QuickBooks Online vs. Desktop: Which Is Right for you in 2024?

QuickBooks Online is an acclaimed cloud-based software which can be used anywhere where Internet connection is available. However, QuickBooks Desktop […]

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QuickBooks Online is an acclaimed cloud-based software which can be used anywhere where Internet connection is available. However, QuickBooks Desktop is an on-premise software, hence, it can be used from the system where it is installed.

QuickBooks Online provides four feasible plans along with user-friendly interface, making it ideal for most businesses, however, QuickBooks Desktop is offered in three business editions, namely Premier Plus, Pro Plus, and Enterprise.

QuickBooks Online VS Desktop

In today’s article, we will share a detailed comparison of QuickBooks Online vs QuickBooks Desktop. It will help you to determine which ideal based on features, pricing, is seamless use and many more.

Here is a brief overview of the comparison:

  • QuickBooks Desktop: It is ideal for businesses that like desktop software stability and need advanced functionality such as industry-specific features and assembly management.
  • QuickBooks Online: It is ideal for several businesses, especially those that are handling their own accounting or are operating with a remote accountant.

Table of Contents

QuickBooks Online Overview:

QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based accounting system that was released in 2004. It is designed especially for small and medium-sized businesses. But the QuickBooks Online advanced plan helps in creating a scalable system for the scalability of the large-scale business. You will get an amazing robust feature set, online payroll, strong accounting, attractive invoices, and more than 600 integrations. The QuickBooks Online is easier to learn and user-friendly than QuickBooks Desktop. QuickBooks Online can work anywhere with an internet connection. Moreover, there are mobile apps that help in better business management.

  • More pricing than other SMB products
  • Customer support
  • Fewer options than Desktop
  • No sales orders
  • Monthly pricing
  • Cloud-based
  • Simple to use
  • 650+ integrations
  • Strong features
  • Built-in lending

QuickBooks Desktop Overview:

QuickBooks Desktop was launched in 1992. It acts as the primary option for accountants worldwide. QuickBooks Desktop is frequently referred to as QuickBooks Desktop Pro, even though there are three QuickBooks products: QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise, and QuickBooks Desktop Premier. The key difference between the three products is that Pro is developed for small businesses, Enterprise for large, and Premier for medium businesses. Every plan is designed according to the users and features.

QuickBooks desktop version provides extensive options and accounting tools including job costing, expense tracking, job costing, positive customer reviews, and more than 200 integrations. This version is only available on the Windows Operating system. So if you are a Mac user then you require searching for QuickBooks for Mac for an option labeled locally-installed Mac-based QuickBooks.

  • Windows-only
  • More-priced license structure
  • Customer support
  • No remote access or mobile apps
  • Less automation than QBO
  • Potentially more secure
  • Strong features
  • Traditional accounting
  • 200+ integrations

QuickBooks Online Vs. QuickBooks Desktop: A Quick Comparison

FeaturesQuickBooks OnlineQuickBooks Desktop
Cost$30 to $200 every month$549.99 to $1,410 every year for single user
Free Trial30 daysNo
Money-back GuaranteeNo60 days from the date of purchase
Ease of Sharing with External AccountantsCloud sharingPrepare an Accountant’s Copy
Mobile AppiOS and Android has better features than QuickBooks Desktop, like payment processing and invoicingiOS and Android is restricted to capture of receipt and mileage monitoring
Customer AssistancePhone (callback only if upgraded to Advanced version), live chat, email, chatbot, along with self-help resourcesPhone (callback only if upgraded to Enterprise), live chat, email, chatbot, along with self-help resources
Number of Users Added1 to 251
Discount50% for not more than three monthsNo
AvailabilityAny system from anywhere under the presence of InternetLocal access on installed desktop
ScalabilityCompared to QuickBooks Desktop, it is more scalable; higher plans comprise additional usersCompared to QuickBooks Online, it is not scalable; needs extra fee for each additional user
UsabilityHighly user-friendly interface that is cloud-basedMight need extra training
Benefits Over the Other• Comprises of class and location monitoring
• Provides cloud accessibility
• Automatically determines sales tax rates depending on the location of the customer
• Sharing company files with bookkeepers is seamless
• Allows you to prepare professional invoices
• Includes industry-specific features
• Does not need an internet connection
• Offers estimated vs actual reporting in all plans
• Adds advanced inventory features in the Enterprise plan, like barcode scanning and multi-location tracking

