QuickBooks Enterprise vs. QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online vs QuickBooks Enterprise

It can be confusing to decide which version of QuickBooks to choose. Today we'll take a look at QuickBooks Enterprise vs. QuickBooks Online - two of Intuit's most popular products. We'll dive into what features you can expect from each piece of software, the differences between them, and how to make your ultimate decision!

QuickBooks Enterprise

QuickBooks Enterprise is, in our opinion, the most powerful financial software on the market at its price point. It has been on the market since 2002 and has added features and functionality every year since. It can handle a large volume of data, and has advanced reporting options that give users more flexibility.

QuickBooks Enterprise is a desktop-based product. This means you download and install the product and can host it locally on your own servers. Many businesses, particularly those who deal with personally identifiable information (PII) prefer this extra layer of security.

QuickBooks Enterprise does sync with the cloud, but is accessed from your computer’s desktop and is available offline or behind a firewall. The product also available for up to 30 users, so is a good choice for a larger business where more employees need access to the accounting system.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based software optimized for small businesses. As a user, you will access QBO through your browser by going to a website where you log on to do business. It is available for up to 5 users at a monthly or annual cost.

Because QuickBooks Online is a SaaS product, that means you have access anywhere, any time, including on your phone. You don’t need to install any software, and updates are automatic with no need to download a package.

QuickBooks Online can be a great option for small businesses and companies with only a few employees. It has many of the same features as Enterprise at a fairly low, monthly cost.

Cost of QuickBooks Enterprise vs. QuickBooks Online

Most people believe that QuickBooks Online is the cheaper option, because it has a low monthly fee. This is true for a single user who doesn’t need many bells and whistles. But once you have multiple users, things start to even out.

  • QuickBooks Online
  • QuickBooks Enterprise

For the purposes of this graph, we’re comparing a 5-user instance of QuickBooks Online Plus 1-5 Users + Payroll, vs. a 5-user instance of QuickBooks Enterprise Gold (which includes payroll) over a 4-year period. We’ve included the current best available promotional price to illustrate how prices will change year-over-year.

While QuickBooks Enterprise is more expensive, you’re still paying nearly $2,000 a year for QuickBooks Online, hardly the affordable product it is marketed to be! You’re also missing out on loads of additional features.

Lastly, we’re able to offer a 20%* lifetime discount on QuickBooks Enterprise. This means that you’ll have 20% off forever. This helps insulate you from price increases. QuickBooks Online will give you a great discount, but it will only be for the first year. They also increase prices regularly, so your monthly payment could increase 25% at any time.

Head-to-Head Feature Showdown

QuickBooks Online


QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based product, which means it is accessed in your browser at a web address. It also has an associated mobile app for Apple and Android. This anytime, anywhere access is ideal for a small business, or a business-on-the-go that needs to perform accounting functions on multiple devices or while traveling.

Access Anywhere

QuickBooks Enterprise

You can host QuickBooks Enterprise on the cloud, but that requires additional hosting setup. It is most commonly deployed as on-premise software, with one license accessible on one machine. This provides the highest level of security from hacking and fraud, but it does mean you won’t be sending invoices from your phone or tablet.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online comes with 65 built-in reports. These reports focus on the Dashboard view and gauging your day-to-day financials. Since QuickBooks Online is a more lightweight product the reports don’t dive as deep into things like job costing, business health, or financial projections.

Reporting & Analytics

QuickBooks Enterprise


QuickBooks Enterprise comes with 150+ out-of-the-box reports, including industry specific reports for the Contractor, Non-Profit, and Manufacturing Editions. With this software you can also easily build add-on and custom reports to drill deeper into your business.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is great for basic inventory. You can manage a limited number of inventory items, and easily create purchase and sales orders which automatically add to, or deduct from, your inventory. You can also create trigger alerts for when you need to reorder an item. But you can’t do much more than that!

Inventory Management

QuickBooks Enterprise


Right off the bat, QuickBooks Enterprise has the capability to hold more inventory items – up to 100,000 which is enough for even most enterprise-level businesses. It also allows more flexibility in how you track and manage that inventory. You can add images of your inventory items. You can perform bin location tracking, serial number location tracking, and sync your QuickBooks Enterprise to a barcode scanner so your warehouse team can easily monitor what’s in stock.

QuickBooks Online


One of the best features about QuickBooks Online is the ability to send invoices from your phone. When it comes to QuickBooks Enterprise vs. QuickBooks Online, they both have great (but different) invoicing capabilities.


