The Bottom Line: QuickBooks Online is the gold standard in cloud-based accounting packages and is perfect for small business owners. Get access to features like payroll, A/R and A/P, inventory reports, financial statements and more.
Best Accounting Software
AT A GLANCE
- Live bookkeeping
- Manage expenses for freelancers
- Accounting for businesses
- Manage payroll and payments
Best accounting software for small businesses
Pros & Cons
Managing your finances is one of the most important parts of running your business. Choosing the right software can make the task much easier.
QuickBooks offers solutions for almost every type of business. Read this to learn how QuickBooks can set your business up for success.
Features: Invoicing & accounting
Fees: $15.00 - $50.00/month
Promotion: Free 30 day trial
What is QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks is accounting software with an impressive reputation. They have been around since 1983.
Today, QuickBooks is regarded as a top-level accounting solution with the ability to accommodate the business needs of all sizes and industries. Their bread and butter lie in small business accounting, however.
QuickBooks is housed under the Intuit brand. Intuit also provides other financial tools, including:
- Mint: a personal finance and budgeting software with a convenient app
- Turbotax: tax return software for individuals and small businesses that allow you access to a real CPA review
- Proconnect: tax return software for tax firms
The online version of QuickBooks adds convenience and accessibility to your accounting needs.
It’s a cloud-based solution that automatically downloads bank transactions and syncs across all your devices. About 18,000 financial institutions are supported so QuickBooks can easily handle your online banking needs.
By using QuickBooks online, you can log into your account at any computer, tablet, or smartphone. With the free app, you can manage business finances from a tablet or smartphone anytime you need.
Versions and Pricing
QuickBooks online has something for everyone. From businesses just getting their feet wet to those with more robust accounting requirements, they’ve got you covered.
Keep reading to learn the options for QuickBooks online.
Right now, you can get Simple Start for $10/ month for the first 3 months. Afterward, you’ll pay $20/ month.
Simple Start includes basic accounting functions and is perfect for businesses just starting out. Here are the features:
- Track income & expenses
- Capture & organize receipts
- Maximize tax deductions
- Invoice & accept payments
- Run basic reports
- Send estimates
- Track sales & sales tax
For a limited time, you can get QuickBooks Online Essentials for $20 per month for the first 3 months. After the promotional period ends, it’s $40 per month.
You’ll get all the features of the Simple Start option, plus:
- Manage bills
- Up to 3 users
- Track time
Plus is $70 per month. For the first 3 months, you’ll only pay $35 per month. Plus is perfect for businesses that need the ability to track inventory.
All the features from QuickBooks Essentials are included. Additionally, you’ll get:
- Up to 5 users
- Track project profitability
- Track inventory
- Manage 1099 contractors
QuickBooks Online Advanced is currently 60% off for the first 3 months. You’ll pay $60 per month during the promotional period. After that, the price is $150 per month.
Advanced boosts your business insights while giving you access to QuickBooks’ expert and dedicated support.
This option is best for growing businesses looking for a more robust accounting solution.
All the features from the Plus are included with Advanced. You will also benefit from:
- Up to 25 users
- Unlimited chart of accounts entries
- Unlimited tracked classes and locations
- Accelerated invoicing
- Smart reporting – powered by Fathom
- Customer user permissions
- Premium care with Priority Circle
- Enhanced custom fields
- Simplified bill payments
Who Should Use QuickBooks Online?
QuickBooks Online offers a cloud-based accounting solution for all levels of businesses. There are several ways to tell if it’s right for you.
Read on to learn who it’s best for.
Smartphone and Tablet Users
If you’re an on-the-go kind of business, you’ll enjoy the freedom of having your accounting software at your fingertips.
You can access QuickBooks online anywhere, anytime on any desktop computer, plus on smartphones and tablets alike.
In the app, you can:
- Take pictures of your receipts
- Send invoices
- Reconcile accounts
- Run payroll
- View customer invoices
- Access late invoices
Business Using Other Apps
There are plenty of apps to keep your business running smoothly.
From eCommerce apps like Shopify to payment apps like Stripe, QuickBooks helps you seamlessly use and integrate your other apps into your accounting software.
Plenty of apps can be integrated into your QuickBooks accounting solution within the Simple Start, Essentials, and Plus software options.
