Monday, September 24, 2012

QuickBooks: QuickBooks Online or Desktop?


This is an ongoing question which comes down to personal preference and actual need….

Where QuickBooks Desktop is Better than QuickBooks Online

There are a few features that QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise have that QuickBooks Online does not.
  • Sales Orders
  • Inventory Assemblies
  • Progress Invoicing
  • Receiving Partial Purchase Orders
  • Item Receipts
  • Balance Sheet by Class
  • Budget v Actuals for Jobs
 With QuickBooks Enterprise and the optional Advanced Inventory feature:
  • Serial Number/Lot Number Tracking
  • Multiple Warehouse Locations

  • QuickBooks Statement Writer (in the accountant's edition)

Where QuickBooks Online is Better than QuickBooks Desktop

What many people don’t know about are the features that QuickBooks Online does better than Desktop.
  • Invoice/Sales Receipt Automation
While Desktop has memorized transactions, they still have to be sent to the customer manually. QuickBooks Online's counterparts, - recurring transactions - can be set up to be emailed automatically to the customer and the QuickBooks Online user/owner can be copied on each one. Many monthly clients are set up this way. How?  a fee is established, the client signs an engagement letter/contract and credit card authorization form, then each month on the specific date, a Sales Receipt is created and the card is charged. Copies of the sales receipt are sent to the customer and sender.

Delayed customer charges/billing
Desktop has unbilled time and expenses, but again, the user still has to manually go in and bill the customer for them. In QuickBooks Online , you can turn on a preference to tell QuickBooks Online to do this automatically – either any time activity is assigned, daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. QuickBooks Online can remind the user to do it or automatically create an invoice for the unbilled time and expenses and depending on your preference, either tell the user via a message on the home page or not tell the user.
  • Activity Log
Desktop has the Audit Trail, which tells us when a transaction was created, modified, or deleted. QuickBooks Online has the activity log. The activity log shows when a user logs in, logs out, edits a customer, vendor, item, account. It shows when a third party add on accesses the data, when bank transactions are downloaded and when those transactions are matched or added to registered.

Automatic email reporting
Memorize a report in QuickBooks Online , add it to a group, then set that group to be emailed to yourself, your bosses or your accounting clients on a regular basis.

Bank transactions automatically downloaded nightly
In Desktop, the process of downloading bank transactions into QuickBooks has to be initiated manually, and if doing this for others, the password is needed. In QuickBooks Online, the client can set up the connection, and QuickBooks Online goes out each night and automatically pulls in the transactions. There’s no need to have the client's user name or the password of the financial institution.
  • QBO has Class AND Location tracking
Desktop has class tracking, the ability to track different profit centers, but QuickBooks Online adds one more layer with Location tracking. You can now track specific information (customer type / job type... ) with the classes, and also by Location (such as zip code areas).
Other pieces of the puzzle in determining what edition would best suite your specific needs include:  Who needs to access the data (how many users)? From where do they need to access it? What is the budget?  Are there special considerations to review such as inventory control.


bestuhlung said...

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Online desktop said...

Getting the Online Desktop up and running is easy, you'll just need to grab some packages from your distribution and can see the latest updates.

lstegemiller said...

It has been our discovery that many people would love to have the cloud provide a resource for them rather than having the cloud dictate their life. Based on the increased cost, reliance on the internet speed/connection/web server reliability and in some cases, reduced functionality, many people we encounter are opposed to moving their financial data completely to the cloud. That doesn't mean cloud hosted solutions are bad, it just means they would like an alternative.

Personally from the different accountants, bookkeepers, and small business owners that I have the privilege of working with, many do not recommend using QBO. Most tend to prefer using the desktop version with Qbox alongside it. Since Qbox integrates the best attributes of the cloud without really changing how they work on their financials, users are able to receive the best of both worlds.

(If you're interested in learning more about Qbox, visit their website at