QuickBooks is a modern accounting platform designed to help make running your business easier. But is Quickbooks cloud-based or does it run as standalone software?
We’ve already done a pretty extensive deep dive on Quickbooks, covering how the platform works, what you can do with it, and why thousands of businesses use it.
If you’re thinking of using Quickbooks, you might be wondering whether or not it runs in the cloud? The quick answer to this question is, yes, Quickbooks DOES run in the cloud – but only if you use Quickbooks Online.
There are two versions of Quickbooks: QuickBooks and Quickbooks Online.
They both work much the same, but Quickbooks Online is the company’s cloud-based platform which means you can access it remotely from any device, including your phone.
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Quickbooks vs Quickbooks Online – What’s The Difference?
The version of Quickbooks you use will depend largely on how your business operates. If you have a fixed office location and accounting team, you might be best off with the desktop version of Quickbooks.
The desktop version of Quickbooks runs natively on a PC. You download and install the software and it runs on that particular PC. Once installed, you can ONLY access the application via the computers it is installed on.
If you’re a sole trader or an agile start-up with employees that work remotely and/or in different locations, Quickbooks Online might be a better option – it runs in the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere.
Main Differences Between Quickbooks & Quickbooks Online
Here’s a quick breakdown of the main differences between Quickbooks and Quickbooks Online.
- Pricing – You can try Quickbooks Online for free for 30 days, whereas to use Quickbooks desktop, you will have to pay an upfront fee to access the software. Quickbooks Online runs on a monthly fee pricing structure.
- Internet Connection – In order to connect to Quickbooks Online, you will need an active internet connection. You can connect to Quickbooks Online from any device too, so long as it has a web connection. Quickbooks for desktop will run without an internet connection but you can ONLY access it on the computer it is installed on.
- Automation Features – On the desktop version, transactions like invoices, receipts, and reports have to be processed manually. With Quickbooks Online (QBO), you have access to automation features for processing customer billing, email reports, and downloading bank transactions.
- Remote Access – With QBO, you can access the software from any device, including mobile phones and tablets. All you need is your login details. This makes QBO a great option if your workforce is predominantly remote or you want to do stuff on the move.
- Features – The desktop version of Quickbooks has more features than QBO. You can prepare 1099s, plan a budget, and track mileage and expenses inside the application. It is currently not possible to do this inside QBO.
- Customer Support – QBO comes with free customer support. With Quickbooks for desktop, you do not get customer support unless you use the Plus edition of the software.
How To Choose The Right Version of Quickbooks?
We’ve covered the main differences between Quickbooks and Quickbooks Online. But if you’re still unsure about which version of the software is right for you, read on for more information about the PROS and CONS of each version for different types of users.
Why You Should Use Quickbooks
- You have a fixed office location
- You have a dedicated accounting team
- You don’t want to pay a reoccurring monthly fee for the software
- You don’t want your accounting accessible online
- You want access to more features
Why You Should Use Quickbooks Online
- You want remote access (via the cloud) to your books
- Multiple people in your company need access
- You want to pay a monthly fee for the service
- You want your accounts available online at all times
- You want access to automation features
You will also want to explore what you can do with Quickbooks and how it works. You could even take an inexpensive course that will show your exactly how to use Quickbooks like a pro.
Once you know what package you need, you can then choose the best package for you – there are quite a few to choose from. And they’re all very well priced given the level of features and abilities you get.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.