Difference Between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online: Use Cases

QuickBooks Online

  • Those Who require easy Invoicing and Expenditure Monitoring on the go: With the help of the QuickBooks Online mobile app, you can manage your spending and generate and send invoices right from your smartphone. The QuickBooks Desktop program allows you to scan and store expense receipts, but it does not allow you to generate or send bills.
  • Small Business Enterprises that use Remote Accountants: Since QuickBooks Online is hosted on the cloud, both you and your accountant have access to files from anywhere at any time, allowing you to collaborate and exchange data instantly.
  • Growing Businesses Searching for Scalable Accounting Solution: There are four scalable price tiers for QuickBooks Online. You may quickly upgrade to higher-tier plans with more features and user access as your business expands.

For example, the Plus package comes with all the tools most businesses require, including project accounting and inventory, and comes with five users already.

QuickBooks Desktop:

  • Enterprises with Complicated Inventory Management Requirements: QuickBooks Desktop is appropriate for you if you require sophisticated inventory features like multi-location tracking, serialized tracking, and barcode scanning.
  • Businesses that like Desktop Software: Businesses that have dedicated workspaces and regular access to desktop computers may find that QuickBooks Desktop works better for them in comparison to QuickBooks Online.
  • Businesses that work in Specialized Industries: QuickBooks Desktop Pro or Enterprise is appropriate for you if you work in any of the following five industries: manufacturing and wholesale, retail, contractor, professional services, and nonprofit.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Desktop?

Here is the list of the advantages and disadvantages of QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop:

QuickBooks Online


  • Provides location and class tracking
  • Offers 4 scalable options
  • You can seamlessly invite an accountant to your company file
  • Can be used from any kind of internet-connected system
  • It is more renowned and usually preferred than QuickBooks Desktop
  • Determines sales tax rates automatically depending on the address of the customer


  • Does not have any advanced inventory monitoring features like assembly management and barcode scanning
  • Cannot function without any internet connection, however, for QuickBooks Desktop it is not the same
  • Does not have industry-specific features

QuickBooks Desktop


  • Provides quicker data input in comparison to QuickBooks Online
  • Provides advanced pricing management and inventory features in QuickBooks Enterprise
  • Can be accessed without any internet connection
  • Comprises of industry-specific reports and features


  • Has only restricted mobile app that can be used for mileage tracking and receipt capture
  • It is complicated to share data with any external accountant
  • Comprises of only one user in the base plan. Every additional user will need to pay an additional fee
  • May need a steep learning curve for all the non-accountant users

QuickBooks Online VS QuickBooks Desktop Pricing:

QuickBooks Pro and QuickBooks Online have different pricing structures. QuickBooks Online provides a monthly SaaS pricing structure. You can get four pricing plans ranging between $25-$180/month. QuickBooks Desktop pricing varies according to a different version of the system. QuickBooks Pro is adjusted towards medium industry business and has cost $466.99 for a single user. QuickBooks Enterprise is specially allotted for small enterprises or large businesses and starts at $1,655 annually.

Simple StartEssentialsPlusAdvanced
Track income & expensesTrack income & expensesTrack income & expensesTrack income & expenses
Invoice & accept payments Invoice & accept payments Invoice & accept paymentsInvoice & accept payments
Maximize tax deductions Maximize tax deductions Maximize tax deductions Maximize tax deductions
Run general reports Run general reports Run general reports Run general reports
Capture & organize receipts Capture & organize receipts Capture & organize receipts Capture & organize receipts
Track miles Track miles Track miles Track miles
Manage cash flow Manage cash flow Manage cash flow Manage cash flow
Track sales & sales tax Track sales & sales tax Track sales & sales tax Track sales & sales tax
Send estimates Send estimates Send estimates Send estimates
Manage 1099 contractors Manage 1099 contractors Manage 1099 contractors Manage 1099 contractors
Includes 3 usersIncludes 5 users Includes 25 users
Manage & pay billsManage & pay bills Manage & pay bills
Track timeTrack time Track time
Track inventoryTrack inventory
Track project profitabilityTrack project profitability
Business analytics & insights
Batch invoices & expenses
Customize access by role
Exclusive Premium Apps
Dedicated account team
On-demand online training
Automate workflows
Restore company data

However, if you purchase QuickBooks Premier License or QuickBooks Pro, you can get access to three years. We can’t say which product is less expensive as there are several variables.

