QuickBooks Online Accounting Software Review: 2018


Cloud-based accounting software is continuing to see rapid growth. In fact, in 2015, about 65% of small businesses used cloud-based accounting and bookkeeping services.1

out of overall
Reliable accounting functions
Top-Integration with other Intuit products
Non-upgradeable basic plan
Customer complaints of poor customer service

As one of the most recognizable cloud-based account software, QuickBooks Online has grown to over 2 million users since its inception.2 Even non-entrepreneurs have heard of QuickBooks, but many don’t have a grasp of its robust features. Built on a true double-entry accounting framework, QuickBooks offers an ample amount of accounting features that are available at the push of a button. These key features include reporting, customizable invoices, multiple currency options, and powerful integrations. QuickBooks’ parent company, Intuit, has a proven track record of creating solid products, and QuickBooks is no different. And as an added plus, QuickBooks seamlessly integrates with other Intuit products, such as TurboTax and Mint.

Businesses QuickBooks benefits most

Whether you’re a self-employed individual with a limited budget or a small to medium-sized business looking to scale up, QuickBooks is built to serve a wide variety of users. Based on our in-depth research, however, we found that QuickBooks is best for small retail businesses that need more advanced accounting services.

QuickBooks Online plans

PlanFeaturesMonthly priceLearn more
Self EmployedIncome and expense tracking, tax estimates, invoice and payment services, various reports, mileage tracking$10Get Started
Simple StartIncome and expense tracking, tax deduction info, invoice and payment services, various reports, sales tax tracking$20Get Started
EssentialsSimple Start plan features, bill management, multiple-user enabling, various reports, time tracking$35Get Started
PlusEssentials plan features, inventory management, project tracking, various reports, 1099 contractor management$60Get Started

Data effective 6/5/18. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

If you’re a fan of Intuit’s products but don’t need specific features, consider QuickBooks’ bare-bones Self Employed plan. Starting at $10 per month, QuickBooks’ Self Employed plan offers a healthy amount of features that are perfect for the typical freelancer or solopreneur. Unlike some competitor plans, the QuickBooks Self Employed plan provides mileage tracking, which helps road warriors record mileage for tax purposes. Users can also take customer credit card payments, send Automated Clearing House (ACH) bank transfers, and create customized invoices. You can also track your income and expenses and generate profit and loss (P&L) reports. Additionally, transactions are categorized using the Schedule C tax form.

For solopreneurs who plan on hiring employees soon, pay $10 more a month for the Simple Start plan. It allows small-business owners to gain access to sales tax tracking—a necessity for retailers. Plus, users can track income and expenses and manage accounts receivable.

Should you need to manage bills or have multiple users, opt for the QuickBooks Essentials plan at $35 per month. The Essentials plan is ideal if you need to track accounts payable.

QuickBooks Plus should be your go-to choice if you’re a small-business owner who needs to track inventory. While $60 per month may seem like a substantial investment, it’s worth it if you require five-user access, hire 1099 contractors regularly, and have a growing customer base and inventory. QuickBooks Plus also has the capability to track sales and profitability for each of your store locations. You can also create budgets to estimate future income and expenses, which can have a major impact on your bottom line.

All plans include these features:

  • 24/7 chat support
  • Third-party integrations
  • Automatic tracking for scheduled invoices
  • Receipt capture
  • Mobile device and app integration
  • Automatic bank account syncing
  • Advanced encryption
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • 30-day free trial

For added savings on your service, you can opt out of the 30-day free trial and receive 50% off the first three months.

QuickBooks Online and payroll

Unfortunately, the QuickBooks Online plans don’t include payroll services, making them less affordable than other payroll alternatives. Fortunately, users can add Enhanced Payroll or Full Service Payroll to any QuickBooks Online plan. QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll starts at $59 per month plus $2 per employee per month, offering e-file forms, state tax forms, hiring for 1099 contractors, and pay by check or direct deposit. When you sign up for QuickBooks Full Service Payroll ($119 per month plus $2 per employee per month), a payroll expert will walk you through setup and handle your payroll taxes—this function alone may make small-business owners jump for joy. However, we wish payroll features were built into QuickBooks’ higher-end plans.

QuickBooks Payroll plans

PlanCapabilitiesStarting monthly priceLearn more
With Enhanced PayrollPay employees and file payroll taxes, calculate employee paychecks, calculate and file year-end forms$59 + $2/employeeGet Started
With Full Service PayrollRun and file your payroll taxes, calculate employee paychecks, calculate and file year-end forms, pay employees with same-day direct deposit, rely on guaranteed error-free paychecks & payroll taxes$119 + $2/employeeGet Started

Data effective 6/5/18. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

QuickBooks Point of Sale

QuickBooks Point of Sale offers web-based and mobile point-of-sale solutions geared toward retail businesses. The software is your one-stop shop to ring sales, manage inventory, accept credit cards, and build customer relationships. On top of all that, it syncs effortlessly with QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks
Point of Sale
Point of Sale
Sync your credit card processing with your books by getting QuickBooks POS.

