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QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Desktop

Nowadays, more and more accounting software is coming out every year. Among all these different programs, QuickBooks is one of the more commonly used throughout the world. However, though it is a widely used accounting software, QuickBooks Desktop is heavily challenged by its online version – QuickBooks Online.

What is QuickBooks Online?

The core objective of QuickBooks Online is to provide a flexible, efficient and easy to use platform for the user without a high demand on accounting. QBO (QuickBooks Online) has most of the basic function that is used in QBD (QuickBooks Desktop). However, you must use QBD for a more complex accounting job, as QBO lacks a lot of complex function that you can find in QBD.

QuickBooks online uses cloud computing technology, meaning you must have Internet access to use it. This feature may limit users who don’t have reliable Internet access. However, the limitations of QuickBooks Online also guarantee its mobility. You don’t need to install QuickBooks on your local computer and you can access your data from most devices with Internet capabilities, such as a smartphone or tablet.

Difference between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop

The main differences between QBO and QBD are the price, functionality, and working condition requirements.

One of the most attractive features of QBO is the price. QBO starts at $13 per month, which is around 20% cheaper than QBD Pro, and half the price of QBD Premier. Meanwhile, it can provide most of the services that QBD does with this impressive price. This is a notable benefit for smaller business owners and personal users.

Another outstanding feature of QBO is its mobility. As mentioned above, the cloud computing technology guarantees that you can access your personal or business database from almost any device with Internet access. This is very different from QuickBooks Desktop – QBD requires installation on your local computer, but doesn’t require Internet access. However, you have to use the same computer to access your database with QBD. By using the desktop version, you limit your mobility but receive strong and complex functions.

QBO and QBD do share most of their functions. However, they also have their own feature functions as well. QBD has more analyzing functions like forecasting, customer snapshots and fixed asset manager. QBO focuses more on the automation function, like auto send reports, automatic upgrade and invoice automation.


According to the information released from Intuit, a large portion of funds is attributed towards QBO development, which mean the future of QBO is optimistic. However, we believe that the development of QuickBooks Desktop won’t be left behind in short term. Both of these programs have their similarities and benefits, but their differences will help you decide whether QBO or QBD is right for you.

Blog post written by Tommy Wang, Accounting Coordinator at Managing Matters Inc.



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Canada's Premiere Association & Event Management Agency

411 Richmond Street East, Toronto, ON, M5A 3S5