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What is the Difference Between QuickBooks Online and Desktop?

Posted on 18/09/2023

Key Differences Between QuickBooks Online and Desktop:

QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop are two different accounting software solutions offered by Intuit, each with its own set of features, advantages, and disadvantages. Here are some key differences between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop:


QuickBooks Online: It is a cloud-based solution, which means you can access your financial data from anywhere with an internet connection and on various devices, including computers, smartphones, and tablets.

QuickBooks Desktop: It is installed on a single computer or server, and access is limited to that specific location. To access your data remotely, you may need to set up a remote desktop solution or use hosting services.

Updates and Maintenance:

QuickBooks Online: Automatic updates and maintenance are handled by Intuit. You always have access to the latest features and improvements without manual updates.

QuickBooks Desktop: Updates require manual installation, and you need to purchase new versions periodically to access the latest features. Maintenance and data backups are also your responsibility.


QuickBooks Online: Typically, it is sold on a subscription basis, with monthly or annual pricing plans. The cost can vary depending on the plan and the number of users.

QuickBooks Desktop: You purchase a license for QuickBooks Desktop, which is a one-time cost. However, you may incur additional costs for support, updates, and other services.

Features and Functionality:

QuickBooks Online: It offers a wide range of features and is suitable for small to medium-sized businesses. Higher-tier plans offer access to some advanced features.

QuickBooks Desktop: It has a more extensive set of features, especially in the Pro and Premier versions. QuickBooks Desktop is often preferred by businesses with complex accounting needs or specific industry requirements.


QuickBooks Online: Customization options are more limited compared to QuickBooks Desktop, especially in terms of report customization and user permissions.

QuickBooks Desktop: Provides more extensive customization options, allowing you to tailor reports and forms to your specific needs.

Related Topics: How To Move your QuickBooks Desktop file to QuickBooks Online


QuickBooks Online: It offers a variety of integrations with third-party apps and services through the QuickBooks App Store, making it easier to connect with other business tools.

QuickBooks Desktop: Integration options are available but may require additional software or services to connect with third-party applications.

Multi-User Access:

QuickBooks Online: Allows multiple users to access the software simultaneously, depending on your subscription plan.

QuickBooks Desktop: Multi-user access requires a separate purchase of user licenses, and the number of users is limited by the version you choose.

Ultimately, the choice between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop depends on your business’s specific needs, budget, and preferences. Consider factors like mobility, scalability, and required features when making your decision.

Topics: Tech Tips




About the Author:

Pramod has over 11 years of experience relating to finance and accounts in diversified industries. He is an expert in resource and process optimization resulting in greater operational efficiencies.

Author can be reached at [email protected]

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