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QuickBooks® Online or QuickBooks® in the Cloud: What's the Difference?


QuickBooks Online Cloud

A large percentage of small and medium-sized businesses use QuickBooks® as their bookkeeping and business financial management solution.

Since its release in 2000, QuickBooks has quickly become one of the industry’s leading bookkeeping solution for both the small business owner with limited bookkeeping experience and the expert enterprise C-level executive user.

Traditionally with a desktop application, users can now take advantage of cloud computing and access QuickBooks via a web application. However, there is a significant amount of confusion around the different types of cloud-based QuickBooks.

Users have the option of using QuickBooks® Online or a hosted QuickBooks® solution. While both applications are accessible via the cloud, there are advantages and disadvantages to each QuickBooks® version.

QuickBooks Online

While QuickBooks Online is made by the same parent company as QuickBooks® Pro, they are not the same program. Many people who purchased QuickBooks® Online thought it was the same program as their desktop version, but alas, they are different programs built in different databases albeit with similar user interfaces.

QuickBooks® Online is not a one-time purchase. Instead, users subscribe to use the service on a monthly basis. The program is only accessible over the Internet, so if a company loses its Internet connection, they will not be able to access their financial data. As QuickBooks® Online is not simply the web-application version of QuickBooks® Pro, data cannot be imported with 100% accuracy. Users may experience issues uploading QuickBooks® desktop data to QuickBooks® Online and vice versa. This means meaning making a change from one program to another will require a significant amount of manual input.

Top Features of QuickBooks Online at a glance:

  • Number of Users Allowed – 5 (QuickBooks Online Plus Edition)
  • Mobile Applications for iPad®, iPhone®, and Android® devices
  • Monthly Subscription Fee for Services
  • Intuit Payroll (Additional Monthly Charge)

QuickBooks Pro Hosted in the Cloud

A hosted QuickBooks® solution is the same version as the desktop application, just accessible via a web application. This means that switching from a QuickBooks® desktop solution to a cloud-hosted QuickBooks® program is much easier than migrating to QuickBooks® online. Many businesses implement a QuickBooks® hosted solution when they have multiple users who need access to the same QuickBooks file at the same time. In fact, QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions allows up to 30 simultaneous users on the same system.

Data can be easily uploaded from a QuickBooks® desktop application to a hosted QuickBooks® solution and vice versa. Additionally, hosted QuickBooks® allows users to utilize all of the reporting and tracking features that are present in QuickBooks® Pro, but are not available for QuickBooks® Online.

Top Features of QuickBooks Hosted at a glance:

  • Number of Simultaneous Users Allowed –30
  • Forecasting Capabilities
  • Industry Specific Reporting
  • Mobile Device Access

As you can see, QuickBooks® Online and cloud-hosted QuickBooks® are not the same program. While QuickBooks® Online does offer a lot of the same capabilities as the desktop version of QuickBooks®, it lacks some major functionality that the desktop version offers, including giving multiple users access to the same QuickBooks® file at the same time. Your company’s specific needs will dictate which version of QuickBooks® to consider if you are looking to utilize a web-based, cloud supported version of QuickBooks®.

If you are unsure of what your company needs, GrowthForce is here to help! Speak to one of our Business Performance Specialists to learn how a robust QuickBooks ecosystem can help your business thrive. 

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