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Updated Apr 10, 2024

QuickBooks Online Review and Pricing

Mike Berner
Mike Berner, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Operations

Table of Contents

Open row
Editors Score:9.4/10

QuickBooks Online is our choice for the best accounting software for small businesses. It boasts a range of diverse features, multiple integrations, high-level security and a user-friendly interface, making it easy for small teams to navigate.

Thumbs Up Pros
  • QuickBooks Online’s leading market position means most accountants will be familiar with the software.
  • The software integrates with more than 750 business apps, including Amazon Business, Square, Shopify, PayPal, QuickBooks Time, Fathom and SOS Inventory.
  • QuickBooks Online’s comprehensive feature set includes multiple built-in reports, such as aged receivables, general ledger, profit and loss, and trial balance.
  • The platform is regularly updated with new and advanced features and tools. Up next for the solution is the addition of AI.
Thumbs Down Cons
  • You can’t easily upgrade the Self-Employed plan. If your business is growing or you think you might hire an employee soon, you’ll need to choose one of the Small Business plans.
  • You’ll need multiple subscriptions if you run multiple businesses.
  • The plans limit the number of users; keep in mind how many people will need to access the software when you select a plan.
Editor's Rating9.4/10

Small business accounting is a crucial element of starting and operating a company. Small businesses need access to a diverse array of accounting features and integrations at an affordable price point to help them manage their finances. For many years, QuickBooks has been the leading accounting and bookkeeping solution for small businesses. We’ve continually found it’s a relatively affordable, one-size-fits-all product packed with valuable features, supports multiple integrations, and is easy to set up and use. Based on our extensive and repeated testing, QuickBooks Online from Intuit is our pick for the best accounting software for small businesses. 

Intuit QuickBooks Online Editor's Rating:

9.4 / 10

Payments
9.7/10
Automatic invoicing
9.5/10
Third-party integrations
9/10
Mobile app
9.5/10
24/7 customer service
9.5/10

Why We Chose QuickBooks Online as Best for Small Businesses

When it comes to small business accounting solutions, QuickBooks stands apart as the clear market leader in the industry. It is a widely used brand that caters to small business owners who aren’t accountants or bookkeepers, providing straightforward accounting tools that meet their needs.

While QuickBooks alternatives may be better for specific use cases, we found that QuickBooks Online’s breadth makes it the best overall pick for small businesses needing a one-size-fits-all solution. QuickBooks Online gives you everything you need to manage your financial operations, including accounts receivable and accounts payable features. If you want to customize the software with additional tools, you can choose from hundreds of apps that integrate with QuickBooks Online.

What’s more, we found that technologically, QuickBooks far outpaces its competitors. Automation tools, for example, eliminate the tedious work of expense tracking and bank reconciliation. Plus, a new artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot can assist small business owners in analyzing their financial data and answering accounting questions. In short, our hands-on testing of QuickBooks and its peers uncovered that this solution in particular has the technology and ease of use to suit small businesses of all kinds.

Did You Know?Did you know

QuickBooks Online can help small business owners avoid typical accounting mistakes like overstating cash flow, forgetting to pay invoices and incorrectly tracking income and expenses.

Intuit QuickBooks dashboard

QuickBooks Online is a full-featured accounting solution that tracks income and expenses and helps you stay ready for tax season. Source: Intuit

Pros

  • QuickBooks Online’s leading market position means most accountants will be familiar with the software. 
  • The software integrates with more than 750 business apps, including Amazon Business, Square, Shopify, PayPal and QuickBooks Time.
  • QuickBooks Online’s comprehensive feature set includes multiple built-in reports, such as aged receivables, general ledger, profit and loss, and trial balance. 
  • The Intuit Assist AI tool puts QuickBooks ahead of competitors, in terms of AI. 

Cons

  • You can’t easily upgrade the Solopreneur plan.
  • The plans limit the number of users, so you need to keep in mind how many people will need to access the software when you select a plan.
  • While an excellent one-size-fits-all solution, QuickBooks lacks a few niche features needed by some small businesses. 

Ease of Use

After testing QuickBooks Online ourselves, we think users will have an easy time navigating and learning the software. Although the feature-packed user interface can sometimes feel a bit busy, we found the layout logical. GAAP accounting can be confusing for people without accounting expertise, but QuickBooks includes many data visualization tools to make it easier. The dashboard shows several graphs with overviews of your sales over time, income, expenses and profit-and-loss data. You can click on the images to drill down into each data set. We also like that you can customize the date range for each graph.

We were further impressed by how easy it is to customize invoices and forms. QuickBooks gives you several templates, accent colors, fonts and font sizes to choose from; you can also upload and position your logo or brand image. We like that you can choose which information to include in the header, select which columns to include in the body of the invoice and edit their labels and widths, customize the text and add a message to your customers in the footer. 

