Quickbooks Online VS Quickbooks Desktop

QuickBooks is a great choice for all small and large businesses as accounting software. It becomes a bit hard to choose when the same software provides both online and offline services. In this article, we’ll compare both the QuickBooks versions so that users can make an informed choice as per their requirements.

The main difference between both of the QuickBooks versions is that the QuickBooks online is the cloud-based service that is based on monthly billing whereas QuickBooks desktop is installed on your operating system and is based on a licensed price model.

Let’s look at the comparisons of both the versions in detail.


QuickBooks Online is Intuit’s cloud-based accounting service. It was launched in 2004 and was suited best for small business houses. Since then, the company has introduced a lot of enhanced features and made developments with QuickBooks Online Software. Now the software could be used by large business houses too.QuickBooks Online or QBO is slightly easier than the Desktop version to work. You can work on the software from virtually anywhere with the internet connection.


Quickbooks Desktop version is a widely used accounting software and was launched in 1992. The software is the first choice for business despite Intuit regular efforts to motivate users to use the QuickBooks Online software. The QuickBooks Desktop comes in three versions, QuickBooks Desktop Pro, QuickBooks Desktop Premier, and QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise for small, medium and large businesses respectively.

Lets, Look at some of the key differences between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop

Cloud-Based VS Locally Installed

The major difference between the two versions is that QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based software whereas QuickBooks desktop is installed locally on your operating system. This means you don’t require the internet while using QuickBooks desktop but it also means that you cannot access the software from anywhere like QuickBooks Online.

Security Measures

The safety and security in the case of QuickBooks online are taken care of by Intuit. The QuickBooks Desktop version though has the potential to be secure, it is your responsibility to take all the security measures.

Billing Cycle

QuickBooks online works on a monthly SAAS billing structure whereas QuickBooks Desktop is based on a license model. You can either purchase the software for 3 years or you can pay yearly but there is no monthly billing structure.

Users Limit

QuickBooks online allows a maximum of 25 users based on your pricing plan. The QuickBooks Desktop Pro allows a maximum of 3 users, QuickBooks Desktop Premier allows a maximum of 5 users and QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise allows 30 users.

Possible Automation

QuickBooks Online allows more automation than QuickBooks Desktop. Also, since QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based service, all your details and information are synced in real-time.

User Interface

Based on the traditional accounting system, The QuickBooks Desktop has an elevated curve than QuickBooks Online. The User Interface for QuickBooks Desktop is not that friendly as compared to the QuickBooks Online.

Entry to Quickbooks Capital

Only QuickBooks Online users have an access to QuickBooks Capital.

Both the QuickBooks versions are useful and suited best for the business. However, if you want an easy to use and learn software and which you can access from anywhere at any time then QuickBooks Online is best suited for you. If you want a locally installed software with industry-specific complex features and a traditional accounting system then you should go for QuickBooks Desktop.

Can I use both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online?

Yes, you can use both. One requires a laptop and a plug point, the other requires a stable internet connection.

Do I have to Purchase Quickbooks every year?

No, you don’t have to upgrade to the new QuickBooks software everywhere. However, if you’re changing your system then you need to see if your system requirements match the QuickBooks software requirements.

Is QuickBooks Desktop a one time purchase?

You can either buy Quickbooks Desktop by paying a one-time fee and or you can pay annually. There are no monthly charges. 

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