- Very good user interface
- Over 300 integration option
- Different subscriptions with different features
- Good Android and iOS apps
- Trial period and money back guarantee
- Certain essential features are add-ons
- Long waiting time for telephone assistance
It is quite unbelievable that U.S.-based online accounting company Intuit Inc. has already been on the market since 1983. But the success of its main product, QuickBooks shows that they aren’t just simply lucky. The software exists as downloadable software for desktops, and a cloud-based accounting solution dubbed QuickBooks Online, which the company quite aggressively promotes. This latter version, of which we will be talking about, is ideal for everybody from simple sole-proprietors to bigger companies. Regardless of the chosen subscription, you can create invoices, expenses, and estimates with a few clicks, quickly manage sales receipts, create and print checks, payrolls, have multiple tax rates, real-time banking and reports. You can integrate the software with over 300 third-party solutions, and be entitled to full customer support. You also have the option to try out the software completely free of charge for 30 days. Skipping this trial period you get a discount from the monthly subscription fee for six months or a whole year. But if you don’t like the software, you still have a 60-day money back guarantee.
QuickBooks exists in two versions: a desktop one and the entirely cloud-based one, called QuickBooks Online, which is highly recommended by the company. Furthermore, the free registration to the online version only requires some basic data.
Introducing QuickBooks Online
Once you are set up with QuickBooks Online, you are directed to the homepage of your account which contains a pretty straightforward dashboard that shows the main features on the left. Your income, expenses and your profit & loss are in the middle section, while your business activities are on the right. The main features of the site are as follows: invoicing, expenses, estimates, managing sales receipts, creating and printing checks, and banking. You can also add an unlimited amount of customers, vendors and employees, set up the payroll, see the automatically generated reports, and add items you sell to the inventory. The latter feature can only be found in Settings, however.
Unfortunately if you want more than the above like managing and paying your bills, getting instant sales and profit reports, tracking your time and inventory, and preparing and printing 1099s, then the Simple Start price package is not for you. This is especially true if more than one person wants to use the software, aside from the accountants, as the most basic plan only allows full access to one person. But even if you purchase a better package, there’s one feature you will never get: project planning.
Creating invoices in QuickBooks Online is very simple: you just have to select from the invoice templates, provide the necessary data, and either print, preview or customize the invoice or directly send it to your customer after saving. You can also select the payment method, but your options are limited to bank remittance or credit/debit card, unless you have subscribed to and paid for a pay-as-you-go add-on service that allows online payment services such as PayPal. When a client has paid the invoice, all you have to do is click on the invoice, select Receive Payment and its amount will be added to your incomes.
Invoices in QuickBooks Online
Accounting & Reports
QuickBooks’ automated accounting and reporting does a stellar job in making your accounting work simpler: the software builds over 20 real-time reports such as profit & loss, balance sheets, taxable sales summaries, account receivables and many more. All of the reports can be either printed out or can be directly sent to your accountant. Moreover, he/she can view these reports and manage your data if you give him/her a (limited) permission.
This is an extra service of QuickBooks, but it is essential if you want to allow customers to pay with other payment methods. If you subscribe to this service for free you can email invoices with a Pay Now button which allows customers to pay immediately and keeps your books automatically updated upon customer payment. However, you are obliged to pay $5 per transaction and 2.4% or 3.4% + $0.25 for each credit/debit card transaction your client makes.
Pay Now Option in QuickBooks Online
Even though you can access QuickBooks Online using a mobile browser and all features remain available, we wouldn’t recommend that due to the website’s inability to adapt to mobile screens. However, this cannot be said about the Android or iOS applications: the most important features you can use are adding new clients, suppliers, estimates, invoices, sales receipts, payments, expenses, and notes. These features work very well, because the moment you make a modification on something it will appear in the desktop version as well. You can also check your banking, if your transactions are imported from your bank account, and there is a nice chart of accounts. Furthermore, QuickBooks Online for mobile supports sales receipts capturing using your mobile device’s camera, allowing you to immediately attach a receipt to the virtual one as well.
