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QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop - Which is Best for Me?

One company, two different accounting solutions. Both have great features and both have areas needing improvement. So, how do you decide which is best for you?

Consider these three things:

  • How much time you spend in the program;

  • How often you need assistance from an outside accountant; and

  • What features matter most to you.

Essentials, Plus and Advanced

Monthly subscriptions are $25, $70 and $150


  • Access from any location on any device

  • Share access with outside accountant

  • Most editions include multiple users

  • Input data from mobile devices

  • Program always up-to-date


  • Slower navigation and data input

  • Requires monthly subscription

  • Not as good with inventory or job costing

Best Features

  • Bank Feeds are automatically synced.

  • If an accepted bank feed transaction is deleted in the register, it reappears in Bank Feeds.

  • You can "Undo" accepted bank feed transactions, individually or in a group.

  • Accepted bank feed transactions are marked automatically in the reconciliation screen making reconciling super fast and easy.

  • If there were changes to reconciled transactions, there is an alert in the reconciliation screen and a link to a list of the transactions that were changed.

  • Easy to locate recent transactions.

  • Apps from the App Center sync seamlessly.

  • App Center provides solutions for almost any need.

  • Multiple A/R and A/P accounts can be used in the same Journal Entry.

Areas Needing Improvement

  • List items cannot be deleted, only inactivated.

  • It is difficult to apply customer and vendor credits.

  • There are limited restriction settings for users.

  • Sales Tax is difficult to manage.

  • Form customization is limited.

  • No Sales Orders.

Pro, Premier and Enterprise

Prices start at $299, $499 and $1213


  • Fast navigation and data input

  • May purchase for one-time fee and use for at least 3 years

  • One license can be used for an unlimited number of companies

  • Industry-specific editions available


  • Must be on computer or network where software is installed unless on an approved hosted site

  • Collaboration with outside accountant is difficult.

  • Must purchase new version to have access to new features.

Best Features

  • Workflow chart on Home page.

  • Lists are easy to manage (delete, arrange, edit).

  • User access can be very specifically defined.

  • Great form customization.

  • Better inventory system that includes Inventory Assemblies and Order Fulfillment Tracking

  • Job costing reports

Areas Needing Improvement

  • Bank Feeds do not automatically sync. They have to be manually updated.

  • Accepted bank feeds are not automatically checked in reconciliation screen.

  • Reconciling is a tedious process.

  • It is very difficult to locate recent transactions.

  • Only one A/R and/or A/P account can be used in a Journal Entry.

In Summary

Both QuickBooks Online and Desktop versions offer great flexibility, scalability, and security. Both will work for almost any industry. While QuickBooks Online offers better collaboration, QuickBooks Desktop is more robust with faster navigation and controls. The biggest factor affecting your decision? Personal preference. I have found most people make their choice based on which one they like working in the best. How can you find out which one you like? Give them both a try...for free! Then let me know what you think.

If you have any questions or need help exploring your options, just let me know. I'm happy to help.


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