QuickBooks Online vs QuickBooks DesktopQB online logoquickbooks-premier-2016-desktop (2)

To think that QuickBooks Online is just the cloud-based version of QuickBooks Desktop is a misconception. Even though these two products share the name ”QuickBooks”, they are not related. QuickBooks Online is not a copy of QuickBooks Desktop that has been web-enabled. They are different products with totally different database structures and approaches to solving problems.

It’s important to evaluate what you need out of your accounting software to determine which version would best suit your business. Where will you be using it – Office location or in the Field? Do you need Back-up ability? Are you at risk when the hard drive crashes? Is the business Inventory-based and need a lot of barcoding, or is it a service oriented business?

For the purpose of this article, the points made will be referencing the U.S. Windows version of QuickBooks Desktop and the U.S. QuickBooks Online version without add-on options.

QuickBooks Desktop has been around longer. With the extra attention through the years from Developers, QB Desktop has a lot of features that allow ease for Inventory based business – Available Quantity in Inventory, Industry specific reporting, Inventory assembly items, Bills of Material, plus the ability to build assemblies. Service oriented business like Construction or Auto Mechanic might prefer QuickBooks Desktop since the Desktop version is capable of creating an Estimate from assembly items and then converting the Estimate to Purchase Order and Invoicing. Also, QuickBooks Point of Sale and QuickBooks Bill Pay System only work on the Desktop version.

QuickBooks Online is fairly new, yet it has features that are more useful to some business than the Desktop version. One of the best features of QuickBooks Online is it’s availability on location as the owner works in the Field. Invoices can be created on location or, with the Invoice/Sales Receipt Automation, recurring transactions can be set up to be emailed automatically to the customer and QB Online user can be copied on each one. Monthly clients can be set up after a fee is established. The client signs the engagement letter and credit card authorization form, then each month on the first, a Sales Receipt is created, the card is charged and both the client and service provider are sent a copy. QB Online often is virtually connected to the business bank account allowing it to identify income and expense actions as it downloads to the user’s accounting system on a daily basis. QB Online can remind the user to create invoice for unbilled time and expenses. When a report is Memorized in QB Online, add it to a group, then set that group to be emailed to yourself or your client on a regular basis. For instance, you can send your clients their financials each month without ever actually logging into QBO.

Both versions of QuickBooks, Online or Desktop, are easily accessed by an Accountant to help make adjustments and Maintain Accuracy And Integrity. QuickBooks Desktop can be managed with permission through use of remote access software and QuickBooks Online owners can send their Accountant an invite to log into the online records.

As an Accountant, the question often asked is “Which version is preferred?”. The preference lies in the needs of the business. Evaluate the business activity to properly choose the version that is the best match.

Steven Z. Freeman, CPA and Freeman and Associates Accountancy Corporation can help you choose the right QuickBooks for your business while providing professional and trustworthy Business Accounting and Tax Planning. If you have any questions on this matter, or to schedule an initial consultation, please call us at (805) 495-4211.

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