The application has a major advantage over the desktop version: adding products and services to your inventory in a much easier way. While in the desktop version you have to go to the settings to open the products and services inventory, here it is more conveniently featured in the left sidebar right under Activity and Notes.
QuickBooks Online Mobile Overview
Unfortunately reports are the most neglected in the app, because you can only see your profit & loss and your balance sheets. This also means that if you want to send them to your accountant you have to use the desktop version.
Integrations & Extra Services
If you are using third-party applications or services, it is very likely that they’re included in the list of 340 different apps that can be integrated to QuickBooks. And the list will definitely grow as the company offers and supports an API.
Here are some of the featured apps that can be integrated to QuickBooks:
If you connect this program with QuickBooks, all your Square data will be synced during the night, and the transactions will be organized the way they were in the original program. Furthermore, you get item and category reporting as well.
Insightly CRM Integration
This online CRM software captures relevant details about each of your customers, suppliers etc. which now can be imported to QuickBooks with a few simple clicks. You can also allow certain Insightly users to have access to the necessary data. And no matter which software you use to keep records of your customers, it will always appear in the other software as well.
Receipt Bank Integration
This neat software helps you process your receipts, bills and the invoices of your suppliers, which you can automatically forward to QuickBooks once they are processed.
If you connect QuickBooks to Fundbox you can easily send your unpaid invoices to this third-party software to get advances on them as soon as the next business day.
If you are willing to sacrifice a discount, you can enter into a 30-day trial period during which you can test every single feature of the software. However, you have to decide in advance which kind of product you want to use in the future from the three. However, during this 30-day trial period you have the option to upgrade your software. After purchasing QuickBooks you also have a 60-day money back guarantee if you are unsatisfied with the software.
The most basic product, Simple Start, is $12.95 per month, but if you decide to skip the 30-day trial period, your monthly subscription fee is reduced by 33% for six months, resulting in a $10 per month price. This basic product contains income and expenses tracking and creation, bank account sync, 20+ built-in business reports, and, aside from your accountant, access for one user.
The next product called Essentials is $35 per month, but by skipping the trial period the price is reduced to $24 a month for 6 months. For this package you receive the Simple Start product plus bill payment and management, instant sales and profit reports, and access for 3 users whose activity you can control.
The most popular product, Plus, costs $50 per month ($35 per month for six months without trying out the software) which includes Essential plus track inventory, preparation and printing of 1099s, and access for 5 users. Furthermore you get limited access for employees and subcontractors to enter the time they worked, and even track billable hours for your customers.
If you need any kind of help, you can choose from many types of support: you can contact the company by phone from Monday to Friday from 6am to 6pm (and on Saturday from 6am to 3pm), and by live chat with the same opening hours as the telephone assistance. You have the option to contact a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, the experts of all QuickBooks products, search for the answer in the FAQs and community forums, and watch the QuickBooks video tutorials.
However the waiting time of the telephone assistance is extremely long (20 minutes), and, quite questionably, you cannot contact the service assistance via email. The so-called courses are pre-recorded videos, therefore you have no direct interaction with the staff. This can be changed, however, if you are willing to enroll in live trainings that are held by a completely different company.
In conclusion we can say that QuickBooks Online is one of the best offers on the online accounting market. However, be very careful when purchasing any version, because certain features such as management of bills and 1099s, and tracking your inventory are only available in the more expensive products. Project planning is completely omitted from the software altogether, which is another reason it’s good to have over 340 third-party services ready to be integrated with QuickBooks Online. Furthermore, you only get a discount from the price if you are willing to skip the trial period, and you have to pay for certain services such as accepting other payment methods. The iOS and Android apps make up for the lack of a mobile-optimized website, and make some actions like adding products and services even easier than on the desktop version of QuickBooks Online. If you only need the basic features, you want to manage your accounting from your mobile device as well, be able to turn to a well-prepared customer service, and get a nice looking accounting solution at an affordable price, then QuickBooks Online is without doubt your choice.