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QuickBooks Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online: 7 Big Differences

Updated: Nov 22, 2019

Marc Berger, founder of Pure

October 23, 2019


It’s no secret that every day, new technology enters the market, designed to help someone or solve a problem. With all new technologies, there will be early adopters – those quick to implementing the new tech – and there will be late adopters – people who wait to the last possible second to transition away from their now-outdated processes.

QuickBooks Online (QBO) was released in 2002 and has only gotten better and more streamlined each year since then, yet many people are still using local (i.e., installed, stored, and run on a computer’s hard drive) accounting programs like QuickBooks Desktop to manage their company books.

Below I have listed the main differences between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online. We encourage all our clients to ditch the outdated model and switch to this integrative, cloud-based platform because of the unbeatable benefits it provides.

Benefits of QuickBooks Online

1. Accessibility of your books from any device, anywhere in the world, for both you and your business advisor or CPA. This allows incredible collaboration and visibility like we've never had with desktop accounting solutions.

2. Data security that is more robust than most companies can achieve with their private office servers. We believe the power of multi-million-dollar companies backing up your data in the cloud is more secure than your local server/computer hard drive.

3. Open interface allows you to connect your QBO to thousands of apps, literally. This gives you the power to build a custom back-office solution for your company for a fraction of the cost of hiring a CFO and several in-house bookkeepers or accountants. Lower overhead costs allow you to be more competitive.

4. Enhanced functionality between you and your clients and the ability to collaborate. QBO is infinitely easier to use than its desktop counterpart and allows for easy receipt of payment (electronic payment portal accepts credit cards and electronic fund transfers [EFT]). Plus, when payments are received through QBO, it is automatically posted to your books, which reduces time spent on manual data entry.

5. Appealing user interface is easy to learn and navigate, even for the most novice user. In addition to its modern appearance, the layout is more streamlined, and options are more logically organized.

6. Automatic updates mean the online version is always improving. QuickBooks Online requires no manual backups, updates or downloads. All updates are automatic, happening in real-time, so you are always operating off the most up-to-date version of the app.

7. Transfer of ownership becomes easier when company data is cloud-based. Especially if your nearing retirement age, it’s a good idea to start migrating your business model over to the cloud – it’s never too late! When the time comes to transfer your business to a new owner, a cloud-based model will not only make it extremely easy to grant access to a new user and remove access from an old user, it also makes your company more appealing and valuable to potential buyers who are likely a generation or two younger than you.

This blog post is not sponsored or endorsed by Intuit QuickBooks. We just believe the capabilities of this powerful application are unmatched compared to its desktop counterpart, which is why we recommend it to all our clients.

If you’d like to learn more about how switching to QuickBooks Online would be beneficial to you and your business, contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our trusted solutions advisors!

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