QuickBooks Online Review 2021 – The Gold Standard of Accounting Software

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QuickBooksMy company has been using QuickBooks since our business inception — now over 10 years ago. This review is for the QuickBooks Online version, which my company now uses. For most businesses and today's online world, QuickBooks Online is the best version to choose. The online version of QuickBooks is very flexible, and I personally would no longer consider using the desktop edition.

What Is QuickBooks Online?

Cost - 8
Customer Service - 6
Ease of Use - 8.5
Tools & Resources - 9
Reporting - 9
Accessibility - 9

9

QuickBooks Online is the online service to beat. Their service is easy-to-use and is a good fit for most small businesses. The downside is customer support is poor.

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Here at Investor Junkie, we've also tested and reviewed Mint.com, which is another Intuit product. However, this app is really geared toward personal finance, while QuickBooks, on the other hand, is purely for businesses.

QuickBooks is very easy to use and is perfect for most small business owners. However, be aware it really doesn't follow full GAAP accounting standards. For small business owners, this really isn't an issue, as we are more concerned about cash flow and generating invoices. Basically, Intuit sacrificed correctness in the name of ease-of-use.

QuickBooks Features

Price$15.00 - $50.00/month
Invoicing
Estimates
Bank Reconciliation
AccessWeb Based, iPhone App, Apple Watch, Android App, BlackBerry App
Expense Tracking
Payroll
Inventory Management
Client Portal
Contact Management
Bill Pay
Point of Sale
Third Party Intergration
Currency Supportmultiple
Two-Factor Auth.
Import QFX, QIF Files
Customer ServicePhone: M-F 6A-6P (PST), Sat. 6A-3P (PST)
  • Unlimited invoices via email — Get paid faster and save on postage by sending invoices online.
  • Online accounts receivable and payable — Unlike the desktop version, the online edition of QuickBooks manages your accounts in real time.
  • Manage customer, vendor and employee date — Keep track of all the important stuff and save it for later.
  • Mobile access — QuickBooks Online accounts can be managed by both Apple and Android phones and tablets.
  • Easily print checks, pay bills and track expenses — The online edition makes these tasks simple and streamlined.
  • Online banking — Link your bank and credit accounts to your QuickBooks Online account. Transactions will be downloaded automatically.
  • Third-party integration for many apps — Missing a function? QuickBooks Online easily integrates with apps from third-party developers so you can access services such as customer relationship management (CRM).
  • Free 30-day trial — Unlike the desktop editions, you can try out QuickBooks online without any obligation. Intuit offers a free 30-day trial if you're still on the fence about whether this product is right for you.

Getting Started With QuickBooks Online

If you have previous experience with other editions, you'll find that the online edition functions very similarly. And if you've been using another version of QuickBooks, you'll want to start by importing your previous data.

This is where I found a rare problem with the software. I tried to import multiple years' worth of QuickBooks data into the online app but never got the import to work correctly. In my case, it always timed out and failed.

Fortunately, it wasn't that big of a deal for me, but I suspect that this could be an issue for others. Be sure to test the importing function before making a long-term commitment to their software if this is a deal breaker for you. Worst case, you may want to switch to the online edition after your fiscal year.

QuickBooks Screenshots

    QuickBooks Online Banking

    QuickBooks supports around 18,000 different financial institutions. Since it uses is the same systems Intuit used for building other brands other brands (Mint.com and Quicken), it's no surprise that online banking works very well.

    In my tests, I had no issue syncing with our business checking account and corporate credit cards. Once the data is downloaded, it will automatically categorize your transactions. It will also remember what was selected from previous downloads, and accounts are automatically synced up daily. All you need to do is reconcile the transactions. This is a really nice feature with the online edition.

    Alternatives & Compare

    HighlightsQuickBooksFreshBooksSage Business Cloud Accounting
    Rating9/109/107.5/10
    Invoicing
    Bank Reconciliation
    PromotionsTry Now FREE for 30 Days!Try It Free for 30 DaysSTART SMALL, DREAM BIG
    QuickBooksFreshBooksSage Business Cloud Accounting

    Multi-User Support

    Multi-user support is available in the Essentials and Plus versions of QuickBooks. Service supports up to five users, which should be enough for most small businesses. It's very easy to grant access — e.g., for your accountant to see your books.

    Multi-user access for the desktop edition was always difficult at best. Especially if the users are remote from your location. We tried multiple methods to get QuickBooks Pro to work remotely, and we found the only method that worked reliability was via Windows Remote Desktop connection to a virtualized Windows machine. Otherwise, if you need remote access for multiple individuals, QuickBooks Online is really the only way to go.

    Mobile Access

    Unlike the desktop edition, you can easily access your accounting data remotely via my mobile apps. QuickBooks supports Apple's iPad and iPhone and Google's Android operating system. For our tests we determined most individuals would focus on iPad usage for in-store or to perform transactions at a remote event. The application is fully featured.

    QuickBooks Online Editions

    Unlike traditional desktop software, with which you pay a fee and the software license lasts, say, three to four years, QuickBooks charges a flat monthly fee — otherwise known as pay-as-you-go. You can also purchase additional features such as employee payroll, tax filing and credit card acceptance.

    QuickBooks Online Version Monthly Fee
    Self Employeed $10/month
    Simple Start $15/month
    Essentials $30/month
    Plus $40/month

    Discounts of 33-50% off the retail price are available.

