But for most businesses, QuickBooks Desktop is the better choice, because it's much faster for anyone entering data, especially a power user like myself. Plus, it's cheaper, and has a richer feature set.
"Desktop" QuickBooks includes all other versions: QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Premier, QuickBooks Accountant, QuickBooks Enterprise, QuickBooks Mac, and all special Editions like contractor's edition, manufacturing edition, retail edition, non-profit edition, etc.
Here are some specific examples of differences in speed.
Function: Add a New Account
o). In online edition, you have to select what account type you want to add, such as Expense Account, and then a secondary type of expense account, for example General & Administrative Expense. Sub accounts must match this secondary level type. Why bother? It's a useless designation. So for ease-of-use, chose one secondary type of expense account, and make them all the same.
d). In desktop edition, you can just add a new account with account type, such as Expense.
Function: Delete an Account
o). In online edition, you can delete accounts with balances in them. Before you delete an account you have to check and make sure it doesn't contain any transactions. The Quick Report comes up with "this month", so you have to select "all" to see if there are any transactions from the past.
d). In desktop edition, you can just say delete, and QB will protect you from deleting an account with a transaction.
Function: Select an Account to post the transaction to:
o). Online edition shows you EVERY account in the chart of accounts, with it's parent account. It's a long list so it's very time consuming to find the exact account you want. Usually you want an expense account, which is at the bottom of the list.
d). Desktop version shows you just the expense accounts, so you're looking at a much shorter list of accounts. And you can set Preferences to select, "see the lower account".
Function: Accept a Transactions
o). Online Edition makes you find the "okay" button to save a transaction.
d). Desktop version saves automatically.
Function: Editing a List
o). Online edition you have to find the "edit" or "new" button. Type ahead does work but not very well.
d). Desktop editions let you use keyboard shortcuts, like “ctrl-E” for "edit" or “ctrl-N” for "new". I can edit a list lightening fast with two hands. Type ahead works perfectly.
This isn't a speed issue, it's a feature issue. You can only have one salestax rate in Online Edition. Desktop allows unlimited salestax rates.
Other differences? What do you think?