Choosing Between Desktop, Online, And Hosted Solutions For Accounting

Published November 4, 2022
cloud hosted quickbooks solutions for accounting

Whether you’re looking for new accounting software or want to upgrade your existing one to meet changing needs, the deployment method you go for is an essential consideration.

Simply put, the deployment method determines how the software will be accessed. But the decision isn’t straightforward because each option has its own functionalities and limitations.

Currently, there are three deployment options—desktop, online, and hosted. In this blog, we’ll go over the main features of each, using QuickBooks as an example so that you can make the best possible decision for your organization.

Extended Features: Desktop Solution

A desktop accounting application runs on your computer (Windows PC or Mac), and the data is accessible only through the server on your local network.

1. Complete range of features

The desktop version features a rich set of capabilities that have evolved over the years. Depending on the software you choose, the user interface and features may vary to some extent.

QuickBooks is most widely used by small businesses and is the leading accounting software on the desktop, largely due to its fantastic functionality. The Mac version has fewer features compared to the PC version, so keep that in mind when selecting a desktop solution for your business.

2. More internal control

With the software running internally, you’ll have more control over the user experience. If you have the means to establish controls in-house, then QuickBooks can help you establish stronger policies and tracking mechanisms.

For example, you can restrict access to sensitive data with usernames and passwords. But remember to ensure that:

  • Employees use complex passwords and don’t share them.
  • Employees aren’t inputting transactions as ‘administrator.’

The desktop accounting solution also lets you control when the software is updated. This allows you to do so when few or no users working.

It should be noted that for effective use of internal controls, strong in-house IT support is needed at each step. QuickBooks does have the tools required to limit tampering and fraud, but an IT team is necessary to execute those controls.

3. Limited access

Perhaps the biggest drawback of the desktop solution is that it cannot be accessed outside the physical premises of the office. Employees who are working remotely or those working on the go cannot access information, and this can lower the productivity of your firm.

While previously heavily-regulated industries, such as accounting, were slow to implement flexible work policies, the environment has now changed.

For your firm to stay agile, you’ll need a flexible solution that works anywhere and at any time, which brings us to the next option—online accounting software.

Easy Access: Online Solution

Over the last decade, we’ve witnessed the rise of compelling online accounting software. Here, the program runs on a web browser and can be accessed anywhere.

1. Accessible remotely

With better technology, it’s becoming easier for people to work from home. A 2019 Gallup poll found that over 43 percent of employed Americans work remotely to some extent.

To cater to this growing demand, many online accounting solutions have popped up in the last few years. QuickBooks also launched QuickBooks Online, which has now grown to 2.2 million users.

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2. Partial features

The trouble with most online accounting solutions is that they have fewer features compared to desktop or hosted versions. For example, on QuickBooks Online, you don’t have the option to track sales in multiple currencies, but this is possible on the desktop version.

Moreover, there are certain features, such as inventory management, that aren’t available in the basic plan, and you’ll need to buy them separately as add-ons.

Finally, functionality is also limited in terms of the number of users that can access QuickBooks simultaneously. Even on the best plans, the number is limited to a maximum of 25 users.

3. Limited support

Technical support is only available during fixed hours, as demarcated by Intuit. So although your employees may be working flexible hours, they might not get the help they need during that time.

Despite these drawbacks, online solutions continue to be a popular choice in the corporate world, but less so than QuickBooks Hosting.

Best of Both Worlds: Hosted Solution

The program is installed on a remote server for a hosted accounting application, and users can access information anywhere as long as they have an internet connection.

1. Work remotely or on the go

Boost workplace productivity by giving your accountants access on the go or as they work remotely. A hosted accounting solution allows users to access emails, information, files, and applications from any device, provided they have an internet connection.

By reducing the emphasis on traditional office practices, you can also save on costs such as rent and the overheads associated with operating in a physical location.

2. Lower cost of accounting software

Hosted desktop solutions also help you cut down on the cost of software and applications. Rather than buying upgrades, add-ons, and features separately, you can simply pay your hosted desktop provider a monthly fee and get these services in return.

3. Better data security

Data security is a key concern for accounting companies because they are responsible for sensitive client information. Reputable hosted desktop providers, such as gotomyerp, have vast experience in providing secure IT solutions and a deep understanding of cybersecurity. This enables them to provide security updates and enhanced data protection services.

4. Enterprise IT support

QuickBooks hosting service also gives you enterprise IT support at an affordable price. You can get 24/7 support from some of the best IT professionals in the industry as part of the package.

Additionally, your company can also reduce the expense of hiring in-house IT staff as well as the maintenance costs associated with on-premise hardware.

You might also like: QuickBooks Hosting FAQ: Answering Your Questions


An overview of all three solutions reveals that while desktop software was once the standard solution for accountants, that is no longer the case. In today’s fast-paced world, companies need to stay flexible and responsive to the needs of their customers and employees.

The hosted solution is a successful match—combining the extended functionality and features of the desktop software with the easy access provided by an online solution.

gotomyerp is a commercial QuickBooks hosting provider with over 15 years of experience providing hosting services at competitive rates. We offer secure QuickBooks hosting services to simplify accounting processes and help businesses grow. 

To get started, call (877) 888-5525 or reach out here.