What is QuickBooks Online?
QuickBooks Online is the most popular accounting software for small businesses. Many accountants and bookkeepers are trained in QuickBooks, and if this is true for your accountant, you will likely want to use QuickBooks Online. We recommend QuickBooks Online to all small businesses due to its broad set of features and reasonable pricing.
Table of Contents
- What is QuickBooks Online?
- QuickBooks Online Review Summary
- QuickBooks Online Pricing & Cost
- QuickBooks Online Features
- QuickBooks Online Customer Support
- QuickBooks Online vs. Competitors
- Is QuickBooks Online Right For You?
QuickBooks Online Review Summary
Since its launch in 2001, QuickBooks Online has grown into the most popular online accounting software for small businesses. With millions of customers worldwide, QuickBooks serves small businesses across all industries.
QuickBooks Online has an extensive list of features that includes invoicing, income and expense tracking, reporting, inventory management, project management, time tracking, and live bookkeeping services. Compared with other accounting software tools, it has the most complete list of features, though not all are included in the base price and will cost a bit more each month.
QuickBooks pricing begins at $25 per month for freelancers and goes up to $150 per month. Though this is more expensive than all other accounting tools, you definitely get what you pay for in terms of features and power. The payroll add-on will cost between $45 and $125 per month on top of the accounting cost, and there are other features for an extra cost like advanced time tracking.
Customers we interviewed were generally pleased with the power that QuickBooks offers, but all said that it isn’t a user-friendly tool. If your accountant will be primarily using the software, this shouldn’t be an issue, but for freelancers or very small businesses, this might be a hindrance. For this reason, freelancers might consider Wave or FreshBooks.
All in all, QuickBooks Online is the best accounting software tool on the market for most businesses. Here are a few quick tips to differentiate if the platform is best for you:
- Wave and FreshBooks may be better for freelancers
- Zoho Books includes features to allow for easier transactions across countries and currencies
- If you need in-depth bookkeeping services, choose Bench
Whether you’re a small service-based business or a medium-sized business with high transaction volume, you can make the platform work for your business. It will almost certainly cost more than alternatives, but it’s worth it for the power you get in return.
QuickBooks Online Pricing & Cost
QuickBooks Online pricing starts at $25 per month and can cost up to $150 per month. Features like payroll and advanced time tracking will be extra each month.
QuickBooks Online Key Features
This review discusses the features offered by QuickBooks Online. We’ll discuss the software’s usability, market value, customer service, and more. Throughout, we’ll also include images of the software so you can see what it’s like to use QuickBooks Online.
When you sign into your dashboard, you'll see a snapshot of your company's financial activity, broken down into various categories. This makes it easy to quickly assess your financial performance for the current month, as well as the previous month.
While you can drill down into certain dashboard modules, you can’t drill down into them all. This is a slight drawback if you’d like to drill down into the expenses module, for example.
Creating invoices with QuickBooks Online is very straightforward, as it is with most other accounting tools. When creating an invoice, you’ll assign the customer, determine whether you’ll accept credit card payments or bank transfers, set the due date, and input products or services. If you haven’t already set up customer information or your products, you can do so directly from this page, which streamlines the process.
When you send invoices to clients, you can choose to attach the file as a PDF. The clients will receive invoices as emails and can click a link that takes them to a dashboard with the invoice.
As mentioned above, you can accept credit card payments or bank transfers. You can also create a unique payment link, which is a convenient way to bill customers through any digital channel.
The Sales Tab within Quickbooks Online is where you manage your products and services, and the customers who purchase them.
As you’ll see in the image below, there is also information for each of your sent estimates and unbilled activity, overdue and open invoices, and all invoices that have been paid to your business. You can drill down into each of these sections to determine who still owes your business money.
The customer CRM is very basic but does enough to let you know contact information for all clients.
The expenses section within QuickBooks Online is very simple. It shows your unpaid bills and a basic vendor CRM. If you’re having trouble keeping up with your expenses and categorizing them, you can hire a live bookkeeper who will work with your business to reconcile transactions and manage your expenses.
The bookkeeping service costs $500 per month for a one-time assistance, or costs $200 per month after the initial $500 for ongoing assistance. If you don’t already have a bookkeeper, this could be helpful if you need expert advice on how to get your books in order.
