QuickBooks Online from Intuit is our choice as the best business accounting software for small businesses because of its affordable pricing and array of features that make managing accounts and sending invoices easy.
Small businesses need cost-effective accounting software that’s easy to use but still has the features they need to get the job done. Widely regarded as the top accounting software for small businesses, QuickBooks offers it all. With affordable pricing and various plans that suit businesses of different sizes, QuickBooks has elite features in packages that will suit a variety of businesses.
9.5 / 10
We found QuickBooks Online to be the best accounting software for small businesses. It provides four plans ranging from $15 to $100 per month as well as a separate Self-Employed plan that starts at $7.50 per month. These prices are available if you opt into QuickBooks’ deal through which you get 50% off for three months. After that, the price doubles. Additionally, these discounts are only available if you skip the 30-day free trial.
Each plan offers features that are suitable for a range of small businesses, from new startups to established companies. They give you access to all the tools and reports you’ll need for accounting purposes, and you can upgrade your plans seamlessly as your business scales.
The platform is easy to set up and use, allowing you to get your accounting software up and running yourself. However, if you want extra assistance, Intuit’s professional bookkeepers can help you configure the software in a way that makes sense for your business. Additionally, QuickBooks Online allows you to create custom invoices and forms so your company’s branding is always at the forefront of client-facing communications.
For the features and services you get, this software is a bargain. It’s not the least expensive accounting software, however — that would be Zoho Books, which is free for certain microbusinesses. Read our Zoho Books review to learn more.
Although QuickBooks is a low-cost accounting software platform, it’s not the least expensive option. Although less feature-rich than QuickBooks, Sage Accounting costs less, making it a potentially better choice if budget is a priority. Read our Sage Accounting review to learn more.
QuickBooks Online has an easy setup that begins with making sure you are directed to the appropriate plan. To get started, you answer questions about your business to help Intuit determine which plan is best for you. The process should take only a few minutes.
When you’ve decided on a plan, you will be able to access the QuickBooks dashboard, where you can connect and manage your accounts. The process is seamless and question prompts guide you while you enter your financial information. You also have the choice to import any saved data from previous accounting software or to enter the information manually.
Once you input the data, you can review your account balances and access your workflows and reports from the dashboard. The Business Overview tab is especially helpful as it offers a breakdown of your company’s cash flow, profitability, expenses, income and sales.
The software automates tasks to reduce manual inputs, double entry and the chance for human error.
Expense and profitability tracking
QuickBooks allows you to track expenses and profitability and manage inventory to help you stay on top of cash flow.
QuickBooks includes at least 20 types of prebuilt reports as well as custom reports in certain plans.
Tax deduction tools help ensure you take all available deductions and maximize the allowed amount to reduce your tax liability.
The software allows you to invoice clients, view accounts receivable and accept payments with automatic updates to your business’ ledger.
Send and receive 1099 forms from independent contractors and track their payroll separately from that of full-time staff.
Use all the core tools QuickBooks Online offers through a mobile application that’s available for both iOS and Android devices.
Small business owners need accounting software that will save them time while ensuring their financial records are accurate and up to date. QuickBooks Online easily lives up to this expectation by providing the following features:
QuickBooks Online automates tasks, making accounting less time-consuming and less stressful for small business owners. Using the software, you can send recurring invoices and payment reminders, sync data from bank and credit card transactions and reconcile expenses, all of which eliminate the need to do so manually. Manual data entry is not only tedious and time-consuming but also opens the door to human error that creates inaccuracies or redundancies in your books. For a platform dedicated exclusively to automating accounts payable and receivable, consider our Plooto review.
With QuickBooks Online, you will never have to wonder where your transactions are. The program tracks your income and expenses automatically and then sorts them into categories. Everything is organized automatically. Although this automatic organizing is increasingly becoming standard among accounting software platforms, we were impressed with this feature. QuickBooks makes it feel especially hassle-free.
You can also create custom rules so expenses are sorted in the system properly. For example, you can create custom rules to categorize tax-deductible expenses separately from nondeductible expenses, thus making it even easier to review your deductions at tax time. We liked that QuickBooks makes this tax-lowering aspect of accounting so straightforward.
QuickBooks Online spares you from the laborious task of creating financial reports from scratch, thanks to the software’s built-in reports, which include the trial balance, general ledger and 1099 transaction detail reports you’ll need come tax time. You can mark the reports you use most as favorites so you can quickly find them at the top of the Reports page. You can also set up the software to run reports and email them to you automatically as well as schedule them for a specific time of day and frequency, such as daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. QuickBooks offers some of the best reporting functions of any company we reviewed.
Maximizing your tax deductions is key to increasing profits and QuickBooks Online helps you get the most out of them. Your receipts are inputted automatically with the “snap-and-store” function and the program tracks your miles for business-trip expense deductions. Your expenses are categorized automatically, so you will know what to deduct on your taxes when you are ready to file.
