• Online Vs Desktop (Pro)


  • QuickBooks Online VS QuickBooks Desktop (Pro) – Over the last few years, Intuit’s been increasingly encouraging customers to convert from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online. The company promotes the cloud-based version of its software as user-friendly, convenient, and efficient. Many accountants, on the other hand, complain about lack of features and inefficiency. So which one really is best  for your business?

    For the purposes of this review, we’ll be looking at QuickBooks Pro 2017 as the desktop version of the software.

    Web-hosted or Locally Installed:

    Users and Permissions:

    Ease of Use:

    Product Features:

    Integration:

    Customer Service and Support:

    Negative Reviews and Complaints:

    Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

    Final Verdict:

    Web-hosted or Locally Installed:

    QuickBooks Online is cloud-based and includes free mobile apps for iPhone/iPad and Android devices. QuickBooks Pro is locally installed and does not offer mobile apps. However you can get Pro hosted, go here for details.

    Users and Permissions:

    QuickBooks Desktop allows for one concurrent user. To add more, to achieve multi user status you’ll need to purchase additional licenses (usually a little less than the cost of the software).

    QuickBooks Online allows for one, three, or five users, depending on the size of your plan. (You can also grant access to up to two accountants, who do not count toward your user limit.)

    Ease of Use:

    Winner (business owners): QuickBooks Online
    Winner (accountants): QuickBooks Desktop

    This is a tricky one to adjudicate, because the winner depends entirely on the experience level of the user.

    For non-accountants, QBO is a more intuitive program. If you’re a business owner who handles your own accounting—or if an admin assistant without an accounting background is handling your bookkeeping, you will most likely find QBO easier to understand and use. The built-in help feature could be improved, but for the most part, you’ll likely find functions where you expect them to be, and you won’t see much accounting jargon in the program.

    QBO’s interface is generally easy for non-accountants to understand.

    However, trained accountants and many bookkeepers tend to prefer QB Pro. The program has a lot of time-saving features which QBO lacks, and data entry is often far more efficient. One of the major complaints about QBO from users familiar with QB Pro is that the program’s interface is poorly designed, requiring multi-step processes for tasks that used to be simple. QB Pro also has a better in-program help function.

    QuickBooks Desktop introduced Income Tracker in 2014 and Bill Tracker in 2016; these features incorporate QBO’s colorful, at-a-glance approach with the traditional QBD interface.

    Product Features:

    Winner: QuickBooks Desktop

    QuickBooks Pro has more features than even the highest-level QBO plan, and at a fraction of the cost. However, it’s worth considering that QBO’s primary appeal is its mobility. For companies which require access from a variety of locations—or which frequently use mobile devices—it may be worth sacrificing extra features in order to attain that.

    QB Pro has far superior job-costing capabilities, as well as offering batch invoicing, far more options for invoice customization . . . for that matter, more options on nearly every feature of the software. The program’s reporting capabilities blow QBO out of the water, particularly when it comes to customisable reports. Same goes for budgeting. And while the lack of mobility is a downside, the fact that the company file and software resides on your computer means that problems at Intuit’s end—or with your internet provider—won’t cause you to lose access to your file.

    Integration:

    Winner: QuickBooks Online

    QuickBooks Pro offers 248 add-ons, while QuickBooks Online offers roughly 280 add-ons. While QBO edges ahead on sheer quantity, if there’s a specific integration you need for your business, it’s worth checking with each program; each supports some apps which the other program does not, and the quality of integration varies quite a bit.

    Customer Service and Support:

    Winner: Tie

    Let’s be frank: neither option is good. Neither program provides email or chat support, and with both, you’re liable to deal with representatives who don’t understand how QuickBooks works. But QBO offers free support for all issues, whereas QB Pro only provides it in certain circumstances. Also, Intuit seems to have made a serious effort toward improving wait times for QBO support, whereas wait times for support for the desktop version remain dreadful.

    There are, however, two advantages of QB Pro support: 1) Once you jump through all the hoops and hold times and voice recognition menus and get through to tech support, the techs do seem to understand the program, and 2) Unlike QBO support, QB Pro tech support is available all the time.

    QB Pro offers live tech support 24/7; customer service (for billing issues and the like) is available Monday-Friday from 6am-6pm QBO’s support hours are Monday-Friday from 6am–6pm and Saturday from 6am–3pm.

    Negative Reviews and Complaints:

    Winner: QuickBooks Desktop

    QuickBooks Online operates at a disadvantage here, because of course, QuickBooks Pro existed first, and some of the complaints about QBO simply stem from users not liking change. However, even accounting for this, the online version falls behind its predecessor in this category, racking up scores of horror stories and virulent remarks.

    QuickBooks Online gets complaints about problems with conversion from the locally installed versions, with lost data and reduced functionality being the primary issues. A number of people are very unhappy about the fact that you can’t downgrade your subscription (e.g. convert from QuickBooks Plus to QuickBooks Essentials). Users also complain about inefficiency (especially compared to QBD), poor customer service, outages and downtime, and the program running slowly.

    As for QuickBooks Pro, complaint highlights include poor customer service, forced upgrades, errors and bugs, and the program running slowly.

    Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

    Winner: QuickBooks Desktop

    It’s not hard to find positive reviews on either program. QuickBooks Pro just barely edges ahead here, perhaps in part because it’s had more time to develop a devoted user base. QB Pro was for a long time the gold standard of small business accounting software, and many users believe that it is still the best option available.

    QuickBooks Pro gets praise for its vast variety of options and features, especially when it comes to the software’s reporting capabilities. Many customers also find the interface sensible and efficient.

    As for QuickBooks Online, some small business owners praise the software’s easier learning curve and lack of accounting jargon. Customers particularly like the ability to share and access their company file over the internet, as well as the mobile apps.

    Final Verdict:

    Winner: QuickBooks Desktop

    On the whole, QuickBooks Desktop remains ahead of QuickBooks Online—for now. However, that’s not to say it’s a better choice for all companies. The desktop version of the software is more versatile—but less mobile. It includes a vast array of options and functions—but many small businesses won’t need all of them, and such details come at the expense of a steep learning curve for non-accountants working with the software. On its own, QuickBooks Pro is far more affordable than its online cousin—but if you have multiple users and want full customer support, live bank feeds, and continual updates, it becomes more expensive.

    For a company with complex accounting needs, QB Pro will almost certainly be a better choice. But for a company which has pretty basic needs and in which anyone but a specialized bookkeeper is handling day-to-day transactions, QBO may be preferable.

    Want to compare for yourself? Both programs offer free trials; try out QuickBooks Pro, take QuickBooks Online for a spin, and see which program is the best match for your business.