QuickBooks Online vs Desktop: Which Is Right for Your Business?


QBE may lack the mobility of QBO, but it more than makes up for it with the comprehensive feature set it offers within it’s offering. You may or may not be able to find the missing tools within the QuickBooks app store. This is for the “Gold” version which should give your business all you need to get started with accounting. This annual subscription can sometimes include a 10% discount for the first year of service.


Christine Aebischer is an assistant assigning editor on the small-business team at NerdWallet who has covered business and personal finance for nearly a decade. Previously, she was an editor at Fundera, where she developed service-driven content on topics such as business lending, software and insurance. She has also held editing roles at LearnVest, a personal finance startup, and its parent company, Northwestern Mutual. Unless you need advanced inventory or industry-specific features, QuickBooks Online is typically a better solution. QuickBooks Desktop is better for small to large-sized businesses with complex accounting needs requiring more customizable features.

QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Desktop: Integration with other software

Only online users can use the QuickBooks capital using QuickBooks Online. You can choose the free trial for 30 days or get 50% off the first 3 months. You’ll need to install QuickBooks desktop on your computer to take advantage of the 30-day free trial of the Pro 2021 Desktop version or the full-blown QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise version. We work to simplify complexities, help make critical business decisions, and confidently focus on the things that are truly important to you. We embrace your business as our own to spark the right solutions and help you thrive.

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QuickBooks Online has a slight advantage over Desktop in terms of invoicing because of its ability to calculate sales taxes automatically to apply to an invoice based on the customer address. This feature is particularly useful if you sell and ship products out of your state. Both programs allow you to create and send invoices to clients, but QuickBooks Online’s invoices are more professional looking and have more room for customizations. Also, QuickBooks Online’s invoicing feature is more intuitive than Desktop, so if you’re planning to self-manage your books, we recommend QuickBooks Online. QuickBooks Online offers four plans, each with a set number of users while QuickBooks Desktop is available as a yearly subscription with an additional cost per user. QuickBooks Online’s pricing structure is a better choice since you can find a plan based on the number of users you have without paying an additional fee.

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This is a tie since both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop offer users the same support options. This information may be different than what you see when you visit a financial institution, service provider or specific product’s site. All financial products, shopping products and services are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s Terms and Conditions. If you find discrepancies with your credit score or information from your credit report, please contact TransUnion® directly. You can upgrade to any version of QuickBooks Desktop as your needs change.

  • Keeping accurate financial statements and organized finances makes it easy to establish the financial health of a business.
  • In case if you plan for using the program up to three years before upgrades.
  • You can easily compare each product according to user experience, reputation, pricing, features, and much more.
  • Mike Perry is a Client Advisory Services Director at Lutz with over 15 years of accounting experience.

QuickBooks Desktop has been around longer, so it is more powerful and offers detailed functionality related to job costs, inventory, discounts, etc. But there are third party apps available to supplement the gaps in QBO development. Additionally, even Intuit is pushing Desktop users to switch to Online, so you know they’re investing money in continual QBO improvement. In addition to the inventory features offered by QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Pro comes with features such as the ability to manage inventory reorder points. Like the QuickBooks Online, the Pro version is mainly built for small business that only needs to manage limited inventory items. For small to medium-sized businesses looking for a locally installed accounting software, QuickBooks Deskt…

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Based on Intuit data consisting of unique businesses that completed data migration from a QuickBooks Desktop product to a QuickBooks Online product collected since 2015. You can send a copy of your company file to your accountant and import their changes. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. The other kicker is that while QuickBooks Desktop could be cheaper in the long run, many small businesses may not have the cash flow to pay a lump sum subscription . However, Intuit’s push for its QuickBooks Online software and discontinuation of its Desktop offering in the UK has caused users to worry about possible sunsetting.

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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. QuickBooks Desktop is designed for small to mid-size businesses that are looking for the reliability of a desktop software solution.

QuickBooks Enterprise features added capabilities, including 6 times the list capacity and up to 1 million customers, vendors and inventory items, 100,000 classes, 45 custom fields and up to 40 users. For QuickBooks Desktop, bank fees may apply to automatically downloaded bank transactions.Industry-specific editionsNoYes. QuickBooks Desktop users get many developed accounting tools across the market. The system provides comprehensive secure options, unique touches like sales orders, lead management, and industry-specific versions. The disadvantage of the QuickBooks Desktop is it does not come with QuickBooks Online mobility, has less automation, and fails in lending payment gateway integrations.