Come tax time, all of your documents will be organized and ready for you. The program also includes automatic tax calculations for quarterly payments. This especially impressed us as certain QuickBooks competitors, such as Sage Accounting, entirely lack tax features.
Without the right software, invoicing is laborious. With QuickBooks Online, it’s painless. Customer information is populated on each invoice automatically. You can also personalize the invoices with your company’s brand images and color schemes, thereby keeping your brand at the forefront of all communications. Invoices can be sent manually or scheduled to be sent automatically on a recurring basis.
QuickBooks also allows you to add a button to accept payments directly from the invoicing tool with credit cards and debit cards or automated clearing house e-checks. Both this feature and the invoice customization tools are now expected of accounting software platforms, but we felt that QuickBooks’ tools were especially strong.
With QuickBooks Online, you can send, track and file 1099 forms for independent contractors. Automatic updating of 1099 forms ensures your company remains compliant with IRS requirements and provides your freelancers with the documentation they need to pay their taxes. Not nearly every accounting software platform we reviewed offers this functionality, and we saw its benefit for any business that hires freelancers immediately.
Both iOS and Android apps for phones and tablets are included with your QuickBooks Online account. Here’s what you can do with the apps:
QuickBooks Online is competitively priced, with four service tiers designed to accommodate the needs of different business types. Here is a breakdown of each plan. The prices listed reflect QuickBooks’ primary deal offered across its website — you pay half price for your first three months but forfeit a free trial:
QuickBooks also offers a separate product called QuickBooks Self-Employed. This tier is priced at $7.50 per month for the first three months, doubling to $15 per month thereafter. If you’re an independent contractor who wants to use QuickBooks to manage your accounting, QuickBooks Self-Employed includes the basic tools you’ll need, such as income and expense tracking, quarterly estimated taxes, receipt management and basic reporting. Each version of QuickBooks includes a 30-day free trial unless you opt into the half-priced first three months.
To get started with QuickBooks Online, you first enter your company’s information and the fiscal year. After that, you choose between two accounting methods — cash or accrual accounting — and select your primary currency.
Next, you’re ready to select your company logo and your default “net payment” invoice terms. For example, if you expect clients to pay invoices within one month of receipt, you would select Net 30.
If you sell products, you also will need to set up the sales tax function in the Tax tab. You can decide how you want to track your inventory by choosing between inventory management techniques, such as first-in, first-out and last-in, first-out.
Once you’ve chosen each of the above, it’s time to create an invoice in QuickBooks to test-drive the software and see how it works. We recommend sending a sample invoice to yourself or a staff member. If all goes according to plan and the invoice is received properly, you’re ready to use the software.
QuickBooks Online provides several support channels to its customers. The company offers phone and chat support, which you can access from the QuickBooks website. We were pleased with the support we got when we tested the phone and chat lines. We also preferred the ease of phone access to Xero’s setup, which requires you to file a support ticket to set up a call. [Read our Xero review and Xero comparison to learn why this platform is our top pick for tracking and paying bills.]
If you prefer to troubleshoot problems yourself, you can use the support page, which has a searchable knowledge base as well as articles, guides and videos. The QuickBooks Online app has a chatbot feature called QuickBooks Assistant that can answer a variety of questions about your account and connect you to live support. [Related article: Guide to QuickBooks Alternatives]
QuickBooks Online offers several ways to reach a QuickBooks support representative, including phone and chat. Furthermore, users can access a searchable knowledge base of articles, videos and guides, as well as a user community and online training classes.
QuickBooks Online is an impressive accounting system that’s easy to use and includes all the features most small businesses need to efficiently accomplish their accounting tasks. However, there are some points to consider before you choose your software plan:
While there are a few limitations, there’s no denying the value QuickBooks can add to your business operation. The wide assortment of features and the affordable price make QuickBooks a great option for any small business.
To determine our best picks for accounting software, we reviewed a slate of popular platforms. For each, including QuickBooks Online, we dedicated a minimum of five hours to research, including attending software demonstrations, participating in free trials, reading customer reviews and conducting Q&As with company representatives. To select the best accounting software for small businesses, we considered a combination of cost, features and ease of use and chose the platform we thought would save business owners the most time while meeting their needs at a competitive cost.
Yes. This service costs a customized fee for the first month for cleanup and setup. After that, customers pay based on their company’s average monthly expenses over a three-month period. The fees at the time of this review are $200 for monthly company expenses between $0 and $10,000; $300 for monthly expenses between $10,000 and 50,000; and $400 for monthly expenses above $50,000.
QuickBooks Online automatically backs up your data, so you never worry about whether your books are safe and up to date.
QuickBooks Online integrates with hundreds of third-party applications, including the best email marketing, e-commerce, best customer relationship management software, payment processing, best payroll services and time tracking platforms. These integrations can save you time by connecting the software to the business programs you already use, thus allowing you to automatically import, export and sync data in real time.
Yes. The iOS and Android apps for phones and tablets are available and included with your QuickBooks Online account. The app gives you access to all features of the service on your mobile device.
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