0
0

Quickbooks Online Review

Highlights:

  • Robust feature set
  • Easy to use
  • Beautiful UI
  • Over 400+ integrations
  • Strong reputation

Overview:

If you’ve heard of accounting, you’ve heard of Intuit QuickBooks. Intuit has been one of the biggest names in accounting and personal finance for three decades now; it was founded in 1983 with the idea that there should be a better, simpler way to do accounting. The company’s first product, Quicken, was launched in 1984; QuickBooks followed in 2002; and QuickBooks Online came along two years later.

Since then, QuickBooks Online has seen some significant changes and advancements, including a complete interface rehaul in 2013. The software continues to be updated on a regular basis, and some of the most recent updates include additional integrations, inventory bundles, packing slips, and auto bank rules.

QuickBooks Online offers true double-entry accounting with ample reports and a strong chart of accounts, as well as customizable invoices, inventory capabilities, payroll support, multiple currencies, and over 400 integrations.

There are few downsides to QuickBooks Online, which is generally feature-rich, high-quality software. The customer service, however, leaves something to be desired; both the quality and quantity of support is surprisingly poor for such a large company. Time tracking and project management could also stand to be improved and a few customers complain that QuickBooks Online cannot compare to its desktop counterpart.

That said, there are several features offered by QuickBooks Online that you can’t get with the more traditional desktop version (such as automatic sales receipts, split transactions, and location and class categories). Many customers believe the sheer mobility of QuickBooks Online is entirely worth the upgrade.

Keep reading to see if QuickBooks Online is a good fit for your business.

Pricing:

QuickBooks Online offers a free 30-day trial of any plan with no credit card information required. After the trial, QuickBooks Online has three pricing tiers.

Simple Start Plan:

  • $15/mo
  • Track income and expenses
  • Invoices and estimates
  • Sync with bank accounts
  • Integrate with 400+ apps
  • One user, plus two accountants

Essentials Plan:

  • $30/mo
  • Track income and expenses
  • Invoices and estimates
  • Sync with bank accounts
  • Integrate with 400+ apps
  • Recurring invoices
  • Manage and pay bills
  • Schedule bills and invoices
  • Sales and profit reports
  • Three users, plus two accountants

Plus Plan:

  • $40/mo
  • Track income and expenses
  • Invoices and estimates
  • Sync with bank accounts
  • Integrate with 400+ apps
  • Recurring invoices
  • Manage and pay bills
  • Schedule bills and invoices
  • Sales and profit reports
  • Purchase orders
  • Track billable hours
  • Track sales and profit by location
  • Five users, plus two accountants

Intuit is currently offering a discount of 30% off the first six months of service with any plan (50% if you add payroll). There is no end-date given for the deal, so check these discount details to ensure the promotion is still occurring.

Web-Hosted or Locally Installed:

Web-hosted. No downloads or installation required.

Hardware or Software Requirements:

As cloud-based software, QuickBooks Online operates with nearly all internet browser so long as you have Internet access. For Windows computers, the latest version of Google Chrome and Firefox are recommended, as well as Internet Explore 10+. For Macs, the most recent version of Google Chrome and Firefox are recommended, as well as Safari 6/1+. QuickBooks Online also has desktop apps for Windows and Macs, which are said to run faster.

In order to read forms and use the print checks feature in QuickBooks Online, you will need Adobe Reader 7.0+ or the Firefox PDF plugin.

QuickBooks Online also has mobile apps for iPhone or iPad (iOS 9.0+) and Android (4.1+).

Specific Size of Business:

QuickBooks Online is ideal for all types of business. The smaller plans fit freelancers, independent contractors, online sellers, micro businesses, and small business. Unlike most other web-based software programs, though, QuickBooks Online actually has the advanced accounting features needed to support mid-sized and large businesses. With advanced reports, a strong chart of accounts, and even payroll capabilities, the only thing large business may be missing is access for more than five employees. If you are on the QuickBooks Plus plan, you can purchase more employees for an additional monthly cost, but the maximum number of users is 25.

