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Intuit QuickBooks Online Review

business.com editorial staff
Updated Jul 26, 2022

QuickBooks Online from Intuit is our pick for the best accounting software for small businesses. For many years, QuickBooks has been the leading accounting and bookkeeping solution for small businesses. As a one-size-fits-all product, the software is packed with features, supports many integrations, and offers an affordable price point.

Intuit QuickBooks Online Review

Intuit QuickBooks Online

The Verdict

QuickBooks Online from Intuit is our pick for the best accounting software for small businesses. It has a range of diverse features and a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for small teams to navigate.

QuickBooks Online Editor’s Score: 9.4/10

Payments9.5/10
Automatic invoicing9.5/10
Third-party integrations9/10
Mobile app9.5/10
Customer service9.5/10

Why We Chose QuickBooks Online as the Best for Small Businesses

With an 80% market share consisting of 29 million U.S. small businesses, according to ICSID.org, QuickBooks has been the No. 1 accounting software brand for over 20 years. It is the clear market leader in the industry, and for good reason. 

QuickBooks offers something for everyone regardless of your business’s needs. Want a cloud-based system? QuickBooks has several options. Are you a bit more of a traditionalist who prefers a desktop version that doesn’t require an internet connection? QuickBooks offers that as well. 

While other alternatives in the accounting software space are best for specific use cases, we found that QuickBooks’ breadth makes it the best overall pick for small businesses looking for a one-size-fits-all solution from a widely recognized brand. You get everything you need to support your operations, including accounts receivable and accounts payable features. With QuickBooks, you can track projects and inventory, making it a great choice for nearly every business type. It offers a range of service tiers so you can scale up as your business grows. If you want to customize the software with additional features, you can choose from hundreds of apps that integrate with QuickBooks.

What We Like About QuickBooks Online

  • QuickBooks’ leading market position means that most accountants will be familiar with the software. 
  • The software integrates with more than 650 business apps, including Amazon Business, Square, Shopify, PayPal, QuickBooks Time, Fathom and SOS Inventory.
  • The comprehensive set of features includes multiple built-in reports, such as aged receivables, general ledger, profit and loss, and trial balance. 

What We Don’t Like About QuickBooks Online

  • You can’t easily upgrade the Self-Employed plan, so 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.

Ease of Use

We believe that users will have an easy time navigating and learning QuickBooks. Although QuickBooks’ feature-packed user interface can sometimes feel a bit busy, we found during our test run that the tools are arranged logically. The dashboard shows several graphs with overviews of your sales over time, income, expenses, and profit and loss. You can click on the images to drill down into each set of information. You can also customize the date range for each graph.

QuickBooks dashboard
The QuickBooks dashboard provides a nice overview of some key financial metrics.

We also like how easy it is to customize invoices and forms. QuickBooks gives you several templates, accent colors, fonts and font sizes to choose from, and you can upload and position your logo. You also decide 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. 

QuickBooks Online Features

Starting a small business is stressful enough on its own, so good accounting software that saves you time and automates tedious tasks is a huge help. QuickBooks Online does both better than most alternatives that we reviewed. 

Automation

Don’t know how to reconcile a business bank account? QuickBooks features automatic bank feeds that import your bank and credit card transactions, as well as smart reconciliation tools that identify and automatically match your bank transactions with those you’ve entered into the software.

You can create banking rules to further streamline reconciliation and categorization. QuickBooks can automate payment reminders for your clients, as well as recurring invoices and bill payments. It automatically backs up your data to the cloud, saving you time on remembering to do it manually.

Did you know?Did you know? Automation can reduce the risk of fraud through AI programs that audit 100% of spend reports.

Invoicing

Creating professional-looking invoices could be the difference between your business getting paid and your invoice being ignored, which is why we really appreciate how thoroughly QuickBooks handles invoice creation. You can quickly create and send invoices from the QuickBooks browser version and mobile app. QuickBooks also supports an app that allows you to invoice directly from Gmail.