QuickBooks Enterprise


QuickBooks Enterprise has one amazing feature that QuickBooks Online doesn’t have when it comes to invoicing: batch invoicing. You can send out multiple invoices at once with the click of a button. This feature is very convenient, particularly if you invoice certain clients once a month.

QuickBooks Online

Most QuickBooks Online support is based overseas. For the U.S.-based reps they do have, they are often newer employees and rookies. QuickBooks also tries to promote a DIY attitude and will typically push you towards their knowledge base before connecting you with a live human, this can be frustrating when your product is not working correctly.

Intuit Support

QuickBooks Enterprise


Every QuickBooks Enterprise user will have a dedicated Customer Service Manager who will be your point-person at Intuit for support concerns. These are coveted, highly technical positions. If you have a number of users, or are a quickly growing company, you will be promoted to the Priority Circle which gives an even better level of support.

QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Enterprise Functionality Comparison

On functionality, Quickbooks Enterprise will win every time. It simply has more features, and the features it does have are more robust and customizable. Where QuickBooks Online has the edge is in accessibility. As a cloud-based product it is meant for businesses on-the-go.

Feature QuickBooks Online QuickBooks Enterprise Desktop
Max number of users 5 30
Mobile Friendly (accessible on phones and tablets)
Track Sales & Take Customer Payments
Technical Support Internationally Based U.S. Based Dedicated CSM
Automatic Backup Protection
Batch Invoicing
Line-level Permission Settings Up to 115
Work Simultaneously In 2 Company Fules
Built-in Financial & Sales Tax Reports 65 150+
Import Bank Statements Into QuickBooks
Advanced Reporting  
Track & Manage Inventory
Set & Management Inventory Reorder Triggers
Attach Inventory Images
Bin Location Tracking
Automated Pricing
Barcode Scanning
Audit Trail Accounting
Anytime, Anywhere Access Requires Hosting Fee

In Our Opinion

QuickBooks Online is great starter software for a business with fewer than 5 employees. It is a great way to get up and running, start tracking accounting data, and may better decisions. Once you’ve hit your stride and are growing, we really recommend QuickBooks Enterprise. It is built for larger businesses. It can intake more data, run more (and better) reports, and is more customizable.

On the left you can see the market penetration of both products in the small business segment. Both are widely used and a massive step up from the 18% of small business owners who use no accounting software.

If you want to learn more, you can read about each of the products on our dedicated landing pages.

Next Steps

Schedule a demo of QuickBooks Enterprise

QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise has the same user friendly interface QuickBooks users love plus more benefits such as advanced reporting, inventory management, cloud access, priority support, and much more.  Our certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors can help find the right solution for your business, access special pricing, develop an implementation plan and schedule, and train your team on the new system.

You can also reach us in the USA via telephone at +1 800-931-2120.

QuickBooks Enterprise video overview

Please fill out the form to schedule a live demo with a QuickBooks expert.

About Marjorie Adams

Our head QuickBooks trainer and guru, Marjorie Adams, is Founder and CEO of Fourlane, Inc., an award-winning consulting firm and Intuit’s #1 QuickBooks Reseller Partner. Fourlane’s team of experts offers several QuickBooks oriented services including consulting, training, programming, integration, and more. Over the years, Fourlane has helped over 10,000 customers across many different industries with their QuickBooks accounting software. Marjorie Adams is considered one of the top QuickBooks trainers in the country. She was listed on CPA Practice Advisor’s 40 Under 40 in 2014 & 2015, and has been recognized as Intuitive Accountant’s 2015 QuickBooks Desktop ProAdvisor of the Year. Marjorie sits on Intuit’s VIP Program, is a frequent contributor to Inuit Accountants News Central, and has developed Intuit’s QuickBooks Enterprise Certification training. She has also been published in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, BusinessWeek, American Express Open, the Huffington Post, and Inc. Magazine.

4 thoughts on “QuickBooks Enterprise vs. QuickBooks Online

  1. Candy Sturtz says:

    My husband just got his contractors license and has several homes being built. We have paperwork EVERYWHERE. we have been advised to get the premier contractor quickbooks offers, however, I can’t find an online option, only desktop. Is there an online of the premiere?

    1. Clifford says:

      There is no online version of Premiere, only desktop. You can use Quickbooks online to get you started and convert to a desktop version of quickbooks if it doesn’t end up having the capabilities you need. I personally think Quickbooks online is a good place to start. It’s much easier to use and you can use it anywhere, which is very helpful.

    2. Crystal MacGregor says:

      Premier is a desk top version of QB. You will find that pro for a starting contractor will be fine. And less expensive

  2. Traci says:


Leave a Reply

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