  • When there is better QuickBooks Online Pricing:

In case there are multiple users you can use phone support and live bank feeds. The monthly pricing structure operates better for small a business that does not have the cash flow for high-priced licensing or annual subscriptions.

  • When QuickBooks Desktop Pricing is superior:

If you using QuickBooks pro for up to 3 years and do not have any extra users, this feature will save valuable money. Meanwhile, you can add the additional costing in QuickBooks Desktop.

QuickBooks Desktop Pricing

We highly recommended ruminate the numbers to determine whether the desktop version of QuickBooks or the online version is correct for the particular business.

QuickBooks Desktop VS QuickBooks Online: Features Comparison

QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop provide an array of features. They both share the same options; however, more developed features are available in QuickBooks Desktop except invoicing. The QuickBooks Online has primary options including international invoicing, mobile apps, and lending international invoicing. Below jotted down options is a breakdown of the specific features advantageous for you in comparing QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop worth to the business.

Difference between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online: Invoicing

Because it provides more configurable and professional-looking invoices than QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Online wins. Additionally, it enables you to automatically determine sales taxes depending on the customer’s address and apply them to an invoice. This function is very useful if you sell and export goods outside of your state.

Difference between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online: Project Accounting

Although it has some project management features, QuickBooks Online customization choices are not as extensive as those of QuickBooks Desktop. For example, QuickBooks Desktop lets you design personalized job costing reports for certain businesses like merchants, manufacturers, and contractors.

Furthermore, you may create project cost estimates in QuickBooks Desktop editions all the way up to and compare them with actual costs. On the other hand, the budget vs. real reporting feature of QuickBooks Online requires an upgrade to Advanced.

Difference between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online: Class & Location Tracking

One more significant distinction between QuickBooks Desktop and Online is that the former lets you monitor your activity, including earnings and outlays, according to location and class.

This is helpful for companies that offer a variety of services and have several departments or divisions. You can create classes in QuickBooks Desktop in the interim, but you are unable to manage your income and expenses by location.

Difference between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online: Inventory Management

You may track the quantities sold and assign costs to your inventory products in QuickBooks Desktop and Online to determine the cost of goods sold (COGS). But QuickBooks Desktop has more tools, such inventory assembly management, which is particularly helpful for companies like bike manufacturers who do light manufacturing or product assembly from different parts or components.

The most feature-rich version of QuickBooks Desktop, Enterprise, will provide you access to advanced inventory tools like serial number tracking and barcode scanning.

Difference between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online: Industry-specific Features

The availability of five industry-specific editions—manufacturing and distribution, professional services, contractors, merchants, and nonprofits-is one of QuickBooks Desktop’s advantages over QuickBooks Online.

These editions, which come in Premier and Enterprise flavors, include features and reports that are specially designed to meet the particular requirements of your sector.

Difference between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online: Mobile Accounting

For mobile accounting, QuickBooks Online outperforms QuickBooks Desktop. The QuickBooks Online mobile app, which is among the top mobile accounting apps, enables you to do a variety of accounting functions from your mobile device, including sending invoices, receiving online payments, and seeing financial reports.

The only features available in the QuickBooks Desktop mobile app is the ability to track company mileage and record expenditure receipts. The mobile app for QuickBooks Online is highly recommended if you wish to handle bookkeeping from any location.

Difference between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online: Payroll-Tie

For as little as USD45 a month plus USD5 for per employee, you can add QuickBooks Payroll to your QuickBooks Online account if you have workers. In addition to paying employees electronically, you can also e-file and e-pay taxes, print and electronically file W-2 Forms at the end of the year, and more with QuickBooks Payroll.

In the meanwhile, QuickBooks Premier offers two payroll alternatives, with monthly costs starting at $50 plus $5 for each employee. If you feel comfortable filing taxes on your own, then Enhanced Payroll may be a good fit. You must upgrade to QuickBooks Desktop Assisted Payroll, which costs USD109 a month plus USD2 for per employee, if you want QuickBooks to submit your taxes.

Difference between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online: Integrations

The ability to integrate is another important distinction between QuickBooks Desktop and Online. While QuickBooks Desktop only has more than 200 third-party interfaces, QuickBooks Online has over 750.

Since they can be enabled straight from the QuickBooks Online shop within your QuickBooks Online dashboard, they often have more integrations and are also simpler to install in QuickBooks Online.

