QuickBooks Online
Carmen Leung

Carmen Leung

Carmen is Source Online's Director of Client Services, and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Accounting, diplomas in Finance and Accounting, and a certificate in Business Administration.

Is QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop Better for You?

QuickBooks, an accounting software program that caters to small and medium-sized businesses, is a top choice among small business owners. Since its initial release in 1983, QuickBooks has continuously evolved to maintain its position as one of the most widely-used accounting software programs in Canada and the United States.

QuickBooks offers software programs with two different delivery methods. QuickBooks Online (QBO) is the company’s cloud-based software, and QuickBooks Pro (QBP) is the accounting software’s desktop-friendly option.

But, which one is better for small businesses? Is it QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop? In this article, we’re using our expert bookkeeper insight to help demystify the differences between these two robust accounting software programs.

Let Your Business Guide You

Before selecting an accounting software program, start by taking a snapshot of your business’s bookkeeping needs. How a small business owner chooses between QBO and QBD should be based on several important factors. Examples of these include:

  • How many users will access the program?
  • Does the business have data security preferences?
  • What is the company’s industry?
  • Does the company support a remote work environment?
  • Will bookkeeping services be outsourced?

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the above questions and how your answers determine which software accounting program is right for your business. 

How many QuickBooks users will you have?

The number of employees you have needing access to the accounting software will affect which QuickBooks version to choose. In this software program, the number of users that can have program access varies. 

QuickBooks Online – Allows More Users

The cloud-based version of QuickBooks allows for more users in its base package compared to the desktop version’s entry-level options. Businesses requiring multiple employees to have access to the organization’s accounting software should consider QBO. 

For example, those with mobile financial tracking needs, such as contractors or real estate agents who routinely execute financial transactions outside of the office, may prefer QBO for this reason.

Adding more users to the online program is more comfortable and less costly than for the desktop version.

QuickBooks Desktop – Less User Access for More Money

The desktop version of the program, QuickBooks Pro, limits the number of users. To add additional users can cost hundreds of dollars in extra fees per user. This plan is more beneficial for in-house, full-service accounting departments. Additionally, learning how to use the desktop program is very in-depth and requires the user to have a sturdy background in bookkeeping and accounting principles.

What are the company’s data-security concerns?

Strong data protection is essential for all businesses. Security breaches of corporate and client information can be detrimental to an organization’s business and reputation. Accounting software programs can be vital in accessing, storing, and analyzing sensitive information that needs to be protected.

QuickBooks Online Offers Built-in Security

QBO is a cloud-based program. This means all data entered in the program becomes stored in a cloud server. With QBO, the cloud server is maintained and kept secure by QBO’s parent company, Intuit.

This feature is especially useful for small businesses who don’t want the hassle of managing data protection.

QuickBooks Desktop Security Can be Customized

Companies that want to be in charge of their data may prefer QuickBooks Pro. The desktop version enables the user to store, monitor, and protect their data under in-house rules and regulations.

What industry does the company belong to?

A business’ accounting and bookkeeping system is largely influenced by the industry it belongs to. For example, how a construction and renovation company plans its finances is very different from an online retailer or non-profit organization.

When running a business with unique, industry-specific accounting and bookkeeping needs, the desktop version of QuickBooks may better suit your business.

Does your business support a remote-work environment?

With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, businesses’ need to adopt a remote-work environment has increased exponentially. And, as technology and work culture continue to evolve, this latest trend is expected to grow.

QBO is better designed to support a remote work environment than the traditional desktop version of Intuit’s accounting software. The top reasons this program can better integrate into the changing workplace is:

  • Accommodates multiple operating systems, including Windows and Mac.
  • Functional on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
  • Data is available in real-time. 
  • Several users can access the program at the same time, regardless of location or device.

Are bookkeeping services outsourced?

Outsourcing bookkeeping services is an excellent way to improve the efficiency and profitability of any small business. If your company wishes to hire a reputable bookkeeping firm to run your books, having an accounting software program that both you and your bookkeeper can easily use is a great asset.

QBO offers appealing advantages to small business owners and solopreneurs in comparison to the professional, desktop version. 

Is QuickBooks Online the Right Choice for You?

QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop both offer powerful solutions to an organization’s financial management strategies. Selecting the right accounting software is key to simplifying and optimizing those essential tasks. When you decide, be sure to maximize your investment with professional bookkeeping services from Source Online Bookkeeping.

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