by Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
Archives by Month

The Great Debate – QuickBooks Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

There seems to be an incredible debate going on between QuickBooks Desktop vs QuickBooks Online; and it’s really beginning to bug the heck out of me.

debateLet’s start at the top, with Intuit.

If you visit the Intuit QuickBooks website at https://quickbooks.intuit.com/ what you see advertised is the QuickBooks Online version and unless scroll all the way to the bottom of that page and look under the Products column, you don’t see the desktop versions of QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier, QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions, QuickBooks Accountant or even the QuickBooks for the Mac versions!  Everything on that page points you to the “all-new QuickBooks” which is the QuickBooks Online product.

Right click to enlarge this image

Right click to enlarge this image

The same goes with Payroll, it’s almost impossible to find information on QuickBooks Basic, Enhanced or Assisted Payroll; all of which work with the desktop installation of QuickBooks.

Intuit is pushing and pointing everyone to using QuickBooks Online and Online Payroll; sort of making it seem like it’s the only game in town.  As a result, most Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors are also pushing their clients toward QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Online Payroll.

Everyone wants to move to the “cloud”; get rid of their own in-house servers, the need to hire an outside IT company, be able to access their accounting data from wherever they are, with whatever device they happen to have – or, if you are a ProAdvisor or other accounting professional it means that it’s so much easier to access client data.

Anytime, anywhere access is the wave of the future and everyone is in a rush to get there and if you aren’t in a rush – well you are being pushed, in my opinion.  And sometimes you are being pushed even though you are losing functionality by leaving the desktop version.

If you are a contractor, I highly recommend AVOIDING QuickBooks Online – especially if you want decent job costing reports, rely on the ability to create a Progress Invoice from an Estimate and want/need detailed payroll job costing.   Here is a link to a comparison chart of features – https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aog8x1UB3Sn4dDZ3OVg1elRPMUVveFU4aFR0dDFRemc#gid=0 so that you can make an informed decision when someone starts to “push” you toward using QuickBooks Online and leaving your desktop version behind.

As a matter of fact Dan Wernikoff (an Intuit Senior Vice President) said on Intuit’s Annual Investor Day Call  in early October; that only 30% of current Desktop QuickBooks Users are suited for conversion to QBO as it stands today!  So if only 30% of Intuit’s entire desktop user base are a good fit for switching to QBO — WHY is everyone pushing QBO so much?

One of the big “pushes” for QuickBooks Online (QBO) is that it’s “cheaper” than QuickBooks Desktop (QBDT), and it is at this point – BUT only because Intuit has increased the price of the desktop software starting with the 2015 version.  Let’s compare the cost of a single user QuickBooks Desktop Premier Plus and QuickBooks Online Plus.  These are just the regular prices without any discounts or special offers that I am aware of.

QuickBooks Desktop Premier Plus QuickBooks Online Plus
Base Price $499.95 $29.90 month/$358.80 year
Add Payroll:
   Enhanced Payroll – Desktop $39.00 mo/$468.00 year PLUS $2.00 per employee per month
  Intuit Online Payroll $68.99 month/$827.88 year
TOTAL $967.95 PLUS $2.00 per employee per month $68.99 month/$827.88 year

QuickBooks desktop IS $140.07 more expensive IF you upgrade every year – but lets say you only upgrade to a new version of QuickBooks once every 3 years, let’s look at the pricing then.

QuickBooks Desktop Premier Plus QuickBooks Online Plus
Base Price3 years payroll tax subscription $499.95$1404.00 Plus $2.00 per employee $2483.64
TOTAL $1903.95 PLUS $2.00 per employee $2483.64

Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT anti-QuickBooks Online – it has it’s place and I can see where it would be a good fit for some businesses; what I am against is the fact that Intuit makes it seem like it’s the only version available and that both Intuit and many of the QuickBooks accounting professionals are pushing their clients to make the move when the client then looses much of the job costing functionality that they have been used to.  I think there is a need for both systems and that they should be EQUALLY promoted.

What’s happened to “What’s right for MY business and What’s right for my clients”?

As for me, I’m a desktop gal.  Why?  Well it’s like this.  In my opinion, QuickBooks desktop is more powerful and certainly more flexible, it provides you with good/accurate job costing (IF it’s set up correctly), with desktop payroll I have all my payroll data included in my job costing reports – AND – because I live in an area where the internet is not 100% reliable – I don’t have to worry about my internet being down and being unable to access my accounting data.

