Quickbooks is one of the most popular accounting software programs that can effectively manage your payroll, accounts receivables, operations, and other important financial functions. Now you can get both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online. Knowing the differences between the two will help you to choose the best one.

What is QuickBooks?

It is one of the most widely used accounting software programs today. It has a huge capacity for handling expenses and income, payments, invoicing, and tax deductions as well. It also has integrated advanced time tracking that most of the other accounting software doesn’t have. Two versions of QuickBooks are available today – QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online. They have different functions and it's important to learn about them.

QuickBooks Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online have some similarities, despite their differences. The invoice creating, scheduling, sales and tax reporting, mileage tracking, accounts payable management, and other functions are similar. In both cases, you will get assistance from the QuickBooks accountants. Also, they both allow integrations with hundreds of cloud-based apps. Both are good for tax compliance, budgeting, cash flow, and expense tracking, accepting online payments, and general reporting features. Both offer multiple service tiers, that is, you can assign which employees can access the software. There are also some major differences between the two software which are mentioned here. 


QuickBooks Online has a lot of modern features that are absent in the QuickBooks Desktop. Here are some features that are exclusive to QuickBooks Online. 

  • Automatic transaction scheduling and sending
  • Audit logging
  • Multiple budgeting
  • Automatic nightly account syncing
  • Time and transaction tracking
  • Presentation-ready reports
  • Transactions containing documents, images, and signatures. 
  • Custom banking rules by classifications, location, values, and percentages. 
  • Customer labeling option
  • New bank rules added automatically
  • Journal entries with multiple accounts receivable and accounts payables

The QuickBooks Desktop also has some exclusive features that are absent in QuickBooks Online. These are the following:

  • Back up, condense, and restore data
  • Unapplied payments correction
  • Statement writing
  • Reviewing client data
  • Posting extra accounts receivable and accounts payable accounts. 
  • Management of funds not deposited
  • Sales tax correction
  • Industry-specific reporting
  • Customization of reports
  • Business planners including forecasting
  • Rate-level billing
  • Automated Clearing House payments
  • Inventory reordering
  • Partial receipt
  • Sales orders management and invoice tracking. 
  • Payroll calculation

QuickBooks Online can integrate with third parties to provide many of the features offered by the QuickBooks Desktop. However, you can do so with extra cost 


Hosting is different in both cases. The QuickBooks Desktop is hosted locally; whereas, QuickBooks Online has cloud-based hosting. As a result, QuickBooks Online can be accessed from any device as long as there is an internet connection. You can get mobile access from a remote location as well. But you can access QuickBooks Desktop from your desktop only. 


The QuickBooks Desktop is a yearly subscription, but the QuickBooks Online is a monthly subscription. The service tiers and pricing are also different. 

You should choose the accounting software according to your need. However, QuickBooks Online is becoming more popular due to flexibility and remote operation. You should evaluate your business needs before deciding which software to install.