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QuickBooks Online vs Desktop: The Ultimate Guide

quickbooks online vs quickbooks desktop

When subscribing to a QuickBooks Online plan, you can elect to purchase add-on services and enhancements to better suit your needs, found at The software-only QBDT versions are fully functional and useful at the time you purchase them. However features present in editions older than three years are subject to planned obsolescence, removal, and discontinuation to “incentivize” you to purchase a new release. These versions are further differentiated by how you purchase the product.

  1. The Desktop Premier edition escalates to 150+ reports, including industry-specific reports for general contractors, manufacturers and wholesalers, nonprofits, and retailers.
  2. Subscription clients in QuickBooks Desktop 2023 (R1) or older versions will need to update to the latest 2023 (R3) version before their subscription expires.
  3. Like its desktop counterpart, there are multiple editions of QuickBooks Online aimed at serving different purposes.
  4. We immerse ourselves in every platform we review by exploring the features down to the finest nuances.

You will never have to worry about any technical issues or backing-up your client’s data again. For the U.S.-based reps they do have, they are often newer employees and rookies. QuickBooks also tries to promote a DIY attitude and will typically push you towards their knowledge base before connecting you with a live human, this can be frustrating when your product is not working correctly. Right off the bat, QuickBooks Enterprise has the capability to hold more inventory items – up to 100,000 which is enough for even most enterprise-level businesses.

QuickBooks Desktop is a good choice if you need specialized features such as inventory tracking or forecasting, and you don’t mind paying more for them. Until Intuit’s announced that they were no longer going to support QuickBooks Desktop products after May 2023, this was a hard question to answer. Every business has its own needs and demands that make one accounting software version or the other a better fit. However, if you need access to add-on services to replicate some or all of the features of QuickBooks Desktop software, you may wish to explore QuickBooks Online options instead. That’s because access to online apps for Desktop users is being discontinued after May 31, 2023. Local installations are billed annually, while hosted solutions are billed monthly.

Industry-specific reports

Upgrade to Plus for $42.50 per month for the first three months, then $85 per month afterward, and you will receive access for up to five users, inventory tracking and the ability to track project profitability. QuickBooks Online has the edge in accessibility but Enterprise has more features. You can host QuickBooks Enterprise on the cloud, but that requires additional hosting setup. It is most commonly deployed as on-premise software, with one license accessible on one machine.

QuickBooks Online is optimized to be as user-friendly as possible and very easy to navigate. The side menu categorizes features for easy access, for example, aggregating sections for employees, their taxes, and compliance details under the Payroll category. It takes a bit of time to click around and understand where everything is, but a quick run-through is more than enough to familiarize yourself with what QuickBooks Online can do. While the two iterations are different in some aspects, they’re essentially the same product, and the differences between them aren’t as glaring as they are with other accounting software solutions.

Plus, you can set up bank rules within QuickBooks to define how each transaction should be treated, and the system will categorize them for you. With data coming straight to you in real-time, you’ll never have to chase down a client for paper receipts and statements again. QuickBooks Online Accountant acts like a portal to all your clients’ books from a single login. Because QuickBooks Online Accountant is a cloud-based system, you have access to all your clients’ QuickBooks Online anytime, anywhere. Plus, share real-time access to the books with clients and your team members. Every day, your clients face complex financial decisions, increasing demands on their time and growing competition—and they rely on you to help them overcome these challenges.

Lastly, our expert opinion score is our subjective rating based on our experience in trying the software. Businesses with inventory items should choose accounting software that can track inventory costs, manage cost of goods sold (COGS), and monitor inventory units. Even after initial setup, the software must also let users modify information like company name, address, entity type, fiscal year-end, and other company information.

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. During the setup process, you can choose the features and functions that you will likely be using in QuickBooks Online. No need to worry if you skip one; you can always go back and add it at a later date. Both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop applications offer a good selection of features, though QuickBooks Desktop features tend to be more comprehensive.