Here is the list of some of the renowned integrations For QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online:

QuickBooks Desktop:

  • Webgility
  • Microsoft 365
  • Fishbowl Inventory
  • Gusto
  • Corecon

QuickBooks Online:

  • PayPal
  • Square
  • Bill
  • Shopify
  • Stripe
  • WooCommerce
  • HubSpot

QuickBooks Online interfaces with native products including QuickBooks Payments, QuickBooks Payroll, and QuickBooks Time in addition to third-party connections. QuickBooks Time and QuickBooks Desktop Payroll can be linked with QuickBooks Desktop.

Difference between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online: Assisted Bookkeeping

Although a wide network of independent ProAdvisors supports both QuickBooks Online and Desktop, sharing your books with your ProAdvisor is considerably simpler with QuickBooks Online. It’s challenging to get help with your desktop bookkeeping since you have to submit your ProAdvisor an accountant’s copy of your company file that you have saved.

Since QuickBooks Live is available as a subscription service, QuickBooks Online can be a better option if you require more individualized help with your bookkeeping. The QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping add-on, which links you to a team of trained bookkeepers for real-time support over video chat, is available to users in need of professional bookkeeping assistance.

QuickBooks Online integrates with a few of the third-party assisted bookkeeping platforms, comprising:

  • Xendoo
  • Bookkeeper.com
  • Pilot Bookkeeping
  • Bookkeeper360
  • Merritt Bookkeeping

Not to mention, you can also hire the services of a QuickBooks ProAdvisor to assist you with your bookkeeping requirements.

Difference between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online: Ease of Use

Due to its more simplified user interface, QuickBooks Online is typically easier to use than QuickBooks Desktop. Because a ProAdvisor may access your books around-the-clock by just inviting them to your company file, QuickBooks Online files are also simpler to distribute.

You need to email your ProAdvisor an Accountant’s Copy of your QuickBooks Desktop data file. While your accountant makes changes to previous periods, you can keep working on transactions in the current period using the copy. While it’s a workable technique, sharing your books via QuickBooks Online is far easier.

Difference between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online: Customer Support

QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online provides offer the same customer service options, like:

  • Live chat
  • Phone support (call back)
  • Access to a huge QuickBooks ProAdvisors network
  • Chatbot

Difference between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online: User Reviews

FeaturesQuickBooks OnlineQuickBooks Desktop
Users prefer• Smoothly add vendors and
• Trouble-free file sharing with bookkeepers
• Enhanced banking along with invoicing feature
• Robust project costing
• Strong reporting features
• Improved inventory features like location tracking and bin
Users do not prefer• Cannot handle several companies
• Customer support unresponsive
• Costlier than QuickBooks
• The integration options are very limited

Even though QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online have rather different average user ratings, it is still regarded as a tie because both products have received an equal amount of favorable and unfavorable feedback.

QuickBooks Online

The fact that QuickBooks Online can be accessed from any internet-enabled device is something that many happy users of the program value. It is obvious to agree with the remarks made by several that adding suppliers, clients, and sharing data with their bookkeepers is simple. QuickBooks Online is more user-friendly than QuickBooks Desktop because of its cloud connectivity and intuitive UI.

It is also questioned on how good the capabilities for invoicing and bank account reconciliation are. In terms of banking, QuickBooks Online is comparable to Desktop; however, it is assumed that the cloud-based version is superior for professional invoicing.

Conversely, many users expressed dissatisfaction about QuickBooks Online inability to handle numerous businesses under a single account and its lack of assembly management capabilities.

Others are also dissatisfied because it is difficult get in touch with QuickBooks Online customer service. Although many users have had bad experiences with QuickBooks help, there are times when they are able to handle issues effectively; however, this largely depends on the agent that was assigned to the case.

QuickBooks Desktop

The robust capability of QuickBooks Desktop, including project costing and sophisticated inventory accounting, is highly admired. QuickBooks Online does not include inventory tracking tools like lot and bin tracking and barcode scanning.

These are only available in QuickBooks Desktop. Some users also appreciate how simple it is to plan, memorize, and personalize reports with QuickBooks Desktop. There are advanced reporting tools in QuickBooks Desktop, but you have to upgrade to QuickBooks Advance in order to use them.

The lack of third-party integration options is something that some who have posted unfavorable evaluations find unpleasant. Additionally, a user reported that QuickBooks Desktop is more costly than QuickBooks Online, particularly when several users are required, which is consistent in this assessment.

