cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Content Leader

Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

   

53 Comments
ProAdvisor

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

@JamesOng. Not sure if I want to open this can of worms again....lol

 

Here goes:

 

I love qbo!  I used to love QB desktop.  But I love the automation of the QBO product.  I am guilty as charged with following the “shiny objects” when it comes to new apps.  QBO is so versatile.  Especially when you add the apps.  For example, I work with an attorney that uses LeanLaw app. Huge time saver.  I am able to service his firm like a full charge bookkeeper. Lean Law handles the billing for him.  Hubdoc handles the a/p and provides me with the statements.  With hubdoc, I can “see” who paid him.  I love the merchant service piece of QBO.  I create the invoice and if it is paid via merchant services, that is all I have to do.  The payment and the deposit happen automatically. I could go on and on.  

 

When I think about when I first started in this business with One Write Plus (DOS version, no less), Quickbooks was a game changer.  I feel the same way about Quickbooks Online. 

 

Some people may jump in and say QBO doesn’t do this or that, but I guarantee you, there is an app that will.  Like Knowify.  It is better for contractors than QuickBooks desktop contractor version (my opinion).  It does so much!

 

The best part (that we forget about) was in the old days, I would have to schedule my days around when a customer was using their computer.  So I could log in and do the bookkeeping. That would mean evening  or weekends.  I don’t miss that.  I love that I can log in anytime to help my customers.  

 

So many pluses.  And it gets better each day.  

 

Of course these thoughts are all my opinions.....

Established Community Backer ***

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

I placed my vote for desktop in another thread but Lynda, the problem with "anapp for that" is that rarely are any of them free.  Cost adds up as versatility inproves. If one could buy QBO Plus for its $50 list and all the apps were free, well that would be a game changer, wouldn't it.

 

As it is, most of my daily bookkeeping is internal on 7 connected companies with one third party PM software that can sync to any and all.  My CPA only needs periodic access, and internaly we create reports as needed for management. I do use QBO and am in process of adding some cient companies.  True, I can set these up without the clients' computers and they and I can access from anywhere there is internet.

 

Anywhere there is internet. Repeat with emphasis. You cannot work in the cloud when you cannot connect to the cloud. 

Established Community Backer ***

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

Yep bag worms


James what you forget is your audience when you ask that question. People who provide a service to clients will tend to fall on the side of QBO. It makes their life so much easier, since as Lynda said, she can work on clients files at her schedule. And of course with less capabilities there is less to worry about or correct too.


An app for this or that - If the accountant services company would provide them free of charge to their QBO clients - wow what a thriving business you would have. But as a business owner, if you tell me this app will cost me even more than I am paying - no thanks


Data security is a biggie with me, I have NO control over QBO anything. Desktop I control access, location, storage, etc.


As a business owner, desktop has it all over QBO, more functions, more flexibility, more customization, and data security under my control. and the most important thing of all ...


a known cost every 3 years. flat rate - and that 3 years assumes I upgrade, if I am not using intuit on-line connections with desktop, then I can use that same fixed cost software as long as the op system does not change.

ProAdvisor

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

Ah, @Rustler. I was wondering when you would chime in.  😺

 

As for the app conversation in your thread , I pay for them all.  They help me and I use them in my price bundling.  The time saving with the apps makes my pricing more affordable and I can service many more customers.  It’s a win-win!

Content Leader

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

@Rustler, don't worry, I didn't forget my audience - everyone. I think that's why folks make different versions of different products so everyone has choice to find what works best for them. 

 

I very glad to hear your perspective - you always bring up very valid points in terms of cost and functionality. I personally appreciate you giving this feedback because you are talking about (and to) an important segment of the folks we serve. 

 

The discussion about data security is one I'd love to dive into more. It seems to be the talk of the hour.

 

I knew this question would draw lines, that's precisely why I posted it :). I want everyone's perspective. 

 


 

Let’s talk about your business – “Growing your business

Let’s talk about QuickBooks – “Do more with QuickBooks

Ask a product question – “Questions about QuickBooks

Content Leader

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

@john-pero, thanks for this. 

 

You bring up a very valid point about the "app for that" approach. I think there's an argument to be made - maybe we at Intuit should find better ways to work with third-party developers to reduce prices. Yes, $50 would be a game changer!

 

Maybe the solution is - core apps need to be added to the ecosystem for free or at a drastically reduced cost?