QuickBooks Online offers a large selection of reports, but they aren’t industry-specific. Access your account via the cloud for up to 25 users with the Online version, and pay an additional fee per user, up to 40 users, for cloud access with Desktop. What used to be a huge bulk of QuickBooks business is no longer so—it focuses mostly on its cloud version and actively encourages users to make the switch from Desktop to Online. This may signal future abandonment of its Desktop version as more people move to the cloud.

quickbooks online vs quickbooks desktop

Ironic, then, that choosing a QuickBooks product can be difficult, if not downright confusing. With so many options, nailing the proper choice for your needs may appear more challenging than actually using the software. You does inventory adjustment effect equity can check out the complete list of affected services on the QuickBooks website. In the meantime, if you’re currently using QuickBooks Desktop, it’s worth considering transitioning to the online version as soon as possible.

Optional QuickBooks Online add-ons

The vendors that appear on this list were chosen by subject matter experts on the basis of product quality, wide usage and availability, and positive reputation. All feedback, positive or negative, helps us to improve the way we help small businesses. By providing feedback on how we can improve, you can earn gift cards and get early access to new features. I recommend saving a backup of your QuickBooks Desktop company file in case of any issues. While most information transfers well to QBO, not all of your information will convert from Desktop.

quickbooks online vs quickbooks desktop

QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop operate on true double-entry accounting principles and have both accrual and cash-basis accounting. Each offers a detailed chart of accounts, journal entries, bank reconciliation, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and the basic reports needed to run a company. However, QuickBooks Desktop offers better reporting and supports more complex accounting. Four pricing plans for QuickBooks Online are available, ranging from $30 to $200/month (with an additional $45+/month for payroll).

QuickBooks Online VS Desktop Reviews: Which Do Users Like Better?

With QuickBooks Desktop, you must make an Accountant’s Copy of your data file and send it to your ProAdvisor. The copy will allow you to continue to work on transactions in the current period while your accountant makes adjustments to past periods. It’s an acceptable system but isn’t nearly as convenient as sharing your books through QuickBooks Online. Alternatively, you can hire a QuickBooks ProAdvisor to help with your bookkeeping needs. To help you get started, we prepared a guide on how to find a QuickBooks ProAdvisor.

If neither application catches your eye, why not take a look at some QuickBooks alternatives or check out The Ascent’s accounting software reviews. QuickBooks Online supports a variety of browsers including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, as well as Safari 11 or later for Mac. The application also offers a mobile app that works with both iOS and Android devices. Whether you’re thinking about converting to QuickBooks Online or switching from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online, your first step should be to take a long look at both applications. When you do, you’ll notice the difference immediately as QuickBooks Online offers a streamlined user interface, while QuickBooks Desktop relies on a flow-chart based interface.

Meanwhile, if you or your accountant want to become a ProAdvisor to demonstrate expertise in QuickBooks, read our article on how to become a QuickBooks ProAdvisor. If you’re interested in QuickBooks Online, check out our comparison guide of QuickBooks Online plans to help you decide which is best for you. Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

See why businesses are switching from Desktop to QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Desktop is preferable when advanced customization, industry-specific versions, or offline access are required. QuickBooks Desktop requires a one-time upfront payment, making it more cost-effective in the long run for users who don’t require regular upgrades. There’s also an option for an annual subscription which includes updates and upgrades. The dashboard is super intuitive with large, easy-to-understand charts, and the mobile app is similarly easy to use. Unlike QuickBooks Online, Desktop Pro includes built-in inventory management. And if data analysis is an important part of growing your business, QuickBooks Desktop is a solid pick.

QuickBooks Online features

Cloud software allows you to automatically send invoices directly to customers so your clients can get paid faster. QuickBooks Online also allows you to include a pay now button right in the invoice. With QuickBooks Online your clients can work from a PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet at any time. Access important files when travelling https://accountingcoaching.online/ or at an appointment, all you need is a secure internet connection. While QuickBooks Desktop is more expensive, you’re still paying nearly $2,000 a year for QuickBooks Online, hardly the affordable product it is marketed to be! This means you download and install the product and can host it locally on your own servers.