Difference between QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online: Tie

Numerous features of QuickBooks Desktop and Online are comparable, such as bank reconciliation, reporting, managing accounts payable and receivable (A/P and A/R), and tracking income and expenses.

In terms of tied with regard to features, since they are both efficient accounting software, they have their weakness and strength.

FeaturesQuickBooks OnlineQuickBooks Desktop
Project Accounting4 stars5 stars
Inventory Management4 stars5 stars
Mobile Accounting4 stars1 star
Integrations5 stars3 stars
Invoicing5 stars4 stars
Class & Location Tracking5 stars3 stars
Industry-specific EditionsN/A5 stars
Assisted Bookkeeping5 stars3 stars
Payroll5 stars5 stars


You can upgrade to QuickBooks Online Advanced or QuickBooks Enterprise if you require individualized client service.

Both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online are competent software with vigorous accounting options. Each system contains highs and lows:

Users get several great features in QuickBooks online using the mobility option of a cloud-based system. QuickBooks Online is simple to use, have more integrations, automation, best invoicing, and core built-in lending feature.

The disadvantages are the lack of lead management, sales order, and other complications that loyal Desktop users may lack (including customization built-in calendar, letter templates, and spell checker).

QuickBooks Desktop users get many developed accounting tools across the market. The system provides comprehensive secure options, unique touches like sales orders, lead management, and industry-specific versions. The disadvantage of the QuickBooks Desktop is it does not come with QuickBooks Online mobility, has less automation, and fails in lending payment gateway integrations. Eventually, the actual deciding factors are a particular business type, size, and requirements. Whatever you select the comprehensive reviews can assist you in creating informed decisions while hunting for the actual accounting software.

Accounting Professionals, CPA, Enterprises, Owners
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+1-800-596-0806 or chat with experts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Possible to shift to QuickBooks Desktop from QuickBooks Online?

Indeed, it is possible, but it requires some laborious file exporting from QuickBooks Online to Desktop. We advise using the QuickBooks Online Desktop software if you are presently using QuickBooks Online and would like to move to an interface akin to QuickBooks Desktop.

Why most Companies prefer QuickBooks Online over QuickBooks Desktop?

In comparison to QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Online has many benefits, including cloud accessibility, easier file sharing and collaboration, scalable plans with different capabilities, and a useful mobile app.

For Which Companies, QuickBooks Desktop is appropriate?

For businesses who choose to handle their books offline, QuickBooks Desktop is the better option. Additionally, it’s a superior choice for companies who need sophisticated tools for inventory accounting.

Is it Possible to shift to QuickBooks Online from QuickBooks Desktop?

Yes. It is possible.

What’s the major Difference Between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop Pro?

QuickBooks Online acts as a software labeled as a service accounting program i.e. hosted online. Whereas QuickBooks Desktop is a locally installed accounting system with an annual subscription pricing structure (although you can make a “one-time” purchase lasting three years). Moreover, both systems provide strong accounting in which QuickBooks Desktop offers amazing customizable options whereas QuickBooks Online has easy-to-learn and automation features.

Is QuickBooks Desktop better than online?

QuickBooks Online is suitable for business owners requiring a simple-to-use cloud-based system that includes anywhere online access, several integrations, and mobile apps with other programs. The QuickBooks Desktop is preferable for small to large-sized businesses with complex accounting and customizable requirements.

Is QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop cheaper?

QuickBooks Online has a less expensive monthly cost and is economical for massive employees using the program. QuickBooks Desktop Pro is low-priced if you do not require additional users. In case if you plan for using the program up to three years before upgrades. QuickBooks does not afford lump sum subscription payments. The monthly subscriptions for the QuickBooks online may be simpler for some small businesses suitable to a financial situation.

How do I Switch from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online?

It is pretty easier moving from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online. You can simply locate the Company tab in the top option and choose a button named Export file to QuickBooks Online. It is recommended to save a company file backup of QuickBooks Desktop if there encounter any errors.

Can I Switch from QuickBooks Online to Desktop?

You can start switching QuickBooks online to Desktop. An Intuit QuickBooks has been analyzed their online systems to switch from QuickBooks Online to Desktop is not as simple. Locate the gear icon named Settings and hit Export data. Click on the reason for leaving. Hit on the link named Moving to QuickBooks.

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