Whether you’re running a multi-million dollar business, or just getting started, you’ll need to do is start tracking your numbers. You might do this in excel, Google Sheets, or if you want to make life easy, in accounting software. Top accounting software we use includes QuickBooks, Xero, and a free online accounting software called Wave Apps Accounting. By request of many of our clients, we wanted to cover the most used web application for small business, QuickBooks Online (QBO). Designed for small and medium-sized businesses, Intuit’s QuickBooks offers payroll, inventory, expense tracking, and invoicing features. The desktop version of QuickBooks still leads Intuit’s arson of accounting applications. However, the online version of QuickBooks is steadily growing with younger businesses who prefer a cloud computing solution.
Here are the top 10 things you should know about QuickBooks Online (QBO). You should read this if you’re considering taking your accounting online or building automation with your bookkeeping.
1. Easy to Access: QBO Works on Your Computer, Tablet, and Smartphone
Today, businesses are increasingly gravitating toward cloud solutions for convenience. There are several benefits to managing parts of your business on a web-based user interface in that you can access and update your data anywhere and QuickBooks Online helps provide businesses that same convenience. With QBO you can access your software from your desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone. This type of web-based solution allows you to work on the go. You don’t have to be at your desk to update or review your accounting. For example, to verify a business expense, you can simply categorize it instantly from your phone into the appropriate expense account. You just have to swipe your card and that transaction gets immediately recorded in the cloud. Since QBO is decentralized, when you log in again from a different device, the same transaction will already be logged correctly, no syncing required.
2. You Can Connect Your Bank Account Directly and Automate
In working with small businesses, we know how important it is to have tools that you can “set and forget.” The best accounting systems should streamline how you work automatically after set-up. QBO, like other web-based solutions, connects to your bank to do just that. Rather than entering every bank related transaction manually, all only need to connect your account once, and it will download all the transactions from the past three months (you’ll need a work-around to get older data, which our team or your accounting pro can help you with). You can connect multiple checking accounts, savings accounts, and credit cards with QBO so that you’re including all relevant transactions. A huge benefit is that once you begin to “train” QBO how to categorize newly imported transactions, it will recommend categories, as an auto-suggest function.
3. You Will Have to Choose from Multiple Plans to Decide Which Subscriptions Works Best for Your Business
While you will need a paid subscription, you should note that one size does not fit all when with QBO subscriptions. Even for small businesses, there are different plans you can select from. For solo teams (as a started program) there is QuickBooks Self Employed, however, depending on which features your business requires, sometimes solo teams will require a higher level subscription. Beyond QuickBooks Self Employed there are the small business solutions which are Simple Start, Essentials, and Plus. Monthly subscription fees for QuickBooks Self Employed starts at $5 per month. The small business solutions range between $15 per month. Simple Start around $50 per month for Plus (there are always long-term and intro discounts, ask your accounting pro for discount codes).
4. You Don’t Have to Backup Your Data
QuickBooks Online is a web-based solution, which keeps all its data in the cloud. Intuit reportedly uses the same servers that backup the U.S. government, which is part of the appeal. Every piece of information you store on QuickBooks Online is stored in the cloud and can be accessed from any device at any given moment. As soon as you update transaction information, it gets synced to all devices automatically. A cloud solution can therefore save time and money spent otherwise storing and backing up your files.
5. You Can Automate Several Processes
The best part about QuickBooks small business solutions is that you can automate several processes. This feature reduces redundancies and reduces any chances of you forgetting to do something. For example, one of the more time-consuming processes for any business is invoicing, especially when it’s recurring. QBO has a feature that automatically sends an invoice to clients or charges a saved credit card at a defined interval, all on a set due date. You can access automatic invoicing options in Advanced Settings under Account & Settings. Similarly, you can also use QBO to automate your sales tax and payroll calculations.
6. Multiple Users Can Use It Simultaneously
Depending on the package you choose, you can add multiple users and accountants with full or restricted access to your QuickBooks data. You can add multiple users for your small business based on your subscription level. You can work around this by sharing your login with your team, but you may not want other team members to have full access. With the ability to add multiple users, restricted access can be provided to different members of your team based on needs. You may have someone in sales who just needs to monitor and view certain financial activity without editing rights, for example. You also have the ability to add multiple accountants if needed. All parties will be able to see financial activity live.
7. You Can Invoice Your Clients in QBO
There is an entire section of the software designed as an invoicing solution. This not only helps you take a step toward completely paperless billing, it also allows you to get your invoices paid faster. You can create custom invoices with your business name, logo, and colors to maintain branding. You are also able to issue sales receipts once invoices are paid. And as mentioned, you can also automate the invoicing process for any recurring invoices to save you precious time.
8. You Can Integrate Apps with Your QBO
QBO has another benefit in that it adds the ability to integrate with other applications you may already be using. On the sales side, it can integrate with PayPal and Shopify. For expenses, QBO can record expenses (import from) or send transactions (export to) other applications such as Expensify, Tallie, and Receipt Bank.
For any online solutions having cross-functionality with other tools you already use is critical. Luckily for QBO, given the size of Intuit, it will be the most comprehensive accounting software in terms of integration with other tools. Other applications include Authorize.Net, BigTime, and Late Fee Manager. Since QuickBooks certified developers work and test these applications, they sync seamlessly with QBO.
9. You Can Give Access and Easily Find Tax and Accounting Professionals
When you have a small business, and you are learning to streamline your processes using QuickBooks, there is a lot that you will need to learn to use the tool properly and limit errors. A benefit of Quickbooks is that automates a lot of processes. However, you should have your accountant review your general ledger in your accounting software at least quarterly. You can find an accountant using QBO, or if you already have one, add them easily. You should also add your Tax Professional to “deductify” your accounting and let you know your expected net income after taxes.
10. The User Interface Is Intuitive
How much an accounting software can increase your productivity depends on how easy it is to use and how customizable it can be. QuickBooks has been designed with both the non-technical business owner and accountant in mind. And no matter what system you use, be sure to have a system and vision for your numbers.
When you log into QBO for the first time, you will be guided through a quick and easy tutorial. This takes about five minutes. Within an hour of using QBO, most clients can easily import and categorize their transactions. The main menu is located to the left-hand-side where you can navigate between Banking, Reports, Sales and Expenses. Many changes to the account settings can be made and reviewed using the top right gear icon. The overall interface is clean and simple with no signs of information overly crammed into a small space.
Now that you know a lot about QuickBooks Online, we hope this will help you make a well-informed decision for choosing the right accounting software. Last but not least, you can always do the 30-day free trial before committing to a plan.