QuickBooks invoices are optimized for mobile devices. If you set up online payments, through either QuickBooks Payments (learn more in our QuickBooks Payments review) or an integration for a third-party payment processor such as PayPal or Square, you can add a payment button to the invoices. That makes it quick and easy for your customers to pay.  

We also like how you can create estimates using QuickBooks Online. Once a customer approves an estimate, you can convert it to an invoice with a single click. The software then automatically links related documents to keep your billing organized and prevent duplicate invoices.

Additionally, you can create recurring invoices and schedule automatic payment reminders. The software lets you track and invoice billable hours, as well as automatically include unbilled charges on your recurring invoices. Many accounting software solutions don’t offer invoice generator software, so this is a big plus for QuickBooks.

Inventory

Essentials and Advanced plan users can manage inventory and vendors and create purchase orders. You can add images of inventory items and bundle products or services that are 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 large inventories.

We like that the software 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.

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

Mobile App

QuickBooks’ mobile app gives you an overview of your business activity and allows you to accomplish multiple accounting tasks wherever you are. You can 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.

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

Reporting

Report generation is another feature that distinguishes QuickBooks from other accounting software. QuickBooks Online has multiple built-in reports, including those for aged receivables, general ledger, profit and loss, and trial balance. We liked that you can set frequently used reports as favorites to make them easy to find, and the software can automatically run reports and email them to you on a schedule you create. The insights in these reports can help you make better business decisions.

Third-Party Integrations

In our view, one of QuickBooks’ strongest features compared to alternatives is its incorporation of third-party integrations. Instead of manually exporting and importing data between QuickBooks and the other business programs you use – such as a POS system, e-commerce platform, CRM, project management software or payroll system – you can connect QuickBooks via third-party integrations and automatically sync data between systems. 

QuickBooks integrates with more than 650 business apps, including Amazon Business, Square, Shopify, PayPal, QuickBooks Time, Fathom and SOS Inventory. This gives QuickBooks a major advantage over competitors that don’t integrate with as many third-party business tools and platforms. 

Security

QuickBooks Online uses bank-grade security to protect your data, and you can enable two-factor authentication. You can also set user permissions to control the access of employees you invite to the system, and the software includes an audit log that tracks every login and logout, as well as every change made to your files.

QuickBooks Online Pricing

Compared to other accounting software packages that we reviewed, QuickBooks falls on the higher end of the cost spectrum. At minimum, you will be paying $15 per month for its most basic package, although the most popular plan, which includes inventory tracking, clocks in at $80 monthly. Several other competitors that 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’ array of features and its widespread use among accountants. 

QuickBooks regularly offers discounts, so be sure to inquire about any introductory offers before you purchase. The prices we’ve listed below reflect the cost per month without any discounts.

Small Business Subscriptions

  • The Self-Employed plan costs $15 per month and is geared toward freelancers and independent contractors. This bare-bones plan includes income and expense tracking, receipt organizing, quarterly taxes estimating, basic reports, and miles tracking. 
  • The Simple Start plan costs $25 per month and is designed for a single user. It includes everything in the Self-Employed plan, plus cash flow analytics, tax deductions, sales tax calculation and 1099 preparation tools. 
  • The Essentials plan costs $50 per month and supports three users. It includes all Simple Start features, plus time tracking and bill pay and management tools.
  • The Plus plan costs $80 per month 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 plan.
  • The Advanced plan costs $180 per month and supports 25 users. In addition to the features in the Plus plan, it includes one license of Smart Reporting powered by Fathom, up to 20 classes, on-demand online training, a dedicated account team, and the ability to automate workflows and restore company data.

Don’t want to pay every month for software in the cloud? QuickBooks also offers Desktop Pro Plus for $349 per year. However, the desktop version lacks many of the features available in the cloud-based version, so you should carefully review the details on QuickBooks’ pricing page. You can also read our comparison of QuickBooks Desktop vs. Online for an overview of the pros and cons. 

