QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Desktop

When deciding between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop accounting solutions, you will need to consider the pros and cons of each platform, the various features available, as well as how you use the software and what works best for your particular situation.

QuickBooks Desktop:


  • It’s familiar and easy to use
  • It’s more powerful
  • You buy it
  • You own it
  • You don’t need an internet connection for access


  • You install it
  • You update it
  • You fix it
  • You back it up
  • It’s cumbersome to share files
  • Only one user at a timeper license

QuickBooks Online:


  • Anytime, anywhere access
  • Multiple simultaneous users
  • Integration with Add-on applications
  • Connects directly to online banking
  • No installation necessary
  • Automatic upgrades
  • Automatic backups
  • New features all the time


  • Internet connection required
  • Interface is cumbersome to use
  • Time-consuming to navigate
  • Less features
  • Pay every month
  • Lose access if you don’t pay
  • No integration with POS
  • Time tracking in minutes only

Features in Desktop Only:

  • Sales Orders
  • Inventory Assemblies
  • Progress Invoicing
  • Partial Purchase Orders
  • Item Receipts
  • Balance Sheet by Class
  • QuickBooks Statement Writer
  • Budget vs. Actual Job Costing

Features in Online Only:

  • Invoice Automation
  • Delayed Customer Billing
  • Activity Log
  • Automatic Email Reporting
  • Downloaded Transactions
  • Class AND Location Tracking
  • Multiple AR/AP Lines in Journal Entries

It is best to spend some time in advance choosing the software that best fits your business needs. If you need help with choosing the right software, please call us. It’s what we do.

This article of QuickBooks Tips and Tricks was based on the 2013 version of QuickBooks.