Quickbooks Online Review

Quickbooks Online Review
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Summary

Quickbooks Online has over 3 million subscribers, is it the best accounting software for your business? We cover everything from features, pricing, integrations

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Pros

  • Powerful invoicing feature
  • Solid bookkeeping tools
  • Easy user interface
  • Good tax management
  • Several customization and automation options
  • Numerous integrations
  • Project profitability tracker
  • Robust reporting feature
  • GPS-tracking mobile app

Cons

  • Features such as inventory, purchase orders, and tax support are only available on the Plus and Advanced plans
  • Expensive payroll addon
  • Poor customer support

ABOUT

To say that Quickbooks Online is a popular accounting software would be a bit of an understatement. The software has over 3 million subscribers in the USA alone. Outside the US, the company’s subscriber count drops to a still impressive 1.1 million users. Together with its sibling, Quickbooks Desktop, they control over 65% of the accounting software market share.

Intuit, Quickbooks Online’s parent company, was founded by Scott Cook and Tom Proulx. They began their business operations out of Proulx’s basement in 1983 with the foresight that computers would soon replace the pen-and-paper based accounting systems that were prevalent at the time. A year later, they launched a personal finance management tool called Quicken.

Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength, even staving off a takeover bid from Microsoft in the process. Intuit released Quickbooks in 1999 for small businesses, following it with their Quickbooks Online in 2001.

Quickbooks Online is a cloud-based accounting software that helps businesses streamline their accounting processes. The software comes packed with an arsenal full of features to do just that and then some. So, is it the right solution for your business? Let’s dig into the details to find out.

Who is Quickbooks For?

This accounting software’s pricing plans are unapologetically targeted at small to mid-sized businesses. Specifically, those that have less than 30 employees. It has a scalable pricing structure that, helpfully, even includes an exclusive plan for solo entrepreneurs. For larger corporations, Intuit offers Quickbooks Premier, the enterprise version of their accounting software.

When it comes to features, the software has the capability of satisfying the bookkeeping needs of most small businesses. It supports both accrual and cash-based accounting methods. Crucially, since its launch, the company has regularly updated the software with more tools that go beyond traditional accounting. The latest example being the addition of project management to its repertoire of features.

PRICING

The software has five pricing plans. The company recently added the Advanced Plan to broaden their reach to include mid-sized businesses. Importantly, all plans have a 30-day free trial, a bonus for those sitting on the fence about whether this accounting solution is right for them or not.

Additionally, the company regularly offers discounts to entice customers to sign up. In fact, as of this writing, you can get 50% off for the first three months. The only caveat for most of these discounts is that they are invalid if a user takes advantage of the 30-day free trial.

Here are the pricing details:

PlansSelf-EmployedSimple StartEssentialsPlusAdvanced
Price Per Month15$25$40$70$150$
Users113525
Track income and expensesYESYESYESYESYES
Tax managementYESYESYESYESYES
Invoice and billingYESYESYESYESYES
Receipt managementYESYESYESYESYES
Track milesYESYESYESYESYES
Basic reportsYESYESYESYESYES
Track sales and sales taxYESYESYESYES
Mobile AppYESYESYESYES
Advanced ReportingYESYESYESYES
Bill managementYESYESYES
Time trackingYESYESYES
Inventory trackingYESYES
Project profitability trackingYESYES
Business analyticsYES
Batch expenses and invoicingYES
Enhanced custom fieldsYES
Automated workflowsYES
Dedicated account managerYES
On-demand online trainingYES

FEATURES​

  1. Invoicing
  2. Estimates
  3. Expense Tracking
  4. Inventory Management
  5. Tax Management
  6. Contact Management
  7. Banking Features
  8. Project Management
  9. Payroll
  10. Reports
  11. Client Portal

1) Invoicing

Quickbooks Online boasts of a robust invoicing feature. It has several customization options that you can take advantage of to personalize your invoice. For one, the software offers six invoice templates to choose from. For another, you can customize everything from the font, color scheme, logo position, to the number of columns. In addition, the software allows you to send out invoices in six different languages, including Spanish, French, and Chinese.

