3 min read

Why your business needs to switch from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online ASAP

Why your business needs to switch from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online ASAP

At Kaizen, QuickBooks Online (QBO) is our preferred accounting platform for our clients. It’s a flexible, powerful software that allows us to map out your company’s growth, pull reports that assist you to make informed business decisions, and—above all—is easily accessible for everyone involved.

Of course, if you’re reading this article, you’re likely wondering how hard it will be to convert and if/when you should make that leap from QuickBooks Desktop to QBO. Many are new to the platform and that’s OK, we’re here to help bridge that gap. For years, QuickBooks Desktop (QBDT) was the go-to for any small business that needed to log their cash flow and QuickBooks Online is your level-up opportunity.

What’s the difference between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop?

Intuit makes both of these products, but they’re pretty different in how they function. We’ll get to that in a second, but one of the biggest reasons to switch is this: It was announced earlier this year that Intuit would discontinue QuickBooks Desktop 2020 services and as of June 1, 2023, support and critical security upgrades protecting your data have been discontinued. What’s more, QuickBooks Desktop Point of Sale v19.0 services will be discontinued after October 3, 2023.

That’s a big deal.

While you probably have some help on the reporting end, having Intuit available as a resource and the peace of mind that came with that, knowing that critical updates and support have ceased is a deal breaker for most folks. 

QBO VS QBDT: How do they stack up?


QuickBooks Online: It is a cloud-based software accessible through a web browser, meaning you can login to your data from any device with an internet connection – including a native phone app! It also means that multiple team members, like us here at Kaizen, can work on your books from different locations.

QuickBooks Desktop: Installed on a specific computer, it can only be accessed from that machine, limiting accessibility when you're away from it. Your accountant needs either a large backup file or additional program to remotely view your computer, often causing unnecessary disruptions in your day-to-day operations.

Updates and Maintenance

QuickBooks Online: Updates are automatically installed by Intuit, ensuring you always have the latest version; no need for the manual updates or backups you’re used to dealing with in Desktop.

QuickBooks Desktop: You are responsible for manually updating the software and taking regular backups to ensure data security – not to mention if your computer crashes and that hard drive is the only source of your company data. The weight of that security is on YOUR shoulders. You have better things to do, like run your busy business—why be at the mercy of maintenance releases when that can be done for you?

Features and Flexibility

QuickBooks Online: Generally, the online version offers a more streamlined interface and automatic features, making it easier to use for non-accountants and businesses with basic accounting needs.

QuickBooks Desktop: Provides more advanced features and customization options, making it ideal for businesses with complex accounting requirements that they process themselves. Most businesses do NOT have a need for these features for their reporting. 

Cost Structure

This is a big one, so we thought we’d call it out. Typically, QBO is MUCH less expensive as a subscription based software vs paying $799-$1410* for QBDT.

*current rates as of the publish date of this article

QuickBooks Online: QBO follows a subscription-based pricing model, where you pay a monthly or annual fee (your preference) depending on the plan and number of users. You choose your level of subscription based on your unique business needs, no need to pay more than necessary for the features your business requires.

QuickBooks Desktop: You purchase a one-time license for a specific version, and additional fees may apply for support and upgrades.

Collaboration and User Access

QuickBooks Online: Allows multiple users to collaborate simultaneously, with different permission levels to control access to sensitive financial data. Have a time-tracking only employee or a teammate that only needs to pull reports but you don’t want them to have access to sensitive information? Set up a custom user role. This is a huge improvement on the QBO side as this custom user role option is only available on the most expensive version of QuickBooks Desktop: Enterprise.

QuickBooks Desktop: Collaboration is limited to the specific machine where the software is installed, you require additional solutions for remote access..

Data Security

QuickBooks Online: Data is stored securely on Intuit's servers with automatic backups, reducing the risk of data loss due to hardware failure or theft.

QuickBooks Desktop: Relies on your own computer's security measures, making it more vulnerable to data loss without proper backup practices.

Integration and Add-ons

QuickBooks Online: Offers seamless integration with various third-party apps and services, expanding its functionality and allowing businesses to customize their accounting workflow. Check out apps.com for the ever-growing list of available options.

QuickBooks Desktop: While it supports some integration, it has significantly fewer options compared to the online version.

Ready to make the switch to QBO? We can help. 

Ultimately, the choice between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop will depend on the specific needs and preferences of your business. We have to mention here that we see a big difference once our clients switch over to QBO and many say they wish they had made the conversion earlier. Are you ready to convert to QuickBooks Online? Check out our site full of resources on how we can assist you in making the switch.

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