top of page
  • Writer's pictureMonique Waggoner

Quickbooks Online or Quickbooks Desktop? Here's a comparison to help you decide.

I used Quickbooks Desktop for years before switching to Quickbooks Online. Quickbooks Online, both as a user and a virtual bookkeeper, overcame some of the biggest hurdles I encountered when using Quickbooks Desktop.

For instance, at one small business where I worked, we transitioned from an on-staff, full-time CPA, to outsourcing with a small accounting firm. The daily bookkeeping responsibilities fell primarily on me and my CEO. The CPA typically came to the office once a month to review the books and would download the Accountant's Copy to finalize month-end work from his office.

Using Quickbooks Desktop created some issues for us, and here are five main ones we encountered:

5 Main Issues When Using Quickbooks Desktop

  1. After extracting the Accounting Copy, you cannot enter any new data. When imported, the Accountant's Copy overwrites all existing data.

  2. Only one person can work on the books at a time, even when you have multiple licenses. If you have either a Pro or Premier version, you can solve this issue by activating multi-user mode.

  3. Data backups became the responsibility of staff members.

  4. The version must be the same for all team members if you need to use Quickbooks interchangeably within the office. The Accountant Version can be a year older.

  5. Quickbooks Desktop software is accessible only on the computer where it is installed.

If you have a remote bookkeeping/accounting team or have more than one person accessing your books, you may struggle with one or all of these issues. If so, I'd encourage you to consider switching to Quickbooks Online as it resolved each of these issues:

5 Top Reasons to Use Quickbooks Online

  1. Quickbooks Online is cloud-based so that no matter where you are, the books are accessible. Access your financials from any computer (PC or Mac), tablet, or phone with internet access. There is even an app.

  2. The Quickbooks App makes it easy to snap pictures of receipts, invoices, and statements. Load them into Quickbooks Online from the app. A new feature includes forwarding emailed receipts to Quickbooks Online to be attached to the transaction. Forget having to save your receipts in multiple places!

  3. Multiple subscription levels to meet the need of your organization. Simple Start: 1 user Essentials: Up to 3 users Plus: Up to 5 users Price ranges from $25-70/month. All subscription tiers allow two accountants/bookkeepers access to your books whenever they need them.

  4. Automatic data backups.

  5. No more worrying about which version to use because the software maintains all updates. As a result, all users are up to date.

So, what are the trade-offs, you ask?

  1. Unlike Quickbooks Desktop, you do not have access to the backup when using Quickbooks Online if you accidentally delete something from your account.

  2. There are different skill sets between Quickbooks Desktop and Quickbooks Online, and thus a small learning curve. The primary functions are the same. However, there are slight name differences and locations for the features.

  3. Quickbooks Desktop, which relies on a flow-chart based interface, can be more functional than Quickbooks Online, which has a more streamlined user interface.

  4. Quickbooks Online is subscription-based with different monthly or annual fees; Quickbooks Desktop can be purchased for a flat fee and used for as long as you chose.

  5. You will need the internet to access your financials using Quickbooks Online.

While Quickbooks Desktop and Quickbooks Online provide access to a variety of features and functions, only you can decide which one will work best for you at the end of the day.

11 views1 comment

1 Comment

May 23, 2020

This article was really helpful and confirmed my recent decision to switch from desktop to online. It was an adjustment, but I agree that it has made my bookeeping life easier!

bottom of page