QuickBooks Desktop vs Online

iPoint synchronizes with both the Desktop and Online versions of QuickBooks. We have done our best to make sure that data and transactions sync seamlessly to create a simple yet powerful connection. Which of the platforms should you use to interface with iPoint. We really don’t have a preference as it depends largely on how you run your business.

It is important to understand, however, that the two flavors of QuickBooks are, in fact, two separate programs. Yes, they are both created by Intuit software. Yes, they both track your finances and do many of the same functions. But they are two distinctly different applications written from the ground up by different development teams. Before choosing which flavor of the software you want to use, you should consider the differences.

This article used to define the differences between the two versions of QuickBooks, but that is a continuously moving target. Intuit continues to develop for both platforms, although lately, most of the innovations are being rolled out to the Online product and not necessarily the Desktop version. To further add to the confusion, there are multiple versions of both Desktop and Online, and each level has different functionality even across the same platform.

So which version should you choose? QuickBooks Desktop is still more robust in the reporting and inventory functionality. But Online provides easier access from multiple locations. The Online has no software to install, but an internet outage means you can’t get to your financials. The Desktop version has to be upgraded every 3-5 years, or ancillary services won’t work. But Online is constantly updated, so you always have the latest version.

Keep in mind that several of the shortcomings in QuickBooks Online are addressed by iPoint. Remember iPoint is a Job Costing software, so many of those missing features are enhanced in our software anyway. iPoint can do things like Inventory Counts, Progress Billing, Job Cost Reporting. So even though QBO does not have those capabilities, iPoint can fill in the gaps. iPoint doesn’t cover all the gaps, but we can help with some of them.

All that being said, we recommend that you speak with your CPA and accounting professionals to get their take on which QuickBooks version you should use. While analyzing your business might point to a particular QuickBooks flavor, a lot of the decision comes down to preference.

Desktop Desktop Enterprise QBO
Inventory Asset Value Average Costing Average Costing FIFO Costing
Item Receipts Yes Yes *No
Sales Rep Sync on Invoice Yes Yes No
Sites No Yes No
Work Order Time Sync Yes Yes **No

One significant difference between Desktop and Online varieties is how they calculate inventory asset value. QuickBooks Desktop uses Average Costing while QuickBooks online uses FIFO Costing. QBO also does NOT utilize item receipts. *That means that you can sync the PO to QBO and when you enter your Vendor bill the items are recognized as received in QBO at that time.

**If you’ve been using QuickBooks Desktop and our Work Order Time sync, please note that this functionality does not work with Online.

Finally, do an internet search and look for the differences between QuickBooks Desktop and Online. Just be sure you are looking at recent articles because, as we stated earlier, the functions are constantly changing and being updated. Decide if the shortcomings in one version of QB are deal breakers for you. Here’s a great place to start: Radio Free QuickBooks

At the end of the day, you want to pick the QuickBooks version and flavor that most closely fits your business model AND will grow with you.

Last modified: 20 Sep 2023

Was this helpful?

Yes No
You indicated this topic was not helpful to you ...
Could you please leave a comment telling us why? Thank you!
Thanks for your feedback.