Intuit QuickBooks metrics

The QuickBooks dashboard provides a helpful overview of some key financial metrics. Source: Intuit 

QuickBooks Online Features

Starting a business is stressful. However, good accounting software will help you save time by automating tedious, error-prone financial tasks. QuickBooks Online stands out among the competition for its high-level accounting software features, including the following. 

Bank Reconciliation 

Don’t know how to reconcile a business bank account? QuickBooks features automatic bank feeds that import your business checking account and credit card transactions. Then smart reconciliation tools identify and automatically match your bank transactions with those you’ve entered into the software. You can also create banking rules to further streamline reconciliation and categorization. We loved to see the software is even capable of pulling vendor names from a jumble of unorganized bank data, which saves you the trouble of doing this tedious work manually. 

Automation

We were impressed by QuickBooks Online’s automation tools, which stand above some competing platforms we reviewed. QuickBooks can automate payment reminders, recurring invoices and bill payments. It automatically backs up your data to the cloud, saving you the time it would take to do it manually. QuickBooks can also match foreign currency bank accounts. In an increasingly globalized environment, this is a valuable feature for businesses that operate abroad. 

Most recently, QuickBooks added some new tools powered by machine learning technology. We think it’s especially cool that the software can “learn” about your spending habits to better organize expenses. QuickBooks will also prompt you to help fill in gaps when it isn’t sure how to categorize an expense. In this respect, QuickBooks far outpaces rival accounting software.

Did You Know?Did you know

AI and automation technology can help accountants by identifying patterns and anomalies that flag accounting fraud.

Artificial Intelligence

One of the most exciting new QuickBooks tools is its AI functionality. Intuit Assist (seen on the right-hand side of the screenshot below) is an AI-powered chatbot that can assist in analyzing your business’s finances and answering accounting questions. The software can anticipate likely follow-up questions, as well as provide actionable suggestions (e.g., sending reminders for unpaid invoices). 

Quickbooks AI tools

Intuit Assist is a new, built-in AI tool that can help answer financial questions about your business. Source: Intuit

Invoicing

Creating professional invoices could be the difference between your business getting paid and your invoice being ignored. For this reason, we appreciate how thoroughly QuickBooks handles invoice creation. Its invoicing features are more robust than those of many competitors we reviewed.

QuickBooks Online’s excellent invoicing functionality includes the following features. 

  • Mobile device optimization: We like that QuickBooks invoices are optimized for mobile devices. You can quickly create and send invoices from the QuickBooks browser software or mobile app. Another cool feature we tried: QuickBooks supports an app that allows you to invoice directly from Gmail.
  • Invoice payment button: If you set up online payments through QuickBooks Payments or a third-party processor like PayPal or Square (read our Square review to learn more), you can add a payment button to the invoices. That makes it quick and easy for your customers to pay.  
  • Estimate creation: We like how you can create estimates using QuickBooks Online — a unique feature. Once a customer approves an estimate, you can convert it to an invoice with a single click. The software automatically links related documents to keep your billing organized and prevent duplicate invoices.
  • Recurring invoices and payment reminders: Additionally, you can create recurring invoices and schedule automatic payment reminders. The software lets you track and invoice billable hours and automatically includes unbilled charges on your recurring invoices. 

Quickbooks invoice

QuickBooks Online lets you invoice customers for partial payments to keep project payments organized and connected. Source: Intuit

Inventory

When we tested the software, we were impressed by QuickBooks Online’s inventory features. Plus and Advanced plan users can manage inventory and vendors and create purchase orders through the accounting platform. You can add images of inventory items and bundle products or services frequently sold together, saving you from having to enter them on an invoice separately. You can also track inventory, and the software shows you how many of a particular item you have in stock when you’re creating estimates, invoices and purchase orders. This feature is extremely helpful for businesses that maintain extensive inventories.

We also appreciate that the program alerts you when it’s time to reorder inventory. Once your inventory arrives, QuickBooks converts the purchase order into a bill. You also get on-demand reports, giving you real-time insight into which products are doing well and which are languishing.

TipBottom line

If your business has complex inventory needs, you may find value in one of the best POS systems, which have extensive inventory management tools.

Mobile App

We like that QuickBooks Online’s mobile app gives you an overview of your business activity and allows you to accomplish multiple accounting tasks wherever you are. View dashboard data, create and send invoices, accept payments, capture receipts and attach them to expenses, reconcile transactions, view customer information, and message customers from the app. During our test run, we found the app well-organized and straightforward to use.

Quickbooks mobile app

QuickBooks’ mobile app makes it easy to manage your business on the go. Source: Intuit 

Reporting

QuickBooks Online also shines when it comes to report generation, outperforming many competitors. The software boasts multiple built-in reports, including aged receivable reports, general ledger reports, profit-and-loss statements, balance sheets, and trial balance reports. During our test, we liked that you can set frequently used reports as favorites to make them easy to find. The software can also automatically run reports and email them to you on a schedule you create. 