 

The Internet is absolutely essential for QBO, yes. But as we have seen, changes in informational technology keep moving us towards a more connected world.

 

We used to have to pay for minutes online via dial-up. DSL did away with that. We used to get charged for phone minutes on our mobile phones. Now the availability of data and wifi in public places (and technology that bridges it all) has rendered the charging-for-minutes model mostly obsolete  (sure, we could get into the nitty-gritty of raising carrier rates in general to compensate, but bear with me).

 

With more demand, there's more impetus for internet connectivity everywhere around the world (see projects by FB and Google, again let's not talk about ulterior motives). The concept of "anywhere there is internet" will gradually change as well, and I hope for the better.

 

Then again, I like what works and want to stick with it as long as possible (citing this conversation). I still have a decent collection of rare VHS tapes and tape recorders.

 


Let’s talk about your business – “Growing your business

Let’s talk about QuickBooks – “Do more with QuickBooks

Ask a product question – “Questions about QuickBooks

ProAdvisor

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

Eventually, everything is going to be cloud based with a subscription. The trend is there. It is just a matter of time. Desktop computers will only come with the OS installed. In my opinion, this is the future.

 

Presently, I prefer the desktop. The program is more robust. I don’t have to worry about the internet. Presently, if I want it on the internet, I can go to a hosted environment. 

 

One day, Inuit will announce the end of life for the desktop program. We all need to learn QBO if we want to make money. The Millennials are prefering everything cloud based. It’s us, beyond the 55 age group who prefer desktop. Heck, I still prefer a cd as opposed to downloading.

 

As a comic said, and I wish I could remember his name.

Millennials have dreams & aspirations. Me being in the over 55 group, we have memories. LOL As funny as that is, it is also very true!

 

 

Established Community Backer ***

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

Nice discussion! I love it! :)

 

I do prefer and love Online, its the program I started with and know. And it works PERFECTLY for what I need to do. Our owner (my Dad) said he would never use Desktop again. I do know about the add-on app charges too, right now we pay around $170/month in addition to our regular subscription charges.

 

And, I do agree with @JamesOng about the different versions. Everyones needs are different. :)

Content Leader

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

@Raywhite28

 

You know your audience and inevitable cycle of technology :). 

Pen
Community Backer ***

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

Quickbooks Online (QBO) is by far, my choice. That said, I have worked almost exclusively with QBO and playing in QBDT is about the equivalent of taking a sip of Dr. Pepper and getting Tea. Sure it is going to quench my thirst, assuming I don't gag on it first, but it sure does taste awful going down. I think that is how people who have operated exclusively in QBDT feel about QBO too though, so it's fair. 

 

If we are honest, QBDT terrifies me. You can break the program and remake it in your image and that is AMAZING if you know what you are doing. If you don't it can be cumbersome and fraught with errors, trials, and tribulations. You can make QBDT do anything, be it legal or not; be it proper accounting or not. You can really mess some stuff up in there if you are not careful. There are just too many options to get lost in, but all of that is my lack of experience speaking with regard to QBDT and I recognize that. It really is an amazing product and quite probably for all of the reasons I just mentioned. 

 

QBO, on the other hand, is an OCD accountant. Everything is black and white and more or less laid out for you. Very intuit-ive (See what I did there?) as long as you do not have any of your own pre-existing expectations of how it should work. For example, you may want to do something that seems like it should be pretty easy and straightforward (And it almost always is), but if you have been trained that to do that one thing you have to go in A, B, C order to get to D then you will usually get lost in QBO... At least at first. Our OCD accountant going to make you do B then go to F and loop right back around to D. 

 

Yes. I know this makes it sound like the exact opposite of "easy and straightforward. But it isn't. The steps are almost always a breeze. And the logic makes PERFECT sense if you understand how the software works and what it is looking for. It does use standard accounting practices, but the vernacular is a little hinky because it has to be black and white; i.e. an Invoice is always going to be for money in; it is always going to apply to accounts receivable whether you want it to or not; it is always going to generate 'sales' type income on reports. For most people, an Invoice does not HAVE to do these things, but it does if you work in Quickbooks Online. 

 

That is the beauty of QBO. You never have to guess about what it wants. It wants you to do it the way it expects. It wants you to do what it considers to be the "right" way. While that does not leave much room in the way of "creative" accounting, it does often keep you out of some pretty sticky situations and it makes it a very easy program to both learn and teach. 

