QuickBooks offers accounting software that’s designed for non-experts. Using a professional accounting program such as QuickBooks helps you save time and makes it simple to manage your books more accurately and with fewer hassles. It can also help you save money as QuickBooks automates many tasks and guides you to make the best decisions for your business. For example, automated invoicing makes it easier to get paid promptly by your clients. You can also save money on taxes by maximizing deductions.
QuickBooks Online has many of the same features as the desktop version without the need to download software to your computer. Many businesses today are gravitating towards cloud computing, which is often simpler and more flexible than installing the software. The online version is also more accessible for team members spread in different locations, using various devices and operating systems.
QuickBooks Online, however, isn’t merely a cloud-based version of the desktop version. There are certain differences between the two versions, some of which we’ll discuss below. Here are some of the advantages and features you’ll find with QuickBooks Online:
- Fast access to essential information. With one click, you can bring up a balance sheet, profit and loss, and many other reports.
- The dashboard provides you with a quick overview. See useful information such as income, expenses, and unpaid invoices as soon as you log on.
- Quickly issue 1099s. Track payments you make to independent contractors and freelancers so you can easily issue 1099s in January.
- Paperless receipts. Take photos of your receipts when you’re on the move and link them to transactions so you can claim the appropriate deductions with ease.
- Simplify payroll tasks. With QuickBooks, you can pay your W-2 employees by check or direct deposit and file payroll taxes. With Full-Service Payroll, QuickBooks runs and files your payroll taxes with a guarantee of error-free service.
- Attach images, signatures, and documents to transactions from any location from your mobile device.
- Categorize transactions using class and location labels. With class labels, you can identify transactions based on the department or type of product/service. Location labels let you classify transactions by location. Both of these help you recognize which parts of your business are producing the most income.
Pricing for QuickBooks Online
There are three plans for QuickBooks Online:
- Simple Start: $25/month. Track income, expenses, sales, & sales tax, run reports, send estimates, maximize tax deductions.
- Essentials: $40/month. Simple Start features plus track time, manage bills, and support for multiple users.
- Plus: $70/month. Essential features plus track inventory and manage 1099 contractors.
Self-Service Payroll and Full-Service Payroll are available as add-ons for an additional fee.
QuickBooks is currently offering a six months 50% discount on all these plans so you can get Simple Start for $10/month, Essentials for $20/month, and Plus for $35/month. Annual Quickbooks accounts get an additional 10% off.
QuickBooks Online Advanced
For businesses with higher needs (recommended if you want access for more than five users), there’s an Advanced option that includes these powerful features:
- Supports up to 25 users.
- Accelerated invoicing.
- Enhanced custom fields.
- Smart reporting (powered by Fathom).
- Simplified bill payments.
- Customer user permissions.
QuickBooks Online Advanced is $150/month ($75, including current discount).
Self-employed individuals, who may define themselves as freelancers, independent contractors, or solo entrepreneurs, have particular challenges when it comes to tracking their expenses and paying their taxes. Ordinary accounting software doesn’t always meet the needs of the self-employed. QuickBooks Self-Employed is specially designed to simplify the accounting needs of such people.
One of the biggest challenges for the self-employed is tracking quarterly taxes. The IRS requires you to file estimated quarterly taxes if you expect to owe more than $1,000 at the end of the year. Aside from requirements, those who don’t pay estimated taxes often find it challenging to manage their funds and pay taxes at the end of the year. QuickBooks Self-Employed makes it easy to pay quarterly taxes. You input your income and expenses, and you’ll know exactly how much to pay at each quarter.
Track and Categorize Expenses
You’ll be able to track all your expenses in one place and import data from your bank accounts, credit cards, PayPal, and other payment processors. Expenses are pre-sorted into the appropriate tax categories. You also can edit the results and set up the categories that are relevant to you.
