quickbooksSmall business owners who want to use QuickBooks for their accounting have two main options:  a desktop version and a cloud-based QuickBooks Online.

In case you are trying to make a decision between the two, this post will provide a brief overview of the two and hopefully assist you in deciding which version best suits your needs.

Areas where QuickBooks Desktop out performs QuickBooks Online

There are some features that QuickBooks Pro, Premier, and Enterprise have that QuickBooks Online does not possess.

  • Sales orders
  • Inventory Assemblies
  • Progress Invoicing
  • Receiving partial purchase orders
  • Item receipts
  • Balance sheet by class
  • QuickBooks statement waiver
  • Budget versus actuals for jobs

In addition, with QuickBooks Enterprise and the optional advanced inventory feature, you get:

  • Serial number/lot number tracking
  • Multiple warehouse locations

Areas where QuickBooks Online out performs QuickBooks Desktop

  • Invoice/sales receipt automation
  • Delayed customer charges/billing
  • Activity log
  • Automatic email reporting
  • Bank transactions automatically downloaded nightly
  • Class and location tracking

The price of QuickBooks desktop runs about $320 for the premier package, while QuickBooks Online costs about $40/month. Even if you upgrade your desktop software every year, you will end up paying more to be online.  With that in mind, if you find yourself needing to access your QuickBooks data from multiple computers, such as home and office, that extra cost may be well worth the convenience.

The dashboard and status report screens are different between the two. The desktop screen are packed with more information and options for navigating your data. The status report, or Company Snapshot, is very customizable on the desktop, but not online.

As far as security, QuickBooks Online uses redundant back-up and you can have extra security by downloading and storing a copy locally as well. And, you don’t have to worry about your accounting data being compromised if your computer or laptop is stolen.

For general usability, the menu system is simpler and more logical in QuickBooks Online. Both client and vendor summary screens are more usable online. And, although both of the versions carry ads for Intuit’s premium services, the ads are less intrusive online. Being online is also more convenient than using Parallels. However, even though you can customize forms online, you can’t do it as much as the desktop allows. Calling up lists as tables that can be bulk edited is very convenient on the desktop, where it’s missing in the online feature.

So, what edition is best for you? You might want to ask these questions.

  • Who needs to access the data?
  • From where do you need to access it?
  • What is the budget?

Davik Consulting is a QuickBooks Pro Advisor.  Not only can we help you choose the right version, you can also purchase the software from us, often at a lesser price. So, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!