Intuit, the developers of the accounting software QuickBooks, recently announced that the 2021 version(s) of QuickBooks Desktop (QBD) will be discontinued on May 31st, 2024. Given the platform’s popularity, this announcement has raised several questions. What does this mean? What’s the future of QuickBooks Desktop? Is QuickBooks Desktop End of Life? If you’re using QBD, what are your options going forward? What’s the difference between QuickBooks Online vs. Desktop?

Let’s dig in, and we promise we’ll be quick about it.

QuickBooks Desktop 2021 Discontinued

While “QuickBooks Desktop 2021 Discontinued” is an accurate title, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Rather than completely shutting down, the 2021 version of QuickBooks Desktop will be sunsetting. This means that while QBD will remain available for current owners, it won’t see any further updates or support. It also means that QBD users will lose access to any add-ons, including the popular payroll add-ons. This has led many users to ask: is QuickBooks Desktop going away for good?

Is QuickBooks Desktop 2021 being phased out?

While QBD 2021 is sunsetting, there are other, more modern versions of QuickBooks Desktop. The QuickBooks Desktop 2024 edition was released in September 2023, and while Intuit doesn’t actively advertise this edition (meaning you’ll have to call their sales team), QDB 2024 will receive support for years to come.

However, if you’re a current user of QBD 2021 and deciding what to do, consider these factors before making any decisions.

First, Intuit offers QBD 2024 to users on a subscription-based service. This is unlike the 2021 edition, which is a “one-time purchase” application. Introducing a subscription model is nothing new; QuickBooks has slowly been replacing its one-time-price applications with subscription models.

Second, QBD 2024 is significantly more expensive than QuickBooks Online (QBO). QBD 2024 edition costs $549 yearly, while QBO plans start at $180. Adding users to the desktop edition will also cost a lot more. It’s safe to say that Intuit wants users to consider switching to the online version.

QuickBooks Online vs. Desktop: what’s the difference?

If you’re unsure what the difference between QBO and QBD is, here’s a quick primer.

QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based service. This means that users access the software through a web browser or application instead of using an on-board application. This requires an internet connection, but you can access it from anywhere that has one, regardless of distance.

QuickBooks Desktop is a local application, meaning you can only access it with the computer you install it on. You can install it on more computers to increase access points, but doing so incurs additional fees.

There are more differences between the two services, but these are the main ones. And while both services have similar features, some are exclusive to specific versions. Here are the important ones.

Only QBD offers sales orders. There are also ~50 more report types available on QBD than QBO, and only QBD offers industry-specific reports, as well as some other industry-specific features.

Can you continue to use QuickBooks Desktop 2021?

Yes! But it’s a bad idea. A really bad idea. Part of the sunsetting process means that Intuit will be cutting live support for QuickBooks Desktop 2021. If something breaks, you’ll be on your own. In the worst-case scenario, you may end up being unable to migrate your data. You’ll have to start from scratch or transfer everything by hand– neither of which is particularly desirable.

QuickBooks Desktop 2021 will also stop receiving security updates, leaving your systems more vulnerable. Whether you switch to a newer Desktop version or jump to Online, switching off QBD 2021 is a good idea.

Bundle your accounting software with other features

While QuickBooks remains one of the most popular accounting platforms on the market, it’s only one part of your business. It’s important to keep an eye on everything, and in this day and age, that usually means more software.

As you add more and more software, they must integrate seamlessly. inFlow is an inventory management software that boasts a myriad of integrations– ranging from QuickBooks to eCommerce platforms like Amazon. And that’s not all– inFlow offers comprehensive manufacturing software bundled with field service management. No matter your use case, dancing numbers can help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I keep using QuickBooks Desktop 2021?

Intuit recently announced a stop sale of some Desktop products to new customers as of this date. Therefore, those currently using QuickBooks Desktop Pro or Premier 2021 and older should start planning now for the upcoming changes. Users will need to upgrade to a supported 'Plus' version before July 31, 2024.

Q: Will QuickBooks Desktop 2021 be discontinued in 2024?

Intuit has decided that after July 31, 2024, it'll no longer sell new subscriptions to the following products: QuickBooks Desktop Pro Plus. QuickBooks Desktop Premier Plus. QuickBooks Desktop Mac Plus.

Q: How do I update QuickBooks desktop from 2021 to 2024?

Upgrading from 2021 to 2024

  • Purchase your new version, then visit our QuickBooks Desktop Manager download page.
  • Click Download to download a copy of QuickBooks Desktop Manager.
  • Be sure to read the QuickBooks License Agreement.
  • When you're ready, press Let's get started.
  • Enter your license number and click Search.