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Which QuickBooks version is right for you?

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As QuickBooks ProAdvisors we are often asked which version of QuickBooks is better.  As with any software decision, there are many factors to consider when choosing which product is best suited for your business.

1. Are there multiple levels/versions                     available?

2.   What is the cost difference?

3.  Where is the data stored for QuickBooks        Online and QuickBooks desktop software?

4.  How secure is my data with each program?

5.  How can my accountant access the data?

6.  How often is the program updated?

7.  Are there features QuickBooks desktop has      that QuickBooks online does not?

8.  Are there features QuickBooks Online has         that QuickBooks desktop does not?

Yes. There are three main desktop versions of QuickBooks: Pro, Premier and Enterprise Solutions.  QuickBooks Online has four subscription levels for small and mid-size businesses: Simple Start, Essentials, Plus and Enterprise Solutions + Hosting Service.



The pricing structure is different.  QuickBooks Online has a monthly fee whereas the desktop software has a one-time fee; you don't incur additional fees until you update to a newer program. 

The pricing structure is different.  QuickBooks Online has a monthly fee whereas the desktop software has a one-time fee; you don't incur additional fees until you update to a newer program. 

QuickBooks Online uses redundant back-up, and for extra security, the data can be downloaded and stored locally as well. The desktop software stores the data on a server or a local computer, which allows you to have control over the security of your data.

QuickBooks Online allows up to two accountants to join your company and gives them access to run reports and post transactions.  Quickbooks desktop versions have ways to allow your accountant access, such as, creating portable copies, YPNs, Remote Desktop Connections, Dropbox, etc.  We can assist with a solution that is best for you. 

Intuit, the developer of QuickBooks, is continually updating its software to respond to customer input for changes, improvements and enhancements.  QuickBooks Online is automatically updated through the year, whenever Intuit issues any modifications to the program.  Intuit releases and updates of the QuickBooks desktop software products once a year with each version release and releases bug fixes throughout the year. 

There are a few features that QuickBooks Online is missing:

  • Sales Orders

  • Inventory Assemblies

  • Progress Invoicing

  • Receiving Partial Purchase Orders

  • Item Receipts

  • Balance Sheet by Class

  • QuickBooks Statement Writer

  • More freedom to customize forms and reports

  • Budget vs. Actual for jobs

  • Integration with QuickBooks point of sale

  • Better dashboard screens - especially the status report "Company Snapshot," which provide a more useful "at-a-glance" update on my companies finances, without having to run reports.

The following features are not included in the desktop software:

  • Invoice/Sales Receipt Automation - Recurring transactions n QuickBooks Online can be set up to be emailed automatically to the customer, and the QuickBooks user/owner can be copied on each one.

  • Activity Log - QuickBooks desktop has the Audit Trail. In QuickBooks Online the activity log shows when a user logs in or out, and when he or she edits a customer, vendor, item or account.  It shows when a third-party add-on accesses the data, when bank transactions are downloaded and when those transactions are matched or added to a register.

  • Automatic email reporting - Memorize a report in QuickBooks Online, add it to the group, then set that group to be emailed to yourself or your client on a regular basis.

  • Bank transactions automatically downloaded nightly - In QuickBooks Online you can set up the connection, and the program will automatically pull in the transactions every night.

  • QuickBooks Online has both class and location tracking - QuickBooks desktop has class tracking (the ability to track different profit centers), but QuickBooks Online adds one more layer with location tracking.

  • App integration - Many applications integrate with QuickBooks Online that aren't readily available or updated for QuickBooks desktop software.

The bottom line is that QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks desktop software are two different programs, and they will fit different situations and circumstances.  If you need help determining which program is best suited for your business, feel free to contact us.


Accurate Methods is proudly certified in Quickbooks – Intuit’s industry-leading accounting software platform.

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