We’ve all seen the commercial – veterinarian visits sites, looks at animals, sends bill from her phone … and by the time she climbs into her truck – voila! – her clients are throwing money into her bank account.  Most of our readers, however, are not as fortunate.

QuickBooksThe cloud-based edition of QuickBooks  — called QuickBooks Online or QBO – looks cool on a smartphone or mobile device.  But does it have all of the same features as the classic, on-premise QuickBooks Desktop or QBDAnd which edition works best for your organization?

Let’s start with the basics

  • QuickBooks Desktop has several versions – Pro, Premier, Enterprise, Mac and Accountants Edition.
  • QuickBooks Online also has several versions – QBO Self-Employed, QBO Essentials, QBO Plus, and QBO Accountants
  • Each version for each type has varying levels of features. It’s important to know what features you require before deciding on a version.  I’ll give credit here to Woody Adams of Intuit for creating an amazing chart with comparison features.  Click here to view it.

Advantage: QuickBooks Desktop

QuickBooks Desktop offers functionality in the following areas that QuickBooks Online does not.  It any of the items below is one you need for your organization, then this is the edition for you –

Data Entry:

  • Price Levels
  • Create Invoices in Batch
  • Billing Rate Levels
  • Batch Enter Transactions
  • Batch Enter Timesheets
  • Pay Vendors Online (ACH)

Job Costing:

  • Progress Invoicing/Billing
  • Job Costing Module and Reports (Estimate vs. Actual reporting)
  • Mileage Tracking
  • Payroll job Costing/Labor Burden Costing
  • Change Orders on Estimates
  • Markup Column on Estimates


  • Multiple Vendor Ship to Addresses
  • Industry Specific Reporting
  • Business Planner, Forecasting, Balance Sheet by Class
  • Better Report Header and Footer Customization


  • Average Cost Inventory Valuation Method
  • Set and Maintain Inventory Reorder Points
  • Receiving Partially Against Purchase Order
  • Sales Orders
  • Availability to Promise
  • Build Assembles or Manufacturing Features
  • Unit of Measure


  • Backup and Restore Feature  Please note this. When you work online you’re working “live” with no restore feature if you mess up!
  • Condense File
  • Period Copy
  • Client Data Review tools
  • Fix Unapplied Payments and Credits
  • Clean-up Un-deposited Funds
  • Fix Sales Tax
  • QuickBooks Statement Writer
  • More detailed, robust links with third-party programs

Advantage: QuickBooks Online

The following are features found in QBO that are not found in any edition of QuickBooks Desktop –

  • No installation necessary; just access to the internet
  • Automatically schedule and send transactions
  • Attach documents, images, signatures & more to transactions using mobile device, or upload on your computer
  • Use Audit Log to review actions and track changes over time
  • Track by Location in addition to (or instead of) by Class and choose from multiple location labels
  • Relabel your customers if you call them something else! (7 options to choose from)
  • Bank Transactions download automatically each night. You can also “Undo” (individually or by batch) an added, matched, or excluded transaction within the banking tool
  • Custom Banking Rules can be made to split by a specific amount or by percentage; and you can assign class/location within a rule
  • Bank rules can be set to Auto-add to register
  • Unlimited time tracking and reports only users
  • Delayed Charges and Delayed Credits to create non-posting transactions that you can bill for or apply later
  • Journal Entries can have multiple AR/AP lines
  • Set up multiple budgets per fiscal year
  • Use Management Reports to build a presentation ready package of reports from cover page to end-note
  • Seamless integration with some 3rd party apps

We recommend that you consult with your accountant or financial advisor to determine which edition is best for you.  In the end, however, the “bottom line” (pun intended) is to look at which features work best for you and your organization.

Dana Riel has been a Pro Advisor for QuickBooks Desktop since 1990 and recently certified on QuickBooks Online.  If you use one edition or the other, or are considering a move to QuickBooks, ask us for advice on the best “fit” for you.  Write us at info@crosspointecg.com or call us at 877-357-0555.  We’re here to help you get the most from your investment in software and applications.