Quickbooks Online vs Desktop, which do you prefer and why?


Desktop – I’ve been virtual (in the cloud) for almost 8 years.

QuickBooks Online was released in 2001 (or thereabouts depending upon which resource is correct). That’s 17 years. It is still lacking in features, unstable, a weak comparison to desktop, has down-time issues at least weekly, has “known” unresolved issues for common functionality that are now multiple years without fixes.

QuickBooks Desktop was released in 1999 (approx). Still has a larger market share than Online (even with extensive marketing of QBO and virtually removing any indication they offer a desktop product on their website).

Both products have a place in the market.
QBO should be light-years beyond where it is considering all the resources that have been thrown at it these past 5 years. Is it improving? Yes. Will it continue to get better? Yes. Should they get rid of Desktop? No.

If price alone were the only consideration for a small business (which we all know it is sometimes) desktop wins hands down every time (especially if you have to start adding on 3rd Party apps).
For me, it’s about stability and functionality, with price for multiple companies also a consideration. Additionally, Desktop is an appropriate solution for nearly every industry, every prospect I meet. The same cannot be said for QBO (without workarounds, limitations or added apps).

The other consideration that is too often ignored is whether a business is actually using the software to manage their business or if it’s bookkeepers using the software to do write up in order to prepare a tax return.

Michele Riffe is a pricing and profit strategist that helps Bookkeepers & Accountants reach a half a Million Dollars with little overhead & minimal staff.


Although QuickBooks application is the most popular accounting software across the globe, both of these options have their own set of advantages and drawbacks. Choosing the right accounting platform is a critical decision for any business as the whole financial workflow depends on it. Features of QuickBooks would be similar in both cases, but let us take a look at the available options for a better understanding.

QuickBooks Desktop is the featured product by Intuit. The application contains all the advanced attributes that make the application the most used by accounting professionals. The only drawback is that the software runs locally.

QuickBooks Online, as the name suggests, is the website version of the software that can be accessed through the internet. But it lacks a few features that may be required by some.

The best option here is QuickBooks cloud hosting, that gives all features of the desktop version but can also be accessed through the internet on any device and at any point of time. Hosting also adds multiple benefits through the cloud service provider, thus making it the most efficient option available.


QuickBooks Online has far more automation than QuickBooks Desktop, which allows business owners to manage their books more efficiently and quickly — and because QBO is cloud-based all of your information (like bank or credit card data) is synced in real-time.