If you have a growing business, particularly one with a large volume of transactions, you'll need an accounting program that can grow with you and adapt to changing variables. Compared to Freshbooks and Wave, Quickbooks Online is highly customizable and has been developed by one of the leaders in the accounting software industry. Quickbooks has a robust desktop version which you can upgrade to as your business grows past the functionality of the online software.
Who is Quickbooks Online targeted to? QBO is geared towards medium-sized businesses, particularly those with a number of product- or service-lines or those that carry an inventory. While it's a cloud-based service, it allows for some paper-based accounting functions which makes it a good option for a brick and mortar business. Set-up is relatively easy and you can import banking and credit card information directly into the program with just a quick review to make sure the transactions are coded properly. Its well-developed set of tutorials and FAQ’s will guide you through posting day-to-day transactions.
Quickbooks Online offers several packages at different price points but consultants and very small businesses will still need a solid foundation in bookkeeping to get the most out of this software. Alternatively, due to their ease of use, Freshbooks and Wave are two very good cloud accounting programs that are specifically targeted to consultants and small businesses. Larger and more complex businesses will get the most out of the features of the "Plus" package.
What will this cost me? QBO offers a 30-day free trial, after which you will need to sign up for one of the paid packages in order to continue using the program. There are multiple levels of monthly payment plans and the amount you pay depends on the features you need and the number of users who will access your account. Prices range from $10-$30 per month, but QBO often reduces the price for the first 6-12 months that you use the software.
QBO has a couple great features for medium-sized businesses. First, QBO allows you to run cheques directly from the program, eliminating the need for you to manually write out cheques. Second, you can pay CRA directly through the program, rather than navigating CRA's website to make a payment. As any experienced business owner could tell you, this is a huge time-saving feature and is one of my favourites.
What else? QBO has two key features I look for in cloud accounting software: the ability to email invoices and an option for customers to pay by credit card right in the invoice. This makes it easier for your customers to pay you, resulting in you getting paid faster.
- Provides simple job costing and inventory management
- Track profits separately for multiple business locations
- Internal budgeting module
- Has an integrated payroll module
- Works with Mailchimp, Stripe, Paypal, Shopify and 100+ other apps
- Scan and upload receipts
- Offers a host suite of financial reports
- Trial version only lasts 30 days and no free version available
- Very limited in how much access you can give users
- No clear data limit for cloud storage of receipts and not able to upload through web-app
- Limited inventory tracking and no inventory financial reports
- No industry-specific templates
Quickbooks Online is a solid cloud accounting software which can grow with your business. It's worth looking at the higher level packages if your business has an inventory component, has multiple locations, has more than 10 employees, or is a service-based business with many clients.
Is there a sticky business or accounting topic you'd like to see covered in our product reviews? If so, let us know. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a client!