Are you just starting your business?  Maybe you received the notice that QuickBooks Desktop 2018 Intuit payroll will be retired after this year and wondering what your options are.  Do you currently have QuickBooks Desktop and are wishing you could have multiple people access the data from other than your computer?

One of the keys to running a successful business and being able to adjust quickly is to have up-to-date financial information.  Both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online offer the ability to have information updated daily and have multiple reports to provide valuable information, but they are very different products.

Banking integration is offered for both options.

  • QuickBooks Online has an automatic bank reconciliation feature that makes it easy to keep an updated balance with your bank.
  • QuickBooks Desktop offers automatic bank feeds allowing you to download transactions daily.
  • QuickBooks Desktop has a flowchart and dropdown user interface, which is easy to navigate.
  • QuickBooks Online has a dashboard you can customize to show your favorite reports, graphs, or tasks.

What about third-party or industry-specific applications?

  • QuickBooks Desktop integration with over 200 third party applications
  • QuickBooks Online boasts more than 500 integrations, many of them with third-party apps such as CRM, Payroll, Time Tracking, Payments, just to name a few. The apps are easily accessible directly in QuickBooks Online without having to import or sync the data.

Both the online version and desktop version have multiple levels of product offerings and pricing.

  • QuickBooks Online subscriptions are paid monthly and run from about $12 a month to $75 a month. The features include number of users, level of sophisticated reporting, tracking projects and inventory, and business analytics and insights.  If you start with a basic level and outgrow it, you can upgrade easily.
  • QuickBooks Desktop has pricing based on an annual subscription and can be more affordable. The fees run from about $300 per year up to $1,200 per year.  The differences in features include level of reporting, forecasting ability, industry-specific features, barcoding, to name a few.

How does the reporting compare between the two products?

  • QuickBooks Online offers good reporting with the most comprehensive reporting available in the Advanced Plan. Some of the key reports in the Advanced Plan include cash flow and financial metrics relating to revenue.  The reports can be saved in your favorites for easy access, and all reports can be exported to Excel or emailed directly to someone.
  • QuickBooks Desktop has more than 100 standard reports that you can easily customize and save your options. The higher-level plans have more than 150 standard reports, including industry-specific options.

How do you choose which version to use? 

  • If integration with other software and mobile apps, you prefer a dashboard user interface and multiple users able to access it from the cloud, QuickBooks Online would be your choice. An added benefit:  You don’t have to backup and send a copy of your files to your accountant – you both have access anytime you want on the most current working file.
  • If better reporting, features are developed to industry-specific needs, more favorable pricing, and a flowchart interface, QuickBooks Desktop might be a better choice for you.

To answer or calm your nerves about QuickBooks Desktop 2018 Intuit payroll not being available after this year, fear not, you will have the option to upgrade to a newer desktop version of Quickbooks, use the QuickBooks Online payroll, or there are other options available if those doesn’t seem like a good fit.