Strengthening this feature further are the automation tools that the software offers. You can set up recurring invoices and schedule automatic email payment reminders to your customers. Additionally, Quickbooks Online will automatically create invoices for customers who have unbilled activity. Like with most accounting software, you can also add a ‘Pay Now’ button to your invoices so that customers can pay quickly and easily online. The software’s invoice tracking feature alerts you when a customer views your invoice.

2) Estimates

Like the invoicing feature, Quickbooks Online lets you customize your estimates and quotes to reflect your business logo and colors. Besides, you can add custom fields, include exclusive discounts, and even append a personal message. Importantly, you can attach up to 25MB worth of supporting documents to the estimate. Customers receive your proposal in PDF form, ensuring that they cannot edit it in any way. They can then reject or accept and sign your estimate right from their mobile devices. Helpfully, once a customer approves an estimate, you can convert the quote into an invoice with one click, a nice feature that saves you the hassle of manually re-entering the data. The only drawback here is that the software does not have a separate estimates tab with which you can view past estimates.

3) Expense Tracking

This accounting software helps you track all your expenses from one central location. It automatically imports your income and expenses from your banks, credit cards, and other payment gateways such as PayPal and Stripe to give you an overview of your financials. The software’s expense dashboard gives you a bird’ s-eye view of money coming in and out. Importantly, this includes all your journal entries too. It also has a built-in cash flow statement in the form of a bar graph, which gives you a visual representation of your income versus your expenses.

The intuitive software automatically sorts all transactions according to customizable user-set rules, eliminating the need for you to sort them manually. Also, you can reclassify transactions in bulk with a few clicks. Another helpful automation feature is the receipt capture feature. With this, you can scan and save receipts, and the software will match them to your expenses automatically.

4) Inventory Management

Quickbooks Online provides you with a basic item list to which you can add items or services on all their plans. However, to take advantage of their out-and-out inventory management features, you will need to subscribe to their Plus or Advanced plans. With it, you can save comprehensive details on your inventoried items such as product images, purchase prices, sales prices, stock-keeping unit (SKU) number, and item descriptions.

Uniquely, you can club products or services usually sold together, making adding bulk items to your invoice a breeze. Importantly, the software provides you with real-time stock levels when you create an invoice, estimate, or purchase order. You can also define the reorder level, and the software will notify you with a low-stock alert when your inventory drops below that. Additionally, the software automatically converts the purchase order into a bill once your ordered items arrive, prompting you to pay your vendor on time.

5) Tax Management

This accounting app has several features that can make your life easier come tax season. First, its tax calculator automatically calculates the quarterly tax amounts you need to make allowances for. The software has several tax categories to which your expenses are automatically sorted into throughout the year, ready to be used when you file your taxes. Alternatively, you can set up your categories. What’s more, since Quickbooks Online is an IRS-approved e-file provider, you can e-file through Quickbooks Online when tax season rolls around. This service will cost you $15 for three forms.

Second, the software helps you stay compliant with 1099 and W2 IRS tax rules. The software tracks every employee payment you make and separates the ones made to independent contractors. Helpfully, it also distinguishes between payments made for services received and those made towards equipment rented from a vendor, labeling the latter as an expense rather than a payment. At tax time, it automatically creates 1099 tax forms that are ready to send out to your contractor.

Last, the software takes care of all sales tax-related calculations based on which state you are in, which state your customer is in, the date, and type of service or product. It then applies the correct rate to any invoice, estimate, or quote you generate. The software’s sales tax report gives you an up-to-date overview of your nontaxable and taxable sales.

