QuickBooks Online vs QuickBooks Desktop: Which Is Right for You?

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QuickBooks accounting software has acquired acclaim owing to its several benefits that have made business accounting and bookkeeping tasks such as invoicing, tracking cash flows, and creating accounting reports agile and effortless. QuickBooks provides small businesses with the ability to manage accounting transactions adeptly,without the need to maintain day-to-day accounting information in manual books of accounting. Manual tasking has, thus, been reduced and this has yielded a paperless and efficient work environment.

Features of QuickBooks Online

The online version of QuickBooks, originated in the 2000s, has been embraced by small businesses ever since it’s introduction. This online version has the following eminent features that differ from those of the desktop version:

  • Requires internet connectivity. It offers a free 30-day trial to all users.
  • Entails automated features for processing invoices and receipts, generating and emailing reports, and downloading business transactions.
  • Since QuickBooks Online is cloud-based, it may be accessed remotely on an internet enabled device from anywhere around the world. Multiple device access is also one of its features. 
  • Phone support feature that comes free of cost as part of the package.
  • Allows for automated data-encrypted back-ups as an inbuilt functionality.
  • Enables access to the latest product and feature updates as well as cloud access (hosting) free of cost. It also offers access for up to 5 users.
  • Requires a monthly subscription and allows for only limited customization relative to the Desktop version.

Features of QuickBooks Desktop

QuickBooks Desktop has been around since the 1990s. Its various features that differ from the online version have been listed below:

  • Requires an upfront software installation process onto the system. It can be accessed from one’s computer system regardless of internet connectivity.
  • Unlike the automated features available in QuickBooks Online, invoicing, billing, emailing and report generation must be processed manually.
  • Installed on a computer and can only be accessed through it. Remote access is not a possibility in this version.
  • Does not allow for free support functionality, but phone support may be purchased for $89 for 90-days.
  • Automated data-encrypted backups can be purchased for $9.99 on a monthly basis.
  • Allows up-gradation for accessing product/feature updates. This annual upgrade costs $299. Cloud Hosting may also be purchased for each user on a monthly basis.
  • Comes with additional features such as calculation and re-billing of job costs and discount calculation for customers.
  • Has a customization feature available that may be used by any and all businesses per their specific needs.
  • Does not require monthly payments, but a single annual payment must be made.

Which Version is Right for your Business?

Given the available options, small businesses are often confused about which version of QuickBooks to choose for their newly set up business. Below, a distinction has been made for the choice of the version that may fit well with your diverse business needs.

When QuickBooks Online is the Best Choice

  1. Your business requirement is such that employees need to access the accounting records remotely. Moreover, if multiple access is required by different people simultaneously, the online version is best suited for your business.
  2. Your business requires consistent and additional support.
  3. Your business believes in the virtual reality of shared resources and coordination through a cloud-based system.
  4. Your business believes in automation that comes at an affordable monthly charge.

When QuickBooks Desktop is the Best Choice

  1. Your business has a single location.
  2. Your business has poor internet connectivity available in the area of location.
  3. Your business does not require remote access by multiple users; all data must only be accessed within the office premises.
  4. Your business requires customization for features such as budget tracking and expense monitoring.
  5. Your business believes in safeguarding its data on the desktop to avoid sharing critical information on the web.

The distinction between the various features of QuickBooks Online and the Desktop version can assist businesses with the decision to choose either one for their specific business requirements.

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