One of the most popular accounting solutions, this scalable software is a great option for a variety of small businesses.
Known as the industry standard for small-business accounting software, Intuit’s QuickBooks Online is a solid choice for a variety of businesses, especially those that plan to regularly work with bookkeepers or accountants. Its four plans and add-on services offer a high level of functionality, flexibility and scalability.
Robust feature set includes thorough record-keeping, comprehensive reporting, excellent invoicing and inventory management, plus a capable mobile app.
Hundreds of third-party app integrations, including live, in-house bookkeeping.
Easy to share information with your accountant and to find QuickBooks experts and online resources if needed.
Monday-Sunday phone support and live chat assistance in all plans.
QuickBooks Online at a glance
Has robust reporting tools and report customization options, invoicing for an unlimited amount of clients, inventory tracking in higher tier plans, plus a capable mobile app.
Ease of use
Includes tools that help automate the reconciliation process, along with a global search function; however, there is a learning curve.
Offers four plans to accommodate a range of businesses with different needs; each plan limits the number of users, though.
Ease of sharing with accountants
Includes audit trails and easy accountant access; has millions of users so your accountant will likely be familiar with it.
Integrates with more than 750 apps and offers live, in-house bookkeeping.
All plans include 24/7 live chat support; phone support is available 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST Saturday and Sunday.
Plans start at $30 per month.
Includes project tracking tools in higher tier plans; has transaction tracking tags; lacks industry-specific reports; users with multiple businesses must pay for separate subscriptions.
How does QuickBooks Online work?
After you sign up for QuickBooks Online, you’ll be able to log in to your account and access the main dashboard view. If you’re moving to QuickBooks from another accounting software, you can import your existing files to your new account.
The main dashboard will give an overview of your QuickBooks account, showing your profit and loss overview, invoices, expenses and sales.
Using the Banking tab on the left side of the dashboard, you can connect your bank and credit card accounts so that QuickBooks automatically downloads transactions and categorizes them for you. Later, when reconciling your books, you’ll be able to review these transactions in the For Review tab within the Banking menu.
Next, you can customize invoices, set up automatic sales tax tracking (if necessary) and learn how to enter mobile receipts and bills. You can edit all of your business’s account settings using the gear icon in the upper right corner.
If you want to invite your bookkeeper or accountant to your QuickBooks Online account, you can do so using the My Accountant tab or the Manage Users page in Settings — you can also search for an accountant if you don’t already have one.
Pricing and features
Promotional discounts may apply. All plans include access to QuickBooks Online mobile apps, customer support and third-party app integrations. Add-on services — including QuickBooks Payroll, QuickBooks Time and QuickBooks Payments — will incur separate costs.
$30 per month.
$55 per month.
All the features of Simple Start, plus:
$85 per month.
All the features of Essentials, plus:
$200 per month.
All the features of Plus, in addition to the following:
Benefits of QuickBooks Online
Robust feature set
QuickBooks Online ranks high for its selection of features, which includes reporting, invoicing, inventory management and mobile app functionality. Here are a few features, in particular, that stand out:
Record-keeping and reporting: It’s easy to keep thorough, detailed records with QuickBooks Online. When you’re adding an expense, for example, you have the option of adding reference numbers, permit numbers, attachments and memos. You can also split the expense into multiple categories or items.
You aren’t required to fill out every field in an expense or income entry, but the more detailed your records are, the more useful certain reports can be. For example, with QuickBooks Online Plus and Advanced, you can track inventory and do job costing — that is, you can figure out how much you spent to complete a certain project.
Even without those higher-level plans, you can create custom tags and run reports to show where you make and spend the most money. These features can help you organize your finances and provide insights such as cost-cutting opportunities or sales trends that you can use to improve and grow your business.
Inventory management: With QuickBooks Online Plus and Advanced, you can track inventory and cost of goods, and set up reorder points. You can also create purchase orders, manage vendors and sync your inventory with third-party platforms like Amazon and Shopify.
Competitors like Xero and FreshBooks offer basic inventory tracking for less, but it isn’t as advanced.
Integrations include live, in-house bookkeeping
QuickBooks Online gives you access to a marketplace of over 750 apps, including third-party tools as well as QuickBooks add-ons. One of those add-ons is QuickBooks Live for bookkeeping. The solution is ideal for business owners who’d like to step away from day-to-day bookkeeping tasks and outsource them elsewhere to save time.
QuickBooks Time (formerly TSheets), another add-on, lets you track employee time directly inside QuickBooks and approve timesheets. Other apps can help you prepare for taxes, get business funding, run payroll, manage customer accounts and generate various financial reports and insights. Some apps (including QuickBooks Time and QuickBooks Live) have associated fees, whereas others are free.