What about you?  How do you feel about QuickBooks Desktop vs QuickBooks Online?

 

53 Responses to The Great Debate – QuickBooks Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online

  • So, about 2.5 years ago I attempted to convert from Quickbooks Desktop to QBO and I hated it. After one week on QBO, I went through the process of going back on premise with Quickbooks Desktop. The functionality is simply not there…yet. Fast forward ahead to now and we are using a separate system to run pretty much out entire business. All invoices are generated from this system, inventory is tracked there (we hardly have any inventory to speak of anyway), etc…etc….so really, all I am using Quickbooks for these days is simply my P&L and Balance Sheet. I still do enter payables into Quickbooks and write checks from there but all revenue (invoices, credit memos, etc…) are generated in the primary system and simply synced with QB.

    Since I am just basically needing to have my P&L and Balance Sheet, enter and pay bills, and run some basic reports….I am thinking about trying to move back to QBO again. In your opinion, is it the more complex functionality of Quickbooks Desktop that is lacking from QBO? If all you need is basic functionality, wouldn’t QBO probably suffice at this point?

    Thanks, in advance.

  • I opened my small business in January 2015. I knew i needed accounting software and despite all of the new options with good feedback, i decided to go with what had been around longer. At the time, QB was bombarding my television with commercials claiming to understand/care about small businesses. I started with Quickbooks Pro (the online only version) and found that it lacked a number of features i would need. I spoke to Quickbooks customer support and they recommended Quickbooks Premiere Plus. I was ready to purchase the desktop version of Premiere and the support agent told me i should try Premier Plus online. She told me it was a subscription service and the only real difference was the technical support and the regular software updates. I said I didn’t want to pay a yearly fee, but she said “don’t worry, you can just cancel the subscription at the end of the year to discontinue technical support and regular updates but continue using the desktop software.” After a year of using the product and entering thousands of hours billed, expenses and invoices, I got a reminder from the company to renew for $499. I did not want to continue with the cost just for tech support. In the couple times i tried to use it, i was put on hold for hours (literally) and then sent overseas to someone who was obviously looking my questions up online and then feeding me a canned response from a manual. The regular updates were not enough to justify the cost for this small company. When i called to cancel my subscription, i was told that if i do so, i will lose all ability to use the software i had paid for. BUT, they would sell me the desktop version for $350. THE SAME SOFTWARE I HAD TRIED TO BUY AND WAS TOLD I WAS BUYING. I asked to speak to a supervisor and 4 days later I got a call informing me that their policy had changed during the year and they do not intend to honor their original promise. I am now writing to this feedback section in hopes that it reaches the ears of whoever created those commercials from a year ago or who actually still believes in customer service. I hope you find it worthwhile to honor your promises and provide me with what i had intended to purchase originally. If not, i will post this story on every message board, Twitter and Facebook. More importantly, entrepreneurs are a small community. We all bond over the hurdles faced. If you decide to not honor your word, that is your choice, but every time i sit with someone who is about to start their own company, i will tell them this story. I am extremely disappointed, but hopeful that this is not how QB does business and that you will right what has occurred.

  • No way I want to put my company’s private financials on some cloud. With all of the data breaches going on out there……………. ? No thank you.

  • I am looking to compare desktop versions for a start up company so I went on QB website and couldn’t find any information, only comparisons for on-line versions. I chatted with a rep. while on the site and asked about desktop versions with payroll and I was told by the rep that he could not help me full-stop. I was dumbfounded. After doing a lot more investigation, I realized the desktop versions are still available but I cannot find any website where I can do an in-depth comparison on the different versions. I am a huge QB fan, but I am now thinking about looking into other programs. Having said that, from what I have seen from searching on the web, other software companies are also pushing the on-line programs.

  • Nick
    While you have a valid point about cost – there is no way that you could run payroll in QuickBooks for 5,000 employees – I believe the max is 250.

  • Imagine you are running a payroll for 5,000 employees using QB payroll..monthly cost at USD2 per employee is the most expensive exercise! Convert USD to any currency lower than USD and you end up paying a lot more!

