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QuickBooks Online vs. Desktop? What’s Better?

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Have you wondered what Accounting Software would be best for your business?  There are so many options to choose from. I have the most experience with using different versions of QuickBooks. Now the question is…what is better – QuickBooks Online or Desktop (Pro, Enterprise)?

Accountants, Bookkeepers, Controllers, and CFOs can have strong opinions. I have heard people talk about how bad QuickBooks Online (QBO) is, but is it that bad? I have been using QuickBooks Online since 2016 and QuickBooks products since 2005. I have clients that I have converted to QBO that like it much better now. During lunch with some CFOs recently, we discussed this, and they mostly liked QBO better.

In case you are wondering about this and what to do, here is a list of Pros and Cons of Quick Books Online (QBO) vs. using Desktop or Enterprise.

Pros to QuickBooks Online (QBO)

  • More affordable for up to 7 users. I have a client paying $600 a month for a Right Networks QB Enterprise Solution. A change to QBO would save them over $500 a month.
  • Easier to login and access from anywhere. No server issues.
  • Connect better to third party apps like and Expensify.
  • Very easy to import banking and credit card transactions. Automatically import transactions.
  • Can work off your computer and download and upload documents easier than a server environment.
  • More third-party apps that connect well.
  • Not subject to losing data, viruses, or data corruption.
  • Automatic software updates.


  • Less flexibility in giving users certain access. QBO has this but not as customized as Desktop or Enterprise.
  • Invoicing and progress billing is better in QB Enterprise, but QBO has improved.
  • There have been significant reporting improvements with QBO, but I know Enterprise/Pro is still better.
  • Inventory is better with QB Enterprise. However, there are third-party apps that can help, such as SOS Inventory.
  • Importing journals into Pro or Enterprise can be accomplished using IIF. QBO will require a third party App. One recommendation that I received from another CFO for this is SAASant.
  • Could run into a message in QBO saying that another user is working on a transaction. You can usually log out and back in to fix this issue.


My opinion is that most businesses under $20 million in revenue can operate using QBO. It is my understanding that Intuit is spending much more of their Developer resources improving QBO. Maybe you tried QBO a few years ago, and you didn’t like it. There have been many improvements. If you combine their continual improvements with some very affordable and sophisticated third-party Apps, I will choose QBO 90% of the time. Once your company gets larger than $20 million, there are more sophisticated Accounting Systems such as NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics, and SageIntacct that may work better for you. You have to be prepared to spend quite a bit more.

Having an easily accessible and updated accounting system is one of the first steps to financial success. Once you have financials that are consistent, timely, and reliable, you can move to the next step in making financially intelligent and strategic decisions that lead to maximizing growth.