QuickBooks Desktop being phased out?

QuickBooks Desktop being phased out?


This led to questions on several fronts, as to whether QuickBooks Desktop being phased out completely. While it is true that QuickBooks revokes services for older desktop versions on a rolling 3 year basis, it does not necessarily mean that the version of QuickBooks Desktop is being phased out altogether.  It would be more accurate to say that the 2020 version of QuickBooks will be sunsetting.

In this article, we discuss the implications of the latest notice regarding QuickBooks Desktop, and whether this means that the desktop version shall be phased out.

What is the meaning of QuickBooks Desktop being phased out?

It implies that current users can continue to use QuickBooks Desktop, although the software shall not provide any further updates or support. The users of QuickBooks Desktop shall not enjoy access to the various add-ons, and this includes the much used payroll option. 

What does this mean?

Access to add-on features for shall be revoked. In case you continue using QuickBooks Desktop 2020, you shall not enjoy access to services such as Desktop Payroll, Support, Payments etc. Moreover, updates in terms of security patches that protect the data shall also not apply. Online bank feeds will also become inaccessible.

Provided below is a full list of the QuickBooks Desktop 2020 services that will not be continued:

  • Critical Security Updates
  • Assisted, Basic, Enhanced, and Standard Payroll
  • Direct Deposit for vendors and QuickBooks Workforce
  • Credit Card Processing:  Merchant Services, Recurring Payments and Online Invoice
  • Check Processing: Intuit Check Solution
  • QuickBooks Care Protection Plan
  •  Accountant Copy File Transfer

Contributed reports, Online Banking, QuickBooks Email and Time


The main objective behind sunsetting earlier versions of QuickBooks Desktop is to encourage users to actively encourage users to take up QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks Desktop has traditionally been used by millions of users worldwide, and continues to be the premium accounting software of choice for business managers and professionals.

However, with the rise of cloud based technology, it has become much more practical and convenient to store all your data on online servers. Consequently, there is a greater emphasis by Quickbooks on its online version. This is similar to developments in other software companies. Instead of trying to make the Desktop version compatible with the various operating systems available, QuickBooks naturally finds it much more convenient to develop a universal software of its own hosted on cloud platforms.

QuickBooks Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online offers full fledged use of cloud technology, as well as the robust mobile app. By virtue of this, users can access data from anywhere. 

Despite the growing popularity of online cloud based accounting platforms, QuickBooks has continued to produce Desktop versions. Moreover, it has also provided add-ons to the latter, as well as other security features.

Certain businesses or companies might still prefer using QuickBooks Desktop over the Online version. This is because of the security offered by keeping financial data locally stored, and access restricted. Moreover, the Desktop version also offers certain advanced features that are of use in specific industries. These include industry reports, as well as advanced terminology that are especially relevant to certain sectors, such as manufacturing, construction and non profit. Consequently, such businesses might find greater utility in using QuickBooks Desktop.

Will there be further versions of QuickBooks Desktop?

The good news is – yes. QuickBooks Desktop Premier Plus was only recently launched, as late as September 2022.  It is likely that QuickBooks Desktop will continue to receive support from the company in the near future.

Of course, this is not the first time that a certain version of QuickBooks Desktop is being discontinued. As per company policy, Intuit regularly retires a certain version of QuickBooks Desktop. This is similar to Microsoft gradually stopping support to versions of Windows that become outdated. 

Quickbooks Desktop has been in operation since the year 1998. In the intervening period, other versions have been retired as well.

For instance, as per news dating to January 2020, products related to Quickbooks Desktop 2017 were retired. These included the likes of Quickbooks Pro and Premier 2017, Desktop Accountant 2017, and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions.

Despite the immense popularity, as well as convenience, of using QuickBooks Online, the company has continued to launch Desktop versions over the years. This is because the Desktop version has some industry specific features which make it more relevant for several businesses. Moreover, certain small businesses may still continue to prefer to take care of their accounting needs on the traditional desktop, instead of on the go.

What happens if you do not switch to the Online version?

There is, of course, the option to keep using QuickBooks Desktop by means of the 2023 version. However, it may be noted that the 2023 Desktop version is substantially more expensive than the Online version.

At any rate, QuickBooks Desktop 2023 is being offered to users only on a subscription basis.  With regard to the subscription model, the user will need to renew their subscription at the end of each year. Without doing so, they will not be able to continue using the features of QuickBooks Desktop 2023 after term expiry.

The other option is to ignore the announcement, and continue using QuickBooks Desktop 2020 anyway. Although, this is not recommended, and goes against the whole logic of sunsetting. Live support for QuickBooks Desktop will no longer be available. Moreover, security updates shall also not be integrated in to software, leaving the system much more vulnerable to threats.

In the case of any manipulation of data, you will be left with two options. You will either need to fix the damage on your own without any support, or migrate the data to QuickBooks Online eventually.


With the rise of cloud-based accounting systems, the relevance of the desktop version of QuickBooks is being called in to question. However, it is likely that there will continue to be a significant number of users of the Desktop version. This is because of the specific features it offers – including on-premise security, as well as unique industrial features.

Consequently, it is likely that there will be a gradual transition to QuickBooks Online, as compared to a complete phasing out of QuickBooks Desktop.

Source: Intuit

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