Accounting Software, QuickBooks Desktop Accounting, QuickBooks Online

Navigating the Cloud: Hosting QuickBooks Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online for Remote Access

Business owner and accountant discussing about QuickBooks hosting

In today’s increasingly digital and remote work environment, businesses everywhere are faced with the pivotal decision of how best to manage their accounting needs. For long-time users of QuickBooks Desktop, the allure of cloud accessibility presents a fork in the road: to host QuickBooks Desktop in the cloud or to transition to QuickBooks Online. This decision is far from straightforward, as each option bears its unique set of advantages and challenges. Understanding these nuances is crucial for making an informed choice that aligns with your business’s specific needs. 

This comprehensive guide aims to demystify these options, laying out the top pros and cons of each, and underscores the importance of expert consultation, such as that provided by Paygration, an Intuit Elite Solution Provider, to navigate this transition smoothly.

The Crossroads: Hosted QuickBooks Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online

For businesses entrenched in the robust functionality of QuickBooks Desktop but craving the flexibility of remote access, the dilemma of choosing between hosting it in the cloud or migrating to QuickBooks Online is a common quandary. Both pathways offer the allure of cloud computing, yet they cater to distinct business needs and operational styles. Let’s break down the essence of both options before diving into their respective pros and cons.

Hosted QuickBooks Desktop

Hosting QuickBooks Desktop in the cloud involves moving your existing QuickBooks Desktop setup to a remote server provided by a third-party hosting service. This service enables users to access QuickBooks Desktop remotely, offering the familiarity of the desktop version with the added benefit of remote access.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online, on the other hand, is a cloud-native solution designed to provide a comprehensive accounting toolset accessible from anywhere, at any time, without the need for hosting services. It’s built for the cloud from the ground up, offering a different user experience and feature set compared to its Desktop counterpart.

For more information, check out the differences between QuickBooks Online and Desktop.

Top 5 Pros and Cons

Deciding whether to host QuickBooks Desktop or switch to QuickBooks Online requires a careful evaluation of the pros and cons of each option. Here, we present the top five for both to aid in your decision-making process.

Hosting QuickBooks Desktop


  • Familiarity and Functionality: Retain the full functionality of QuickBooks Desktop with the interface and features users are already accustomed to.
  • Customization and Integrations: Access to more in-depth customization options and a wider range of integrations with industry-specific software.
  • Control over Updates: Greater control over when to implement updates and upgrades, allowing for strategic planning around business cycles.
  • Robust Inventory and Job Costing Features: Particularly beneficial for businesses with complex inventory management and job costing needs.
  • Data Security and Backup: Hosting services often provide robust security measures and regular backups, ensuring data integrity and recovery options.

Check out the benefits of QuickBooks Enterprise hosting.


  • Cost: Hosting QuickBooks Desktop in the cloud can be more expensive due to hosting service fees on top of the QuickBooks Desktop license.
  • Internet Dependence: While cloud access facilitates remote work, performance is heavily reliant on internet connectivity and speed.
  • Complexity in Setup and Maintenance: Requires coordination with a third-party hosting provider for setup, maintenance, and troubleshooting.
  • Limited Mobile Accessibility: While accessible remotely, the user experience on mobile devices may not be as seamless as with native cloud applications.
  • Upfront Licensing Costs: The initial cost for QuickBooks Desktop licenses, in addition to hosting fees, can be a significant investment.

Moving to QuickBooks Online


  • Built for the Cloud: Designed with remote access in mind, offering a seamless experience across devices, including mobile.
  • Automatic Updates: Benefit from automatic updates that introduce new features and improvements without manual intervention.
  • Subscription Model: Eliminates upfront software costs, spreading expenses over a predictable monthly or yearly subscription fee.
  • Real-time Collaboration: Offers real-time access for multiple users, including accountants and team members, facilitating collaboration.
  • Integrated Ecosystem: Access to an extensive ecosystem of integrated apps designed to expand and customize the functionality of QuickBooks Online.

See the reasons why you may want to move to QuickBooks Online.


  • Feature Limitations: Some businesses may find QuickBooks Online’s features less comprehensive compared to the Desktop version.
  • Learning Curve: Transitioning from Desktop to Online requires adapting to a new interface and workflow, which can involve a learning curve.
  • Internet Reliance: As with hosting Desktop, performance, and accessibility are contingent on reliable internet service.
  • Data Migration Challenges: Moving data from Desktop to Online can be complex, especially for businesses with extensive historical data.
  • Subscription Costs: While eliminating upfront costs, the ongoing subscription fees can accumulate over time, potentially surpassing the one-time purchase cost of Desktop versions.

The Role of Expert Consultation

Given the intricacies involved in choosing between hosted QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online, expert consultation becomes invaluable. Paygration, as an Intuit Elite Solution Provider, offers free expert consultation to help businesses navigate these options. Their team of experts can provide tailored advice considering your business’s specific needs, operational requirements, and financial considerations.

Paygration’s Comprehensive Support Package

To further support businesses in making this critical decision, Paygration offers:

  • Free 30-Day Trials: Experience both hosted QuickBooks Enterprise and QuickBooks Online firsthand, allowing you to assess each option’s suitability for your business.
  • Free Training Videos: Access a wealth of resources to ease the transition, whether you’re moving to QuickBooks Online or setting up a hosted QuickBooks Desktop solution.
  • Discounted Pricing: Benefit from exclusive discounts on both QuickBooks solutions, ensuring cost-effective access to the tools you need.
  • Free Support for the Life of the Product: Enjoy ongoing support from QuickBooks experts, ensuring you maximize the value of your chosen QuickBooks solution.


The decision to host QuickBooks Desktop in the cloud or to transition to QuickBooks Online is a significant one, with far-reaching implications for your business’s operational efficiency and financial management. By carefully considering the pros and cons of each option and leveraging the expert consultation and support offered by Paygration, businesses can navigate this decision with confidence, ensuring they select the solution that best meets their unique needs and facilitates their growth in an increasingly remote work environment.

Take the first step towards getting the benefits of hosted QuickBooks, supported by Paygration’s expertise. Contact us at 866-949-7267 and one of our QuickBooks experts can help you figure out the best path for you.