You can add payroll features to the small business plans for an additional monthly fee. A demo is available, allowing you an up-close view of the software before you make any commitments. QuickBooks also offers online setup with a live bookkeeping expert for $50 per session.

QuickBooks Live Full-Service Bookkeeping

QuickBooks’ live bookkeeping service is available to QuickBooks Online customers. There is a $500 charge for an accounting cleanup and onboarding for the first month. After that, you’ll be charged monthly based on your average monthly expenses over three consecutive months.

  • If your monthly average is up to $25,000, the service costs $200 per month.
  • If your monthly average is $25,001 to $150,000, it’s $400 per month.
  • If your monthly average is $150,001 or more, it’s $600 per month.
QuickBooks live accountant
With QuickBooks, you get access to a live accountant who can work with you in real time.

Implementation and Onboarding

During our test run, we found QuickBooks easy to set up. On the QuickBooks website, you can start by taking a quiz to match you with the best plan. The brief survey asks you several questions about your business needs, including which features you would 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 that we reviewed don’t offer. You can also speak to a QuickBooks representative directly for more one-on-one help.

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

Customer Service

In an age when many cloud-based software solutions skimp on customer service, we like that QuickBooks offers its customers multiple support resources. You can contact the company 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 or 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 that we reviewed, QuickBooks users certainly get their money’s worth when it comes to customer service. 

Limitations

Although QuickBooks is by far the leading accounting software solution, it does have its limitations. 

One potential downside of the QuickBooks pricing system is that you can’t easily upgrade from the Self-Employed plan, which is the lowest-cost subscription at $15 per month, to one of the higher-cost plans. Although it’s technically possible to upgrade, the process requires you to download your data first and then reimport it into QuickBooks after the update. This is much more complexity than we would like from the market-leading accounting software provider. 

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 a lot of physical paper may want. Businesses that need to track time for billable hours might want to look into our FreshBooks review, while those focused on enterprise resource planning might appreciate our review of Oracle NetSuite.

QuickBooks also lacks the comprehensive vendor network that would make it an effective player in the accounts payable space. Processing accounts payable is a vital part of running a business, so small business owners may want to consider software that supplements QuickBooks’ capabilities. 

TipTip: Read about other highly rated accounting and invoicing software to learn more about free software that can supplement QuickBooks on the accounts payable side, such as Melio.

Methodology

To generate our quantitative score and use case, we reviewed software features such as payment and invoicing capabilities, the number of integrations, mobile apps, report generation, supported user count, and customer service. We also assessed pricing and the availability of a free trial. Sources of information included in this review were gleaned from the company’s website and software demos. Additionally, we studied user reviews for independent opinions on the software’s pros and cons.  For small businesses specifically, we were focused on issues such as value, user-friendliness and how the software’s features would make owners’ lives easier. 

FAQs

What is QuickBooks Online used for?

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

Is QuickBooks difficult to learn?

QuickBooks features an intuitive user interface and isn’t difficult to navigate. However, users who aren’t tech- or accounting-savvy may require additional support, which QuickBooks offers. 

Do I need an accountant if I have QuickBooks?

QuickBooks helps business owners keep records according to the double-entry accounting system (i.e., debits and credits). You may still need an accountant to proofread your records and verify that you are complying with tax laws and regulations.  

Bottom Line

We recommend QuickBooks Online for …

  • Business owners who want a software package that is widely recognized and used by 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 $15 per month for accounting software. 
  • Niche businesses (such as those in e-commerce) that require more specialized solutions rather than a mass-market, one-size-fits-all software package. 
Intuit QuickBooks Online Review

Intuit QuickBooks Online

The Verdict

QuickBooks Online from Intuit is our pick for the best accounting software for small businesses. It has a range of diverse features and a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for small teams to navigate.

business.com editorial staff
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