QuickBooks Online vs QuickBooks Desktop 2023

Basically, what you get in the QuickBooks desktop version you download is what you get, and you only get it in a limited access space. Therefore, the desktop version is built out with in-depth features in specific areas such as payroll, job costing, and inventory systems. While it is great to have all these features in one system, Intuit is no longer developing these features while apps that solve these same problems are constantly being developed.

Of course, you can find some free accounting software options out there, but fully featured accounting software usually comes at a cost. Accounting apps will usually set you back about $20 per month for the low tier of cloud-based solutions. Legacy software is harder to find, and even QuickBooks Desktop has moved to a subscription-based solution. The client portal makes it easy for you to communicate with your customers about custom estimates, timesheets and invoices you create. You can also set up recurring invoices for regular work or even retainer invoices for ongoing work on long-term projects. Time tracking is an included feature in Zoho Invoice, and you can turn billable hours on a project into an invoice.

  • Technically, NetSuite competes more with enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools than QuickBooks.
  • Then, we looked for unique features that not every provider might offer but that we considered to be nice-to-have options for accounting software.
  • Played out over the software’s three year usefulness, it’s a difference of $722 extra you pay each 3 years.
  • QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop operate on true double-entry accounting principles and have both accrual and cash-basis accounting.

Contact us if you have more questions about QuickBooks platforms or to apply for a small business loan. Our business funding experts can help you find business part time accounting loans for expenses such as accounting software. As such, the program is better for beginners or businesses with limited accounting experience.

What is the difference between QuickBooks Enterprise and Accountant?

Once your bookkeeper receives all the necessary documentation, they’ll typically complete your cleanup within 30 days. In some cases, your cleanup may take longer depending on timeliness of documentation and the complexity of your books. Here’s a quick way to tell which version of QuickBooks is right for your business. QuickBooks Online is praised for its mobility, ease of use, feature selection, time-saving automations, and integrations.

Zoho Books is the accounting component of the Zoho suite of comprehensive business software. It has five different paid plans, making it ideal for scaling your business. Paid plans include features like billing, inventory, and project accounting. Businesses earning less than $50k annually can access the full version for free.

An Affordable Bookkeeping Alternative to a CFO

It also doesn’t have industry-specific versions, like the enterprise-level of QuickBooks Desktop. Many seasoned accountants and bookkeepers may be more accustomed to this “traditional” version of QuickBooks that needs to be installed on your computer. QuickBooks Desktop offers more comprehensive features and tools that any accounting professional may need. QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop are two solid accounting products from Intuit. While both software types have plenty of perks, QuickBooks Online is a more flexible, affordable, and scalable option for most small-business owners.


Speaking of extra fees, QuickBooks Desktop also charges for e-commerce app integration, invoice-based payment acceptance, and online data hosting. If you choose QuickBooks Desktop Pro Plus, you’ll also need to pay extra if you want to access customer service via live chat. Notably, only QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise includes 24/7 customer service. Pro Plus and Premier Plus limit customer service hours to just 12 hours a day, weekdays only. Has robust reporting tools and report customization options, invoicing for an unlimited amount of clients, inventory tracking in higher tier plans, plus a capable mobile app.

If you’re not sure whether you’re getting the most of these features, consider asking your accountant to review your chart of accounts and how you’re categorizing transactions. Using the Banking tab on the left side of the dashboard, you can connect your bank and credit card accounts so that QuickBooks automatically imports transactions and categorizes them for you. Later, when reconciling your books, you’ll be able to review these transactions in the For Review tab within the Banking menu.

Industry-specific Features (Winner: QuickBooks Desktop)

QuickBooks Online allows you to track your activity, such as income and expenses, by class and location. This is useful for businesses with multiple departments or divisions and those that provide various types of services. Meanwhile, QuickBooks Desktop allows you to set up classes, but you can’t track your income and expenses by location. Both QuickBooks Online and Desktop are on our list of the best small business accounting software.

TaxJar and similar products connect with ecommerce sales channels and online accounting solutions (like QBO) to automate this entire process, including on the accounting end. When working with the Desktop version, it’s downloaded right to your computer. This means the data operates as fast as your computer, all without needing to worry about a connection issue. You must pay an additional fee for every user who wants to access the account simultaneously, whereas Online lets multiple users access the account at the same time.

The higher your plan tier, the more reports and users you can add, although it’s important to understand concurrent users are each sold separately. Typically the features found within QuickBooks Online will be more basic or well-rounded, meaning it’s better suited for a wide range of businesses. Desktop versions of QuickBooks such as QuickBooks Enterprise have tools that have been developed for specific scenarios and industries over the years. QBE may lack the mobility of QBO, but it more than makes up for it with the comprehensive feature set it offers within it’s offering.

Is QuickBooks Online better than Desktop?

Live Bookkeepers aren’t responsible for errors resulting from incorrect information that you provide, or if you re-open the books by overriding closure after a Live Bookkeeper completes the month-end closure. You can use either QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop, but not both. You can, however, switch your business’s account from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online without losing your data. QuickBooks Online is not free to use, but new customers can choose between a 30-day free trial or a 50% discount for three months. Includes tools that help automate the reconciliation process, along with a global search function and customizable dashboard; however, there is a learning curve.

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