Along with FreshBooks, QuickBooks probably has the biggest name recognition than many of their competitors. In much the same way that Google is synonymous with search, QuickBooks are what people and their bookkeeper instinctively turn to when it’s time to do their business finances, invoices, tax, and payroll.
But why do people love it so much? What does QuickBooks offer that leaves their rivals way behind? Let’s take a look at the online version of QuickBooks and what it offers self-employed people.
What Is QuickBooks Online?
QuickBooks Online is an all-in-one integrated solution for managing your business finances. Too many businesses fail because of bad bookkeeping but QuickBooks makes it absurdly easy to keep on top of your revenue and spending. The number of features they offer is huge.
Usually QuickBooks is a desktop software program, but now the company behind QuickBooks, Intuit, is offering an online version.
QuickBooks Online Benefits
- Having the advantage of a big and trusted name running your business accounts means that you can trust them. The site will not disappear overnight, your information is safe, and they have a proven track record of satisfied customers. For many people looking for an online business finances solution, this may be all that’s needed to convince them to sign up.
- Being online, the account owner can log in at anytime from any Internet-enabled device and check the business finances at a single glance.
- You can add additional users to your account (such as your bookkeeper) and control what information they see.
- All of your accounts are securely backed up so you never have to worry about losing vital financial information, such as invoices, because of a computer crashing.
QuickBooks Online Features
Here are the best features of QuickBooks Online which will make your business purr like a well-oiled machine.
Print Checks (If You Still Do That)
Checks are on the way out as everything goes digital in the name of efficiency and cost-savings. But if you are an old-fashioned kind of person, or you have a contractor who is, QuickBooks Online allows you to print out checks.
Import Data From Excel Or QuickBooks Desktop
If you want to make the jump to QuickBooks Online, there’s no need to manually type in all of the information about your business finances. If you have data stored on Excel spreadsheets or on the QuickBooks desktop software, you can easily import it with a few clicks.
Take Photos Of Your Receipts
The problem with receipts is that they are made of paper. This makes them easily lost and easily destroyed. So it pays to make backups by taking photographs of the receipts for the tax man. QuickBooks lets you do this.
Keeping the originals is advisable but if the originals go for a walk, you will still have the backup snaps to convince the tax office you had that expensive dinner with clients.
Allow Employees To Enter Their Working Hours
As the business owner, the least you have to do the better. So if your staff can enter their own working hours, that’s one less job for you to think about. Give your staff limited access to your QuickBooks account to let them input when they worked.
This obviously requires a lot of trust in the employees that they will be honest. But if you trust your staff, this can be a huge timesaver.
Compare Your Sales & Profits With The Industry
When looking at your sales and profits, you may be wondering if you are actually doing well, or merely holding your own. QuickBooks gives you industry sales and profit trends so you can immediately contrast and compare between how you are performing versus everyone else.
Get All The Business Reports You Can Lay Your Hands On
Business reports are a company’s lifeblood. They can literally make or break a business. Reports can tell you who is paying you, who is not paying, what inventory you have and don’t have, how many dissatisfied customers you have and so on.
QuickBooks gives you the reporting templates to generate whatever reports you need. Whether it’s a customer’s account, a list of unpaid invoices, cash flow statements, your current bank balance, QuickBooks can instantly generate it for you. Reports can be scheduled to be automatically generated and delivered daily, weekly, or monthly.
Integration With Many Popular Third-Party Apps
People starting to use QuickBooks will be happy to know that the service seamlessly integrates with other popular services. These include Google, Shopify, Paypal, Square, and more.
All of your business data from these services instantly appears in your QuickBooks account, ensuring everything is up-to-date without you needing to do anything extra.
QuickBooks Online Pricing
One of the most attractive things about QuickBooks Online is its pricing structure. They give you 50% off for the first three months – provided you forego the 30 day trial period. That seems a bit mean but nevertheless, the full price is still quite reasonable.
The Simple Start
The basic “Simple Start” plan for $20 per month ($10 for the first three months) is a good way to get your feet wet with the service. You can test the various features and decide if it is a good fit for you in the long term.
You can send and track your invoices, capture and organize receipts, “maximize tax deductions” (whatever that means), run basic reports, track sales and sales tax, track your income and expenses, and finally create and manage estimates.
In other words, you get all of the essential business features in one easy-to-afford package.
The next plan up is called “Essentials” and is $35 per month ($17 for the first three months). For this plan, you get everything in the “Simple Start” plan, as well as being able to manage and pay your bills, track your time, and allow up to 3 different users access to your account (such as the bookkeeper).
Again, several more features you need to keep your business afloat.
The third and most expensive plan is called “Plus” and is $60 a month (but the price is knocked down to $30 for the first three months). This gives you everything in the previous two plans, as well as tracking your inventory, tracking your projects, and managing your 1099 contractors. You can also have up to five different users access the account at the one time.
If you can afford to carry inventory and employ contractors, then probably you won’t have an issue paying $60 for this plan.
The usual three paid plans are for companies but if you are a sole proprietor, a one man operation, then QuickBooks Online offers a “Self-Employed” option. The regular price is $10 a month ($5 for the first three months).
The plan is very similar to the “Simple Start” plan with the exception of not being able to send estimates, tracking sales and sales tax, and maximizing tax deductions. You can however track your miles, which I presume is tracking your car mileage if your business takes you on the road.
Payroll Add-On (For An Extra Fee)
QuickBooks is primarily designed to get the business finances ready to be sent to the accountant for tax time. So it is not really meant to pay your employees per se. However, QuickBooks does offer two payroll add-ons for an extra fee, which will help you pay your employees (and presumably update your QuickBooks account in real-time).
The “Enhanced Payroll” option is $19 per month extra, along with $2 for every employee you pay through it. The $19 is a 50% off deal at the moment, so at any time it can go back to $39 per month.
This option includes paying employees and contractors with free 24 hour direct deposit, paying and filing federal and state payroll taxes, and printing and filing W2 forms at the end of the year.
Full Service Payroll
But what if you decide that your company and your employees deserve more? Then QuickBooks offers a payroll upgrade called “Full Service”. This upgrade is currently $49 per month along with $2 for every employee paid. Eventually though, the base price will return to $99 per month.
“Full Service” covers everything in the “Enhanced Payroll” plan, but you also get a US-based team of experts who will set everything up for you. When you hire new staff, QuickBooks will ensure you have filed the right paperwork, and that the employee is on the correct deductions and pay type.
They will even file your tax paperwork for you and enable you to pay employees on the same day by free direct deposit.
QuickBooks Online Technical Details
QuickBooks Online is a web-based cloud solution (hence the name). Therefore, since no software has to be installed on the user’s computer, the service can be used on all operating systems and devices. The only requirement is an Internet-connected browser.
The interface language however is only in English, which is a major drawback for speakers of other languages.
QuickBooks Online Support Details
QuickBooks provides a wide variety of options for customers and potential new customers to get in touch. This is perhaps another one of the reasons why people like QuickBooks so much – their focus on customer satisfaction.
- Live Support.
- “Online Support” KnowledgeBase.
- In-depth tutorials.
- Free webinars, with new ones offered weekly.
There are so many features in QuickBooks Online that a user would be forgiven for feeling rather overwhelmed. But QuickBooks makes sure that the support is in place for any problems their customers may be having, and when you get the hang of the service, the features are extremely powerful and worth having.