QuickBooks now includes a suite of forecasting and budgeting tools, as well. We think is a particularly exciting new feature that will help small business owners run a tighter financial ship. Recently, QuickBooks added the ability to create more visualizations in custom reports. The insights in these reports can help you leverage data analytics to make better business decisions.

Third-Party Integrations

During our evaluation, we discovered that QuickBooks Online’s extensive third-party integrations set it apart from many of its rivals. Instead of manually exporting and importing data between QuickBooks and your other business programs, you can automatically sync data between systems. QuickBooks integrates with top POS systems, popular online stores, the best CRM software, project management solutions, payroll systems and more.  

In fact, QuickBooks integrates with more than 750 business apps, including Amazon Business, Square, Shopify, PayPal, QuickBooks Time, Fathom and SOS Inventory. 

TipBottom line

Check out our in-depth QuickBooks Time review to learn about this top time and attendance system for businesses with mobile workforces.

Security

We appreciate that QuickBooks Online uses bank-grade security to protect your data and that you can enable two-factor authentication. You can also set user permissions to control the access of employees you invite to the system. The software includes an audit log that tracks every login, logout and file change. These safeguards should help you prevent employee accounting fraud

QuickBooks Online Pricing

In investigating a number of accounting software platforms, we uncovered QuickBooks Online is a little pricier than its peers. At a minimum, you’ll pay $20 monthly for the basic Solopreneur package. The most popular plan, which includes inventory tracking, clocks in at $90 monthly. 

Frankly, several competitors we reviewed offer many of the same basic features at much lower price points. However, at the higher end, it’s tough to beat QuickBooks Online’s array of features and widespread use among accountants. Simply put, QuickBooks is popular because its functionality makes the price worth it even (or perhaps especially) for small businesses.

QuickBooks often has discounts, so be sure to inquire about available deals during the purchase process. The company also offers special pricing if you pay annually instead of monthly. The prices we’ve listed below reflect monthly costs without discounts.

Small business subscriptions

  • Solopreneur: The Solopreneur plan costs $20 monthly and is geared toward freelancers and independent contractors. This bare-bones package includes income and expense tracking, receipt organizing, quarterly tax estimating, basic reports and miles tracking.
  • Simple Start: The Simple Start plan costs $30 monthly and is designed for a single user. It includes everything in the Solopreneur package, plus cash flow analytics, tax deductions, sales tax calculation and 1099 preparation tools.
  • Essentials: The Essentials plan costs $60 monthly and supports three users. It includes all Simple Start features, plus time tracking, along with bill pay and management tools.
  • Plus: The Plus plan costs $90 monthly and supports five users. It includes all Essentials features, plus the ability to track project profitability and inventory. This is QuickBooks Online’s most popular option.
  • Advanced: The Advanced plan costs $200 monthly and supports 25 users. In addition to the features in the Plus package, it includes one license of Smart Reporting powered by Fathom, up to 20 transaction classes for expense tracking, on-demand online training, access to a dedicated account team and the ability to automate workflows and restore company data.

You can add QuickBooks’ high-quality payroll features to one of these small business plans for an additional monthly fee. Fortunately, a demo allows you an up-close view of the software before committing. 

If you rather not rely on cloud-based software, QuickBooks also offers Desktop Pro Plus for $649 per year and Desktop Premier Plus for $949 annually. (There’s also an Enterprise version, but you must call for pricing.) However, the QuickBooks desktop program lacks many of the features available in the cloud-based version, so carefully review the details before deciding which setup is right for you. 

FYIDid you know

If you’re deciding between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop, you should understand some major changes. Perhaps most significantly, QuickBooks Desktop is no longer available as a one-time purchase. You’ll need an annual Pro, Premier or Enterprise subscription that renews annually.

QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping

QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping is available to QuickBooks Online customers. The service starts at $300 per month, with an additional charge for an accounting cleanup and onboarding during the first month. The ultimate cost is determined by sign-up month, tax filing status and your business’s start date. After that, you’ll be charged monthly based on your average monthly expenses over three consecutive months.

  • If your monthly average is up to $10,000, the service costs $300 per month.
  • If your monthly average is $10,001 to $50,000, it’s $500 per month.
  • If your monthly average is $50,001 or more, it’s $700 per month.

Despite the price, we find this add-on appealing for small businesses that don’t want to hire a CPA.

