QuickBooks Hosting vs. QuickBooks Online: Which Is the Right Fit for You?

Gone are the days when you can see tax professionals and accountants stuck behind a desk all day crunching numbers. They are looking for solutions that give them more flexibility and mobility in their operations. Cloud technology is one such platform that has helped accountants achieve the same. Nowadays, every accounting firm is looking for cloud accounting as an option rather than the legacy on-premise, “install on your computer” software.  Intuit, a giant in accounting software technologies, keeps on introducing new and improved solutions to empower accountants. This year, the latest version of QuickBooks –  QuickBooks Desktop 2022 was introduced with some advanced features.  Here are two major QuickBooks cloud accounting solutions that accounting firms can adopt to streamline their operations. 

QuickBooks Online 

In light of the above scenario, Intuit introduced its cloud-based version of QuickBooks – QuickBooks Online (QBO) in 2021. QuickBooks Online is designed to simplify accounting solutions for SMBs.  It is a SaaS-based application that is controlled and managed by Intuit. Realizing the futuristic importance of the cloud with the software needs, QuickBooks Online is a welcome addition to QuickBooks products.  It offers diverse features like tracking mileage, automatic backups, and remote access from anywhere through smartphones, laptops, and tablets.  There are six versions of QuickBooks offered by Intuit. 
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed – $7 per month 
  • QuickBooks Online Simple Start – $12.50 per month 
  • QuickBooks Online Essentials – $25 per month 
  • QuickBooks Plus – $40 per month 
  • QuickBooks Advanced – $90 per month 
Intuit recommends a high-speed internet connection for accessing QuickBooks Online. Moreover, not all features run on mobile devices.  In contrast to the desktop software, you can access QuickBooks Online on the web browser, just like a website, by putting in the right credentials. In addition, the user interface and features are somewhat different from the desktop version. Hence, the accountants who have been using QuickBooks Desktop for years have to spend time getting used to the online version. 

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QuickBooks Hosting 

Talking about the cloud, there is another option available for the users to access QuickBooks remotely – QuickBooks Hosting.  QuickBooks Hosting is simply hosting the desktop version of QuickBooks on cloud-based servers. The server usually belongs to a third-party cloud provider. Thus, you get all the cloud benefits, such as scalability, reduced IT costs, collaboration efficiency and access to automatic updates. Similar to QuickBooks Online, you can access the QuickBooks Desktop remotely by logging on to the cloud portal of the service provider.  Hence, with hosted QuickBooks, you get the best of both worlds, i.e., the features of QuickBooks Desktop and the cloud capabilities. You also get additional services from the cloud service providers. Some of them include: 
  • Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery 
  • Guaranteed Uptime 
  • Advanced data security 
  • Location and device independence 
  • Efficiency and cost reduction 
Here is a comparison between the features of QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Hosting that will help you choose the right cloud accounting solution: 
Features QuickBooks Online QuickBooks Hosting
Complete QuickBooks Desktop Features No Yes
Usage Similarity With QuickBooks Desktop No Yes
Needs Dedicated Training Yes No
Anytime, Anywhere Access Yes Yes
Mobile and Cross-device Access Yes Yes
Plan Charges Fixed By Intuit Scalable with Service Providers
Better Lead and Inventory Center No Yes
Shipping Manager No Yes
QuickBooks Statement Writer Yes Yes
Convenience of Add-ons Integration Yes Yes
Speed of Processing Slower than QB on Desktop Faster and Depends On Server
Data Sync with Local Machine Yes Yes
Automated Backup Yes Yes
Real-time Multi-User Collaboration Yes Yes
User Permission Control Yes Yes
Additional Application Hosting No Yes
Support Provided by Intuit Depends on Service Provider


Both accounting solutions are well-versed with features and can provide efficient accounting solutions to businesses. This table gives a general indication of the differences between the two cloud accounting solutions. The variation will appear in a more magnified form when you dig further into the usage and versions.  Since QuickBooks Online is an entirely cloud-based solution, accountants tend to prefer the QuickBooks Desktop software with which they have been habitual. With QuickBooks hosting, they get their QuickBooks Desktop with all the cloud features.  The importance of accounting on the cloud for businesses is immense and growing. It’s important for accountants or business owners to explore all possibilities before making the switch to ensure that the decision is right for their business growth. For now, while QuickBooks Online is still improving, the easier pick seems to host QuickBooks on the cloud – for it does not require significant changes in usability from the desktop version, and still, all the benefits of the cloud are available. 

About Julie Watson

Julie is a dynamic professional with over 16 years of rich experience as a VDI and Application Hosting expert. At Ace Cloud Hosting, she humanizes disruptive and emerging remote working trends to help leaders discover new and better possibilities for digital transformation and innovation by using cloud solutions with an enterprise-class security approach. Beyond work, Julie is a passionate surfer.
On the weekend, you will find her hanging out with her family or surfing around the North Shore of Oahu.

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Comments (1)

  • Earl Christensen says:

    In case of add-on requirements, QuickBooks Hosting is better in many ways. However, Intuit has started showing more interest in QBO. So, the message is clear for general accounting uses, go for QBO and for business specific needs, opt for QuickBooks Hosting.

  • Elena Kelareva says:

    Why the prices of QuickBooks hosting vary so much and QuickBooks Online remains consistent.

    • Nishant Kadian says:

      QuickBooks Hosting is means that you are choosing a third-party cloud to host the QuickBooks server and depending on their brand value, service standards, etc. they charge prices. QuickBooks Online remains a program that is managed and controlled by Intuit only and so, the prices remain same.

  • Rick Slater says:

    How easy is it to switch between hosting service providers? Should I choose the cheaper one?

    • Nishant Kadian says:

      Choosing a new hosting service is quite easy, but leaving the existing one depends on the plan that you have opted for. It the plan term is about to ends and you have better hosting providers available, then it is a good time to for it. With that said, do not go for the cheaper one just because price is lesser. Customer support and uptime guarantee are some of the factors that you should rate and then decide.

  • Glen Bloster says:

    I have tried all- QB desktop, QB hosting, and QBO. I would rate hosting better.

  • Frank Klein says:

    There are number of businesses with their own data centers in operation. For them, QuickBooks remains the best choice. Otherwise, relying on 3rd party sounds little dubious.

  • Harry Garfield says:

    Customer support of Intuit is up to the mark. Call them at point of time and they keep you waiting for endless durations.

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