Which is Better for Your Business… QuickBooks Online or Desktop? (Pros & Cons)QuickBooks has been the most popular accounting software for small businesses by far over the last few decades. The software sprang from the success of Quicken personal accounting software by Intuit, first introduced in 1983.

It’s been a mainstay of offices, helping them generate invoices, do payroll, and keep up with their income and expenses for years.

Intuit was actually one of the first to take advantage of cloud computing by introducing QuickBooks online way back in 2001 before you saw the advent of all the other cloud technologies. And while it may have taken a while for the internet and server speeds to catch up, QuickBooks Online now has over 2.5 million subscribers as companies realize the benefits of accounting online.

Companies that are considering cloud computing options, like QuickBooks Online, often consult with our Business Productivity Experts at Technology Visionaries. We sit down with business owners and give them the pros and cons of switching so they can make an informed decision based upon the costs and savings.

84% of IT decision-makers plan to move more workloads to the cloud in the next two years.

According to a report by OpsRamp, businesses are shifting more of their workloads to a cloud infrastructure.  Why? 94% of those decision makers said moving to the cloud will reduce their IT setup and maintenance costs.

Over half expect to reduce their costs by 30%, just by moving to a cloud infrastructure.

So, should you move from a QuickBooks desktop application to QuickBooks Online cloud technology? We’ve got the pros and cons below to help you decide!

How Secure is QuickBooks Online?

First, let’s address the biggest question we hear from clients using our Ask the Expert free IT advice regarding a switch to the online version of QuickBooks. How secure is it? Nobody wants their accounting records at risk of being accessed by unauthorized users.

There’s something comforting about having just one or two computers that have the QuickBooks software on them, even if it’s less convenient.

Intuit makes security a major priority with QuickBooks Online. They have 24/7 data and privacy protection and have firewall protected servers with advanced encryption technology.

Here are a few of their security features:

  • Their data centers where servers are housed have 24/7 physical security
  • Logins are password protected
  • Data is backed up automatically using encryption
  • The software has multiple permission levels that you can set

QuickBooks Online vs Desktop Version

The most obvious difference in the two versions of QuickBooks is that the desktop version consists of software that is downloaded onto a computer and accessed locally on that device.

With the online version, you don’t need to have the software on your computer or mobile device, you can simply login online to access the QuickBooks interface to do the same types of accounting tasks you do on the desktop version.

We’ll first list a few of the pros and cons of each type of QuickBooks, then we’ll get into some of the cost saving benefits of the newer online technology.

Pros & Cons of QuickBooks Desktop


  • Can control accounting access at the computer/device level
  • Ability to calculate and rebill job costs
  • Ability to calculate discounts by customer
  • Do not have to have internet access


  • Can be more difficult to run on Mac computers
  • Harder to share files with accountant or others
  • Costs for phone support and feature updates can be high
  • Not mobile device friendly

Pros & Cons of QuickBooks Online


  • Can access your accounting from any computer or device
  • Backups happen automatically
  • Can automate and schedule invoice sending
  • Integrates with 300+ cloud-based apps


  • Requires internet access
  • Doesn’t do complete job costing
  • Need separate accounts for different companies

4 Ways QuickBooks Online Helps You Do More

Now let’s look at some of the biggest benefits of switching from the desktop version to QuickBooks Online.

Access Your Books from Anywhere

Have you ever been at home and wished you could quickly look up last month’s sales figures, but couldn’t because they were on your office computer? It’s a common problem with desktop-based accounting software. Lengthy backups have to be done and saved regularly in order to share current files with the boss.

With QuickBooks online, you can take a look at your books whenever you like and from any location and device because it’s cloud-based. You’ll also always have the most updated version and can easily share files with your accountant in a snap.

Multiple Users Included in the Price

If you have a 3-person accounting team, plus an outside accountant, you won’t have to buy a copy of QuickBooks for each of their computers, which can get costly!

With QuickBooks Online Essentials subscription, you get 3 users and 2 accountant users included in the monthly subscription price. And the Plus option allows you to have up to 25 users on simultaneously.

Better Online & Desktop Integrations

Want to smoothly pull in your online cart transactions into QuickBooks to avoid re-entering them all? How about connecting leads in Sales Force with their orders in QuickBooks?

Because QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based service it integrates better with other online apps, over 300 of them! It also has the capability to integrate with some lines of business desktop software. So, you can reduce the costs of rework on customer files to add sales data and streamline your reporting for the best business decisions.

Smart Automation

Manual backups of desktop software are becoming a thing of the past. In today’s world, you don’t want to be caught without a current backup if a hacker makes you a target.

QuickBooks online automates a number of things, so you don’t have to remember to do them! Data-encrypted backups are automatic, you can automatically download bank transactions, and you can automate your invoice sending too.

Get a Look at QuickBooks Online with Technology Visionaries!

Would you like a free look at QuickBooks Online to see what it can do for your company? We give complimentary consultations! Call us today at 732-587-5960 to get one scheduled.