QuickBooks Online has the most extensive reporting section among accounting software tools. With more than 70 included reports, as well as a section to create custom reports, this is by far the most comprehensive reporting tool available across accounting platforms. Because so many are included, you likely won’t need to create custom reports and will be able to pull up information you need with two clicks.
All reports can be exported as an Excel file or PDF, and can be emailed, printed, and edited at will.
Projects & Time Tracking
With QuickBooks Online, you can track projects for clients and record time as well. This will allow you to track your employees’ hours, mark hours that were billable for client projects, and generally ensure accuracy regarding your services.
Basic Time Tracking
With basic time tracking, you can:
- Run simple reports
- Categorize time spent by customer
- Calculate billable hours
Basic time tracking is available free of charge and will likely be sufficient for small businesses to track their time.
This more advanced time tracking feature costs $20 per month plus an additional $8 per person per month. With this tool, you’ll be able to:
- Run real-time reports
- Track time off and accruals
- Schedule shifts
- Use a mobile application
- Calculate time off
This option is best for those who want to track individual employees’ time and productivity on projects.
QuickBooks Online has many more features than those mentioned above, so we’ll give a quick breakdown of the most crucial of these features.
The payroll feature will send you payroll reminders, as well as payroll tax reminders. Regardless of your payroll capabilities, QuickBooks Online can get the job done, assuming you're comfortable with the additional cost.
The payroll service allows companies to process payroll for their employees. It’s a combined software-and-service offering that facilitates payments and lets you manage your payroll with ease.
Connecting Banks & Credit Cards
You can connect QuickBooks Online to your bank accounts and credit cards, and have the system automatically import any transactions. This greatly reduces the need for manual data entry. If any transactions are miscategorized, it's easy to correctly categorize them by using the dropdown menus.
Another important time-saving feature from QuickBooks Online is the ability to take pictures of receipts with your phone, and have them uploaded to the system. This makes it easy to keep track of expenses on the spot, and reduces the need to keep physical receipts.
With the Plus and Advanced plans, users can manage their inventory in QuickBooks Online. You’ll receive notifications when inventory is getting low, manage your vendors, and sync with third-party tools like Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify. If you’re an ecommerce business, this is a great feature not found in all competitors.
QuickBooks Online Customer Support
The QuickBooks team is very accessible, as they’re available over the phone and via live chat on their website. There are also many guided help options available in the dashboard, with videos explaining how to use all aspects of the software. There’s a help desk with articles that guide you through the software as well.
|Customer Support Channels||Live Chat, Phone|
|In-App Support Channels||Help Center, How-To Videos, Community Blog, QuickBooks Blog|
|Application Status Page||Yes|
QuickBooks Online Alternatives & Competitors
QuickBooks Online is most similar to Zoho Books and Xero, which are the other two most powerful cloud-based accounting platforms for small businesses. Compared with Wave, FreshBooks, and Sage, QuickBooks Online is much more feature-rich.
The top QuickBooks Online competitors are:
QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Pro
One-To-One Software Comparisons
Is QuickBooks Online Right For You?
For most small and medium-sized businesses, QuickBooks Online is a top option to consider, and it's by far the most popular solution available. With millions small businesses using QuickBooks Online, you can rest assured that the product has all of the functionality needed to handle your accounting.
QuickBooks Online is significantly more advanced than Wave and FreshBooks, which are best suited for freelancers or teams of up to five. In comparison, QuickBooks Online has far more advanced inventory management features, allows more customization of the dashboard and reports, and has an extensive list of third-party applications in the QuickBooks Online Marketplace. However, the trade-off is that Wave and FreshBooks have much simpler user journeys and are easier to use, especially for freelancers.
We broadly recommend QuickBooks Online for those who want a powerful, reliable accounting software. The most notable drawback is that customers report a lack of user-friendliness, but when testing the tool, we did not have an exceptionally hard time navigating the platform. We also suggest that all businesses, except for freelancers, opt for either the Plus Plan or the Advanced Plan for the most functionality and best value.
If you are interested in trying QuickBooks Online, sign up for a 30-day free trial.