Content Leader

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

@Pen, I love this. You're really getting to that "experience" perspective of a workflow - a tool is only good if you use it, and if it doesn't fit, you may not succeed to your full potential. 

 

In your experience, is there a clear learning distinction between those who come over from an existing accounting product (could be non-QB) and are new to QuickBooks Online compared to those who are brand new to the process and start with QuickBooks Online? I am really fixed on your point about "expectations." 

Pen
Community Backer ***

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

There absolutely is. I learned accounting via Quickbooks Online (QBO) and so I learned accounting with all of the QBO quirks in mind. I understand that QBO expects sales/service type income to be recorded with a sales type transaction. Recording it with a deposit, isn't enough to make it a "sale" as far as QBO is concerned. I know that an invoice will always apply to Accounts Receivable and there can be only one Accounts Receivable just as there can be only one Highlander. Same thing with Accounts Payable. You can have multiples of these account types, but good luck using them. 

 

And at first, I thought these were all common practices, but then I started getting calls from former Desk Top users, and Xero users, and Sage users and they all invariably had the same issue. They expected QBO to either do what their old program did just naturally or make me make it do it. QBO can't bend like that. QBO can do *almost* anything the other programs can do, just not in the same way the other programs do it. You just have to figure what path QBO wants you to take. So a lot of it becomes unlearning what you already know. 

Content Leader

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

@Pen, terrific insight. Maybe that gap for newcomers really is expectations. Is the solution more guidance? Is there a good way to temper those expectations? 

I've seen similar patterns with other software and workflows, so maybe this is far more pervasive than we realize. A totally external but related example (from my very short side stint as a web-designer) is web-builder tools.

 

Wordpress can literally do anything. I can't remember the statistic, but at one point something like 50% of all websites ran off of the Wordpress platform. That amount of control is intimidating for some (especially those with no coding experience) and the UI/tool itself is designed for those who want to take advantage of this flexibility.

On the other side is Wix, a plug-and-play style web builder. It can do a ton, but it can't do everything. Still, people try to shoehorn in workflows and write custom code for the platform because they expect a certain level of customization... even though that wasn't what it was designed for. 

 

@Pen, what's the one piece of advice you'd give folks who are on the fence about getting started? 

 


 

Let’s talk about QuickBooks – “Do more with QuickBooks

Let’s talk about your business – “Growing your business

Ask a product question – “Questions about QuickBooks

Highlighted
Pen
Community Backer ***

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

First and foremost, PLEASE read the Import Limitations article. Yes, it is long. Yes, it is cumbersome. But would you rather spend 30 minutes reading an article or an entire day putting all your information into a program that is not going to work for you? The migration process is not a simple click of a button. And once the migration process is done, there is still going to be some setup. The process takes time and does not always go smoothly. So keep that in mind and be prepared. 

 

After you have read the article and you have decided QBO is the way to go, take some time and play in the program. You get a free 30-day trial. You can have as many free trials as you want. You don't even have to put in your credit card information to get them. Take advantage of that! If you don't want all of your trials to show up when you log in with your primary login credentials set up a different login with a different email address for the trials you are going to use to play in. And then go buck-wild. Click on everything. Try to break it. Learn your way around the program so that you are at least familiar enough you don't get lost. Heck, call support and ask them for a 360 Tour. At the call center I worked at 360 tours were our favorite kind of call. We could take our time and we got to show off a little. 

 

Additionally, know that most of your information is going to come into Quickbooks Online (QBO). Your numbers are almost always going to be right, but they may not look the way you expect if you use features in Quickbooks Desktop (QBDT) that are not available in QBO.  QBO has protocols for almost every piece of information that is in QBDT that does not flow naturally into QBO, so the program knows what to do with it. It is the things QBO doesn't have protocols for that probably won't come over at all. After a conversion, if you are missing something, it is very possibly still in QBO, you just aren't necessarily looking in the right place. The import limitations article will also tell you which pieces of information are going to come over kind of funky and/or help you prepare for it. 

 

 

Once you do get going in QBO, if you run into a process that you really aren't sure of, don't be afraid to use the Test Drive Company The test drive company is a fake QBO company Intuit put together and continues to maintain. It has transactions and everything else you need to try things out. You can even activate payroll. And the most beautiful part about it is that the Test Drive Company is essentially an Etch-A-Sketch company. You can't mess it up. When you log out, all of the changes you made, are gone. It goes back to exactly the way it was before you logged in. It is great for troubleshooting, taking tutorials and just learning your way around. The only thing the Test Drive Company cannot do is connect Apps.

