BiggsKofford CPA and accounting software expert Eric Morgan discusses QuickBooks Desktop versus QuickBooks Online

Many of our business clients use the QuickBooks software to keep track of finances and to gauge performance.  There are two editions of QuickBooks available:  QuickBooks Desktop, which is installed locally on your workstation or server, and QuickBooks Online, which is cloud-based and accessed through a web browser.  Both have advantages and disadvantages.

QuickBooks Desktop is more sophisticated and has more features and thus is better suited for a complex accounting environment.  It has multiple scalable versions and industry-specific versions like contractor, manufacturing, nonprofit, retail, and professional services.  QuickBooks Desktop can do sales orders, whereas QuickBooks Online cannot.  The Desktop version also has more robust reporting.  You must be using the computer where it is installed or have the ability to remotely connect to that computer.  The Desktop edition is purchased with an annual subscription that starts at $350/year for the Pro version.

QuickBooks Online is easier to use for someone not coming from an accounting background and will be best suited for a straightforward small business accounting environment.  The primary advantage is that QuickBooks Online can be accessed from anywhere through a web browser, including by multiple users simultaneously.  However, the web-based nature makes it a bit slower than the desktop version because you must wait for a web page to load each time you change screens.  Another major advantage of QuickBooks Online is that it has much more robust invoicing functions than the desktop edition.  It also allows you to invite your CPA to directly access your books, as opposed to having to deal with a QuickBooks transfer file if you use the desktop edition.  QuickBooks Online has a monthly subscription model that starts at $12.50/month for very basic features, but the most popular set of features will cost $40/month.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your contact at BiggsKofford if you have any questions about what edition of QuickBooks is best for you.

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