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QuickBooks Desktop Pro vs. QuickBooks Online Plus

UPDATED 07/02/2018

I love QuickBooks Online for many reasons; specially because of features that QuickBooks Online has that QuickBooks Desktop (Pro, Premier, or Enterprise) do not have:

  • Incredibly easy platform to collaborate with your accountant
  • Up and running in minutes (Click here to setup 30-day free trial for QuickBooks Online)
  • Setup recurring sales receipts with automated credit card or ACH payments
  • Smartphone/Mobile device application (iPhone, iPad, and Android) that can perform certain key transactions in QuickBooks
  • Data is 100% on the cloud, no need for Desktop remote access or costly hosting solutions
  • No need for specific operating system or servers (works with both PC and mac users simultaneously)
  • Automatically schedule invoices to be created and e-mailed
  • Most Powerful Bank Feeds and Bank Rules in the market, connects to thousands of banks
  • Can upgrade to up to 25 users in one-click
  • Easy to integrate with 3rd party apps listed in
  • Monthly updates and improvements

It is also important to point out that a 1 user of QuickBooks Pro is about $249 (every 3 years with forced upgrades to use banking, payroll, and/or merchant payments) and QuickBooks Online is $35 a month (3 users, track banking, income & expenses, accounts payable, and recurring transactions, but NO inventory support) or $50 a month (5 users, adding inventory, classes/locations, budgets, and basic job costing support)

However, there is a plethora of features that QuickBooks Desktop Pro has, that you will NOT find in QuickBooks Online; such as:

  • Work with unlimited company files with a single software license and create unlimited backups/restores points
  • Progress Invoicing: the ability to create an invoice based on a percentage or specific item originating from an Estimate, and the system keeping track of what I have invoiced so far.  This is not really so innately used on Inventory transactions; but I have seen it used in many occasions.
  • Partially Received Purchase Orders:  in QBO Plus, you either receive a PO or not receive a PO; yes you can partially receive it, but it will not track the PO as being still open.  These vendor backorder tracking are VERY important.
  • Item Receipts:  in QBO, to receive the inventory you must use a BILL only.  In QuickBooks Desktop, you can use Item Receipt to receive the Inventory and later on when the bill arrives, you can convert the item receipt to Accounts Payable… this is a nice workflow for many companies that want to separate receiving inventory from creating accounts payables.
  • Manufacturer’s Part Number (MPN): is an additional field that allows to also put the part number from the manufacturer or vendor to use a reference in Purchase Orders
  • Custom Fields: you can add up to 7 custom fields on each item that allows you to record information like weight, color, lead time, category, etc… and 5 custom fields in the header of a transaction
  • Custom Summary Reports and high level of customization of Transaction Detail Reports
  • Fully Customizable forms, such as: Invoices, Estimates, and Purchase Orders with formatting and customizable fields.
  • Robust Job Costing on Payroll Checks

There are 3 BIG additional features that the DESKTOP PREMIER edition has over the Pro edition (and therefore over all the Online editions as well):

  • Sales Orders (for any Inventory-based business that wants to manage back orders)
  • Create Invoices or Purchase Orders straight from a Sales Order
  • Inventory Assemblies and Bill of Materials (for Manufacturers)

There are also 3 other versions of QuickBooks Desktop: Premier, Accountant, and Enterprise which contain a lot more features not mentioned here. Check our the next article, there is a full comparison of all QuickBooks Desktop versions


If you are CONVERTING from QuickBooks Desktop to Quickbooks Online, please look at this article instead


If you need help choosing the right version of QuickBooks, email us: or call 1-800-819-6307

Hector Garcia

Hector Garcia

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