So what is the difference between Traditional Accounting Software and Online Accounting Solutions (Cloud Accounting Software) I hear you ask? And what one should you use? Desktop Accounting Software, or Traditional Accounting Software has been around for much longer. Cloud Accounting Solutions have been around for more than 5 years, but they have only taken off in the recent few years.

Difference between Desktop and Cloud Accounting Software

Desktop Accounting Software


  1. It’s the standard and the major small business software providers
  2. It usually contains more features than Cloud Accounting (except this one)
  3. It’s accessible without an Internet connection
  4. You only pay once (although you probably need to upgrade every few years)


  1. It needs to be installed, updated, and repaired (this can be very costly)
  2. You need to have the computer that the software’s installed on to use it.
  3. Cost of Licensing scales up (1 License per PC)
  4. Forced to purchase new version after a couple of years when new MS Windows is released. (Also be ready to spend on upgrading all PCs)
  5. You have to back it up yourself (be ready to invest into hardware and increase IT devices)
  6. It’s hard to share data (too big to email, only one person can work at a time, hard to network computers together, have the same version of software)
  7. If you have multiple PCs and need to collaborate, be ready to spend on a good server, backup devices and networking setup. (consider getting an IT guy to be on standby for server or network issues)
  8. High Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), every module costs you thousands of dollars. (e.g. Accounting + Inventory + Payroll = about RM 5000 license cost per PC)

Cloud Accounting Software (Online)


  1. Accessible anytime, anywhere (provided you have access to an Internet connection)
  2. It’s easy to collaborate with others (you just need a login) and multiple people can use at the same time
  3. No installation necessary
  4. Compatible with all versions of computers and operating systems with an internet browser.
  5. Automatic backups
  6. Minimal IT infrastructure and maintenance cost
  7. All modules in one flat rate (Accounting + Invoicing/Billing + Inventory + Payroll = RM 600 / year for unlimited users or PCs)


  1. In general, it’s not as full featured as desktop software (except Beacon, it is full featured)
  2. If you stop paying, you lose access to your data (but not Beacon, you still get access to them)
  3. If you’re using Xero / QuickBooks, every additional Plugin/AddOn is extra costs in USD per month
  4. If you’re using Xero / QuickBooks, the Bank Data Link feature opens up your bank account username and password to high risk. Read More


Cloud Accounting Software has some great advantages over Traditional Accounting Software, but you have to choose wisely. Most cloud accounting software are not full featured and doesn’t give the flexibility; that can cost you more time and money than you would have ever dreamed of. Don’t just jump over to any other Cloud Accounting Software just because it’s the one most talked about. Try out Beacon and you will understand why we are different from big names like Xero and QuickBooks.

Beacon aims to bring you the best of Desktop / Offline software with all the advantages of it being Cloud / Online. That’s because we listen to our customers and partners, we are based in Malaysia and we understand our requirements closer to home.

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