QuickBooks has one of the most prominent profiles when it comes to accounting solutions. It also has an edition that will suit just about any kind of user too, from individuals through to businesses and all points in-between. However, having so much choice can make deciding on the right edition a little bit of a challenge.
Adding to the decision-making process is if you want to use QuickBooks Online, which can be done from a web browser, or if you prefer you can download a Windows or Mac app to run QuickBooks Simple Start, Essentials or Plus editions, only rather quicker. For a full-on QuickBooks experience then Live Bookkeeping is a complete solution whereby you get the benefit of hands-on professional help from the QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping team.
You can even bolster your arsenal of QuickBooks tools with its Payroll option too. In addition, QuickBooks offers mobile payment services with its GoPayment product and point of sale packages too, both of which are also useful for business users.
However, currently there are a few versions of QuickBooks that should be able to help with most accounting and financial management needs. 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.
Even in its simplest guise QuickBooks comes with lots of features and functions, which should meet all of your accountancy needs. For example, the Simple Start package lets you tracks income and expenses, capture and organize receipts, maximize tax deductions, invoice and accept payments, run general reports, send estimates, track sales and sales tax along with manage 1099 contractors.
QuickBooks has even added a neat new feature in Track Miles that lets you monitor and categorize business and personal trips that can then be used to produce shareable reports. It’s great for working out potential deductions.
Move on up the package options and you get more features. Essentials adds on the ability to manage bills, track time more efficiently and also lets three users have use of the service. The Plus bundle adds on a 5 user option, lets you track profitability and inventory too.
Advanced, meanwhile, features lots of beefier features, such as offering business analytics and insights, the ability to customize access by role and sophisticated extras such as a new restore company data function and the option for automating workflows. You get a dedicated account manager plus on-demand online training. It’s comprehensive to say the least.
Setup and interface
Once you start your free trial for a paid tier, QuickBooks walks you through the setup process. You can setup your own business or experiment with a demo company. If you choose to use your own company, you will be asked to fill in some details. These include the business name and how long you have been in business. You can also choose the features you’re most likely to use. These can be changed at any stage through the settings tab.
The dashboard displays any information you’ve entered. From here you can connect your bank to your QuickBooks account. At this stage you can upload your company logo and fill in more information about your business. If you’ve been using another online solution which supports CSV/Excel format export, you can import this data into QuickBooks. The main screen displays your company name, logo, invoices, expenses, bank accounts, sales, profit and loss.
You can choose to hide any financial information displayed. QuickBooks also has a handy tip feature which nudges you to start invoicing, pay employees, track time, connect with an accountant and view your profits. This can also be hidden. Setup can be resumed at a time of your choosing. You can select banking, sales, expenses, workers, reports, taxes, accounting and my accountant from the left-hand side of the dashboard.
There are several language options available depending on your location. English is available for users in the UK, US, India, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, UAE and Ireland. English and traditional Chinese are available in Hong Kong. Other languages supported are Italian and Spanish.
You’ll get good performance from any of the QuickBooks range of products and services, with the cloud-based online options being as good as anything out there on the market. QuickBooks has also done a fine job with its app-based products, so if you’re keen to keep your finances and accounting duties up to date then this is another route that performs well.
Not everyone wants to reply on being connected all of the time, however, so the downloadable software option is always good for being able to work on a computer or laptop in an office, home or on-the-road environment. Again, QuickBooks has had a long time to get its performance characteristics honed nicely, and it is therefore a great all-round contender.
Ease of use
Getting to grips with QuickBooks is not quite as daunting as it might seem. While making the initial choice on which package to use might seem something of an uphill struggle, once you’re inside the software then it’s all pretty intuitive. QuickBooks has been around for a long time, so it’s been nicely honed over the years. Meanwhile, new features are added in to the existing working area without too much in the way of fuss.
QuickBooks has all bases covered when it comes to support, with a dedicated website area to get started. This features a host of articles, video tutorials and much more besides, if your query is more obvious or if you’re learning the ropes.
Of course, there is also the capacity for getting in touch with QuickBooks personnel too, most notably so if you have the high-end package that gives you the added benefit of a dedicated account manager.
QuickBooks also has a very vibrant community, which is a great place to head for if you want to see what others are talking about, or ask a real time user how to do something. The QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping option is another angle worth looking at if you’re going to need more help as this will keep you connected with an accountancy expert.
There’s QuickBooks Pro Advisor too, which can also hook you up with an independent accountant, bookkeeping expert or tax specialist if you need it. If anything, the supply of potential help can be a little bewildering if you’re only just getting acquainted with QuickBooks.
There is certainly plenty to recommend when it comes to QuickBooks dazzling array of products and services, with the Online aspect of the range being the most obvious to pick from.
However, Intuit is a big and powerful concern that now owns this and other accountancy and bookkeeping options including TurboTax and Mint, so it might have other products that take your fancy too. As it stands though, whichever QuickBooks product you choose, be it Online or Desktop Pro to name but two of the variants, you’ll be sure of a solid user experience that comes packed with features, even at the most basic level.
If you’re prepared to spend some money then you get much more too, including comprehensive levels of support and lots of product updates as times and the economic landscape changes.
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