  • Honestly, this is really frightening to me. My whole business is based on this software, and the (2) clients who insisted on switching to QBO, have asked me to switch them back, and it is a mess.

    Seriously, it is like they are TRYING to destroy this company.

    I absolutely LOVE QB desktop, and would have recommended it to anyone. I have talked probably 100’s into buying it in the last (17) years, between accounting firms, and my own clients, and I am a sole proprietor. As another said, I have a very small business, and even I had some people graduate into Enterprise, and purchase it every (2) years, at a cost of 4000.00-6000.00 plus.

    One of my clients is a franchisee, of a National corporation, (remaining un-named of course), and at their corporate meeting/seminar they are telling their franchisees that QB online will be the only QB available. Corporate said everyone should switch, as corporate was told all of the bugs are out of it now, and it works great. All I can tell you is that this corporation relies heavily on job costing, and most carry an inventory…are you kidding me?

    I told my client the truth, as I have known them for almost (10) years. What the rest of them do is not up to me.

    I had to tell them that when they do switch, I will not be able to support the account anymore, as this is going to be a real mess for them, and cleaning up the mess of moving (2) clients back, is enough for me.

    Intuit, WHY are you doing this?

    Why is it so impossible to give the same functionality to an online version? You are going to alienate ALL of your customers, and drive yourselves bankrupt, dragging us down with you.

    I am beyond disgusted

  • Ida
    I am not aware of any book, if there was it would be outdated as soon as it was published because things change so fast.

    It is my understanding that the QBO file can be brought back into the desktop version. I would call Intuit Support for the specifics.

  • Julianne
    Sounds like this construction company should make the switch to the desktop version just so you have access to the functionality that you need.

    If access from anywhere it a key factor, then I would suggest having the QuickBooks desktop version hosted by a reputable hosting company that specializes in QuickBooks hosting.

  • Or, the owner could continue to use the more powerful desktop version, not have to learn a completely different software, and use something like Logmein to remotely access their data from anywhere. $99.00 per year. Pretty inexpensive alternative and it helps you retain the functionality that they’re used to.

  • Hi Susan
    I would not make the switch to Windows 10 right away, it’s too new and there are quite a lot of quirks that need to be worked out.

    At this point you would have to move to QuickBooks 2016 in order to migrate to a Windows 10 machine – do NOT attempt to use QuickBooks 2011 on a Windows 10 machine!

  • Ramesh
    You would need to contact Intuit with that question, I’m afraid I don’t know the answer.

  • Hi Rich
    Yes, this article is outdated in some ways (it was written in December 2014) – especially pricing.

    For clients that need access from “anywhere” having QuickBooks desktop hosted by a RELIABLE 3rd party hosting company is the way to go. Yes, it’s a little more expensive, but you do get the best of both worlds so to speak – more functionality from the desktop version and ease of access from anywhere from any platform (Mac, Windows, hand held devices).

  • Hi Nancy, I like your article. For those just starting the evaluation, you lend a great deal of information.

    Just a few thoughts, in your price comparison, you do not take into account the monthly price increases for QBO. The 5 user QBO Plus is now at $40/month. Of course the cost of QBD has also risen. We are looking at QBD Pro and 2016 is $799, compared to 2015 at $599 (last year, now lower).

    As of Jan 2015, Intuit is no longer supporting 2012, and that will require my friend’s company to upgrade. So I am in here trying to help them work it through.

    Another big thing you did not really dig into is the ease of use from anywhere. You mention it, but for some, this is really valuable – especially Mac users. For my friend, the ability to look up her company data from home and have full functionality is highly desirable and QBO looks like it will be the right choice for them – not to mention the low cost of entry.

    It seems that your business and about 70% of QBD businesses are not suited for QBO. And Enterprise is likely a 0% candidate. I just worked with an ERP company called Exact Online, and though they have good workings with QBO, they too know that more complicated business operations require QBD, at least for now.

    So it seems that QBO is well suited for smaller operations without complex demands, and there are a lot of us out there.

    Oh and I do agree that ease of use is hampered by the different UI in QBO. Really, why did they change the look and feel so drastically from the QBD?

