Woman on desktop

Comparing QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop

QuickBooks was born out of the success of another popular financial management program called Quicken. Scott Cook and Tom Proulx founded Intuit in 1983 and Quicken was their first program designed for individual financial organization and planning. It was such a massive success that they decided to adopt the program for small-business usage. However, Quicken didn’t adhere to the standard double-entry method of accounting that most businesses use, and they had to configure the program for both Windows and Mac operating systems. In 1998, the first QuickBooks was released. It adhered to the double-entry method with the ability to run audit trails. Today, several versions of the program exist, and each one can be tailored to your business accounting needs. However, before you start shopping for QuickBooks Desktop Pro for sale, it’s important to know the difference between the desktop and online versions.

QuickBooks Desktop

In the QuickBooks desktop family, there are three different programs: Pro, Premier, and Enterprise. Pro is the most economical of the desktop programs with many of the most common accounting features that business owners use every day. With Pro, you can track income, expenses, inventory, and taxes. You can also generate estimates, send bills, and monitor employee hours. Premier and Enterprise versions can be customized to create industry-specific reports, forecast revenue, and track inventory using mobile scanning devices. All desktop versions include the option to generate payroll for your employees and 1099 contract workers. The Pro version supports three users while the Premier and Enterprise programs support 5 and 30 users, respectively.

QuickBooks Online

Intuit developers saw much promise in cloud technology before it became mainstream. In 2001, they launched QuickBooks Online (OBO). Within a few years, it became the most popular online accounting program in the world while simultaneously promoting the use of cloud technology in business applications. OBO can perform many of the same tasks as the desktop versions but with added features including real-time updates and mobile accessibility. Access OBO via smartphone or tablet and upload business receipts via photo capture. Data is instantly available to other employees who have access to the cloud-based program. OBO allows you to generate and send estimates and invoices using industry-relevant terminology. Track employee hours and update group projects in real time. There’s no software to install, and OBO can be accessed wherever there is an internet connection. Since everything is done on the cloud, access to OBO is billed monthly, unlike the desktop software that is a one-time purchase. Access to the Essential or Basic version of OBO can accommodate up to three employees while advances versions of the program can allow access for up to 25 people.


Man using smartphone

How to Choose

Which version of QuickBooks you select will ultimately depend on your business needs and your budget. If you’re a part of a fast-paced organization that’s always on the go or out in the field, QuickBooks Online gives you the option to take your business with you, allowing you to make informed financial decisions . QuickBooks Desktop is perfect for small companies that are centrally contained and who handle all of their financial data in-house. Both OBO and QuickBooks Pro are easy to learn and adaptable to your business needs. To determine which option will work best for you, contact the accounting experts at Fourlane, Inc.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *