QuickBooks Online is extremely powerful accounting software that will save your organization time and money. Their reviewers are so fond of it, 3 different versions of the software are included as Top-Rated award winners in the accounting software category.
Intuit, the vendor for this software, makes several versions of QuickBooks. The comparison covers QuickBooks Online. This is the version the vendor updates most frequently and is the clear focus of their website. We also have a piece comparing the features of QuickBooks Online to desktop versions, QuickBooks Desktop Pro and QuickBooks for Mac. For QuickBooks comparisons between the versions, find that piece here.
By understanding the pricing plans and features, you will be able to make an informed decision as to which is right for you. The plans covered in this piece are:
This piece also covers who each plan may be right for. There is also an overview of the payroll add-on, and its pricing levels.
What is QuickBooks?
As mentioned, QuickBooks is an accounting software designed to save time and money in expense and inventory management. If you’re new to QuickBooks, there’s plenty of introductory user feedback on TrustRadius. Below is a video going into more depth about what QuickBooks is and how it can be useful for your organization.
These are the various pricing plans, their features, and who they are right for.
Self-Employed: $15/Mo, 50% off for 3 Months
This is the most fundamental tier of QuickBooks offered. It is only available to sole proprietors who file a Schedule C. These individuals file specific forms with the IRS come tax season, so if you do not file a 1040 or 1040-SR, this probably does not apply to you.
The Self-Employed tier offers basic features to individuals for a very low cost. Income and expense tracking is included. QuickBooks allows you to directly import transactions from your banks, credit cards, Paypal, and Square. No matter what you are using for payment collection and expenses, QuickBooks likely will support it. Additionally, this feature organizes all of these transactions into tax categories.
Your ability to track expenses will be bolstered by the payment acceptance and invoicing features. QuickBooks allows freelancers to track billable hours and directly request and accept payments from contractors. You can also track and bill miles traveled.
Users will find the ability to snap photos of receipts to track expenses extremely useful. With all the expense and income tracking, QuickBooks offers a good quarterly tax estimate. This is great for those individuals who want to avoid a surprise bill every few months.
The analytical capabilities of this tier are somewhat limited. This allows for profit/loss tracking. Invoices, mileage, and expenses are also available through these basic reports. The reports, as mentioned above, provide tax estimates.
Of all the editions of QuickBooks, the online version is praised for its mobile app and ease of use. For those with less experience, or who may have to access from any location, any of these plans will be a good fit. You can upgrade through the tiers as you find you need more or fewer features.
Who is the Self-Employed Plan Right for?
This pricing level is appropriate for individuals who meet the Schedule C requirement and need the basic expense and income tracking. Invoicing through QuickBooks is easy and reliable. The price is extremely reasonable, and a worthy investment for many individuals to save time and hassle.
Simple Start: $25/Mo, 50% off for 3 Months
The first tier accessible to all types of small businesses, the Simple Start plan is a strong balance of low cost and crucial features for small businesses. It includes everything from the Freelancer plan, and more.
In addition to the tax estimation from the Freelancer plan, this level allows you to maximize your deductions. You can directly share your tax information with experts. Such information is already organized into the relevant categories, as mentioned earlier.
Simple Start goes beyond integrating your expenses. It offers its own option for managing cash flow. You can also open a QuickBooks cash account. This allows for 1% APY interest, cashflow projections, and instant depositing.
You will also be able to create and send estimates directly to clients. You can track the status of these and accept mobile signatures. Once the terms are agreed, you can convert these estimates into invoices. This cuts out unnecessary middle steps and allows you to save time on billing.
You can directly accept payments with the offered mobile reader. This tool will sync with popular payment apps as well. All of these payments will automatically calculate and record the relevant sales tax. You will no longer have to manually input this information for your record-keeping.
If you work directly with vendors, this level allows you to stay compliant with 1099s. You can assign this as a category, and track such payments. Once done, these can be filed directly through QuickBooks.
Reporting is more advanced in this tier than in the Freelancer tier. Balance sheets, profit/loss records, and more are easily created and exported. You will be able to customize these reports with tags. Tagging helps you more easily visualize where you are making your income, and where you are spending.
The UI is user-friendly and intuitive, with a strong focus on visualization. Cash flow is directly visible, allowing the most fundamental information to be accessed consistently. This will help with both accounting and peace of mind.
Who is the Simple Smart Plan Right For?
This tier is great for small businesses owners who want to have comprehensive finance tools at a reasonable cost. The Simple Smart Plan does not have some of the more advanced features and is limited to just one user.
For organizations simply looking to track expenses, have better workflow during tax season, and manage payments, this is a good choice. This plan is less suitable for those with more complicated analytical needs. Additionally, those with accounting departments would find the single user limitation problematic.
If your business’s accounting needs are relatively simple and handled by one person at a time, this is a cost-effective plan for you.
“Right now, we use Quickbooks Online for Invoicing and expense tracking. As a small company, it allows me to act as the bookkeeper and accountant even though I don’t have an accounting background. It also keeps track of the sales tax I need to collect for the state and keep track of who is behind on paying invoices.”Brian Welch│President│Welch Technology Services, LLCInformation Technology and Services, 1-10 employees
Essentials: $40/mo, 50% off for 3 Months
The Essentials tier adds time tracking and expands some of the existing features of the previous plans. The user limit is increased to 3.
The time tracking features are the main added benefit for the added cost. You will be able to directly track billable hours within QuickBooks. Hourscan be classified as an employee or client. Once done, these are easily added to invoices. Managers will have the ability to record these hours or can allow employees to do so themselves.
More advanced time tracking is available with QuickBooks Time, which this tier will integrate into seamlessly. For those who only need basic functionality, the built-in features of this tier will be enough.
