatile in what it can do. The dashboard does an excellent job dividing all accounting aspects into a flowchart type of view, while the sidebar provides quick access to a list of features. That said, it can feel overwhelming and confusing if you don’t have prior accounting knowledge. Offers four plans to accommodate a range of businesses with different needs; each plan limits the number of users, though. Both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Pro offer a good number of helpful integrations and add-on products. However, QuickBooks Online offers over 750 integrations to QuickBooks Pro’s 260+ integrations.

It has less of a learning curve than QuickBooks Desktop and comes with a much more simplified dashboard that’s easy to navigate. And let’s not forget offline accessibility for the times your ISP decides to ruin your Monday. Everything from the installation screen to the lagging UI gave me flashbacks to the 1998 dial-up tone on my family’s Pentium III computer. There were also fewer prompts of the tutorial variety, but I was pleasantly surprised by the number of features packed into it.

In conclusion, the choice between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop comes down to individual business needs. By understanding the unique offerings of both, CPAs can make well-informed recommendations to their clients, ultimately enhancing their accounting processes and business efficiency. This pillar blog has aimed to provide an in-depth, comparative guide to assist in that decision-making process.

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QuickBooks’ two most popular financial software solutions are QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop. While both solutions help businesses better manage their finances, they have distinct features that set them apart from each other and make them better fit for certain types of businesses. QuickBooks is the trusted solution to help businesses overcome their most challenging financial needs. Whether it’s tracking income and expenses, paying bills, or managing cash flow, QuickBooks solutions are trusted by millions of businesses across the globe. QBO allows you to access your file anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection.

Seeing as it’s a program installed on your local system, it relies on the device’s processing power and resources. With larger datasets or complex operations, QuickBooks Desktop might utilize more local processing power compared to the online version. You can (almost) always trust your local access, and QuickBooks Desktop reinforces that by keeping your accounting data on your local drive or network. QuickBooks Desktop can feel rigid and resistant to modification or integration—the same way Apple products and iOS felt rigid back when everyone had overheating, self-cooking Android phones.