QuickBooks Hosting vs. QuickBooks Online: What’s the Right Choice for Your Business?

QuickBooks Online

Both Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) and accounting firms need advanced accounting software to streamline their day-to-day activities and keep their financial health in check. QuickBooks, being one of the oldest accounting applications that was launched in 1983, is highly trusted by business owners across the globe.

It was initially designed as an on-premise accounting application with limited features but has evolved considerably over the years. These days, one can easily find multiple versions of QuickBooks software – Accountant, Pro, Premier, and Enterprise, with industry-specific functionalities.

The yearly upgrade to the entire QuickBooks module for better features and the least security bugs is yet another attractive side of using this software.

However, with the changing workplace dynamics and the emergence of cloud technology, even the accounting industry is not the same anymore. To get cloud-backed benefits for QuickBooks software, there are two options available now – Cloud Hosted QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online. While you cannot neglect the technological trends that emphasize switching to the cloud for many reasons, you can make an informed decision with careful QuickBooks hosting vs. QuickBooks Online analysis.

Let us help you decide better through an exclusive QB Online vs. QB hosting comparison.

Primary Difference Between QuickBooks Hosting and QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks hosting refers to the third-party cloud solution that allows businesses and individuals to host their licensed QB desktop software on a cloud server under a pay-as-you-go business model. In other words, it allows QuickBooks users to access the software through the Internet without the need to restrict themselves to specific computer systems.

After the software files and data are migrated to the selected cloud server – shared or dedicated, it becomes remotely accessible from anywhere. You can think of QB hosting to be a better way to use the current/suitable QB desktop version. 

QuickBooks Online, on the other hand, functions differently than QuickBooks hosting. It is a complete cloud-based business accounting management software offered by Intuit that has been designed for the efficient management of business finances.

A widely prevalent misconception around QuickBooks Hosting vs. QuickBooks Online comparison is that QB Online is the same as QB desktop with the cloud. In reality, both the features and user interface of QB Online are different from that of the QB desktop version.

While each of the options comes with several advantages, you must invest time in evaluating them carefully to make the right choice.

Secondary Factors That Differentiate QuickBooks Hosting from QB Online

1. Interface and accessibility

Intuit is the parent company that offers both QuickBooks desktop software and QB Online. Both these products have been developed by keeping in mind the specific requirements of different types of businesses. However, when you add the angle of cloud hosting via a third-party cloud provider, things become a little different.

With QuickBooks hosting, you get to use the same interface as the QB desktop version even after it is hosted on the cloud. All the authorized members of your team will receive their secure access credentials to be used to work on cloud-hosted QuickBooks and data files. There will be no difference in the software interface, which is why the learning curve is reasonable.

Switching to QuickBooks Online leads to a completely different experience in terms of user interface. Besides this, you will get the cloud access credentials via Intuit itself, not any third-party cloud provider. Although a cloud server(s) is involved in both cases, who manages it makes a significant difference.

2. Server control

When you have in-house IT experts taking care of the server configuration, you would ideally want them to exercise a certain level of control even on the external cloud servers. They know the business needs better and hence, are capable of setting the servers for maximum performance and usability. This is possible when you choose to host the licensed QuickBooks desktop software via the cloud hosting route.

Renowned cloud hosting providers allow their clients to exercise control over the cloud server allotted for their business needs. You can get further significant control over the server settings by selecting a dedicated server to host QuickBooks. As a result, you can tailor the output as per the business needs, 

including integrations with other business tools and add-ons.

QuickBooks Online, being offered under Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, does not allow such server customization options. Besides this, the number of features in QBO is comparatively limited.

3. Data security

As a business owner who is willing to host sensitive data on a remote cloud server, you would at least want to know what will keep the data secure. In fact, many users compare QuickBooks hosting providers with the level of security and the number of security measures deployed at the server level. Fortunately, you can dive deeper into this side with QuickBooks hosting. 

Ace Cloud Hosting, being a trusted QuickBooks hosting provider, invests in multiple data security mechanisms to shield clients’ data against cyber threats. Our cloud solutions are also compliant with industry-specific regulations and include protective measures like firewalls, antimalware, two-factor authentication, and more.

Contrary to this, QuickBooks Online’s security aspect is not as transparent as in the case of QB hosting. While you can check the security aspect is taken care of by Intuit, the answer to ‘How’ is missing or lesser known. This can be considered one of the reasons why QuickBooks hosting solutions are still relevant besides the availability of QBO.

4. Customization and Version Selection

One of the attraction elements related to QuickBooks accounting software is the availability of multiple versions. For instance, a small business can start using QuickBooks Pro desktop software, while there are QuickBooks Premier and Enterprise for established organizations. If any particular feature is missing in any of these versions, QuickBooks add-ons compensate for it. In general, one can integrate as many add-ons with QuickBooks as needed. 

Hosting QuickBooks on a cloud server externally allows you to migrate the existing licensed software to the cloud, with or without add-ons. You can add or remove any add-ons whenever you want by discussing the same with your cloud service provider.

The table turns differently with QuickBooks Online. Switching to QBO simply means that the existing QB software licenses will hold no value. As a QBO user, you need to choose from its set of plans, ranging from Simple Start, Essentials, Plus, and Advanced. Neither does it allow integration of various QB add-ons as in the case of QB desktop software.

5. Cost Involved

Relook at the primary difference detailed above as a part of the QuickBooks Hosting vs. QuickBooks Online comparison. You will notice that QB Online requires you to buy one of its subscription plans to access the software via the cloud. You can start using the application and its features once you are done paying for the suitable plan and configuring the required settings. In simple words, there is one element of the cost involved. 

On the other hand, QuickBooks hosting requires investing in a suitable QB software license along with a cloud hosting plan. In layman’s terms, QB Online may seem like a cost-effective alternative to using QB desktop software hosted on the cloud. However, it is analogous to buying a wardrobe for clothing that does not have shelves inside. You may not be able to fulfill the exact need it has been bought for. 

As a rule of thumb, making a business decision to switch to a better technology solely on the pricing factor does not always work well.

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“Discover the right financial management solution for your business – explore the key differences between QuickBooks Online and Desktop today!”

When to Choose QuickBooks Hosting?

Every comparison parameter defined in the QB Online vs. QB hosting comparison above highlights selecting the latter option for maximum benefits. This is because of the emerging need to accomplish various business and financial management tasks in less time.

Although QuickBooks hosting is meant for every QB desktop user, you should specifically go for it in the following cases:

1. When you want to continue with a specific QB version

QuickBooks Online is not compatible with the licensed QB desktop versions you might have already purchased. If you want to go with them only, QuickBooks hosting would be a better choice. To be on the safe side, you can also ask your QB hosting provider about the compatibility of your version with the cloud server.

2. When do you expect the best-in-class software performance

Because of the server-level control and configuration settings allowed with QB hosting solutions, you can expect uninterrupted performance and a glitch-free user experience. Hosting QuickBooks on a dedicated server can further boost its performance.

3. When you cannot ignore a data backup facility

Automated periodic data backup is yet another advantage you can avail of by switching to QuickBooks cloud hosting. Your data will stay safe and can be recovered in case of a natural or man-made occurrence.

Ace Your Business Game with QuickBooks Hosting Solutions

Knowing the finer differences between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks hosting can help you decide which way to go. If you are convinced about the latter option, switch to Ace Cloud Hosting for personalized cloud solutions.