Each time you complete a transaction, your inventory will be updated, so you’ll know when you need to restock products. Plus, QuickBooks Point of Sale provides a 360-degree view of your business operation by letting you see what your best-selling products are, what items are most commonly returned, how quickly you’re turning over inventory, and more.

Users can also view customer profiles to provide the best possible service. And for added flexibility, Desktop Point of Sale works on tablets with Windows 10 and higher.

To get started with QuickBooks Desktop Point of Sale, users must fill out a form to request a 30-day free trial. QuickBooks will then contact you with a quote and help you get up and running.

QuickBooks Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online

The proliferation of the internet and cloud-based software has led to the launch of several accounting software. Ever since QuickBooks Online was introduced in 2004, business owners have wondered which version is best for their business: QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop. Before deciding, it’s important to review the key differences between each. Here’s a quick look at QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online and how they compare.

QuickBooks Desktop

  • Local version—no internet required
  • Higher up-front cost
  • Required upgrades
  • One-time purchase
  • Customized data entry
  • Job costing
  • Robust features

QuickBooks Online

  • Work-from-anywhere operation
  • Easy-to-use setup
  • 24/7 technical support
  • Small monthly fee
  • Data breach risk
  • QuickBooks Online mobile app
  • Limited features
  • Accounts receivable reports

In the end, you can’t go wrong with either option. The deciding factor will most likely be your business’s size, type, and individual needs. Keep in mind, however, that Intuit is investing more in its online products than its desktop products. If you’re an avid QuickBooks Desktop user and not ready to make the switch to QuickBooks Online, know that you may have to make the change at some point in the future.

FAQs about QuickBooks

Does QuickBooks export to Excel and Google Sheets?

Yes, QuickBooks makes it easy to export data to Excel and Google Sheets. You can also import customer or vendor files, products, and services into QuickBooks Online from different accounting software. However, migrating your data from software to software can prove to be a challenging task.

What QuickBooks alternatives are there?

Wondering how QuickBooks compares to competitors? Here’s a quick overview of different accounting software for small businesses.

ProductStarting monthly priceKey featuresMore info
FreshBooks Cloud Accounting$15Project management and team collaborationLearn More
Gusto$39 + $6/userFull-service payroll and employee benefits servicesLearn More
Sage Business Cloud$10Bank reconciliation and automatic backupLearn More
Xero$9Advanced security and 24/7 supportLearn More
Wave$0No cost for most services and access for multiple usersLearn More
Quicken$34.99Budget and bill managementLearn More

Data effective 6/5/18. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Does QuickBooks work with TurboTax?

QuickBooks supports TurboTax integration, which is another well-loved feature for freelancers and business owners.

Does QuickBooks work with Square?

Best Accounting Software
Xero
Best Overall
QuickBooks
Best for Money Management
FreshBooks
Best for One-Person Startups
GoDaddy
Best for Bookkeeping
Wave
Best for Service-Based Business

QuickBooks allows users to auto-import sales and expenses from Square by using the Sync with Square app. Business owners can create invoices, take photos of receipts, track inventory, and manage customers and vendors from the QuickBooks mobile app.  

Does QuickBooks work with Shopify?

To ensure your books stay up to date, QuickBooks easily syncs all Shopify orders and refund data, and business owners can record Shopify fees and see what sales tax they owe.

Does QuickBooks work with PayPal?

Users can seamlessly connect their PayPal account to QuickBooks. QuickBooks will automatically record PayPal fees for you, saving reconciliation time.

Does QuickBooks work with Salesforce?

Integrating a powerful CRM with QuickBooks can give business owners a bird’s-eye view of how their business is running and what areas need improvement. Fortunately, Salesforce, one of our favorite CRMs, integrates with QuickBooks and gives business owners time to focus on what matters.

The takeaway

QuickBooks helps companies manage their money, generate invoices, and create critical financial reports. Best of all, it’s user friendly, flexible, and chock-full of smart features.

After researching pricing, plans, and customer reviews, we’re ranking QuickBooks a solid four out of five stars thanks to its depth, well-designed user interface, and extensive features. But be warned: you may experience minor customer service issues and pricey add-ons.

Are you a QuickBooks user? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment below and tell us how QuickBooks has impacted your small business.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don’t guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Sources

  1. Intuit, “The Appification of Small Business
  2. Intuit QuickBooks, “QBO Surpasses 2 Million Global Customer Milestone