Accounting Method:

Both cash basis and accrual accounting.

Ease of Use:

Considering that QuickBooks Desktop is widely reputed to be difficult and complex, I was surprised by how easy it was to learn and use QuickBooks Online. A few features were difficult to find, but the interface is generally intuitive and fit for accountants and non-accountants alike.

  • Set Up – While the process is not as simple as that of some accounting competitors, the QuickBooks Online setup is much more thorough than average and still incredibly easy to complete. You simply fill out your business information and choose which features matter most to your company (invoicing, POS, expense tracking, eCommerce, accounting, sales tax, mobile, employees). QuickBooks Online then creates a business profile for you according to these preferences. (Don’t worry, you can add features at a later time as necessary.) The software then guides you through key features and prompts you to watch a few explanatory videos. After your profile is set up, I recommend enabling bank feeds, setting up your chart of accounts with opening balances, and then perusing the features in the settings menu for a bit. While these steps may take some time, they are imperative and will help you get a sense of how QuickBooks Online works. If you don’t check out your settings options, you’ll miss things like customizing invoice templates and enabling inventory.
  • Organization – As mentioned above, the organization of QuickBooks Online usually makes sense and is easy to learn. Tabs on the left side of the screen mark Home, Customers, Vendors, Employees, Transactions, Reports, Taxes, and Apps. The quick create button at the top of the Home page is a shortcut to every major feature you might need. If you do happen to get lost or can’t find a necessary feature, the settings gear probably holds the answer.
  • Instructions and Guidance – If the guided software walkthrough isn’t helpful, or you can’t find what you need in settings, you are out of luck. Customer service options are incredibly limited. There are a few video tutorials for very basic feature explanations and a community forum—Intuit’s attempt at a help center—but finding the answers you are looking for is not easy (more on that later). Your best bets are to mess around with the software long enough to figure it out yourself, call a representative directly, or go to YouTube and check out user guides and videos created by actual QuickBooks Online users (not by Intuit).
  • Problems – While my experience using QuickBooks Online was mostly pleasant, there were few drawbacks. Most of the problems I encountered were minor annoyances, far from significant in the world of accounting software (though they were irritating enough to slowly drive me mad).
    • Runs Slow – The software runs incredibly slow. Once I sat for five minutes waiting for a single page to load. I began timing my wait because it was so ridiculous, and ultimately just exited the page at the five-minute mark. Initially, I wondered if my own server was running slow, but after looking at customer reviews, I realized this is a common problem across the board.
    • Not Always Intuitive – A few features get buried in the sheer amount of functions available. For example, it is incredibly difficult to find the inventory feature; first, you must click on the settings gear, select lists, then select products and services, where you can actually enable the tracking feature. This isn’t a deal-breaker, but it could be streamlined. It’d be nice to have a separate inventory tab.
    • Limited Features – While most features are incredibly advanced and do the job well, there are a few places when QuickBooks Online is lagging behind—primarily in the time tracking and project management spectrum. Time tracking is only available with the plus plan and the functionality of the feature is pretty limited compared to other companies. There are ample integrations to make up for this problem, though, so it isn’t a huge issue.

Features:

QuickBooks Online has an impressive feature selection. This covers only the basics of its offerings, so for a full list of features, go here.