Compatible third-party apps stretch across these categories:
- Calculate quotes
- Get funded
- Make payments
- Manage customers
- Manage human resources
- Manage projects
- Perform analytics
- Prepare taxes
Small And Medium-Sized Businesses
QuickBooks can suit a variety of needs. But it truly is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses. Their solutions simplify the accounting process.
Plus, QuickBooks offers add-on services, such as payroll support and timesheet tracking.
Small and mid-sized businesses can benefit from a “one-stop-shop” feel that comes along with QuickBooks.
Which Version is Right For You?
To determine which QuickBooks option to choose for your own business, there are two areas to evaluate.
First, determine which version will fit into your business’ budget. Cash is king, and this is especially true for smaller businesses.
Determine which option(s) fit into your budget before considering anything else.
Next, evaluate which features will best suit your business. Perhaps you need multiple users to have access to the accounting software.
Maybe you have 1099 contractors that you’d like to track. Keep reading to learn the features available with QuickBooks and which fall under each version.
QuickBooks Online Features
Several features of QuickBooks online are available on all versions of QuickBooks. But the more robust versions of QuickBooks are loaded with additional features.
First, here are the features you can expect no matter which version you decide to use:
Track Income and Expenses
Using QuickBooks, you can easily import transactions from your bank, credit cards, PayPal, Square, and more.
QuickBooks will automatically sort the transactions into your tax categories using rules that you’ve created.
You can utilize reports in QuickBooks to understand how your money is being earned and spent.
Capture & Organize Receipts
Using the app, you can capture and save images of receipts. The images are then matched with existing transactions automatically, making expense reporting much more seamless.
Maximize Tax Deductions
You can create rules within QuickBooks to easily categorize and sort your transactions for tax purposes.
QuickBooks will automatically categorize incoming transactions based on the rules, which makes tax time a breeze.
Invoice & Accept Payments
You can easily create and send custom invoices either online or using the app. QuickBooks allows you to send partial invoices to your customers at each stage of a project.
Once you’ve sent invoices, you can track their status and follow up with payment reminders. Customers can pay their invoices using credit cards and bank transfers within the invoice.
Run Basic Reports
QuickBooks lets you create customized reports based on your industry needs.
Here are some of the standard reports you can run with every version of QuickBooks Online:
- Profit and Loss
- Balance Sheet
- Cash Flow
With QuickBooks Online, you can create customized estimates by adjusting layouts, logos, personal messages, and other custom fields. Estimates can be emailed to customers.
Mobile signatures let your customers accept the terms on the go. After the estimate has been accepted, QuickBooks will automatically create an invoice for that customer based on data that you’ve provided.
Track Sales & Sales Tax
QuickBooks automatically calculates taxes on sales based on date, location, type of product, and customer. You can take payments online or with a mobile card reader.
If you already use payment apps, such as Shopify, you can sync payment information with your QuickBooks account.
Sales Tax Liability reporting lets you see how much tax you owe to each tax agency, such as state, county, district, and so on. Plus, QuickBooks will track the due dates of those payments to keep you on track.
Manage 1099 Contractors
You can assign vendor payments to different 1099 categories in QuickBooks and easily see your payment information.
QuickBooks Online lets you prepare and file your 1099s.
Should You Use QuickBooks Online?
QuickBooks offers a wide variety of products and services to suit the needs of any businesses. They appeal best to small and mid-sized businesses.
The QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based software and allows accounting on-the-go with the mobile app. It’s convenient and user-friendly, even if you aren’t an accounting expert.
If a cloud-based software isn’t for you, they do offer desktop versions. While you’ll give up some flexibility, you might gain peace of mind knowing that your information is not on the cloud.
QuickBooks takes care of businesses needing to run payroll as well. Their add-ons, TSheets and Self-Service or Full-Service Payroll, make it even easier to stay on top of time tracking and employee payments.
But these services all come at a cost. Compare your needs and budget with what QuickBooks has to offer.
QuickBooks is an accounting software package developed and marketed by Intuit. QuickBooks products are geared mainly toward small and medium-sized businesses
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Kim Shackleton is a former accountant, bridging the GAAP between numbers and words. She takes the complexity of the financial world and breaks it down into digestible pieces to guide people down a path toward financial freedom.