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QuickBooks Desktop vs. Online: Which is Best For Me?

Posted Oct 30, 2019 03:25 PM
Few accounting software programs can compete with Intuit’s QuickBooks for smaller to mid-sized organizations. Many nonprofit organizations use it for bookkeeping, payroll, and managing fundraising activities.

However, should you choose QuickBooks Desktop or Online? We summarize the differences between the two and what to consider when deciding which program to purchase:

Features: Since Desktop has been around longer, some features are more robust or easier to find, though many of these same features are available in Online. Users of Online have the option of downloading third party apps to fill any necessary gaps.

Cost: You pay for Desktop one time upfront. Online has a monthly subscription fee. Thanks to TechSoup, nonprofits can purchase either program at a discounted rate.
Check out the Intuit products they have available.

Security: Because Online is cloud-based, you have the comfort of relying on Intuit’s secure system. For Desktop, your security is dependent upon your office’s internal network. You also need to back up all data in Desktop yourself, while Online’s data is automatically stored on Intuit’s cloud servers.

Accessibility: Online is convenient because you can access data and perform functions remotely from your laptop, smartphone, or tablet device. All you need is Internet connection (from a safe network, of course!) and a strong password you and your accountant can remember. Obviously, you can only access Desktop when you’re on a computer where the software has been installed.

Updates: Software upgrades are made automatically in Online. You can turn on automatic upgrades in Desktop, but it is recommended that you purchase new software every three years. This is when technical support for older versions of Desktop usually ends.

Which should I choose?

Choosing the “right” version of QuickBooks involves assessing many factors, such as how many people need access, where they are located, and how you plan to use the software and reports. If you already have an accounting professional on staff, we recommend asking them. If you do not, we’re happy to lend a hand. Reach out to us by filling out a
Request for Assistance or emailing to receive affordable guidance at $25 per 15-minute increment.