  • Dashboard – A basic dashboard includes a list of tasks and charts for income, expense, and profit and loss. As mentioned above, the left side features tabs for Home, Customers, Vendors, Employees, Transactions, Reports, Taxes, and Apps. There is a settings gear and help button in the top right corner. In addition, a search transactions button, a recent transactions button, and a quick create button are featured in the top middle of the screen. The quick create button is a shortcut to invoices, expenses, estimates, etc.
quickbooks online - dashboard
  • Invoicing – While this is not my favorite invoice interface, the robust feature set and customizability are well above the level of most accounting software. There are five invoice templates (or you can import and existing invoice template via Microsoft Word). It’s possible to customize the logo, logo position, font, font size, header, footer, number of columns, and more. When creating an invoice, any saved contact information is automatically filled in, which saves a lot of time, and you can save default invoice messages. The Essentials and Plus plans actually support recurring invoices. Besides invoicing, QuickBooks Online also makes it easy to send sales receipts and refunds receipts when necessary. The only downside is that shipping costs and discounts have to be added as items.
QuickBooks Online - invoicing
  • Estimates – Creating estimates is easy and invoice conversion takes only moments. You can set a default estimate message. Estimates are sent via email and customers receive them as pdf documents. Sadly, there is no way for customers can comment on an estimate (there is a “client portal” for invoices, but it is really just a glorified preview tab).
  • Contact Management – QuickBooks online has one of the best contact management systems I have seen. When saving clients and vendors, not only can you add general contact information, but you can also include a display name, billing address, shipping address, preferred payment method, default payment terms, opening balance, attachments, and default tax codes. You can save important attachments, like contracts, to each contact. You can also save time by sending batch emails to contacts.
  • Accounts Payable (Essentials and Plus Plan Only) – Through QuickBooks Online, you can enter and sort bills easily. You can also set recurring bills and schedule them to be paid at a later date. With the Plus plan, you can create purchase orders and convert them to bills. You can also print checks via QuickBooks Online.
  • Chart of Accounts – This feature stays true to traditional accounting practices. QuickBooks Online has a default collection of accounts set up, but you can customize each account to fit your business.
QuickBooks Online - chart of accounts
  • Bank Reconciliation – Automatic bank feeds are easy to set up, though manually uploading statements is a little less straightforward. But the matching transactions and duplicate detection features work well. You can also categorize transactions and attach receipts to expenses.
  • Budget (Plus Plan Only) – Unlike the desktop version of QuickBooks (which only allows one year-long budget), you can have multiple budgets in QuickBooks Online. You can use data from a previous financial year as your basis for a budget or you can copy existing budgets. You can create budgets by customer, class, location, or by year.
  • Time-Tracking (Plus Plan Only) – The time tracking and project managing features offered are are surprisingly limited, but you can track billable hours, charge these hours to customers, and/or to turn them into employee timesheets. Time tracking is not supported on mobile devices.
  • Payroll (Additional Cost) – Payroll is incredibly easy to set up. You simply go to your employees, establish a pay rate (by salary or by hour), set employer taxes, add W-4’s, and set a payment schedule (weekly, biweekly, monthly, every other Friday, etc.) Then print the payroll stubs and check out the payroll reports. You can set an email reminder to let you know when it’s time to pay your employees.
QuickBooks Online - employee timesheet
  • Inventory (Plus Plan only) – While each plan has item list management, only the Plus plan tracks inventory. When adding items you can save default sales prices, purchase prices SKU numbers, and item descriptions. You have the unique option to create item bundles, which make invoicing a breeze. You can’t set notifications for low inventory levels, which is disappointing, but you can see the current stock level when you are creating invoices; this saves a lot of headaches. There is no way to automatically track asset depreciation, which is surprising for such a well-rounded accounting software.
  • Reports – The number of reports you can access varies depending on your plan ( the Simple Start plan begins at 44 reports and the Plus plan tops out at 106 reports. As you can imagine, such a vast number of reports cover nearly everything you can think of. For a full list of reports and report details, go here.
  • Packing Slips – QuickBooks Online supports packing slips.
  • Location and Classes – This unique feature lets you sort transactions, estimates, and billable hours by a specific location or class. You can also run Profit and Loss reports by specific location or class.
  • Sales Tax – You can save as many sale taxes as needed. In addition, you can assign a default sales tax to your customers.
  • Tax Forms and Support (Plus Plans Only) – The Plus plan lets you prepare and print 1099s for each employee. There is an additional fee to send these forms via e-file.
  • Multi-Currency – QuickBooks Online supports multiple currencies. For more information, go here.

Customer Service:

This is where QuickBooks Online really drops the ball. Not only does it lack email support, the phone services it does offer are often slow, and representatives vary in knowledge of the software.

In our past reviews of this software, wait times for support were between 20 and 30 minutes. Although that time has decreased significantly, you still have to jump through a lot of hoops (read: answer a lot of automated questions) in order to speak to a representative. When you do finally get to a customer service rep, they are nice enough, but less informed than you would expect. One woman I spoke with didn’t know where certain features were located, and I ended up finding the answer to my own question before she could respond.

In addition, the community forum is far from a Help Center equivalent.

Intuit seems to be taking measures to improve their customer service, but they still have a long way to go.

QuickBooks Online offers phone support from 6:00 am – 6:00 pm PST, Monday through Friday; Saturday hours are 6:00 am – 3:00 pm PST. Support services include:

  • Phone – Call customer support at 1 (877) 556 -4324.
  • Community Forum – The biggest support service QuickBooks has is their community forum. Both Intuit employees and fellow customers can answer any questions posted, and new questions are answered relatively quickly. But personally, I found that the search bar functioned very poorly and filtering through all QuickBooks products to find QuickBooks Online specific articles was annoying.
  • In-Program Help Button – QuickBooks Online features a help button in the top right corner of the software. The search results draw from the QuickBooks community, so you want to make sure your search result is answered by an actual Intuit employee. We had issues with this function in past reviews, and the search function in particular is still far from perfect, but it does seem to have improved somewhat.
  • Video Tutorials – QuickBooks Online features video tutorials to explain how each function works. The videos, while mildly helpful, are incredibly basic and feel more promotional than educational.
  • YouTubeYouTube features the same tutorials you can get on the QuickBooks Online site, but in my experience, videos from fellow users on YouTube are much more helpful.
  • QuickBooks Online Classes – QuickBooks online offers both in-person and online classes at an additional cost. For more information, go here.
  • QuickBooks Blog – QuickBooks has a blog, but again there is no separating QuickBooks Online from other QuickBooks products. The search bar is very limited and articles mostly consist of recent updates and ongoing giveaways. I found myself very underwhelmed by this resource.
  • Social Media – QuickBooks has a Facebook page where they post updates and helpful advice articles. Customer comments are generally responded to within 24 hours and responses are relatively helpful and always kind (despite the extreme anger of a few customers). There is also a Twitter specifically for QuickBooks Online users. Posts feature updates, helpful article, and a few inspirational quotes. Very few customer tweets are found, so Facebook might be a better bet for questions and comments.
  • QuickBooks Pro Advisor – The software also offers QuickBooks Pro Advisors who can help walk you through the program (again at an additional cost).

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

Although many customers praise QuickBooks to high heaven, there are a few significant shortcomings to the software. QuickBooks Online only receives 2.4/5 stars on G2Crowd. Some common complaints include:

  • Poor Customer Service – This is by far the biggest customer complaint. Many users dislike the slow service and report being on the phone for obscene amounts of time. A couple users say the customer service used to be better but has since declined, and a few people claim that QuickBooks tried to scam them into paying an extra service fee in order to fix the problems they were having.
  • Runs Slow – Many dislike that the interface runs slowly, myself included.
  • Bugs and Crashes – Various bugs and crashes are reported again and again across multiple sites. In the past, downtime and outages have also been a fairly common complaint, though this seems to be less of an issue as of late.
  • Limited Mobile Apps – Quite a few customers dislike that time tracking is not available on the mobile app. The selection of reports is also limited. A couple Nexus users were unable to use the app at all due to lack of support.
  • Doesn’t Compare to QuickBooks Desktop – Another common complaint is that QuickBooks Online does not compare to the desktop version. Quite a few customers were so underwhelmed by the software that they ended the service completely, while others switched back to the desktop version.
  • Unauthorized Charges – One customer reported that her account was charged without authorization and it took five months to fix the problem.

Positive Reviews and Complaints:

Intuit is accredited by BBB and the company is given an A+ rating. QuickBooks online receives 4/5 stars on GetApp. The mobile apps rank highly with Android users giving the app 4.3/5 stars and iOS users giving the app 4/5 stars.