QuickBooks Online VS QuickBooks Desktop Comparison Chart

The solution is ideally perfect for companies that have outgrown the QuickBooks Pro version and are not big enough for the high prices and comprehensive features set of QuickBooks Enterprise. The software enables you to track and manage a limited number of inventory items. Besides, you can easily create sales or purchase orders, which automatically deducts from or add to your total inventory. Alerts can be set to notify you when inventory levels fall below the recommended value. Keeping accurate financial statements and organized finances makes it easy to establish the financial health of a business. However, to accomplish this, businesses should consider implementing a solution with all the things that accountants value most in accounting software.

The rating of this company or service is based on the author’s expert opinion and analysis of the product, and assessed and seconded by another subject matter expert on staff before publication. Merchant Maverick’s ratings are not influenced by affiliate partnerships. QuickBooks Online has a cheaper monthly cost and is more affordable if you have a lot of employees who will be using the software.

Even if you skip choosing a feature, you can always go back later and add it. Other essential tools — Feel free to create a custom workflow using Katana’s open API to build in any desired features. Customer Relations — Manage your customers and prospects with tools like Pipedrive, HubSpot, Prospect CRM,and Salesforce. Katana also has anative integration with QuickBooks Online, which means you can take care of accounting as well as everything else a manufacturing business has to deal with. Of course, there’s also the budget element and figuring out which plan is the most affordable.

A New York native, Davina earned her BA in English from SUNY Geneseo in 2018. After graduating, she began her career as a freelance writing generalist before finding a niche writing about SaaS. Davina unironically enjoys testing and reviewing software on her free time but otherwise can be found oscillating between hobbies every few weeks or so — most recently, longboarding. Both have a lot going for them, but there are some key differences between QuickBooks Desktop and Online. To get the best possible experience please use the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge to view this website.

If you made a one-time software purchase of QuickBooks Desktop, support for the 2021 edition will end in May 2024. For 2020 copies, support ends in May 2023, and for 2019 copies support has already ended, according to QuickBooks. Learn more about the time tracking capabilities in our full review of QuickBooks Time. Customer, vendor, and account details can be viewed by clicking on the left menu bar. For instance, customer details, including what they owe you, can be viewed by clicking on Sales and then Customers. All transactions in QuickBooks Online can be initiated by clicking the + New button above the left menu bar and selecting from the menu of transactions.

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The set of features makes QuickBooks Enterprise suitable for global brands in manufacturing, Contracting, wholesaling, retail, nonprofits, and professional service sectors. QuickBooks Online is the cloud-based, online version of accounting software provided through a monthly subscription pricing plan. QuickBooks Online offers upgrade options and integrates with many add-on third-party apps to increase functionality. These plans offer Plus versions featuring unlimited customer support, data backups and software upgrades. The cost is $299.99 for Pro Plus and $499.99 for Premier Plus per year before promotional discounts.

This feature makes it a great option for those who are having problems with internet speed or connectivity. Also, since it’s locally installed, we recommend it for businesses with in-house bookkeepers. QuickBooks is an accounting software solution designed mainly for small- and medium-sized businesses. The software package is designed, developed, and marketed by Intuit Inc. It is known for providing on-premises as well as cloud-based accounting applications. The platform efficiently manages bills and transactions, accepts business payments, and handles payroll functions.

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QuickBooks Desktop’s pricing is more complex and depends on the plan tier, the number of users you need and whether you want cloud access . Additionally, the desktop products are only available as annual subscriptions, making them a bigger commitment than QuickBooks Online. QuickBooks Online offers more features on the go and is a better overall value than QuickBooks Desktop. If you don’t need the advanced features offered by the Desktop plan, the Online version will save you money.

501c3 meaning Online Advanced is completely cloud-based software, which means it can run on any device and anywhere as long as you are connected to the internet. If you’re always out meeting clients or talking to customers, then we suggest you consider QuickBooks Online Advanced. QuickBooks Desktop has more robust features than those found in QuickBooks Online. Even though it’s not web-based, one can host the desktop version to gain more convenient access whenever required.

quickbooks enterprise

It’s ideal for businesses that can’t afford expensive annual subscriptions. QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based accounting software that you can access anytime and anywhere from any internet-enabled device while QuickBooks Desktop must be installed on your computer. Both are on our list of the best small business accounting software, wherein QuickBooks Online is our overall top recommendation and QuickBooks Desktop is our leading desktop accounting program. Learn more in our QuickBooks Online review and QuickBooks Desktop Pro review. It includes things like unlimited invoicing, bookkeeping, connecting one bank account, and accepting credit card and PayPal payments.

QuickBooks is the most extensively used small business accounting software for tracking financial health and managing income and expenses. In case there are multiple users you can use phone support and live bank feeds. The monthly pricing structure operates better for small a business that does not have the cash flow for high-priced licensing or annual subscriptions.