  • Nancy:
    Very informative discussion. My question is: How long can we keep the data on QuickBooks online? We are suppose to keep record for at least 7 years.
    Please comment.
    Ramesh Mody

  • Thank you. I have QB Pro 2011 !! I switched to QBO and HATED IT! I’m back to my old system and love it. I don’t use all the accounting systems…. I’m not an accountant. I just record client visits and payments — period. I’m wanting to update to Windows 10, but have heard 2011 is not compatible. My fear is that QB 2015 would also be a nightmare.

  • Thanks for the great article and website. I have a day job for a construction company that uses QBO. This is my first bookkeeping job (2.5 years). Before that my only QB experience was in a class on it at the community college. I have used Quicken on my Mac for family finances for 15 years so have first hand experience with Intuit’s sketchy practices that included repeatedly screwing over Mac users with dumbed down versions of the software, saying they won’t support the platform anymore, then changing their mind, etc.

    My home business/evening job is as a photographer. I bring this up because i have used Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop for years. They have always had simultaneous Windows and Mac versions of their software that have identical features. Now they have a subscription program that nets them monthly income but uses desktop software. If they can do that, why can’t Intuit?

    Regarding QBO, I am becoming more and more frustrated with it. There are so many things that it ought to be able to do, but can’t. I have called Intuit tech support many times with problems only to have the poor help person finally tell me that there is no way to do what I am requesting.

  • I just received a text today to move my last online client back to desktop. She said, in addition to really turning out badly for her, they raised her cost 10.00 per month. I do not know more yet, as I have been too busy

    This has been a real pain, and difficult to support. I do not understand why they would do this, and why is has to be so different.

    Using QB with a remote login, or cloud services, serves the same purpose, and is fully functioning. I am worried they are going to ruin the QB name.

  • More importantly than even owning my own stuff, is having stuff that works without a bunch of add-ons. Never met a single business owner who has ever said, yes, let’s find as many different software’s as we can, cobble them all together, and bill me monthly for each one so it can cost me as much as possible.

    Would someone PLEASE buy the desktop product from Intuit, already, and take it to the next level? What else could you possible buy that already has as many pre-existing customers? They’re selling everything else, why not the Pro and Premier product, also?

    Ahh, one could only hope…..

  • Sorry for the long delay in publishing your comment – it’s been a zoo around here!

    I agree the push to the subscription model of “renting” software is appalling. I’m old school – I like to buy my stuff and own it!

  • Margaux
    Thanks for adding your $.02 to this discussion.

    I was just talking with a friend of mine maybe an hour ago and she was telling me about her latest nightmare experience with bank reconciliations in QBO. Apparently QBOL keeps popping stuff on the screen that was already cleared – and gets this – if you delete/void it you go out of balance. If you accept it you go out of balance – the only thing you can do is leave it sitting there it seems!

    Makes me really glad that I have nothing to do with QBO!

  • We move hundreds of clients every year from online back to the far better desktop version. As an accountant, I must say, the online is just horrific. I do payroll for my clients since i have the accountants version. I simply log in, install the payroll key run the payroll and uninstall the key. A payroll for 20 takes maybe 30 minutes at the most…and I charge 150 annually.

  • I have been evaluated Quickbooks online for over a year and am becoming very frustrated. The help documentation is opaque. I kept getting this “106” bank error with capital one and have been trying to resolve it for months, only to have to upload transactions with an Excel spreadsheet. My internet access does go down occasionally (I live in an area with a lot of construction) and my overall experience with the tool is barely satisfactory.

    Lastly, and ironically, it is almost impossible to get a copy of a monthly invoice for payments to Intuit! So you can’t even account for payments to your accounting system, of all things. What the heck is going on here?

  • i started a new job where I am the bookkeeper. My previous job I did the same and fixed their books that were messed up and hadn’t been reconciled for 8 years. Now I want to help this new company but they have qbo. I am having a difficult time understanding it. Two questions #1 is there a book I can purchase to understand its features?
    #2 can we export from qbo back to our regular desktop?
    Thanks ida

  • I have been teaching and advising QB since version 4. The advances in the product have been astounding since then. Most of my clients are Enterprise Solutions because is the the most robust, flexible, reliable, private version which is updated each year just by paying the tech support. Until recently, I was always finding new clients with “organically grown” QuickBooks, sometimes way out of date, but never out of reach or capability.

    Now I suddenly find myself meeting business owners who already have QBO. They have never seen the desktop version, and those with multiple companies take the excruciating cost of multiple subscriptions for granted.