 

If you have an app, you want to try, use one of those free trials we were talking about earlier import a QBDT Sample Company (or your old company file) and sync the app. The goal here is to: A.) make sure the information comes into QBO the way you want it to and meshes well with the way you have your QBO company setup. B.) Give you an idea of how it works so you can play with it before syncing it with your data. 

 

I hope that answers your questions @JamesOng. Please let me know if you have any other questions! 

 

Sincerely, 

 

Your Personal Penguin

 

ProAdvisor

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

Love the Etch-a-Sketch analogy of the test file.  :cathappy:

Community Backer **

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

Even though i am a big proponent of cloud software in this particular case i prefer QB desktop over Online.To provide context about my background- I work with (payorCRM) is a cloud plugin for Qb desktop/online which automates receivables function

 

Why QB desktop is better ?

 

1. QB desktop allows for Faster data entry - Its easier to enter data and traverse through them without any lag.The online one has an implicit lag (Internet speeds are not always constant)

2. QB desktop has more features - I think QB Online will take a few years to reach upto what the desktop version can do

 

What is missing in QB desktop?

 

Some of the automation relating to receivables function (for eg: automatically sending a invoice reminder email) would require a cloud solution though this can be solved by using QB desktop plugins that are cloud based

 

Content Leader

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

@Megan-Payorcrm,

 

I really appreciate your perspective, knowing that PayorCRM caters to both Desktop and Online.

 

I generally prefer Desktop as well because of the functionality. While the interface may look a tad dated (I don't care as much about appearance as opposed to functionality), the customization modules are rich.

 

To offer a con - unless you plan to build out a robust multi-user network, if you have multiple folks on your team working in QuickBooks, I QBO has an edge. While most wouldn't think of accounting as a "mobile task," the trend seems to be shifting. 

Community Explorer **

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

Quickbooks Online is not an option for manufacturers.    Since Quickbooks seems to be pushing everyone to use Online, this makes me feel like Desktop will be discontinued and that Quickbooks does not care about manufacturing.

Pen
Community Backer ***

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

You do not have to switch to Quickbooks Online. The sales team may try to convince you of that. But it is not the truth. Quickbooks Desktop is going to be around at least long enough to get QBO up to par. When they said they were not going to make a Desktop program for Mac after 2016, you should have heard the outcry. The pool of people who uses Windows QBDT far outweighs those who use it on Mac. They have to have learned from that experience. They will not shut down Desktop until Online is able to handle all client types or they will just be leaving money on the table. 

Content Leader

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

Hey @ekickemmn, by chance are you using Enterprise or Pro? 

 

While there's definitely a push to further support and iterate on the Online product,  QuickBooks Desktop isn't going away any time soon. In fact, they are reviving the recently (and perpetually) discontinued QuickBooks Desktop for Mac this year.

 

The Product Managers are friends of mine, and they definitely understand the need for different versions of the product to meet particular needs, manufacturing of course being one of them.

 

I'd be happy to send them a note if you'd like!

Content Leader

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

@Pen,

 

Folks are huge fans of the Mac product. It's coming back :). 

Frequent Explorer **

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

Hi James,

  Thanks for the great message.  My wish would be for Manufacturing and Wholesale to be added to QB Online, and then I would use that instead of Desktop.  The reason is that I often have to re-install the desktop version due to various Windows system problems, and then when I re-install, the attachment links are broken.  So if Manufacturing and Wholesale and attachments worked online, that would be more reliable.

   Reliability and functionality is more important than speed, because having to re-link hundreds of documents is a non-starter.

Established Community Backer ***

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

@kklkawev What are the features that you would need differently in QBO for your manufacturing business? We are a manufacturing and wholesale business and use QBO everyday. Works absolutely perfectly! :)

Community Explorer **

Re: Which do you prefer, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online (and why)?

I haven't used QBO, so I don't really know.   The ability to build assembly items is really key.  After doing a build, the component items are subtracted from inventory, and the cost to build the entire assembly is determined correctly.  Here are three videos showing what is involved.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBnMOqvCpyw

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jb00HLxCdUE

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBWsrZHAYdo

Part 1 in a series focused on using QuickBooks in an assembly or light manufacturing environment.

Need to get in touch?

Contact us