- Excellent set of resources
- Great inventory management
- Detailed record-keeping options
- Strong selection of additional features
- Easy to set up a Quickbooks Online account
- Huge number of third-party integrations
- Accountant access provided
- Monthly plans tend to be expensive
- Competitors are cheaper
- Relatively steep learning curve
Free plan available
Starting at $15 Per Month
Simple to use and navigate
Starting at $15 Per Month
QuickBooks Online Review 2023: Pros, Cons, Alternatives
If you’re looking to start up a business online, then account and finance management is a must. One of the best, and, indeed, most popular accounting solutions is Quickbooks Online. This product provides excellent accounting software that’s fully scalable. It’s a strong option for small businesses as it offers Quickbooks payments, inventory management, Quickbooks mobile app, payroll, and so much more. With multiple plans in place, it’s easy to select the exact option that meets your business needs.
We’re going to take a look at all you need to know about this accounting and invoicing software. Read on to find out whether Quickbooks Online is the accounting product for you.
How does QuickBooks Online work?
The first step to using QuickBooks Online is to sign up and log in to your account. Once that has been done, you will then be presented with the dashboard view. Excitingly, if you have already been using another accounting software package, it’s possible to simply import any existing files you have into your new QuickBooks Online account.
As you may expect, the Dashboard simply gives you an overview of your entire Quickbooks account. You can check your profits and losses, look at invoices and even check out your expense tracking and sales.
There is a banking tab to be found on the left of the dashboard. Here you can connect card and bank accounts so that you can automatically download any transactions you make. Better still, Quickbooks Online will also categorize them as well. This means that you can review these transactions in the Review tab later on when checking your books.
It’s also possible to customize reports and invoices. In this dashboard, you can also set automatic sales tracking, enter mobile receipts, bills, and more. You don’t have to do this alone either. Depending on the plan you use, there are different limits on the number of users from your own team who can also access the account.
However, you can always give your accountant access by inviting them to your Quickbooks account. This can be done by simply using the My Accountant Tab and selecting the Manage Users options. If you don’t have an accountant, you can actually use this option to find one too.
QuickBooks Online at a Glance
There is a range of top features for small businesses to use when it comes to Quickbooks Online. But, what are they? In this section, we’re going to take a look at all the features Quickbooks offers and how they can be beneficial to small businesses.
- Reporting tools — you can use expense tracking, enjoy invoicing for unlimited clients, track sales and inventory, and more, all online or via the mobile app. These tools help to automate your processes so that you can store all the data required for your accountant without too much hassle.
- Simple to use — This software has all the different tools you need to send invoices and to keep things automated and easy. You can also access a global search function. That being said, there is a bit of a learning curve, especially if you’ve never used this type of software before.
- Scalable — there are four different plans on offer, which means you can choose the QuickBooks Online plan that suits your specific business needs. There is a limit on the number of users depending on which plan you are on.
- Sharing with accountants — this feature makes audit trails and accountant access very easy. Many accountants know this platform too and are aware of all the advanced features.
- Integrations — QuickBooks Online is able to integrate with 750 apps. Additionally, there is live bookkeeping available for superior QuickBooks time tracking.
- Advanced Features — these include the ability to track inventory, QuickBooks time tracking tags, and more. Many of these features are good options for QuickBooks commerce, but many are only available if you go for the top-tier plan.
- Support — the best online support is reserved for that top-tier plan where there is dedicated support 24/7. However, any plan gets access to 24/7 support, it’s just typically via live chat. There is a phone line available, but this has very specific operating hours. If you can’t get hold of the online support, then there are numerous demos and helpful resources available on the main QuickBooks site showing you exactly how to get up and running.
What do accountants think of QuickBooks Online?
For the most part, accountants all enjoy using QuickBooks Online. It offers them a speedy platform to use and makes it easier when working alongside smaller companies to track inventory management, expenses, losses, and gains. In fact, 94% of accountants have said that it saves them time and therefore saves their clients money as well.
Working With Existing Data
One of the reasons that QuickBooks is so successful is that accountants can work with existing data. As mentioned in this QuickBooks Online review already, the platform stores a lot of data automatically. This makes it very easy for accountants to access this and use it to audit the company or to check that the books are actually up to scratch.
What is the difference between QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online?
You may have noticed that there are two versions of QuickBooks, so now is the perfect time to take a look at the difference between them. After all, this can impact which one you choose to use for your small business. Really, the main difference between the two is how they are used and operated.
QuickBooks, also known as QuickBooks Desktop is software that needs to be downloaded and installed on your computer. In contrast, QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based software that you don’t need to download at all. Instead, you simply access it via the internet.
There are different price plans too. For QuickBooks Desktop, the plan has an annual fee of $349.99 each year. In contrast, QuickBooks Online has a variety of different plans, starting from as low as $15 per month if you’re using the freelancer version. Both do offer apps though, but the Desktop one is mostly for uploading receipts. The Online mobile app is a much more fleshed–out version and offers a lot of the main features as outlined in this QuickBooks Online review.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that QuickBooks Desktop is actually better for businesses that are already settled and comfortable with accounting. These are companies that don’t need real-time collaboration or bill management. Small businesses that do need these features, and the ability to access a QuickBooks File whenever and wherever they need, should stick with QuickBooks Online.
It’s important to note that these versions are completely independent, so you can’t sync data from QuickBooks Online to Desktop and the same is true in reverse.
Monthly plans can be expensive
Now that you know what Quickbooks Online can offer, it’s time to take a more detailed look at the cost of using this software. There are a number of different payment plans available, so it’s a good idea to check what each one offers before you choose. Some plans have more advanced features than others for example. But, let’s take a look here.
