Business & Finance

Understanding the Features: QuickBooks Online vs QuickBooks Desktop

There are a lot of QuickBooks products out there, and it can be overwhelming to figure out what will best suit your needs. To make things easier, we’ve broken down the features of each program to help you determine which version is right for your business. Desktop programs offer a broad set of features and have proven performance reliability. Desktop may be your best option if you have a product-based business or require advanced job costing.


How Many Users Do You Need?

Many business owners, especially those in the field service industry, need accountants. QuickBooks offers a range of features to help simplify accounting processes for these users. The company’s two platforms include Quickbooks Online vs Quickbooks Desktop. The Online version is ideal for service-based businesses and freelancers because it supports multiple users with real-time reporting. It also integrates with best-in-class apps to automate tasks and reduce user error risk.

The desktop platform offers more advanced features to support companies with complex accounting needs. Its scalable Pro option helps users with a chart of accounts, a general ledger, and reports for their business. It also supports job costing, allowing users to track labor and material costs for each project. Its Plus option will enable users to manage inventory, track sales and track cash flow.

How Much Accounting Experience Do You Have?

The accounting you do also determines which QuickBooks version is right for you. For example, if you are comfortable with basic bookkeeping tasks but don’t need real-time collaboration or a mobile app, you can opt for desktop software.

However, go with Premier if you need more advanced features like tracking inventory and non-inventory parts or creating sales and back orders. Additionally, Premier includes an estimate-to-purchase order feature that works well for contractors and service businesses. If you need more than five simultaneous users, you’ll need Enterprise. This version offers six times more space for new entries than Pro or Premier and allows up to 30 users. It also supports multiple languages and provides enhanced reporting.

Do You Need Cloud Access?

Unlike QuickBooks Desktop, which can be installed on your computer and isn’t a subscription-based product, QBO requires a monthly subscription fee. This means that once you stop paying your bill, access to the software is restricted until you renew your contract. Hosting on a secure cloud server with an authorized provider allows you to avoid these limitations and still get the benefits of QuickBooks Online. With a hosted version, you have more control over who can access the data and how they use it.

Additionally, a quality host offers round-the-clock support for mitigating IT issues that can impact the integrity of your financial data. You won’t find this level of support for desktop versions, which instead rely on overseas help desks and online documentation resources to address problems.

Do You Want More Advanced Features?

QuickBooks is designed to meet the needs of a wide range of businesses, from freelancers needing to separate personal and business expenses to mid-level companies with experienced accounting departments looking to streamline financial processes. But with so many different versions available, it’s hard to know which product is right for your business. QuickBooks Desktop may be the best choice for small-business owners who want more advanced features. Users praise the software’s industry-specific financial reports and robust inventory management tools. It also boasts features like a Customer Center that allows users to create invoices, process customer statements, and record payments. Other benefits include connecting with online banking and automatically matching bank and credit card transactions. And with the option to add a ProAdvisor, sharing files and data with accountants is easy.

Are You Ready to Make the Switch?

Many small business owners need to learn what version of QuickBooks is right for them or how to choose. The version you choose should consider your company’s specific needs, such as your work and the number of users you have.

If your business has advanced accounting and reporting needs, consider QuickBooks Pro or Premier. These versions offer more industry-specific features and advanced accounting tools, like the Estimate Center (which can convert estimates into purchase orders) and the Customer Center for managing customer invoices, statements and payments. Also, if you need access to your data on the go and from multiple devices, the Online versions are a good choice. On the other hand, if you need to run your business with a metered internet connection, choose a Desktop.