QuickBooks or QuickBooks Online: Which is Right for My Business?

One of the first questions you need to ask yourself, after you’ve decided to use QuickBooks for your small business, is which one to get. You have the desktop version of QuickBooks, which runs locally on your computer or on your small business network. You also have QuickBooks Online, which runs via the Internet. Each has its advantages and disadvantages over the other, just as the businesses in our case studies have found out.

Let’s take a look at the two options across a number of different categories:


QuickBooks Online costs less up front. You don’t have to buy a software package. You simply sign up and pay the monthly fee. The desktop version costs more, but you don’t have the ongoing monthly fee. If you upgrade your QuickBooks desktop software each year, however, the costs work out to be similar.


Desktop versions of QuickBooks can be accessed only from a local PC (or from behind your local firewall, depending on which desktop QuickBooks you buy). To be able to access your QuickBooks data from outside, you would have to have remote access to your network and open up the firewall. QuickBooks Online lets you (or more important, your accountant) access your file from anywhere there is Internet access.


While the features between the desktop version of QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online, the desktop version is more customizable. In addition, you have more options for sorting through your data, and can access more information without being required to run a report. That said, QuickBooks Online will do everything that the vast majority of small businesses need it to do.


When your data is stored with QuickBooks Online, it’s backed up and secure. With the desktop version, it may or may not be as secure, and you’re responsible for your own backups. It’s really a matter of following best practices and securing your own equipment versus trusting that your data is safe and secure online.

Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you choose to use QuickBooks Online or the desktop version. What’s right for another business may not be right for you.

If you would like to talk to someone about which option might best fit your business, please contact us.

Bernard Roesch About Bernard Roesch

Bernard Roesch is co-founder and Managing Partner of Mission Consulting. Bernard’s background in the early years of his career was spent in the manufacturing sector, making his QuickBooks perspective a unique one – he understands the intricacies of a complex environment and then applies his strategic skills accordingly.