    This avalanche of focused efforts to move to the subscription model of software is appalling. But, the bright side is all the good business I get converting QBO to desktop Enterprise Solutions, saving cost of ownership and trebling the features and providing the privacy and independence most business owners value, once they know better.

    That comparison chart is priceless. Thanks.

  • Nancy,

    We bought the online version last year, off the shelf at Staples, on the advice of our accountants. Our subscription is now up for renewal and we have been advised that the “only” payment method is by credit card, on a monthly basis. With all the breeches of information and my experience with credit card fraud, I do not want to have my card info out there.

    I called customer service and spoke to manager. No luck! Credit card payment or “the highway”! And if I want to go back to desktop version, I can’t transfer my information.

    Not only are they pushing the online version, they are dictating to the consumer which method of payment can be used. Corporate arrogance at its finest. We are researching other accounting software and will switch away from Quickbooks!

    Cheers,

    Dale

  • Hi Nancy, nice round up !! I get it. Intuit is directing a significant portion of their development resources toward QBO and the ecosystem built around that. They have publicly stated as much at various conferences.

    Are they leaving the desktop users behind? For now, Intuit says no – they are still developing the desktop products and providing support to them. And they pledge to do so in months ahead.

    As I have watched the desktop vs. QBO story unfold over the last few years, it looks to me like that the desktop will indeed be left behind at some point in the future. Whether that is three years or ten years from now, the writing is on the wall. But i still believe in Quickbooks desktop version hosted on cloud, which is way better than QB Online. I personally use it that way and also my clients use the same way, till now all are happy. Any ways nice article.

  • Great to read that I am not the only one with high frustrations towards QuickBooks Online. I do books for a few small businesses and have used QB desktop for several years. Tried QB Online, oh my goodness – what a different format and it is much slower (could be my computer) but really! Payroll is free for 2015 then in January they will charge you, no credit card payments allowed yet and I’m not sure if I want credit card information floating in the clouds. It is very difficult to find the QB desktop version, maybe I will just stick with my current version for a few more years.

  • So…do you think Intuit/Quickbooks has gotten so big, that they just don’t care anymore? I am a Pro Adviser also, I tried to get some pricing of programs for a client. I got the run around, and it was obvious they did not know what they were talking about. That bothers me. I don’t like the online version, it’s simple yes, but it is too simple. It seems that the online version is getting pushed more and more. Very frustrating!

  • Great Article – thank you! Would love your advice.

    We still use QB pro 2012 desktop – I agree with your article and we are not ready to transition to QBO, but, seeing as it is 2015, I do think it’s time for an upgrade since support for 2012 has ended.

    I think the biggest issue we need to be careful of is that we download a qb file (from bank) and then upload (our monthly transactions) into qb. Is this process very different for QB 2014 or 2015?

    I see that the price for QB Pro desktop 2015 has spiked, so, should I look for an old copy of QB pro 2014…or pay the extra for 2015? I am wondering if maybe in another 2 years QBO may have developed enough to be a viable alternative to desktop…and then we wouldn’t have paid all that extra for 2015, and wouldn’t we also avoid some bugs with the 2015 software?…especially if all their focus has been on QBO?

    would you recommend differently when it comes to QB Pro Mac (2012) which I use at home for a small “hobby” business?

    Thanks!

    Angeline

  • Thanks for this article, Nancy! With major data breaches becoming almost a daily occurrence these days, we opted to stay with the desktop version instead of moving to QBO when upgrading to QBPro 2015 recently. Your write-up regarding the limited job costing functionality in QBO is much appreciated. This is such an important function for contracting businesses, so it’s surprising that there’s been such a strong push towards migrating so many QB customers to QBO at this stage.

  • Thank you Nancy, for at least confirming I am not completely out of touch with my thinking.
    I cannot see them doing away with Enterprise, as I believe that makes some money for them. Not to mention, QBO is so far away from Enterprise functions, there would be a lot of upset customers.
    If they had put a version out here that was more like desktop, I would eat it up.
    It feels like the Windows 8 of the QuickBooks world…why?
    Oh well, listening to the recordings, and taking it at face value.

  • Mary
    I really don’t know what to say – unfortunately like everyone else, I’m not privy to the inner workings at Intuit and what their plans may or may not be in regards to the desktop version and while I haven’t seen anything that bluntly states that the desktop version is going away – it’s what we are all led to believe from the way they are pushing QBO.

