QuickBooks Desktop vs QuickBooks Online

There are three main Desktop verisons of QuickBooks: Pro, Premier and Enterprise. QuickBooks Online has three subscriptions level: Simple Start, Essential and Plus. You can read more on the Intuit website.

Key Strengths for QuickBooks Desktop (no internet access required) 

  1. One-time payment and no additional cost for running multiple companies.
  2. No additional cost until you upgrade the program to a newer version.
  3. Long history in the market.
  4. Abundance of learning materials in books, classes and consultants.
  5. No license termination as such you get to keep your data for as long as you want (you have control of your datafiles).
  6. Datafile is typically stored in a local computer or in-house server.
  7. Datafile size approximately 150 MB at the maximum.

Key Strengths for QuickBooks Online (fast speed internet access is a must)

  1. Multi-user access in a browser and accessable anywhere and anytime.
  2. Low start-up cost, approximately US$15.00 to US$32.00 per month without payroll.
  3. Free software upgrade.
  4. Automatic backup.
  5. License to access your data will be terminated if monthly subscription fee remains unpaid. Datafile will be automatically deleted after a certain period (no control of your datafile). Option for you to export your QuickBooks Online reports to MS Excel.
  6. Data is stored in the cloud provided by the developer.
  7. Datafile size approximately 350KB at the maximum. 

Features in QuickBooks Desktops not included in QuickBooks Online

  • Sales Orders

  • Progress Invoicing

  • receiving Partial Purchase Orders

  • Inventory Assemblies

  • Item Receipts

  • Balance Sheet by Class

  • Budget vs Actuals for Jobs

  • Better Dashboard screens eg company snapshot

  • More freedom to customise Forms and Reports

  • Statement Writer

Features in QuickBooks Online not included in Desktop Software

  • Recurring transactions such as Invoice/Sales Receipt can be set up to be emailed automatically to your customers

  • Enhanced Audit Trail - shows user logs in or out, and when he or she does an edit.

  • Has both Class and Location Tracking - QuickBooks desktop has the ability to track diferent profit centers, but QuickBooks adds one more layer with location tracking

  • Many third-party applications integration

  • Recommended datafile size is not more than 350KB


The bottom line is that QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online are two different programs, and they fit different situations and circumstances. If you need help in deciding which software is most suitable for your business, talk to us at +65 6254 2322 or email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact our partners.