Whether you're new to accounting software or have been using QuickBooks for some time, you may be wondering what the difference is between the online services and the desktop services. Both of them are top-of-the-line accounting platforms, but your business may lend itself to one more than the other.
1. QuickBooks Online Can Be Accessed Remotely
QuickBooks Online is a web-based application that can be connected to from anywhere in the world. If you need to manage your books on-the-go or need to access it from multiple offices, QuickBooks Online may be the best solution. Desktop versions of QuickBooks require additional applications to use from elsewhere, such as a Remote Desktop utility. At the same time, this also means that desktop QuickBooks may be considered to be more secure than QuickBooks online.
2. QuickBooks Online Has a Monthly Subscription Cost
QuickBooks Online is going to have a monthly subscription cost for your business, but it'll also be a fairly low cost. Comparatively, QuickBooks' desktop versions generally have a licensing cost by version; once you've bought that version, you never have to again. This license cost is usually fairly substantial, and for most versions of QuickBooks, it will come out to be more costly than QuickBooks online.
3. QuickBooks Online Is Streamlined and Easier to Use
Since it's a web-based application, QuickBooks Online has intentionally been designed so that it's simpler and easier to use. You should be able to connect to it and have all of your accounting tools right there. It's easier to train employees with QuickBooks Online, and QuickBooks Online has a lot of contextual help, intended to tell you what you need to do.
4. QuickBooks Online May Not Be as Robust
As a caveat to the above, because QuickBooks Online is streamlined, it doesn't have all of the enterprise-related features that the desktop versions do. If you need a very robust platform that has a lot of different integrations with third-party utilities, the desktop version may perform better.
For most businesses (especially small businesses), QuickBooks Online will be more than enough to do anything they want to do. Not only is it easier to use, but it's also more accessible, even to those who aren't in accounting.
Which version should you use? Your CPA or bookkeeper can help you figure it out. Neither of them is necessarily better than the other; it depends on the type of accounting that you need to do.
For more information, reach out to companies like Blueback Accounting.