Tracking mileage is another critical concern for the self-employed, especially those who travel for their business. You’ll be able to claim more deductions by tracking all of your miles with QuickBooks. With QuickBooks Self-Employed, you’ll be able to track miles more accurately than you could on your own and without draining your device batteries.
Pricing for QuickBooks Self-Employed
There are several options for QuickBooks Self-Employed:
- Self-Employed: $10/month. Includes invoicing, running reports, income & expense tracking, as well as quarterly taxes and mileage tracking.
- Self-Employed Tax Bundle: $17/month. Pay estimated quarterly taxes directly from QuickBooks, integration with TurboTax, one state + one federal filing included.
- Self-Employed Live Tax Bundle: $24/month. Includes access to a real CPA, unlimited help and advice, and review of your final return by a CPA.
As with QuickBook Online plans, there’s currently a 50% discount for the first six months on all QuickBooks Self-Employed plans, so the above costs are halved if the sale is still valid when you sign up. Getting an annual account will award you with an additional 10% Quickbooks discount.
QuickBooks: Desktop vs. Online
Trying to decide which version of QuickBooks is right for you? There are pros and cons to both the traditional desktop and the online version. Here are some of the distinct advantages of QuickBooks Online.
- There’s nothing to download. You don’t have to worry about updates as these are done automatically in the cloud.
- You can share information from your dashboard to team members (or your accountant) from any device or location. It doesn’t matter if some people are using PC and others Mac. With QuickBooks Online, everyone has access.
- Your data is secure. Intuit uses SSL and RSA security technology to ensure data is safe. You need both a customer ID number and PIN to access your account.
The difference in pricing between the desktop and online versions comes down to whether you prefer to pay a higher upfront cost for the desktop version or a lower recurring fee for the online version. There are, however, certain desktop features that may be important to you. Here are a few such features that are desktop-specific:
- Accounting functions such as backup and restore, fix sales tax, period copy, and client data review.
- Reporting functions such as forecasting and balance sheet by class, reporting by industry, and business planner by class.
- Job costing functions such as payroll job costing, mileage tracking, and labor burden costing.
- Inventory functions such as sales orders, unit of measure, and availability to promise.
- Data entry functions such as entering batch timesheets and creating batch invoices.
If you require specific desktop-only features, you may be able to find third-party apps that let you perform these using QuickBooks online.
Apps and Integrations
One of the advantages of using industry-leading software such as QuickBooks is that it integrates with hundreds of other programs and apps. Here are just a few of the apps and integrations that work with QuickBooks:
- T-Sheets Time Tracking
- Shopify by OneSaaS
- Zoho Expense
- SmartBiz Loans
- American Express
There are many others as well, some free, some available at a cost. Chances are, you can integrate your time-tracking, expense-tracking, payment processor, payroll, and other finance-related programs with QuickBooks.
Learning Resources and Support
Even though QuickBooks is designed to be easy to use, there’s always a certain learning curve when dealing with new software. Fortunately, QuickBooks, like all Intuit products, offers many types of support as well as resources for learning.
There are video tutorials, webinars, and training classes to teach you all the ins and outs of QuickBooks. These resources will also teach you more about managing your business finances in general. The Ask the Community section gives you a chance to ask questions on anything that you might be having difficulty with. There’s also support to help you with any specific issues you may be having.
QuickBooks Provides Powerful Options for Businesses and the Self-Employed
QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Self-Employed are both convenient solutions to help you manage your finances more effectively. QuickBooks provides professional-level yet user-friendly software that helps you save time and money. Manually tracking receipts, expenses, and other such tasks are time-consuming, both as you’re doing it and at the end of the year when you’re calculating taxes.
The functions provided within QuickBooks help you complete such tasks as you’re moving through your everyday life. You’ll probably find that you save on taxes as you won’t miss any deductions. It also reduces the chances of tax mistakes that could cause problems for you. If you have a small or midsized business or are self-employed, QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Self-Employed can help make it much simpler to manage your finances.