QuickBooks is an instantly recognizable name in the world of accountancy and bookkeeping. It’s owned by Intuit, which also has other options for small business owners and large ones too, with a diverse portfolio that includes TurboTax, Mint and Proconnect. QuickBooks also comes in numerous different varieties, from desktop editions through to the hugely popular Online edition.
There are also regular updates to the QuickBooks portfolio of products too, with the UK getting a raft of new features to help users keep abreast of tax and other regulatory changes. There's an income tax estimator tool, improved tagging and a beefed up employee portal for larger businesses. Professional accountants have new tools too, including a month-end review tool. QuickBooks is, essentially, always evolving.
So, depending on your requirements, you can choose from QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Self-Employed, QuickBooks Online Advanced, QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping, QuickBooks Desktop for Mac, QuickBooks Desktop Pro, QuickBooks Premier and QuickBooks Enterprise. However, it is possible to create a custom package using the help of the QuickBooks team if you need a more bespoke option.
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With such a wide variety of QuickBooks options you’ll find that pricing is similarly expansive and there are often deals to be had too. At the time of writing QuickBooks Online, for example, has 70% off for three months. Ordinarily though QuickBooks Online Simple Start is $25.00 a month, Essentials is $40 a month, Plus is $70.00 a month and Advanced $150. If you’re a freelancer then the Self-Employed package costs $15. There are custom options too, so for example it is possible to purchase QuickBooks Online, Payroll and Setup together.
For the UK QuickBooks has business accounting options that include Simple Start, for £12 per month, Essentials for £20 per month and Plus for £30 per month. Deals are often available on these prices too however, with a free trial for good measure. Freelancers with self-assessment needs can also plump for the self-employed package at £8 per month. Accountants and bookkeepers can also talk to QuickBooks about getting a package tailored to suit their needs.
The QuickBooks Online subscription plans have an advantage that they will work on any platform via the browser, and also have integration with the iOS and Android apps for use on a smartphone or tablet. For those that prefer the downloadable software, it works for both the Windows and Macintosh OS’, but unfortunately there is no mobile app support.
The QuickBooks Online plans also enjoys other advantages as well over the downloaded version. This includes capturing receipts via the camera on the smartphone, which can then be easily linked to capturing expenses. It also integrates easily with other apps, including PayPal.
Support has been improved for QuickBooks and it now has a wealth of different options to choose from if you're in need of help. This includes an online help hub, with lots of documentation, videos and other training resources. There's also a blog, a vibrant community and lots of social media too. Depending on your package level, you might also have access to a Pro Advisor, although this option only comes with the package of the same name.
For a small business without a dedicated accounting department, or even a sole accountant, QuickBooks offers an attractive solution to managing the finances. The fundamental bookkeeping ingredients are all here, covering invoices, payroll, estimates, employee time tracking, sales tax, inventory tracking, and is able to sync bank transactions. The online versions clearly have a better set of features than the downloadable version.
Our concern is that this full feature set comes at a higher price than some competitors, which include FreshBooks, Xero, Sage Business Cloud Accounting, Kashoo, Zoho Books and Kashflow to name just a few. Compounding this issue is that as the additional services such as payroll and time tracking are added on to the base package, the costs go up even higher. While a seriously cash strapped business may be better off looking elsewhere for more of a value bookkeeping solution, for the small business that can make use of the wide range of available bookkeeping features, QuickBooks via the online subscription remains an attractive choice.
- We've also highlighted the best accounting software in this roundup