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QuickBooks Online vs Desktop: Which Should You Choose?

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The terms “back office” and “fun” aren’t usually used in the same sentence when it comes to owning a business. It’s not hard to imagine that more business owners would rather be communicating with clients and creating new business than doing the books. Thankfully, QuickBooks, the go-to accounting software makes things a little bit easier. But when it comes to QuickBooks Online vs Desktop, which is the better option for your business?

Here are some of the main differences between the two services that may lead to a decision:

QuickBooks Online

Starting at $20 per month, QuickBooks Online is Intuit’s fast and easy solution for the ever-changing business landscape. With digital integrations for Mac, PC, and mobile, QuickBooks Online and its available apps make tracking income and expenses, sales and tax, and generating invoices and accepting payments, among many other features, a breeze.

One of the best features QuickBooks Online comes with built into the platform is the ability to remotely collaborate with an accountant or bookkeeper, like us here at SGBS Consulting, Inc. Our QuickBooks Online clients enjoy the ease of having us access, work on, and completely update their books from our office while they go about their days running their businesses. It’s one of the most innovative and convenient updates QuickBooks has ever made to the software and we’re active supporters of it.

QuickBooks Desktop

Deriving from 1983’s Quicken double-entry accounting software, QuickBooks Desktop sells a license for the program to be downloaded on your company’s computer to have and use as you please. Starting at a one-time license fee of about $220, QuickBooks Desktop may be the least expensive solution in the long-term for business accounting.

Because the QuickBooks Desktop is native to your computer, it doesn’t require internet to be able to use. Your downloaded version also comes with reports tailored to your specific industry. If your business deals large-scale invoicing or various types of inventory management, QuickBooks Desktop is designed to tackle both. The program’s batch invoicing capability allows for mass-invoicing while also offering both ACM (average cost method) and FIFO (first-in-first-out) inventory control options, depending on your business model.

QuickBooks Online vs Desktop

via Intuit QuickBooks’ Facebook Page

Weighing the decision on whether to choose QuickBooks Online vs Desktop can be tricky, but it comes down to one question: what’s worth more – your money or your time?

If you choose to go with QuickBooks Online, the accessibility factor, auto updating, and back-up protection are unmatched. With that said, there still isn’t a way to calculate mileage, and over time, it will cost more, with the minimum annual cost totaling roughly $240.

If you choose QuickBooks Online, you can run that version of the program for however long you want, creating great cost-efficiency, aside from any add-on features, which QuickBooks is actively discontinuing for some versions. Despite this, remote access is an additional cost, and with the changing landscape of how people do business, the technology seems to be slipping away from the mainstream business owner’s needs.

If we had to choose, we’d advocate for QuickBooks Online as the best option to serve most businesses. It’s hyper convenient, even though it may be a little more expensive over time. It allows us to better help clients, quicker, and allows for optimal time management when it comes to back office operations.

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