6) Contact Management

This accounting software has a robust contact management system with which you can easily add or track customers. The customer information window gives you a substantial amount of data on your customers and vendors. These include customer name, email address, phone number, billing and shipping address, and payment and delivery methods. Additionally, you can define unique payment terms, allocate tax exemptions, if any, and choose a language in which to communicate with each customer. The software also allows you to attach documents, such as a contract, to each client. Uniquely, you can add any number of sub-customers to a profile, an excellent way to keep multiple service locations or providers for a customer under one umbrella.

If you want to add several customers in one go, Quickbooks Online has the tools for that too. The software allows you to import Excel and CSV files and match the fields in your spreadsheet with those in Quick Books to add them to the customer database. Once a customer’s information is saved, the software uses it to automatically populate appropriate fields whenever you initiate a transaction with them.

The only fly in the ointment with the contact management system is that it does not automatically merge customer information. So, if you have the same customer on two different spreadsheets, you will end up with a double entry for that customer if you import both lists.

7) Banking Features

Quickbooks Online has all the necessary tools to satisfy the bookkeeping needs of small businesses. These tools include easy bank reconciliation and syncing with corporate credit cards and payment gateways such as PayPal. It collaborates with close to 18,000 financial institutions, so the chances are that your bank is one of them. Additionally, it supports over 150 different currencies. You can also order and print checks from within the software.

Another nice feature is its in-built lending service called Quickbooks Capital, with which you can apply for a loan from the company. It uses your account information to judge if you are eligible for one.

8) Project Management

Project management is one of the software’s latest feature additions. With it, you can efficiently manage the financial aspects of your projects. While you cannot add or track tasks, you can easily assign invoices, expenses, payments, estimates, and bills to a specific project.

The project dashboard gives you an overview of each project’s cost and income by category. Importantly, it shows you what is contributing to your project’s cost.

In addition, the software’s project profitability feature lets you know how profitable each project is by displaying up-to-date profit percentages on the right upper corner of the dashboard, helping you make better business decisions.

Furthermore, you can track time using the software’s time tracking feature. Time tracking can be done on a daily, weekly, or one-off activity basis. However, as the software does not have a timer function that records time, you need to input your billable hours manually. Timesheets can be easily added to a customer’s invoice with one click whenever you want to bill them.

9) Payroll

Payroll is an addon feature. It will cost you an additional $4 – $10/employee/month along with a base fee of $22.50 – $62.50 per month depending on your subscription plan. This feature boasts of unlimited payroll runs and automatic time tracking. Additionally, it automatically calculates, processes, and files payroll tax forms for all 50 states. Also, it allows you to add several pay types and pay rates for different employees as well. With the payroll’s employee portal, your employees can access all their payment-related information, including W-2s and available time off.

10) Reports

The reports feature is another jewel in this accounting software’s crown. It has around 80 different reports you can choose from. There are reports for every department, from sales to vendor accounts and everything in between. Apart from the standard software-generated reports, you can also create custom ones using a variety of filters such as date range, transaction type, customer data, and so on.

11) Client Portal

The client portal is one of the software’s few lackluster features. It offers only basic functionality. Here, customers can view their invoices and pay their service providers directly from it. Alternatively, they can update their contact information, print, and ask you questions regarding their invoice through this forum. You cannot, however, use the portal to send estimates, quotes, or share project details with your customers. For these, you will have to resort to the email method.

INTEGRATIONS

Boasting of over 600 integrations, Quickbooks Online gives you plenty of options to integrate with apps that serve your business needs.

The software syncs with multiple apps in the following categories:

  • Payment gateways
  • Customer resource management
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Payroll
  • Employee and customer scheduling
  • Time tracking
  • Invoicing
  • Expense tracking
  • Inventory
  • Finance management
  • Contact management
  • Project management
  • Tax management

Importantly, it integrates with Zapier, giving you thousands of apps to choose from. The software also provides APIs for developers.

