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Wyoming Business Tips for Sept. 10-16

September 1, 2017

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Robert Condie, WSBDC southwest regional director

“What are the main differences between the desktop and online versions of QuickBooks?” Brooklyn, Freedom

While there are many respected and reputable accounting systems available for small businesses, we field many questions surrounding the difference between the online and desktop versions of QuickBooks. For this week’s tip, we will go through a few of the advantages and disadvantages of having the online or desktop version.

Initially, the biggest difference is the fact that the online version is just that, online. You can access your books from wherever you have an internet connection, and you don’t even need to be on a computer.  Your tablet or smartphone has the capability to run the program. With the desktop version, you must have the computer that has the program downloaded in order to update your books.

Another difference is the need for updating between the online and desktop. With the desktop version, you will need to buy a new version at least every three to four years, if not more often. The online version is a program that will update itself when needed. You will not have to worry about upgrading or updating the software to get the latest available version, because the online version will do it automatically.

One of the biggest differences between the two choices is cost. The online version is a monthly payment, compared to the one-time fee for the desktop version. If you are able to use the desktop version for longer than a year, the cost savings definitely are there. The online version gives you a break initially, and then, after six months, you pay the full monthly price for the version you chose.

Payments will range anywhere from about $15-$50 when the initial discount is up. This would make the yearly cost for an online subscription anywhere from $180-$500. The cost savings on the side of the desktop version can be substantial.

There are many other differences between the two versions of QuickBooks. For more information about any of the systems, contact a local WSBDC office.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments are available at

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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