QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Desktop

Quickbooks Online vs. Quickbooks Desktop
It is definitely the great debate. There are those that are dedicated to QuickBooks Desktop – and will never look at the online version. There are others that prefer online and cloud-based accounting to archaic desktop versions. But, when it comes down to features, functionality and price, which is truly better?

QuickBooks sometimes makes it misleading – especially when it seems like the only software they promote is their online version. But, they have plenty to offer with their desktop programs and there is still plenty to love about the traditional desktop accounting. Determining which is best, however, comes down to the features and which of those features apply to your particular business.

One of the big pushes for QuickBooks Online is that it is “cheaper” than the desktop version, but this just isn’t the case. While lower levels of QuickBooks Online could be cheaper, the complexity and features offered in desktop versions can really only compare to the capabilities of QuickBooks Online Plus.

What Happens When You Compare Costs of QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Desktop?

You will have to consider the base price as well as the add-on price for each when comparing the costs:

QuickBooks Desktop Premier Plus
The base price for this program is $499.95 – this is a one-time fee.
To add enhanced payroll, you will pay $39.00 per month or about $468 per year. This brings the annual total to $967.95

QuickBooks Online Plus
Base price is $39.95 per month – which equates to $479.40 per year.
To add payroll, you will pay an additional fee of $65.95 per month – bringing the total to $1270.80 per year.

What About the Features?

Cost is not the only thing you can compare. Features and experience matter too.

What customers say when they switch from QB Desktop to QB Online
Surprisingly, most are upset they ever changed. While they have the convenience of mobile apps and online access, most feel that the features and capabilities of Online versus Desktop just do not compare. Online doesn’t meet the needs of their business or offer the same functionality as Desktop and many convert back to desktop.

Now, those that have never used Desktop will find that Online is perfect. It offers all of the features they want (and then some).

What about the features?

QB Online and QB Desktop do share a lot of features, but here are some features each is lacking.

QuickBooks Online Cannot:

1. Offer an account tool box
2. Create previous monthly bank reconciliation reports
3. Batch invoice
4. Batch timesheet
5. Track bills
6. Offer a bounced check option
7. Forecast or plan business transactions
8. Create a calendar view of the business financial profile
9. Offer client data review
10. Have a collections center for past due bills and vendors
11. Create comparative balance reports
12. Offer customer snapshots
13. …and more

You can see the features of QuickBooks Desktop are much more detail-oriented than those of QB Online.

Small Businesses Have a Different Take

QuickBooks Desktop is definitely more robust, but with all of those features also comes the fact that most small businesses would not benefit from them. Especially startups. QuickBooks Online is much more attractive and small business friendly – and there are plenty of small business owners that have tried both and found Online to be more versatile to their needs.

So, Which is Better?

In all honesty, only you can decide which version is better. You can easily compare all of the desktop versions to online versions just by using the compare feature on Revuezzle. While you are at it, read through all of our accounting reviews to see which program suits your company’s specific needs.



Shailynn is a word slinger, chef, Pinterest addict and adult coloring book collector. As our Operations Manager and Senior Researcher/Editor, you will find Shailynn busy finding new companies and topics to research, but also handling the crazy day-to-day on the backend – and by crazy…we mean all of us. She attended the International Culinary Institute, where she studied pastry arts and she worked as an executive pastry chef before hanging up her chef’s hat and decided to work from home as a writer. She is a fanatic for a great cup of coffee or wonderful glass of wine! Shailynn is a mother of three and married to a handsome firefighter.

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