January 12, 2019

The Difference Between QuickBooks® Desktop and QuickBooks® Online

While the QuickBooks Desktop version has been around for a while, Intuit’s newest release is QuickBooks Online. This platform is essentially a simple version of the Desktop edition that can still handle many transactions and reporting needs.


QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based system that allows access to your company files via a web browser. Within the platform, authorized users can access the company file simultaneously. User limits will vary based on the plan you subscribe to: Simple Start, Essentials or Plus.

There is no contract required to run QuickBooks Online and the plans above can be downgraded or upgraded at any time.

Advantages of QuickBooks online include the ability to schedule and send automatic transactions, automatic nightly download of bank transactions and integration with numerous third-party apps such as TSheets, Bill.com or Expensify.

You should consider QuickBooks Online if you don’t need advanced accountant features or inventory tracking options. Additionally, QuickBooks Online does not require any software installation so you can open up a web browser from your mobile device, PC or Mac and enter transactions on the fly.

Keep in mind, QuickBooks Online can only handle one company profile per subscription, so if you have multiple company files, you will need to have multiple QuickBooks Online subscriptions.

If you know QuickBooks Online is right for you, AZTS can get you set up with discounted pricing! You’ll still manage your subscription through Intuit, and your data and license are always yours. Click here to explore our QuickBooks Online plan options.


QuickBooks Desktop is designed for those organizations who need robust industry-specific bookkeeping features and specialized accounting reports. QuickBooks Desktop can be tailored to specific industries such as: General Business, Contractor, Manufacturing & Wholesale, Professional Services, Retail and Nonprofit. If you’d like to explore which plan is best for you, read our article here.

The desktop versions provide inventory tracking, financial reporting to track profitability, and sales and expense forecasting all from one bookkeeping software without purchasing third-party add-ons.

The following features are available via QuickBooks Desktop but are not supported via QuickBooks Online.

  • Reporting Capabilities – Industry specific reports, business planning, forecasting, or scheduled reports.
  • Accountant Features – backup and restore feature, client data review tools, clean-up files, correcting unapplied credit and payment, and fixing sales tax errors.
  • Data Entry Abilities – customizing billing rate levels, invoices batches, and batched transactions
  • Inventory Features – sales order tracking, purchase orders, and custom inventory re-order scheduling.

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