When it comes to online accounting solutions it’s virtually impossible to list every feature that makes the collective lives of businesses as convenient as possible, but if there is one area that needs emphasizing it’s the automation of data entry. Whether this occurs within the software by copying data from one place to another or via the integration of a third-party solution, automation can streamline the business workflow. That’s why it’s such a shame that the vast majority of accounting programs and tax preparation software cannot be used in tandem. Thankfully, however, there is one exception to this rule: Intuit, the company behind QuickBooks Online and TurboTax.
Integration Taken With a Grain of Salt
Although the option to import most information from the accounting software into the tax prep program is certainly a great asset for business owners who want to reduce manual data entry to the absolute minimum, the integration between QuickBooks and TurboTax is far from being perfect. The reason for this is simple: direct integration is only allowed between QuickBooks Online Self-Employed and TurboTax Online Self-Employed. This means that anyone subscribed to QuickBooks Online Simple Start, Essentials, or Plus have no choice but to manually enter data into the relevant tax forms using the annual tax summary and annual tax details report generated by QuickBooks Online or integrate with third-party solutions supported by the program like Tax Planner Pro.
But even QuickBooks Online Self-Employed subscribers need to pay attention to two crucial details. The first is that in order to enjoy the integration between the two Intuit solutions it is necessary to subscribe to the QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle for $12 a month – a price that increases to $17 per month after the first three months. The other thing to note is that using TurboTax costs a whopping $119.99 for the self-employed, which has to be paid each time tax returns are filed through this particular program.
One-Click Tax Return
While limiting direct integration between QuickBooks and TurboTax to self-employed users only is a questionable decision by Intuit, if you fall into this category then the company does at least prove why it’s a market leader in online accounting and tax preparation.
For starters, all it takes to export the data across platforms is to navigate to the Tax Checklist menu, review and correct any information, if necessary, and then Intuit will do the rest for you. It’s worth noting that in order for the export to be successful – which can be performed only once – users need an existing TurboTax account. However, creating a TurboTax account isn’t complicated at all, as Intuit allows its customers to sign into TurboTax Online with the same credentials as those used with QuickBooks Online. And if that’s not enough, the program is always free of charge until returns are filed and, unlike the versions available to non-QuickBooks users, it provides the option to file one state return for free, too.
The Tax-Related Features of QuickBooks
It isn’t only this quick export button that makes the lives of the self-employed hassle-free, though. In fact, QuickBooks has some pretty innovative ways to make sure that everything is in the place that it needs to be when the tax season arrives. For instance, the program calculates quarterly estimated taxes based on the data entered into the software’s database and even notifies the user in advance of whenever these quarterly taxes are due. In addition to automatically filling out and constantly updating your Schedule C, QuickBooks also offers various tax deduction categories for business-related expenses, ensuring that the only expenses that are deducted from the estimated tax total are those eligible by the current tax laws.
And then there is the application of QuickBooks itself, which is best known for its capabilities of capturing receipts and automatically processing the data found on them. However, it also doubles as a GPS-based mileage tracker, where personal and business-related trips can be easily categorized with the swipe of a finger. And since mileage is entered automatically in real time, QuickBooks immediately recalculates the total tax deductions, therefore ensuring that the amount always stays correct and up to date.
Best Online Accounting Software of 2018