KBH often helps new businesses begin their software search. We also assist existing businesses that have been using the same software for a long time and want to upgrade or discover better solutions for their business by upgrading their current software. This software assists them with running their day-to-day business, handling things such as bookkeeping and expense reporting. Bookkeeping is a must and part of our job is to help business owners handle it with ease. So what might be best for your business: a desktop or online solution?

First let’s clarify the difference between desktop and online software:

  • Desktop software is installed and saved on your machine, or on a server in your office, therefore it is considered “local”. It must be updated by the user and could be corrupted if the machine(s) are not properly maintained.
  • Online software is stored by the software company on their server farms and is accessed by a business through a web browser on any device that has internet access. It is updated continually by the software company and if said device gets corrupted the user simply uses a different one.

To begin the search for the best software solution a KBH advisor will ask a lot of questions, such as:

  1. Do you currently use online banking?
  2. What kind of computer system do you have?
  3. How many people will want access to the bookkeeping?
  4. How many employees are there?

The goal of these questions is to find the right fit for the client, where we would then lay out the differences between the two solutions.

Desktop solutions work best when businesses have:

  • Weak or inconsistent access to the internet;
  • Payroll requirements with job costing;
  • Perpetual inventory tracking;
  • Detailed job costing requirements; or
  • General distrust of the internet.

Online solutions work best when businesses have:

  • Multiple people in different locations that need access to the financials;
  • A specialized app they want or need that only integrates with an online solution;
  • Mobility requirements – they are always on the go; or
  • Difficulty or no desire to keep paper receipts.

Of course, there are more ways to take care of your bookkeeping other than using desktop or online software. There’s always paper, Excel spreadsheets, or simply handing a pile of receipts to your accountant. But a wise business owner knows that there is a cost to everything; while the pile of receipts will save you the monthly software fee and some of your time, you are now paying the accountant or bookkeeper’s hourly rates to manually enter the information. And annual bookkeeping means you will need another method of tracking your business’ success from day-to-day.

Those people and companies resistant to change, or currently unable to change – keep in mind that the online offerings are continually improving and changing. The apps available that integrate with the popular basic accounting software packages are growing daily. What might be best in a desktop solution today might work better online in 2 years. The key is the Artificial Intelligence (AI) that the online software uses; the benefits are just around the corner.

No matter whether you choose desktop or online, the key is to reach a balanced solution – a solution that will work with you, with how you think, and deliver what your business needs. We are here to help you find that custom solution! Reach us at: info@kbh.ca


Written By: Jenn Miller, CA – Jenn received her Commerce degree from the University of Alberta in 2009 and her CPA designation in 2012. She has been with KBH since 2009 and is one of our fabulous managers.