This is the lowest-level plan and is available for $30 per month. It gives just one user access and up to two accounting firms. It offers all the basic features here and allows you to track expenses and income. You can accept payments and send, find, and create invoices. Income, expenses, and tax can be sorted into categories for financial reports. You can track salesand sales tax, create inventory reports, and more, all for a small business. It’s possible to upload email receipts and send them via the mobile apps offered by QuickBooks Online. Finally, it will automatically perform mileage tracking with your smartphone and even monitor cash flow. You can also sync a single sales channel with this QuickBooks Online plan.
This plan has all the same features as Simple Start, but adds in a whole lot more. Consequently, this plan begins at $55 per month. However, it offers access for three users and two accounting firms. It can also run more enhanced reports on the mobile app, and these include sales, accounts receivable, and accounts payable reports. As such, it’s possible to project profitability using this plan. Within this plan, you still get good online support, can manage and pay bills, track time, and track income. Better still, it’s possible to sync up to three different sales channels with QuickBooks in this plan.
In this plan, there is access to all the Essential features and more. This costs $85 per month. But, you can have five users accessing this account as well as those two accounting firms. On top of all the other features, this plan allows you to do inventory tracking and run enhanced reports for sales, profitability and budgeting, and expenses. This QuickBooks Online plan also allows you to make and build templates for customized reports. And, you can perform inventory management, and sync this inventory with third-party platforms. Through the ability to track project profitability, you can also evaluate how much a job will cost. Finally, all sales channels can be synced up.
As you might expect, Advanced has all the Plus features and more for $200 a month. It gives you access for up to 25 users and three accounting firms. Importantly though, this QuickBooks Online plan lets you customize charts for better financial performance by tracking account balances. It’s also possible to use batch invoicing to speed up your work. There’s mileage tracking and access to a dedicated account team who ensure you have 24/7 support at all times. Finally, you can access exclusive integrations including DocuSign and HubSpot as well as review transactions, create custom tags, run payroll management, and more.
However, if you’re just a freelancer, then none of these options may actually suit you. With this in mind, there is also a QuickBooks Self-Employed option which is designed for independent contractors and freelancers. It has plans beginning at just $15 per month.
How Good Are the QuickBooks Mobile Apps?
Impressively, there are apps for both Android and iOS users when taking on the QuickBooks Online platform. These apps both allow you to sync everything from the cloud version so that you can access all your data from anywhere at any time. You can access almost all the same features such as invoicing and budget tracking from the app. As everything is synced up, you can track it all in real-time too, so that you won’t miss out on any changes when you’re on the road. This is vital for a small business where small changes may make a huge difference. So, these apps are essential for this software.
Both can be found on their respective app stores and are very highly rated by all of those who have used and reviewed them. They’re quick to install and tend to run in a glitch-free manner. They also emulate the main dashboard of QuickBooks, so you won’t have to learn anything new when switching between the two platforms.
Is QuickBooks Online Safe to Use?
As you might expect from online software these days, there are numerous security protocols put in place to prevent anyone accessing your data, particularly as this is an account and inventory management software product. All data are protected using SSL encryption protocols so that third parties cannot gain access. Additionally, all the servers used by QuickBooks Online use the minimum of 128-bit SSL or more. There are also daily copies as backup data, which are protected with 256-bit AES encryption. All data are stored on multiple servers in Tier-2 data centers that are the only ones that have access. But, QuickBooks also has strict controls in place and real-time monitoring of its data centers.
On top of that, when you use online banking through this platform, this is all protected too. The software uses authentication technologies to ensure the payment is really coming from you and there are digital certificates and RSA encryption in place to protect the privacy of your data.
Additionally, within your account, you can also set a lock or closing date on transactions to prevent any of your team from making changes. This means that transactions cannot be edited after this time, which could affect the way your business is run down the line.
Importantly, while it is possible for QuickBooks to read your data when you make transactions, it can’t process any payment or get the personal data from the transaction. This is because the software only establishes a one-way connection with your bank and not with QuickBooks. This read-only format is what prevents QuickBooks from accessing anything personal or transactional.
Pros and Cons
There are always pros and cons when it comes to a new software and Quickbooks Online is no exception. Before you jump right in and purchase this software, here are some of the major benefits and drawbacks to using Quickbooks Online.
Quickbooks online Integrations
Quickbooks online competitors
Invoicera: Streamline your invoicing tasks and manage finances with this comprehensive software solution.
Zoho Invoice: Simplify invoicing and streamline your financial management with this comprehensive software solution.
Xero: Simplify your accounting tasks with intuitive software for efficient financial management and streamlined bookkeeping.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s take a look at some of the top questions that tend to come up when businesses are considering using QuickBooks Online.
There is no free plan for QuickBooks Online regardless of whether you are using this for a big or small business However, if you are an educator or a student, it’s possible to get a free version, but only once you have provided validation that you are not a business or freelancer.
There are actually six different versions of QuickBooks from Intuit. QuickBooks Online is best for smaller businesses and is a cloud-based version. Then there is QuickBooks Self-Employed, which is for freelancers. QuickBooks Pro is perfect for medium-sized businesses and gives access to three users with more advanced features than QuickBooks Online. QuickBooks Premier is for larger businesses and is for industry-specific companies allowing five users on one account. QuickBooks Enterprize is for large companies and allows up to 40 users on one account. It has the most features out of all the versions. Finally, QuickBooks for Mac Plus is similar to the Pro version and allows three users.
Yes, the vast majority of accountants are very happy to use QuickBooks Online. For them, it offers a faster, most streamlined process, especially when working with and for a small business.
Yes, it has standard security features including data encryption. There are secure credential tokenization protocols in place too. However, it is still up to you to ensure your team uses strong passwords and does not give out the access information themselves.