Update: This article was last updated on 23rd Dec 2019 to reflect the accuracy and up-to-date information on the page.

Intuit, a giant in the accounting software technologies, keeps on introducing new and improved solutions to empower accountants. This year, the latest version of QuickBooks – QuickBooks Desktop 2020 was introduced with some advanced features.

However, for accountants, gone are the days of sitting 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. Every accounting firm, nowadays, is looking for cloud accounting as an option rather than the legacy on-premise “install on your computer” software.

Here are two of the major QuickBooks cloud accounting solutions that the 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 2004. QuickBooks Online is designed to simplify the accounting solutions for small and mid-size businesses.

It is a SaaS-based application that is totally controlled and managed by Intuit. Realizing the futuristic importance of cloud with the software needs, QuickBooks Online is a welcome addition to QuickBooks products.

It offers some diverse features like tracking mileage, automatic backups, and remote access from anywhere at any time through smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

There are three versions of QuickBooks offered by Intuit.

  • Essentials – $12 per month
  • Plus – $21 per month
  • Advanced – $45 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 that have been using QuickBooks Desktop for years have to spend time to get used to the online version.

QuickBooks Hosting

Talking about the cloud, there is another option available for the users in the form of accessing QuickBooks remotely.

QuickBooks Hosting is simply hosting the desktop version of QuickBooks on cloud-based servers. The server usually belongs to a third-party service provider. Thus,you get all the cloud benefits, such as- remote accessibility, real-time collaboration, and flexible pay-as-you-use pricing. 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 capabilities of the cloud.

In addition, you get added services from the cloud service providers Some of them include –

  • Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
  • DDoS Protection
  • SLA-guaranteed Uptime
  • Customizable Cloud Environment, etc.

Here is a comparison between the features of QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Hosting that will help you choose between the right cloud accounting solution:

Features QuickBooks Online QuickBooks Hosting
Complete QuickBooks Desktop Features No Yes
Usage Similarity With QuickBooks Desktop No Yes
Dedicated Training Needs 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


This comparison 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.

Both accounting solutions are well-versed with features and are capable of providing efficient accounting solutions to businesses.

Since QuickBooks Online is an entirely cloud-based solution, accountants tend to prefer the QuickBooks Desktop software that they have been habitual with. With QuickBooks hosting, they get their QuickBooks Desktop with all the features of the cloud.

The importance of accounting on the cloud for businesses is immense and growing. For now, when QuickBooks Online is still improving, the easier pick seems to QuickBooks Hosting – for it does not require major changes in usability from the desktop version and still all the benefits of cloud are available.

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