    QuickBooks Pros & Cons

    Pros



    Easy to Use
    —QuickBooks Online doesn't require the small business owner to be an expert in finance and allows you to focus on our business rather than accounting.

    Online Banking
    —Sync with accounts from around 18,000 different financial institutions.

    Mobile Access
    —Access your account from any Apple or Android smartphone or tablet.

    Third-Party Apps
    —If you can't find a feature you want, QuickBooks Online will integrate with many third-party apps for added functionality.








    Cons



    Poor Customer Service
    Intuit software has often been plagued with poor customer service and QuickBooks Online is no exception.

    Difficulty Importing Data
    We had difficulty importing data from a previous QuickBooks account.










    Summary

    In my opinion, here are the features where QuickBooks shines: payroll, invoicing, collections and banking sections.

    QuickBooks can do a multitude of different day-to-day business functions, and that's what makes QuickBooks so great. But it also runs into the issue of being a jack of all trades. Its inventory section is OK at best, and I would recommend using another product to track this information.

    Keep in mind that Intuit designed QuickBooks to match the needs of small business owners. But it's not perfect for everything.

    My business has a technical niche that doesn't work so well within QuickBooks. We require monthly invoices to be sent out to customers, and the software really doesn't work too well for that purpose.

    However, don't be fooled. Just because QuickBooks is an online application, its feature set is not limited. The online edition is fully featured and in some ways rivals the desktop edition. The vast array of features can even be somewhat overwhelming to a new user.

    Although Intuit offers Quicken Home, Business & Rental Property, my advice is not to use it, as it's far too limiting. If you are serious about your business, my recommendation is to start with the QuickBooks Online Simple Start edition.

    If you have more advanced needs or as your business grows, move up to the other editions. Since the online version in the cloud, the migration is simple and painless and can occur at any time. Right now, QuickBooks Online is the gold standard in cloud-based accounting packages, and the one to beat.

    Larry Ludwig

    Larry Ludwig was the founder and editor in chief of Investor Junkie. He graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor of science in computers and a minor in business. Back in the ’90s, I helped create some of the first financial websites for firms like Chase, T. Rowe Price, and ING Bank, and later went on to work for Nomura Securities. He’s had a passion for investing since he was 20 years old and has owned multiple businesses for over 20 years. He currently resides in Long Island, New York, with his wife and three children.

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    10 Comments

    1. For non profits like churches, you need something that does accounting with self balancing accounts within the entire organization. People say you can use classes for this but QB can’t do that properly. And recently I read they removed the balance sheet by class report all together which was wrong anyway but you at least had something. QB is not the gold standard in the church industry, although they put on a good face and people believe them.

    2. Quickbooks online is complete rubbish! DO NOT USE! All your contacts saved on QB’s Desktop Version will disappear. Plus, there is only one contact you can add per a customer. If you add more numbers, you’re only allowed to export one (the primary contact). Serial numbers have also begun disappearing, I know this because we also kept our Desktop Version (offline) and I looked back at if for reference.

      Lastly, reports do not work as they should (MANY ERRORS), and all customers service says is: “oh we have an on going ticket for that issue, we will make sure we add your account to the issue.”

      I have lost very important information since using Quickbooks Online. Very sad because this program has so much potential.

      Please note: I help run a small business and I am making invoices daily.

    3. QB online is one of the worst online accounting programs I’ve experienced. It is very user unfriendly and isn’t even intuitive to use. Their tech support staff aren’t even capable of helping customers migrate from QB desktop, because they have no idea how QB desktop works. They haven’t been properly trained to walk clients through the conversion process. Any Payroll? Forget it. It is a disaster. How any reviewer can give this program more than one star is beyond me. It is pretty appalling that Intuit can roll out a half-assed program like this, with some of the features available in QB desktop either don’t exist or haven’t been implemented. I certainly won’t recommend this online program to any of my clients.

    4. DO NOT BUY QUICKBOOKS ONLINE! It is trash and will only make your books more complicated and confusing. It does not work the way it should and is full of bugs and glitches. It was very clearly not developed by accountants. Tech support is worthless and has no answers for the problems that arise. Don’t waste your money.

    5. While the new features in Quickbooks Online are nice, there are many capabilities that the desktop version had that just are unavailable online. I have worked with QB for many years and use all of it’s features with the exception of inventory and let me tell you, I just wasted an entire day trying to do a change over. I was told that all capabilities that the desktop version had were available online but that is just not so. The payroll side is very limited and for this reason I will be going back to desktop. This makes me sad as I had very high hopes.

    6. Is it possible to import transaction data from Paypal for the entire 2015 year and create a profit loss statement for Schedule C. I am trying to decide between Go Daddy and Quicken, Go Daddy imports only the last 2 or 3 months, I need to import older data

    7. While Quickbooks Online is focused on small business, do you think it may be a viable option for personal finance for someone who wants more capabilities than Mint but is leary of Quicken since that product is up for sale by Intuit?

    8. Great write up! But a few things are incorrect. QB Online does not have the exact same features as desktop edition, so make sure you research the differences before switching. Also, it does have automated invoice creation that allows you to send out emailed invoices on a set schedule. Plus edition is only 39.95 per month without payroll.

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