This level also adds bill-paying functionality. Your organization can view and pay all its recurring bills in one location. These can be scheduled to reduce your workload in the future. You will be able to choose how vendors are paid. Options include debit and credit, the latter one incurring a 2.9% fee. Users can also use free bank transfers.
Reporting features are more advanced in this plan. You can create sales accounts, receivables, and sort accounts by their payable status.
Who is the Essentials Plan Right For?
This level is for those who need the time tracking features, bill paying, or have users. Organizations with small accounting departments will be able to make use of all the QuickBooks features more easily, without the single user limit. The time tracking is suitable for those with hourly or contracted employees. Hourly sales teams would be a perfect use case for this level.
Another example would be many types of the service industry, with traveling employees who provide estimates to clients. The mileage tracking, invoicing/estimates, and hourly tracking would greatly reduce employer workload for these cases. In summary, if you need more expansive use of the previous Quickbook features, or find the added features essential, this is the tier for you.
“We use QuickBooks Online to keep accounting for sales, organize expenses, payments, etc. QuickBooks keeps everything organized and easy reporting to see where the cash is going. It is used throughout the whole organization. We’re a small company and it helps keep track of everyone.”Verified User│Engineer in Manufacturing│Medical Devices Company, 1-10 employees
Plus: $70/mo, 50% off for 3 Months
The Plus Plan is QuickBooks’ most popular pricing tier. Once again, users have access to everything from the lower tiers. In addition to the added features, it increases the user limit to 5.
One fantastic feature added in this level is the inventory tracking system. For any business with the product on hand, this is a vital service. You will be able to set notifications when inventory is low. Users can view the popularity of different items, generate purchase orders, and manage vendors directly. All of this can be exported to spreadsheet software. You can also integrate directly with Amazon, Shopify, and Etsy.
This tier also adds features to track project status. You can view all your current and past projects in one view. Users can track profitability to see what is and isn’t working for your organization. This dashboard includes labor and payroll costs, along with other expenses.
The reporting services become more advanced yet again in this tier. All of the inventory management tools are able to be run through reports, to see how this changes over time. Additionally, you can generate custom budgeting and expense reports to help improve your future project.
Who is the Plus Plan Right For?
This plan adds a level of pre-planning capabilities and logistical support to the QuickBooks software. The increase in user limit also allows for larger accounting departments to work simultaneously. Organizations can use budgeting, inventory management, and project status systems to plan for the future.
Any industry with more than basic inventory would benefit from this level. As a result, this is for those who have a product rather than a service they provide to clients. The future-focused features in this are also tailored to growth-focused organizations. In summary, if you are looking for consistent improvement, or have a product-based business, this may be the choice for you.
Advanced: $150/mo, 50% off for 3 Months
This tier is for those with larger accounting departments who need more advanced features. The user limit makes a substantial jump from 5 in the previous plan to 25.
The Advanced Plan offers business insight and analytics tools not found in the lower tiers. Your organization will be able to create visual, customizable reports that are ready to present. Track finance and non-finance KPIs, and compare benchmarks, clients, and more. This is even suitable for larger groups who have multiple locations and want to directly compare their performance.
Invoicing is faster for those with larger quantities with batch invoicing. QuickBooks says this reduces time spent handling invoicing by 37%. These can be edited several at a time and imported/exported from spreadsheet software.
Workflow can be automated at this level. This removes some chance for human error. This level supports advanced integrations like Salesforce, Hubspot and Docusign.
Managers will be able to manage user access. Setting roles can expand or limit access to various sectors of your QuickBooks software as needed. Security is further enhanced with the ability to restore data. Your information will be continually backed up.
Finally, this level has much greater support availability from QuickBooks. Your account will have a dedicated team, and your employees can receive on-demand training. This will help your organization get the most out of what you are paying for
Who is the Advanced Plan Right for?
This tier is a significant step up in price and scale and is right for those businesses who have reached a point of needing this. The Advanced plan is for those who can take advantage of the analytics tools available and have the size to require them. Your organization should have a larger product volume and maybe even multiple locations. The 25 user cap supports an extensive accounting department, and use by others in your organization.
“QuickBooks Online is well suited for companies that engage telecommuters, several branches, and accountants. From the owner to an associate, information can be seen without printing out needless reports.”Tammy Whiting│Payroll Manager│KAC Senior Care dba Senior VenturesHospital & Health Care, 201-500 employees
All of these plans except the Freelancer tier have the option to add on a payroll supporting software.
Core: $45 + $4 / Employee/ Month
This offers the base functionality of payroll software. All taxes are calculated, paid, recorded, and filed automatically. QuickBooks prides this software on its automation. Once set up, it will work automatically. You can have maintained control with the notifications system and alerts. Healthcare, workers compensation, and other benefits can also be managed in this tool.
Premium: $75 + $8 / Employee/ Month
This tier adds the Tax Filing Protection features. QuickBooks will fix filing errors and pay any penalties incurred. Same day direct-deposit is now included. Users can also access payroll reports, while the exact permissions level is determined by leadership. The different tiers of users’ permissions change what is accessible.
Elite: $125 + $10 / Employee/ Month
Elite adds the support of a payroll expert to set up the system for you. They will be there to answer any questions and will help you expedite the setup process. This offers a level of HR support, including those on hiring, job posting, and proper compliance.
How to get the most out of QuickBooks
If you have made your purchase decision, there are plenty of resources available to help you use your new tool. The video below is a full tutorial guide on using the software.
For those who want to learn more, check out our QuickBooks Online page. Here, you can view the various products and read reviews from users like yourself. Consider the other versions of Quickbooks as well, such as Quickbooks Pro. Our piece comparing those can be found here. If you are still unsure, check out our accounting software category page to view alternatives to QuickBooks.