Should I upgrade to Quickbooks Online?

Ever since the online version of the popular QuickBooks was introduced business owners have grappled with one question: Which version is right for me?

While there is no single answer to these questions, understanding the differences between the desktop and online versions can help you choose the one that is right for you.


7 Key Differences Between Desktop & QBO (Here's What Quick Books Says) 

The differences in the two versions of QuickBooks are evident when accessing the software, creating reports, processing invoices and more. Here are a few of the key differences:


Initial Fee

Online offers a free 30-day trial so there is no initial fee to try it. Desktop requires the purchase of the software up front.

Monthly Fee

Pro Desktop is a one-time payment or you can get Pro Plus for an annual payment. On the other hand, QuickBooks Online requires a monthly subscription.

Internet Connection

Because it is cloud-based, an Internet connection is required to use QBO. QuickBooks Desktop can only be accessed from the computer it is installed on regardless of Internet connection.

Automation Functions

With Desktop, transactions (invoice, receipt, reports, etc.) must be processed manually. QBO has several automated features for things such as customer billing, email reports and downloading bank transactions.

Remote Access

Since QuickBooks Online is cloud-based, users can access QuickBooks reports wherever they have Internet access and from multiple devices. The QuickBooks Desktop version is linked to the computer it is installed on and therefore can only be accessed on-site.

Customized Features

The QuickBooks Desktop version has several features that are not available in the online version. This includes the ability to prepare 1099s, budget and track mileage and expenses. In general, the desktop version allows more freedom to customize forms than QuickBooks Online.


The basic QuickBooks Desktop version does not come with support although you can pay for support by getting the Pro Plus edition. QuickBooks Online comes with free support.


QuickBooks Desktop is a good choice for:


Businesses with a fixed office location

Businesses that have a small number of people who need access

Businesses that don’t want a recurring monthly charge

Businesses that don’t want their books to be accessible online

Businesses that want to explore customized features such as the ability to track budget and spending


QuickBooks Online is a good choice for:


Businesses where people need to remote access the accounting

Businesses where multiple people may need to access the application at the same time

Businesses that are comfortable with a monthly fee and the additional support that comes with it

Businesses that are comfortable with cloud computing where data is stored online and only accessible with an internet connection

Businesses that want to explore the benefits of automation and third party integration tools

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