- Strength of security
- Easy invoicing and estimating
- Tracking mileages
- Cheap prices (on annual basis)
- 30-day risk-free trial
- No automatic payment reminders
- No tracking for inventory items
- No third party integration options
Accounting software is quite an unusual industry. It’s one of the few markets that doesn’t really step outside of its boundaries; software developers tend to only create accounting programs – or those that help with finances in some way – and rarely do you see many companies dipping their toes in other, unrelated industries. That’s what makes 1&1 Online Accounting so different from its competition, since the company – 1&1 Internet – is also known for its web hosting services.
Based on sevDesk, an accounting program from Germany, 1&1 Online Accounting is a rather basic solution with everything a freelancer or an aspiring small business might need. Depending on the chosen subscription, users are treated to easy invoicing with intelligent tracking, a manual inventory, automatically created business reports, and expense management with receipt processing – all of which are available from a convenient online account manager. But where 1&1 really scores an ace where no other accounting solution provider can is in its pricing plans, which are not only ridiculously cheap – starting from as low as $5 a month – but also come with a 30-day risk-free trial.
At first the accounting solution of 1&1 – which can only be accessed from the 1&1 Control Panel – is kind of impressive thanks to its inclusion of SSL connections, DDoS protection and geo-redundancy.
Unfortunately, this initial impression doesn’t quite last, since everything else is a bit of a mixed bag. For starters, the solution sports a bland dashboard where important details like current incomes and expenses, a history of any actions taken in the software, or a small window showing available tasks can be found. This is why it’s quite a relief that many of the functions can be quickly accessed by clicking the “Add invoice” button – which has a dropdown menu – or discovered through the convenient search bar that appears throughout the site.
The option to filter functions is particularly useful, since the categorization of the features within the software is not always crystal clear. Take finding your estimates, for instance, which can be found not only in “Orders”, but in “Documents” and “Reports” too – and they can all be easily confused with one another. Despite such issues, the software still includes all the major features that you would hope to see in accounting software, like invoices, estimates, expenses, business reports, and an inventory. There are additional things that can be set up as well – like company data, the default tax rate and user permissions – but there isn’t likely to be much change in these settings.
Creating an invoice is nothing spectacular but there are some supplementary features on top of the usual options, such as adding content to the header and footer, a discount or a different currency. Invoices can then be previewed, allowing you to either send them right away or further customize their appearance a bit through the likes of switching to another template or adding a QR code.
One standout aspect of the software is its capability to handle recurring invoices and turn quotes into invoices, not to mention the fact that all invoices are tracked, with their current respective statuses displayed prominently. Sadly, however, payment reminders still have to be created and sent manually by the user, and there is no option to add fast payment methods to the invoices either.
The inventory function of 1&1 Online Accounting is pretty basic, and not in a good way. Granted, there are plenty of things that can be controlled for each item – such as the total and remaining amount of stock or purchase and retail prices – but frustratingly when an item from the stock is added to an invoice, the software doesn’t automatically track changes.
This feature is basically the same as customer payment reminders from similar software. It is a task – which contains a due date, a short description, the type of task, and an assignee – that can be created either on their own or attached to invoices. For added convenience, tasks are always displayed on the dashboard for quick access, but can be marked as completed with a simple click from within the dashboard as well.
Unfortunately, there is some bad news when it comes to mobile functionality with 1&1 Online Accounting. Instead of the hassle-free accounting experience you might hope for, here there are two mobile apps, one of which barely works properly and the other is restricted to a single feature – and it’s not even part of the 1&1 brand.
But before completely writing off the apps, there are some aspects to consider. First, there is the 1&1 Control Panel app available for iOS and Android devices: although it’s capable of recording all 1&1 services that you are subscribed to, handling online accounting through this is basically out of question. The reason for this is the app’s inability to adapt the website to mobile screens in a proper manner, meaning that the account can only be properly used from tablets or phablets.
The other application, sevScan, is an entirely different ordeal, however. For starters, it’s a receipt processing app developed by sevDesk – the company behind 1&1’s accounting software – that captures receipts to extract any necessary information out of them, but nothing more. Despite the singular function limiting the value of the app – why could the same not be included in the main app, for example – it does its job well, especially if connected to your accounting solution. By doing so, the extracted data is automatically turned into an online receipt within your account.
Integrations & Extra Services
Having apps that don’t satisfy expectations is one thing, but when it comes to third party integration 1&1 Online Accounting is just tragic. For starters, there is no way to use this accounting software in tandem with third party solutions, which is quite a downer considering that sevDesk – the solution this software is built on – at least provides the option to create links between different programs with Zapier.
The only thing that kind of redeems 1&1 in this regard is that it’s fully compatible with both the sevDesk and sevScan apps that can be used with the user’s 1&1 credentials by simply scanning a QR code.
There are three pricing plans from which newcomers can choose: Invoice, Accounting and Inventory Manager. Invoice is available from $9.99 per month and is the most basic plan, only providing features related to invoice and quote management for a single user.
Accounting is $19.99 per month, and adds expense management, recurring invoicing, and business reports for up to three users. The top plan, Inventory Management, unlocks the inventory function of the software, as well as allowing up to ten users to log into the same account; however, the subscription fee for this plan is $39.99 each month.
Thankfully, the prices listed here are not static due to the simple reason that those who pick a longer contract, and therefore pay on an annual basis, will unlock a discounted price for a whole year. With this discount applied the prices of each package is the equivalent of reducing the monthly cost by half.
However, any subscription – monthly or otherwise – comes with a 30-day risk-free trial, meaning customers have plenty of time to make a decision about whether or not they want to keep onto the subscription. Additionally, there is a referral program, whereby referring friends, acquaintances and businesses to 1&1 – who then go on to subscribe to 1&1 Online Accounting for at least 42 days – will earn you a commission from 1&1 as high as $60 per friend.
Although all three live customer support options are available to subscribers, live chat is the only option for sales purposes only. However, the other two methods of contact – email and phone support – are always at your service thanks to their 24/7 availability. Still, it’s best to note that to cancel a subscription or get instant and, most importantly, more personal help, the only real option is to call 1&1’s staff directly; the help we received via email was limited and impersonal.
When it comes to other forms of available support, however, the company is a little hit or miss. On the positive side, for instance, the company does have a dedicated Twitter page for support purposes where questions are answered in a prompt and courteous manner. There is also a blog, called the 1&1 Digital Guide, which provides some pretty good articles that might be of use for small business owners. But unfortunately any other options are out of question, since 1&1’s support pages have no solutions for subscribers of 1&1 Online Accounting. Thankfully this is compensated by the fact that the software itself comes with built-in tutorials.
In all honesty, 1&1 Online Accounting is like a low-cost airline: it perfectly serves its function as basic accounting software, but aside from that there is nothing in particular to make it a must-have solution. As a matter of fact, having an inventory that doesn’t automatically track items, being almost unusable from mobile devices and providing virtually no integration options at all are important enough reasons that we would not be surprised if you considered avoiding from this solution.
However, if these problems can be set aside then 1&1’s accounting software is not bad at all. It’s nice to know that both its invoicing and estimating features are mostly flawless and, despite not being automated, it’s good to have an inventory feature included. It’s particularly worthwhile to remember that it’s virtually impossible to find a solution that provides all these core basic features for one of the best prices on the market.