Created by Intuit, the earliest version of QuickBooks was developed as a DOS version of the company’s Quicken software, first launched in 1983 in the US.
Since then, the QuickBooks accounting software has undergone countless updates in order best serve their customers – of which they have 800 million, comprising of global small businesses/sole traders, and 4.5 million of whom use QuickBooks Online: the cloud-based online version of the software.
Overall, QuickBooks is easy to use with a simple, easy-to-navigate design. More than this, QuickBooks has plenty of video tutorials/guides and email and phone support for users who have any problems or queries.
When getting started with Quickbooks, there’s a relatively short set up process, whereby QuickBooks presents you with questions about your business, such as native currency, business type and whether you want to activate certain features or automate certain processes, such as applying bill payments.
As you answer these questions, QuickBooks adapts its settings to accommodate your needs as a business so that you can get started straight away, without having to faff about with the settings as you go along.
Having said this, you can easily make further adjustments to your settings underneath the ‘Sales’ tab to customise your sales forms’ content/format, or in the ‘Expenses’ tab to change your billing and ordering preferences, and more. If you have pre-existing accounting data you can also import this as a CSV or Excel file into QuickBooks Online.
The Quickbooks Online dashboard is simple and easy to navigate, showing charts and data pertaining to invoices, expenses, bank accounts, profit and loss, and overall sales.
Displayed at the left hand side of the page, a menu allows you to easily navigate to the dashboard, banking, sales, expenses, reports, taxes, accounting, payroll (workers) and ‘my accountant’ pages that QuickBooks has, in addition to newer pages such as cash flow and capital, which guide you to the relevant data and analytics for each subject.
QuickBooks has essentially every functionality a sole-trader or small-to-medium business could need, having experienced and learned from customers’ pain points for several decades, using their QuickBooks offline accounting software as a springboard to create the QuickBooks Online cloud-based accounting solution.
A crucial feature of any online or cloud-based accounting software is its ability to integrate with businesses’ bank accounts – and the functionalities that are provided in parallel to this.
QuickBooks allows customers to connect all relevant bank accounts to the software, allowing it to work with accurate, continuously updating, relevant transactions and allowing for the integration of your statements into QuickBooks Online. QuickBooks is compatible with many major banks such as Santander, Barclays, HSBC, American Express, Tide and many more.
Users will also be able to reconcile transactions – reviewing and approving the transactions –with easy one-click reconciliation.
You can also opt to have QuickBooks auto-categorise your transactions, matching them to your sales and expenses and add customised rules to automatically split transactions according to certain criteria, and add documents, notes and receipts to certain transactions.
In addition to QuickBooks’ users being able to create invoice designs from scratch – or even upload their own invoice templates – QuickBooks online offers a range of invoice templates to choose from, which can be customised to reflect your branding, as you’re able to change and add colours, your company logo and more.
With QuickBooks, you can ensure that your invoices are GST compliant by choosing invoice data fields necessary for GST compliance. Moreover, invoices can be created from both desktop and mobile devices. Professional sales receipts and estimates can also be created – and estimates can be converted to invoices – and sent as an email in minutes.
Furthermore, you can automate invoicing by setting recurring invoices for regular customers and email, print or Whatsapp an unlimited number of invoices each day – either one at a time or sending in bulk with the ‘batch action’ feature, whereby you can send the same invoice to multiple customers.
Lastly, you can track unpaid GST bills with QuickBooks’ invoice tracker, and send reminders to customers who have payments due – you can also be notified when customers view or pay invoices through QuickBooks’ GST billing software.
QuickBooks generates a range of reports to let users know how their business is doing, allowing users to create custom reports based on their priorities as a business.
QuickBooks creates financial reports including balance sheets to allow you to identify trends in your business’ data, reports detailing profit and/or loss for a given period of time, cash flow statements and your business’ income and expenses are displayed in graphs and chats to allow you to see how you’re doing year on year in the ‘Company Snapshot’.
Moreover, you can keep track of overdue invoices as QuickBooks allows you to see all unpaid and late invoices in seconds, so that you can chase up pending payments.
QuickBooks Online is compatible with hundreds of app integrations, from free payment apps such as Stripe, PayPal, Square and Mollie in addition to cashflow forecasting, employee expense tracking, expense management automation and Amazon business purchase tracking apps.
Moreover, plenty more paid apps are available for integration with QuickBooks Online including payroll, HR, Shopify, CRM, document management integration, receipt tracking and expense apps, among many more.
Some of QuickBooks tools are hidden behind the premium paywall – the ‘Plus’ pricing plan – such as stock tracking, employee time tracking (clocking employee time and billable hours, which can be automatically added to invoices), project profitability tracking and budget setting.
QuickBooks has 3 pricing plans, consisting of ‘simple start’, ‘essentials’ and ‘plus’ and while their prices are fixed, the accounting platform often has a deal on; at the time of writing until the 2nd of July 2021, for example, the first 4 months of new users’ memberships are 90% off.
Moreover, QuickBooks Online also offers a standard payroll add-on for £4 per – +£1 per paid employee per month – and an advanced payroll add-on for £8 + £1 per paid employee per month to use more advanced features.
For £12 a month + 20% VAT, Simple Start users get access to a fairly comprehensive range of accounting features, allowing them to connect their bank to the software, manage their income and expenses, send pay-enabled invoices, forecast cash flow, and track mileage.
Moreover, QuickBooks Simple Start users will be able to create estimates and quotes, run customised reports, and handle a range of tax-related tasks, such as preparing for self-assessment, getting income tax estimates, calculating and submitting CIS and more.
While the range of features offered as part of QuickBooks most basic plan is generous, only one user can gain access to and use the account, meaning its probably only suitable for sole traders and the self-employed, and very small businesses.
With the QuickBooks Essentials plan – which costs £20 a month + 20% VAT – users get access to all the features provided in the Simple Start plan, plus the ability to manage bills, and do business in 145+ currencies.
Moreover, up to 3 users are able to access and use the plan, making it a more suitable choice for most small businesses.
For £30 per month + 20% VAT, QuickBooks Plus users can make use of all the features provided in the Simple Start and Essentials plan, plus functionalities that allow users to track stock, track employee time, see project profitability and set budgets.
With the Plus pricing plan, a total of five users can use QuickBooks Online, who can gain access to and manage the business’ accounts simultaneously.
QuickBooks is one of the most trusted accounting softwares, and is used by most businesses in the US, and QuickBooks Online – the cloud-based version of the software – offers a similarly comprehensive range of features for small businesses to take care of their accounting needs, from wherever they are, whether they’re using a desktop or mobile device.
In particular, its invoicing functionality and comprehensive tax support features are where QuickBooks Online’s accounting platform shines most – in fact, QuickBooks Online claims that its users save around £2500 a year on average in tax savings.
Another characteristic that many other accounting solutions don’t have – which QuickBooks provides – is the ability to do business in almost 150 currencies with the middle-range ‘essentials’ plan. In comparison, other similar accounting platforms that offer multiple currency functionality only offer this in their premium plans.
So, if you’re a budding international business – but you don’t need all the premium features that the cloud-based online accounting solutions have to offer – then QuickBooks Online might be the platform for you.
On the other hand, businesses who don’t need a lot of advanced accounting features – and that primarily conduct business in the UK – may be able to find a slightly less expensive option. Or, if your business needs numerous eyes and hands on its accounts, then you might find the restricted number of users in each QuickBooks pricing plan a little limited.