Accounting software users value consistency and comfort. Once customers get used to using a program, it’s hard to convince them to change — even if it’s the same product.

QuickBooks has been the bookkeeping solution of choice for millions since the 1990s, back when it was available only in a desktop version. Despite its availability now as an online service, many original desktop users refuse to switch.

The comfort level is too great. For those willing to consider both options, here are a few of the ways QuickBooks online differs from the desktop version:

  1. Cost — The desktop version of QuickBooks requires the full cost of purchasing the software. The online version offers a 30-day free trial before committing. Conversely, after the monthly free trial, QuickBooks Online has a monthly subscription cost. Your budget will help you decide the fee structure best for your business.
  2. User Access — QuickBooks Online allows for up to 25 users, simultaneously. The desktop version is accessible by just the one person who has access on your PC. For a one-person shop, the access issue is irrelevant, but a company with multiple users would benefit from the online version.
  3. Automation — The online version of QuickBooks can automate features like invoicing, emailing reports, billing, and bank transactions. QuickBook Desktop requires the user to conduct these steps manually.
  4. Customer Support — QuickBooks Online includes free customer support. The desktop version requires you to pay an additional cost by upgrading to the Pro Plus edition of the software.
  5. Customization — QuickBooks Desktop enables users to create customized functions for items like mileage collection and creation of 1099s. The online version does not offer these options.

If you’ve determined QuickBooks is the right accounting software for your company, weigh the differences listed above before choosing the online or desktop versions.