    I too wonder what the future holds….guess we are all just along for the ride, however rocky it may be.

  • That’s a darn good question Mary!

  • Okay, I get the reason for changing to a monthly subscription, online basis. However, if the desktop version can be made to function the way it does, why not the online version?
    Perhaps they are banking on new business not knowing what QB was capable of, or realizing there could be so much more.
    Never sacrifice function for convenience.

  • I have been using QB since 1998, a Pro Advisor since 2004, and Advanced for quite awhile.
    I am very concerned they seem to be completely phasing out the desktop versions.
    I have no problem accessing my clients books with Logmein, Gotomypc, or a similar program.
    I have been going though the online version for (2) days, and I am sorry, but this is no where near as good as the desktop. I could not put my clients in this, if I wanted to.
    The fact that they are systematically stopping many of the desktop services, such as Intuit Payment Network, Sync Manager, and the remote connection, makes me wonder what the future holds.
    My entire business is tied to this program, and I think it surely would have been nice for them to think of us in their decision process.
    Good luck to everyone

  • Really makes it tough doesn’t it when all the features/functionality you are used to in the desktop version just don’t exist in the Online version. 🙁

  • Yes, desktop developers appear to be dinosaurs and if you have a desktop product that CANNOT integrate with the online version because data and/or functionality isn’t there – well you might just as well be evil stepchildren!

  • Hi Monika
    Thanks for stopping buy and adding to this discussion. Glad to know that I’m not the only one to feel this way about QuickBooks Online!

  • Great article Nancy! I am too still a fan of QuickBooks desktop over online version but QuickBooks Online is the key focus for Intuit moving forward. It’s quite visible; if you go to their website it is quite difficult to find information about QuickBooks desktop.

    QuickBooks Online just doesn’t have ease of use and flexibility that QB desktop has. I’d tried using it for my personal accounting, and believe me, it was just too painful! I’ve used and tried both, for myself as well as my clients, and am not comfortable with online. Intuit has a long long way to go before they convince me. Again, thanks for this excellent round up!

  • We were at the Quickbooks Connect conference late last year and the entire push was for QuickBooks Online (QBO) for all three audiences (developers, business owners, and accountants).

    They see QBO as the road to the future, and although they admitted that the desktop products will probably continue to exist for a long time, their focus is now growing QBO. We don’t blame them, Software as a Service (SaaS) models are the way of the future and unarguably a better business model for software companies.

    Activebooks is right that the support for us as developers trying to integrate with the desktop product no longer exists. They are providing great support for us to integrate with QBO, so we built that first!

    Wish us luck over the next few months as we build the ClockShark desktop integration. Don’t worry about us, we just blew the dust off their developer documentation from 10 years ago from the QuickBooks Web Connector. Having lots of “fun” over here!

  • Such a great article!!! I have worked in QB Desktop going on 6 years now through my bosses business. He is a franchise so we have to get to it online……….but it is the desktop version. I love it!! So recently a family member has bought into the QB online to use for her business………….trying to help her get it set up and work in it has been a nightmare to me. So many things that I am used to using every day just are not there in the online version. It is difficult to train someone to use QBO when I can’t find what I am used to seeing in QBD. I am currently trying to convince them to switch so it will be easier for them……….and me!!!

  • From a business standpoint, it makes sense for Intuit to come out with a version that requires a monthly fee. I think that Intuit doesn’t make as much with selling the desktop version. Some of my clients are still using 2012 and maybe paid $300 for it. Intuit makes twice as much, $600, of that same client after about 2 years of QBO use. After 10 years the client has paid well over 3K to Intuit but with the desktop version only about 1K if they upgrade every 3 years.
    The other concern is that QBO is web- based. Nobody is going to convince anyone anymore that the internet is truly safe. Hence, we all have firewalls, anti-virus software, and have to change our passwords every so often. I’m having trouble downloading data directly into QBO from bank websites because the banks keep updating and changing log-in codes. Understandably, their concern is safety of their clients’ financial data and they have to keep changing things to stay ahead of hackers. I would be worried that QBO will get hacked sooner or later. To store all your own and/or your clients financial data online, together with thousands of other companies, through QBO might not be not the best decision if you want to sleep at night.

