My Honest Review of QuickBooks (Read Before Buying)

My Honest Review of QuickBooks (Read Before Buying) | Accounting Smarts
Charles Hall

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Charles Hall

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June 10, 2022

As a business owner, accounting can be a significant bottleneck for your company. We will show you why QuickBooks is the best tool to streamline the entire process.

As a business owner, accounting can be a significant bottleneck for your company. We will show you why QuickBooks is the best tool to streamline the entire process.

QuickBooks is a full-service business accounting software platform that provides access to an array of tools to business owners. With so many solutions to offer, QuickBooks is the best available financial accounting tool available for businesses. QuickBooks Online is the most popular and easily accessible option, with plenty of plans available.

QuickBooks is one of the most groundbreaking technologies in the online accounting market. It doesn’t just track all of your essential bookkeeping needs. It also provides advanced reporting features, invoicing, inventory management, 1099 tracking, and much more. You can manage your entire business from the QuickBooks platform. But how many of these features do you truly need?

This review contains important information and expert recommendations to help you choose the perfect accounting software for you. Our experts analyze all of the features, specifications, pricing, and alternatives through research from credible sources. If you are ready to learn more about QuickBooks, keep reading. Let’s get into it!  

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What is QuickBooks?

If you are looking for a way to automate your small business accounting, QuickBooks is the perfect tool for you. The software provides an extensive list of tools to make every financial process easier to handle, like invoice creation, expense tracking, payroll, and more.

QuickBooks is the best tool for handling your internal accounting. But you are probably wondering, what exactly is QuickBooks?

The simplest way to get started with QuickBooks is through QuickBooks online, where they offer various plans with features to suit your business needs perfectly.  Plans begin for freelancers and solo businesses and work all the way up to larger, growing companies with employees.

Let’s discuss all of the specifications and features it has to offer.

QuickBooks Specs And Features

QuickBooks is a comprehensive accounting software platform with plenty of specifications and features available to users. It gives users access to complex reporting, quick payments, automated invoicing, and much more.

Here is an in-depth look at all of the noteworthy features you can take advantage of after signing up.  

QuickBooks Specs

Payments Yes
Automatic Invoicing Yes
Third-Party Integrations Yes
Mobile App Yes
24/7 Customer Support Yes

QuickBooks Features

The QuickBooks features are absolute must-haves for any accounting software, plus more. The full-suite tool provides support across your entire business to accomplish everything in one place efficiently. QuickBooks has streamlined the accounting process for businesses by creating the best available product.

QuickBooks is the most effective way to manage all your invoices, expenses, payroll, and other financial necessities. By utilizing the entire suite of tools available in QuickBooks, you will see your business grow and your time dedicated to business financials decrease.

These are some of the best features QuickBooks has to offer.

Easy Sharing Capabilities

Allow your account to gain immediate access without much hassle. The online feature allows direct sharing without the need to transfer any files. It is more secure and only takes one click to invite other parties.

If you don’t have an account but need one, this feature is perfect for you. QuickBooks has a Pro Advisor network with well-versed accountants who understand the software better than most. You can find your new accountant right from here.

Income & Expense Tracking

The most obvious and essential feature is the comprehensive income and expense tracking available for usage right in the platform. You can manage your business income and expenses in one place with advanced tools, including a way to search for individual transactions.

You can post journal entry transactions when they occur too. This allows you to thoroughly keep track of everything going in and out of your accounts.

Don’t worry. There is a way to automate this process too. Link your credit cards and bank accounts, and it will make everything much easier to sync so you don’t need to do transactions one at a time.  

Invoicing & Payments

Both invoices and payments are easy to send and highly customizable. You can add your customers to your software platform, so you can simply select an individual account when sending an invoice instead of entering new information every time.

Invoice customizations include adding your company logo or using a premade template from the library of options available within QuickBooks. Invoices are also sent right from QuickBooks in an email format with email templates available too.

Right within the invoice creation, you can also approve and set up online payments so your customers can pay you directly without any hassle. This improves the time it takes for clients to pay their open invoices.

Advanced Reporting

QuickBooks allows users access to an advanced reporting feature to create highly customized reports using your QuickBooks data. Reports can be built from scratch with any data point or financial metric you desire.

These are some examples of the reports available within QuickBooks:

  • Inventory stock
  • Inventory valuation
  • Sales graphs
  • Sales by item, sales rep, or customer
  • Job costs
  • Purchase orders open or closed
  • Profit and loss forecast

This list is only a small sample size of everything you can accomplish with the advanced reporting feature.

