by: Woody Adams, Valerie Heckman, Stacy Kildal

QuickBooks Desktop Advantages

If I were to generalize where I think QuickBooks Desktop still holds a major advantage, I’d say managing large amounts of inventory and job costing. QuickBooks Desktop still offers the following feature sets that QuickBooks Online does not. If you can’t live without any of the below, QBD is most likely best for you. Keep in mind that some of the features below are only supported in Premier and Enterprise, not in Pro. All the below QBD function can be solved in QBO with 3rd party apps!

Data Entry/Automation

  • Create invoices in batch
  • Billing rate levels
  • Batch Enter Transactions
  • Batch Enter Timesheets

Job Costing

  • 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
  • Sales Orders
  • Availability to promise
  • Build assembles or manufacturing features
  • Unit of Measure


  • Backup and restore feature
  • Condense file
  • Period Copy
  • Client Data Review tools (Fix Unapplied Payments and Credits, Clean-up Undeposited Funds, Fix Sales Tax)
  • QuickBooks Statement Writer
  • Cannot post to additional AR/AP accounts


QuickBooks Online Advantages

While I think QuickBooks Desktop still has the advantage in regards to features, QuickBooks Online is still my preferred choice. We can get much of the functionality that QuickBooks Desktop has by adding some third party apps, and the access and availability outweighs the feature set in desktop.

Data Entry/Automation

  • Automatically schedule and send transactions
  • Delayed Charges (non-posting transactions that you can bill for or apply later)
  • Journal Entries can have multiple AR/AP lines
  • Invoices tab—Better payment to invoice and deposited vs. un-deposited visibility
  • Attach documents, images, signatures & more using mobile device
  • Price Rules support date range
  • Re-label your customers if you call them something else


  • Bank Transactions download automatically each night. Flexibility to “Undo” in Banking Tool
  • Custom Banking Rules can be split by $ or % and you can assign class/ location
  • Rules can be auto-added to register

Job Tracking

  • Project Center
  • Never need to worry about “No Item” Issue on job-related reports
  • Multiple budgets per fiscal year
  • Unlimited Time Tracking Only Users in Essentials and Plus, Unlimited Reports Only Users in Plus.
  • 1099 Contractor self-setup



  • Audit Log to review all actions on account and track changes over time
  • Track by Location in addition to Class and choose from multiple location labels
  • Management Reports (presentation ready package of reports from cover page to end notes)
  • Set up multiple budgets per fiscal year


  • First in First Out valuation method




Access and Productivity

  • Multiple Users can work in same account at same time
  • No file transfer or versioning
  • Mobile App with expanded functionality to work on the go
  • No Server, Backup, or Hosting Services required
  • Compatible across multiple platforms and devices
  • Access account from anywhere w/ internet connection

QuickBooks Online Accountant

  • Single client list to access all of your clients’ books
  • Toggle between clients w/ a single click
  • Work—manage all firm projects and deadlines
  • Team and client collaboration
  • ProConnect Tax Online integration
  • Free ProAdvisor Program, Free payroll in “Your Books” account


Download this as a PDF:

Need more details on the features? Check out’s Feature Matrix: 


    • StacyK

      Thanks Lynda!

  1. Virginia - Mitchell Advisory

    Great! You’ve made it a lot easier for me to compare between both versions, as for me in the battle of quickbooks desktop vs quickbooks online the desktop version seems like more of a fit. Thanks a lot!

    • StacyK

      You’re welcome!!



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