More About Quickbooks Online

Setup And Ease Of Use

Setting up Quickbooks Online is a simple and straightforward affair. All you have to do is filling out pertinent company information such as your business’ name, address, email, and tax ID. You can also upload your company logo, define your company’s business structure, and method of accounting upfront. The next step is to link your bank accounts and other payment gateways to your Quickbooks Online account. Helpfully, the software allows you to import bank and credit card transactions in bulk in CSV format. Once you are through these mandatory steps, you can set up the features your business needs, and the software will populate your dashboard accordingly.

This accounting software has an easy-to-use interface. The dashboard gives you an overview of the health of your business in the form of charts and graphs that depict metrics such as profit and loss, total expenses, account balance, sales totals, and an audit trail. A vertical menu on the left lets you access your most used features. Also, the plus button on the top right corner will take you to the software’s more advanced features. The interactive dashboard, along with the software’s intuitively placed menus and drop-down buttons ensure that even non-technical personnel will find it easy to use.

Device Compatibility

Desktop Browser App

Android App

iOS App

Windows Phone App

Apple Watch App

X

X

The mobile apps have an abbreviated rendition of all the desktop version’s features. So, while you do not get the whole range and scope of the software in the palm of your hands, you do get its basic functionality.

One of its main advantages is that you can track expenses on the go by simply clicking a picture of a receipt. The software will then automatically match the receipt information to an existing customer transaction.

Another great feature is its mile tracking tool. It has a GPS tracker that automatically logs miles driven. Importantly, the app lets you organize trips into business or personal ones so you can organize your expenses better.

Customer Support

Customer support is one department in which Quickbooks Online loses its fizz. While the software offers phone and online support, they both have notoriously long wait times. For a company that has been around for decades, with customers numbering in the millions, this is not ideal. The software’s phone support is available from 6 AM to 6 PM on weekdays. You can also reach them on Saturday from 6 AM to 3 PM.

These are Quickbook Online’s online support options:

  • Quickbook Online help center: This is a comprehensive database of help articles, how-to guides, and FAQs that cover every feature the software has.
  • Quickbooks Online Training: The software offers plenty of online and live certification courses. These, however, come at an additional cost.
  • Quickbooks Online videos: There are a plethora of step-by-step video tutorials available that will guide you on everything from getting started to customizing reports.
  • Online Community: The software has a forum where you can post questions and join conversation threads with its network of users.

Online Security

Quickbooks Online is an SSL certified software provider. This security entails firewall-protected servers, password-protected login, and 128-bit SSL encryptions akin to that used by banking institutions. Besides, the software’s various data centers have 24/7 video surveillance, backup generators, fire suppression, and sophisticated smoke and flood detection systems.

PROS AND CONS

PROS

  • Powerful invoicing feature
  • Solid bookkeeping tools
  • Easy user interface
  • Good tax management
  • Several customization and automation options
  • Numerous integrations
  • Project profitability tracker
  • Robust reporting feature
  • GPS-tracking mobile app

CONS

  • Features such as inventory, purchase orders, and tax support are only available on the Plus and Advanced plans
  • Expensive payroll addon
  • Poor customer support

CONCLUSION

Simply put, Quickbooks Online is a useful software for small and mid-size businesses. This fitment is mainly due to its impressive array of accounting features that will allow you to comprehensively and smoothly perform all your bookkeeping tasks. Not to forget, the software’s supporting cast of features such as contact management, project management, multiple language and currency support, and ample integrations which shore up its already reliable feature kit. Add all this up, and it’s easy to see why Quickbooks Online is so popular.

However, the software is far from perfect. The biggest problem is the company’s regular price hikes. In the past year itself, Intuit has hiked prices at least three times. So far, users have only grumbled at these hikes, but if this trend continues, they could very well discontinue the service. With companies such as Xero and Zoho Books snapping at their heels, Quickbooks Online would be well served to take their customer’s concerns into account. Speaking of which, their customer care services are also in need of an overhaul.

Despite these drawbacks, Quickbooks Online is still head and shoulders above the competition, and it is well worth taking advantage of their 30-day free trial to see if it is the right accounting solution for you.

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