  • Hi Nancy 🙂
    Yes, QBO is made to sound like it has changed so much and is so much better than QBDT and I think they are counting on it fooling people.

    I attended a webinar a couple of weeks ago about job costing in QBO – did you know that yes, you can create an Estimate in QBO and you can also invoice from that Estimate, BUT if you don’t invoice for the full amount of the Estimate it closes the estimate. The presenter was like, oh – that’s not a big deal, you just copy the Estimate and create another invoice! In my head I’m like ya, right; no big deal! Instead of one estimate linked with multiple invoices, you now have multiple Estimates and multiple invoices! Not a big deal at all (very sarcastic here), it was obvious that the presenter had little experience with contractors!

  • Hi Michele! Voice of reason….usually I’m called a “hot head” 🙂 Yes, my cost analysis didn’t include 3rd party apps – because that was too complicated to even begin to explain!

    I agree, QBO isn’t as user friendly as the desktop and for crying out loud don’t take away the functionality that I’m used to and try to convince me this is better!

  • Thank you Nancy!! I’ve just started working with a construction company using MAC 2011 (did you hear me groan?). This past Monday the computer crashed…….yes a Mac can crash. They are in the process of trying to retrieve the data from the hard drive. In the process of all this I’ve been trying to figure out the best fit for this company. You’ve help me a lot to eliminate QBO from the decision process. They do make it sound like QBO has changed so much that it is for everyone. They had me fooled.

  • I totally agree with you – I don’t understand it either, both versions have to be highly profitable and let’s face it some companies have used QBDT since the very first version came out with many of those companies today using the Enterprise version….

    And yes, QBO is also being pushed to developers and QBO falls so short on features and capabilities that many developers (ourselves included) are finding it totally impossible to even think about rewriting our software.

    I’ll be interesting to see what happens in the coming months due to the discontinuance of Sync Manager.

  • Thanks for calling attention to this strange situation.

    The push to QBO is happening with developers as well. Despite the fact that (1) there are many thousands of businesses relying on QBD, and (2) QBO falls short in features and capabilities when compared to QBD, support and enhancements for the desktop technologies have evaporated in the past couple of years. I can’t understand it. Why not continue to serve both (I expect hugely profitable) markets until QBO gets up to speed?

    Thanks again,
    https://www.ActiveBooks.net

  • AMEN! Finally, another voice of reason. What your cost-benefit analysis didn’t include, and has to, is the need for 3rd party Apps when you lose the features that are needed, and included in the desktop version, but aren’t in QBO. That’s when it REALLY starts to get spendy and complicated. QuickBooks, for the average user/business owner is complicated enough without making it worse. Additionally, QBO is NOT as intuitive/user friendly as the desktop.

Leave a Reply

About Your Host:

Nancy Smyth, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Nancy Smyth, Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
QuickBooks Construction & Payroll Expert


I've been using and supporting QuickBooks products since the early 1990's. I've worked with thousands of contractors, assisting them with QuickBooks setup, Certified Payroll Reporting requirements, AIA Billing and Weighted-Average Overtime.


QuickBooks is a powerful product, but learning how to use it in your construction business can be difficult. I hope you find resources available here to be helpful.

Search our site
Stay updated!

Sign up to receive our latest QuickBooks Tips, Tricks & News via email:


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


We promise NOT to sell, rent, or otherwise distribute your name and email address!

FREE 30-Day Trials

Request FREE 30-day Trials of QuickBooks add-ons for Certified Payroll, AIA Billing & Payroll Wage Management. Save time and increase accuracy on time-consuming error prone tasks; so you get paid on time!

Free 30 day trials of QuickBooks integrated add-ons for certified payroll, aia billing and weighted-average overtime

Certified Payroll Training:
Learn how to complete a Certified Payroll (Prevailing Wage) Report and fulfill your reporting requirements - 2 hour recorded webinar - $99.99. Click here for more info.

certified payroll requirements webinar
QuickBooks Training

Frustrated with QuickBooks?

QuickBooks Premier ContractorLearn how to get the MAXIMUM possible results from QuickBooks in your construction business! Visit our new QuickBooks training website, Learn to use QuickBooks in your construction business.

QuickBooks Time Tracking

Save 10%/FREE 14-day trial!


QuickBooks Time Tracker