The four primary report types are:

  • Transaction reports
  • List reports
  • Summary reports
  • Detail reports

Bill Management

Another helpful feature in QuickBooks is the ability to manage all of your bills in one place. It makes it much easier to keep track of paid and unpaid bills while also setting future reminders to take care of payments on time to avoid any issues or late fees.

You can receive and enter a bill right into QuickBooks or automate the process. Bills can also be linked to your main account, or a separate expense account can be created to track these in one place to avoid confusion later on.

There are also countless reporting features available to stay on top of your bills. For example, reports can break down all pending bills based on the supplier, transaction type, date created, and much more.

W-2 Payroll

Another weekly task that requires consistency and focus is payroll for your business. Using QuickBooks will help keep your financials all in one place and improve your payroll process to save you time and money.

The Payroll center of your QuickBooks dashboard contains an area with all of your employees to see their pay and other relevant information. This is where you can do your weekly payroll with all of the data in one place.

For the W-2 forms for later in the year, QuickBooks has it handled too. The taxes dashboard contains both a sales tax and payroll tax tab where all necessary forms can be generated and printed with accurate information when needed.

Mobile Receipt Capture

One of the newer upgraded features in QuickBooks is the ability to capture receipts with your mobile device. They are added to your QuickBooks database to keep track of spending and related expenses to your business for future reference when filing taxes.

This is a much easier method than storing all of your receipts in a folder or cabinet in the office. It’s so easy that you can take a photo with your phone and add it right into QuickBooks using the mobile app.

If you don’t want to use the app, it can be emailed to your QuickBooks online account. Both methods work with efficiency and keep everything organized to run your business smoothly.

Check Printing

Another fantastic feature in QuickBooks is the ability to print checks either for employees or for spending needs for a vendor. It can be done as a single check print or a batch print with many done at a time.

You will need the proper paper and print to make it work, but QuickBooks provides easy access to a once difficult solution for business owners. Checks can be generated and printed from anywhere.

All data can be entered right online into QuickBooks so once the checks are printed, they are ready for use. Checks can also be voided during the same process with a single click of a button if any mistakes are made.

Inventory Tracking

The inventory tracking feature in QuickBooks is another upgrade to the software that makes running your business so much easier than ever before. Using this tool, you can track existing inventory and set up alters when restocking is needing on any item.

The inventory tracking tool also uses data and analytics to give you real-time insights into how your business is using inventory. Other items can be added as inventory such as services so they can be quickly added into sales forms.

There are also available apps and integrations to sync with your inventory tracking feature to improve the process and create more accurate reports. As you scale, the importance of the correct integrations will only grow as it becomes more important to keep track of what stock you have on hand.

The inventory is auto-reflected in your bookkeeping efforts too. This eliminates doing the same work multiple times and provides a better overview of your manufacturing costs.  

Why Should You Use QuickBooks?

QuickBooks is an excellent business account software that best serves small to mid-sized businesses. The goal of QuickBooks is to eliminate the need for larger finance teams in small businesses and make the accounting process seamless for business owners.

You can automate many of the financial accounting tasks in your business by using QuickBooks to its’ full potential. It can streamline the way you track expenses, bill vendors, and execute payroll every week to free up more time to focus on growing your business.

Not only is it easy to use, but it is also cost-effective and extremely affordable for everybody. There are plenty of low-cost plans available that grow in price as your business grows in size.

Fully Customizable

QuickBooks provides the tools necessary to customize everything you need internally. All purchase orders, sales orders, invoices, estimates, and receipts can be edited to your own preference to reflect your business branding. There is no need to use a high-priced designer to make it possible either.

There are premade templates available that you can start customizing, or you can start designing from scratch. Both options give you plenty to work with you make everything look exactly how you desire.

The customization options have no limits. Import your logo, edit all fonts, adjust the color scheme, edit margins, and completely change the information on any of your forms. It can all be done with easy to understand guides created by QuickBooks.

All data on the forms can be changed, too. Like invoice numbers, quantities, pricing, and much more.

Wide Availability of Integrations

QuickBooks offers a wide selection of app integrations to improve your platform. There are over 600 apps available in the QuickBooks app marketplace.

It’s important to note that these apps are not necessary to enjoy the full range of features available, but they enhance the experience and give you even more options within the software.

For example, if you are struggling to optimize your payroll process entirely, you can download the Gusto app to sync all of your payroll financials and other necessary information.

The app integration options are truly endless. While some may cost money to download and use, there are plenty of free apps too. Whether you need the Etsy app to track sales or a time tracking sheet app for your employees, it’s all one click away.

Accept Online Payments

QuickBooks Payments is another excellent reason why you absolutely need to use this software for your business. It makes everything more accessible, and the array of features only continues to grow to give you access to accomplish so much more.