Quickbooks Live Bookkeeping

With QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping, you get access to an accountant who can work with you in real time. Source: Intuit 

Implementation and Onboarding

We really like how easy QuickBooks Online is to purchase and set up. On the QuickBooks website, you can start by taking a quiz to match you with the best plan. The brief survey asks several questions about your business needs, including which features you’d like as part of your software package and the number of employees on your payroll. At the end, QuickBooks will present its recommended plan. We found this setup feature to be a nice value-add that other competitors we reviewed don’t offer. You can also speak to a QuickBooks representative directly for one-on-one guidance.

Once you set up your account or free trial, connecting your bank account to QuickBooks takes only a few minutes. If you need implementation help, you can purchase a one-time session with a bookkeeper. They will walk you through setting up your chart of accounts, connecting your bank accounts and automating processes. Although this perk costs extra, we like that less tech-savvy business owners have the ability to receive hands-on assistance at a relatively low price point. 

Customer Service

In an age when many cloud-based software solutions overlook customer service needs, we like that QuickBooks offers its customers multiple support resources. You can contact the vendor for help by phone or live chat, search the company website’s knowledge base or ask questions in the community forum. You can also watch tutorial videos and webinars and enroll in training classes. The company posts information about new features and software updates each month on its blog, along with articles of interest to small business owners.

If you want in-person assistance, QuickBooks gives you access to local certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors who can give you one-on-one help with using the software for your business. Compared to some of the lower-priced options we reviewed, QuickBooks users certainly get their money’s worth when it comes to customer service.

Quickbooks digital support

QuickBooks Online offers multiple digital support options for customers, including an online community and tutorials. Source: Intuit

Limitations

Although QuickBooks is by far the leading accounting software solution, it does have a few drawbacks to be aware of. 

  • Upgrading from the Solopreneur plan is challenging. One potential downside of the QuickBooks pricing system is that you can’t easily upgrade from the Solopreneur plan, its lowest-cost subscription at $20 per month. Although upgrading is technically possible, the process requires you to download your data and reimport it into QuickBooks after updating your service package. This is much more complex than we would like from the market-leading accounting software provider. 
  • The software may lack niche features. QuickBooks is a more generalized, one-size-fits-all solution than some of our other best picks. The software lacks some of the niche features that e-commerce businesses or those that process many physical transactions may want. Businesses needing to track time for billable hours might want to look into our FreshBooks review and our QuickBooks vs. FreshBooks comparison, while those focused on enterprise resource planning might appreciate our review of Oracle NetSuite.
  • You don’t have unlimited users. Although QuickBooks doesn’t charge for additional users, it limits the number of active users depending on your plan. Notably, a few rival accounting software programs allow unlimited users or additional users for an extra fee. 
TipBottom line

Check out our review of Melio to learn about an accounting solution that can supplement QuickBooks on the accounts payable side.

Methodology

We investigated dozens of the best accounting and invoicing software solutions to help small business owners as they research and choose the right accounting software for their needs. We reviewed each platform’s payment and invoicing capabilities, integrations, mobile apps, report generation capabilities, supported user counts and customer service. We also assessed pricing and free trial availability. 

Our information sources included vendor websites and hands-on software demos. We also took into account customer reviews for independent opinions on things like customer service. When determining the best accounting software for small businesses generally, we specifically focused on value, user-friendliness and how the software’s features would make small business owners’ lives easier. You can read more about our editorial process here.

QuickBooks Online FAQ

QuickBooks Online, an accounting software product, is used to manage bookkeeping, inventory, taxes, bank account reconciliation, budgeting, expenses and other business and financial functions.

QuickBooks isn’t difficult to learn, depending on your base skills. The software features an intuitive user interface and isn’t challenging to navigate. However, users who aren’t tech- or accounting-savvy may require additional support, which QuickBooks offers.

Whether you need an accountant if you have QuickBooks is largely up to you. QuickBooks helps business owners keep records according to the double-entry accounting system (i.e., debits and credits). You may still want to hire an accountant to proofread your records and verify that you comply with tax laws and regulations.

Bottom Line

We recommend QuickBooks Online for …

  • Business owners who want a software package that is widely recognized and trusted by countless accountants and bookkeepers. 
  • Businesses that need their accounting software to integrate with many different third-party apps. 

We do not recommend QuickBooks Online for …

  • Businesses that can’t afford to pay at least $20 per month for accounting software. 
  • Niche businesses (such as those in e-commerce) that require more specialized solutions instead of a mass-market, one-size-fits-all accounting software package. 
Mike Berner
Mike Berner, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
Mike Berner is a staff writer at business.com and Business News Daily, where he specializes in finance topics including business loans, accounting, and credit card processing. Mike has a deep background in the financial world, having written hundreds of articles and blog posts on financial markets, business and investing. He holds a B.A. in economics and a B.B.A. in finance, both from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Prior to his writing career, he performed financial analysis and research as an economic analyst.
Editor's Rating9.4/10
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