Despite the complaints listed above, there are many happy users. Quite a few users also view QuickBooks Online as a huge upgrade to the desktop version. Here are a few of the things they love most:

  • Mobility – The most common praise is that QuickBooks Online gives mobility to users and companies. Previous QuickBooks desktop users particularly like that they are no longer tied down to a particular computer.
  • Good Accounting – QuickBooks Online is praised as one of the best full-featured accounting software options around. Accountants in particular rave about the reports, chart of accounts, and bank reconciliation features.
  • Easy to Learn – Many customers find QuickBooks Online easy to learn and use, especially compared to the desktop version of the software. Even non-accountants find the software enjoyable to use.
  • Feature Selection – The amount of features supported by QuickBooks Online is a common point of praise. Many users particularly like payroll capabilities.
  • Saves Time – Business after business reports that QuickBooks Online saves time and keep their company organized.
  • Ample Integrations – With over 400+ integrations, it’s no wonder customers like the amount of add-ons available to them.

Here’s what a few users are saying:

“I am not an accountant. Not even a bookkeeper. But I find QuickBooks pretty easy to use. I help and do various tasks for a small service business called 1 on 1 Lessons. Either at the end of each day or at the end of the week, I record sales and expenses and add receipts or attachments for every item. It is very easy to do this and feels intuitive to find things in QuickBooks.” – Stephanie Kumets, 1 on 1 Lessons

“QBO is consistently becoming more and more robust. In true Intuit fashion, they are listening to their users and adding new features constantly. And if QBO doesn’t do it, there’s an app that does that will sync seamlessly with your file.” – Carolyn Franjko, MJ Business Solutions

“QuickBooks Online has impacted our business by allowing us to just focus on marketing on sales and not on accounting, which is so crucial for a small business when sales is the most important thing. Because of QuickBooks accounting hasn’t been a headache.” – Andrew Kitirattragarn, Dang Foods

Integrations and Add-Ons:

QuickBooks offers an unbelievable amount of integrations. The software is compatible with over 400 third-party integrations. And to top it all off, QuickBooks Online also supports Zapier, a third-party add-on that connects users with 500 additional integrations. Of these integrations, around 30 are payment gateway processors.

Some of our favorite integrations include:

  • Stripe – Payment platform for both web and mobile payment methods. Read our full review here.
  • Authorize.Net – Accepts all major credit card through online payments, mobile devices, or in-store purchases. Read our full review here.
  • Full Slate – Full-fledged online scheduling software with key customer relationship management.
  • Magento – One of the top internet retailer platforms out there. Read our full review here.
  • Gusto – A payroll software that also manages health benefits, worker’s comp, and even 401(k) plans.
  • Sumac – Website integration designed for nonprofits. Tracks donations, volunteer sign-ups and more.
  • Maestro – Powerful data analytics tool.
  • Temponia – Time Tracking solution that utilizes calendar based scheduling to track projects and billable hours.
  • Insightly CRM – Free project and contact management software.
  • Zendesk – A customer service platform with help center, phone, and support ticket services.
  • Avalara – Automated sales tax solution that automatically calculates sales tax from a customer’s address.

Security:

QuickBooks Online uses 128-bit SSL encryption and multi-factor authentication. Physical safeguards have been implemented at the Tier 4 data center, and routine testing is to ensure security. For more information on Quickbooks security, and to learn how you can play a factor in making your data even more secure, go here.

Final Verdict:

Overall, QuickBooks Online lives up to the Intuit reputation of providing some of the most advanced accounting solutions on the market. This software fulfills traditional accounting needs while remaining easier to use than its desktop counterpart. In-depth contact management and highly customizable invoice templates and automations are just some of the great features QuickBooks Online has to offer.

Yet no software is without fault, and QuickBooks Online has its fair share of issues. Poor customer service and a lack of good time tracking/project management features are surprising for such a large, well-established company. In addition, the limited number of users allowed, even on the higher plans, may be a big problem for bigger organizations.

However, QuickBooks Online still has a number of wonderful features and an unbelievable amount of integrations, making it a great choice for businesses who want a true accounting tool. Take advantage of the free trial to see if QuickBooks Online is right for your company.

 

0
0