The Pros & Cons of QuickBooks Online vs Desktop

QuickBooks offers 2 core products, QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop. In this article, you will learn about some critical factors that drive QuickBooks Online vs Desktop decisions. In other words, if you want to save time on day-to-day accounting, Sage Intacct offers more value than QuickBooks Desktop. Not all businesses will need these features, but manufacturing, retail and wholesale businesses will likely find them worth the extra cost over Gold.

  • One of the greatest attributes of Quickbooks shines in its payroll processing.
  • I wonder, will intuit publish the Internet speed needed in order for QBO to operate properly or efficiently?
  • QuickBooks Enterprise is designed for large businesses or small enterprises and starts at $1,410/year.
  • If you are a business owner in charge of employees you should look into the skills needed for management.
  • QuickBooks Payroll allows you to pay your employees by checks or direct deposits, e-file and e-pay taxes, print and e-file W-2 Forms at year-end, and more.
  • For instance, QuickBooks Desktop allows you to create customized job costing reports tailored to specialized industries, including manufacturers, contractors, and retailers.

QuickBooks online offers customers with much of the same excellent functionality when enjoying the mobility of cloud-based apps. QuickBooks online is easy to use and provides more automation, more integration, more billing and a special built-in lending feature. The downsides are the shortage of purchase requests, administration and other complications that loyal desktop users may neglect (like customizable letter templates, a built-in calendar, and even spell-check). Along with everyday accounting tools, QuickBooks Enterprise Desktop offers industry-specific  editions with extra features. Accountants, contractors, manufacturers, non-profits, professional services and retail and wholesale businesses can all enjoy an industry-tailored QuickBooks experience.


But apart from cloud connectivity, there are other variations between the two applications that we’re going to speak about next. Meanwhile, QuickBooks Desktop relies on the Accountant’s Copy feature to facilitate file sharing with accountants. With the Accountant’s Copy, you need to create a copy of the company file specifically for the accountant to work on.

  • 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.
  • We save you money the moment you hire us by cutting out the expensive cost of hiring an in-house CFO.
  • QuickBooks Online vs. Desktop wins for small and mid-sized businesses that need access from multiple devices.
  • Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services.

In addition, there are custom fields that can be used to track additional information for any inventory item. QuickBooks Desktop offers top notch invoicing software capability, allowing users to create a professional invoice for their customers. The Premier edition offers users a variety of industry-specific invoice templates including professional, product, and service invoice templates. It also gives you the option to add time tracking and the Salesforce CRM Connector ― but keep in mind that these features have extra per-employee fees.

QuickBooks Online: Additional features

In contrast, QuickBooks Desktop tends to have a steeper learning curve, offers fewer integrations, and has had its previous versions discontinued by QuickBooks. If you need personalized customer support, you can upgrade to QuickBooks Online Advanced or QuickBooks Enterprise. Doing so grants you access to the Priority Circle loyalty program, including a dedicated account team, free on-demand training, and premium care from QuickBooks experts.

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. QuickBooks Desktop features are better developed than comparable cash given as charity journal entry example features found on QuickBooks Online. Though not web-based, QuickBooks Desktop can be hosted online for more convenient access if desired.One of QuickBooks Desktop’s best features is its use of centers, which provide a central point for all activity.

Industry-specific Features (Winner: QuickBooks Desktop)

Using the Banking tab on the left side of the dashboard, you can connect your bank and credit card accounts so that QuickBooks automatically imports transactions and categorizes them for you. Later, when reconciling your books, you’ll be able to review these transactions in the For Review tab within the Banking menu. The main dashboard will give an overview of your QuickBooks account, showing your profit and loss overview, invoices, expenses and sales. Includes tools that help automate the reconciliation process, along with a global search function and customizable dashboard; however, there is a learning curve.

In addition to industry-specific features, QuickBooks Desktop Premier and Enterprise have unique reports tailored to each industry. For instance, the QuickBooks Desktop Contractor Edition has unique reports, such as Job Profitability Summary and Job Profitability Detail to track costs and profitability on a per-job basis. These reports help in assessing project profitability, estimating future jobs, and identifying areas for cost optimization. QuickBooks Desktop offers good support options for users, with help and support options accessible from within the application. QuickBooks Desktop uses navigation centers that make it easy to get around in the application, even for new users. The main screen is divided into sections, with each section offering a flow chart with access to specific features relative to each navigation center.

Try using your mobile device web browser to access more QuickBooks Online features if you’re in the field with Internet access. Includes project tracking tools in higher tier plans; has transaction tracking tags; lacks industry-specific reports; users with multiple businesses must pay for separate subscriptions. Although QuickBooks Online is user-friendly, there can be a learning curve, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with the basic principles of accounting.

Tax & Accounting

Job costing has the same story as invoicing – you’ll notice that it will become a recurring theme in this review. Both versions have core job costing features, but you’ll get more detail with QuickBooks Desktop, especially on more complex jobs. This means most established construction companies choosing between the two likely won’t see price differences as a huge factor. Smaller businesses may find QuickBooks Online a better fit on price considerations but may also want to consider whether Online can provide everything they’ll need as they grow. The QuickBooks Online mobile and desktop apps are worlds apart – the Quickbooks Online mobile app is generally seen as being leaps and bounds better than the mobile app for QuickBooks Desktop. The Desktop-specific mobile app has minimal functionality and is mostly used for receipt uploading and other basic tasks.

The app allows you to create and send invoices, enter bills, accept payments, and view reports. Meanwhile, the QuickBooks Desktop app is very limited as it primarily serves as a tool for capturing and attaching receipts to transactions. It allows you to take photos of receipts and directly upload them to your QuickBooks Desktop software for record-keeping purposes. QuickBooks Online follows a subscription-based pricing model, with four plans available to choose from based on the needs of your business.

While there are significant differences between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online, both applications offer solid accounting capability for small businesses. And while QuickBooks Desktop comes out on top in this comparison, only you can decide which one is best for your business. If neither application catches your eye, why not take a look at some QuickBooks alternatives or check out The Ascent’s accounting software reviews. Business accounting has increasingly shifted to the cloud in recent years as mobile use has increased. Cloud accounting solutions bring plenty of businesses, but there are still instances where desktop software makes more sense.

Monthly subscription prices seem to increase fairly frequently, which can eventually make it too pricey for smaller businesses. Before you choose between QuickBooks Online vs. Desktop, it’s important to note that both solutions are among the top-rated accounting solutions. The biggest difference between QuickBooks Online and Desktop is accessibility. QuickBooks Online is cloud-based, which means you can use it from any device as long as you have a username and password. Workyard provides leading workforce management solutions to construction, service, and property maintenance companies of all sizes. It’s also for companies with at least some dedicated IT staff or access to computer support.

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