Which should you choose, Hosting or the Cloud for QuickBooks?

You have two choices for QuickBooks when you want the ability to access client data from anywhere. Here we share the features of both the cloud and hosting options.


QuickBooks Online is a web based accounting suite that you access through a browser with a user login. This service allows you to reconcile your checkbook, track accounts payable, track accounts receivable. You can add additional subscription-based Intuit-owned services for integrated payroll and merchant service. To enable greater capabilities to the accounting data you’ve stored on Intuit’s website, you will need to add third party apps, each for it’s own additional fee.

QuickBooks Online does not track job costing, sales orders or inventory. For these features we recommend QuickBooks Desktop Software. Desktop can be accessed from anywhere if you have hosting.


QuickBooks Desktop is the full-featured product most people are accustomed to using. There are versions for different sizes of business and many industry-specific variants available. While QuickBooks is often installed locally on your desktop or server; another option for deploying the full-version of QuickBooks is to utilize one of Intuit’s Authorized Commercial Hosts, who provide access to your software from a hosted environment. There are many benefits to this, the first being that it makes your financials and related data and spreadsheets available from any internet enabled device. The platforms on which Authorized Hosts are required to achieve levels of security most Small Businesses cannot achieve themselves, and data is regularly backed-up to protect from data loss by accident or catastrophe. Each login requires a hosting account. Although this can be expensive, you save the expense of not having to purchase hardware and servers to perform the same task on a local level, all you need is a PC or MAC with a internet.

The big difference between logging into QBO vs. QuickBooks Desktop in a hosted environment is the log-in procedure. With QBO, you use the browser, exclusively. With hosted QuickBooks Desktop the browser is an option, but there are also plugins available for the different devices that you may use that enhance the experience (like Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Client (RDC) or Citrix receiver.


It really depends on what your needs are. If you have simple needs, like tracking your checkbook, simple accounts payable and receivables and create financial statements the QBO should cover your needs.

If you need the feature rich options found in QuickBooks Desktop edition then hosting is recommended. Things to consider are job costing, tracking inventory, sales orders, multi company reporting, customized user access, and advanced reporting. QuickBooks Enterprise contains all of these features and allows you to grow.