QuickBooks Payments allows you to send invoices online that become instantly payable. Give your customers the access to pay directly with credit or debit cards to collect money faster and eliminate wait times on invoices.

Customers can also pay with ACH or eChecks digitally to eliminate the need to send you mail and keep you waiting. This allows you to be anywhere in the world and still accept payments and keep your business running.

One of the best features of QuickBooks Payments is the ability to set up recurring invoices that are automatically sent and paid when instructed. Monthly clients will automatically receive their invoice on a specified date, and payments will be collected without you having to do anything.

Deposits are extremely fast, with the option to instantly transfer money into your accounts. QuickBooks payments automatically link to your bookkeeping too. Records are automated, matched, and organized for taxes later in the year.  

Pay Bills Online

QuickBooks is constantly updating and improving its software. While the ability to pay bills online has existed for a while, a new feature upgrade includes a more improved bill pay capability than ever before.

Small businesses using the software can choose to schedule bill payments or pay them right away with a bank transfer or card payment. Credit card payments come with a small fee to execute the payment.

By adding due dates for all of your bills, you can opt to use the calendar view to stay on top of when payments are due to avoid late fees and penalties.    

User-Friendly Interface

QuickBooks is a familiar software that is extremely easy to use, especially for first-time customers learning the software. There are plenty of functionalities that improve your time spent in the software, like simultaneous users, bulk adding customers and individual account permission restrictions.

All tools are created to be used by beginners. This is why QuickBooks includes so many automation features in their platform to avoid tedious tasks once the software is set up correctly.  

Mobile App Access

The QuickBooks mobile app is extremely reliable and fast for business owners to check data and perform easy tasks right on their mobile devices. The activities available on the app include payments, expense reports, estimate creation, invoice create, and sales receipts.

You can also keep track of company activity in the app and access any customer information required. The basic reporting features are available, like Profit and Loss statements, Balance Sheets, and simple expense reports.

While you shouldn’t expect full functionality with the mobile app, it is designed to create access to the most important QuickBooks features that work seamlessly on your phone.    

QuickBooks Pricing & Plans

There are five primary plans to consider when getting started with QuickBooks. Each plan has specific features tailored to your type of business. Depending on how far along you are in your business journey, you may require more or fewer features to get started. Let’s take a look at each plan to see what suits you best.

  • Self-Employed: $7.50/mo
  • Simple Start: $12.50/mo
  • Essentials: $20/mo
  • Plus: $35/mo
  • Advanced: $75/mo  

Self-Employed

QuickBooks Self-Employed is the most basic, low-priced plan available at $7.50/mo. It is designed for independent contractors and freelancers looking for a place to keep track of their finances and better organize their accounting needs.

The functionality is extremely basic, but it is best for those just starting out. Features include the ability to separate business and personal expenses, schedule C deduction tracking, quarterly tax estimates, and automated mileage tracking.

If this doesn’t seem like enough for you, there are other more advanced self-employed plans that QuickBooks offers.

Self-Employed Tax Bundle

Pricing for this plan starts at $12/mo, with more features focused on improving the tax process. Quickbooks adds the ability to pay quarterly estimated taxes right from the QuickBooks portal.

You can also quickly transfer your info to TurboTax when it is time to file taxes. This will save you time instead of entering all of the information by hand. Signing up with this plan gives you a one-time free filing for both state and federal taxes too.

Self-Employed Live Tax Bundle

This bundle includes all features already discussed and even more. Pricing starts at $17/mo per user.

The new features include the ability to talk to real CPAs on demand to discuss any of your tax questions or concerns. You also get unlimited access to help and advice through this platform for the entire year. Finalizing your taxes becomes even more secure with access to a CPA to review the final copy of your returns before officially filing.  

Simple Start

The Simple Start plan is the smallest, low-priced option for small businesses with plenty of features available. Pricing starts at $12.50/mo.

Features included are basic income and expense tracking to automatically record and sort your transactions into their appropriate tax categories. You also have access to also invoicing and online payments, estimates, and general reporting.

Included is also the ability to track any tax deductions for your business throughout the year to automate the process come tax-filing time. Sales and sales tax is also tracked the same way.

The Simple Start plan allows you to hire and manage 1099 contractors with easy to understand process and form generating for basic payroll functionality. All of these documents can be prepared and executed right in the QuickBooks portal.

Other features include mileage tracking, cash flow management, and receipt capture and organization.

Essentials

The Essentials plan is where things start to get more interesting for QuickBooks users. The plan adds more functionality with a small price increase to $20/mo. You get access to all of the same available features found in the Simple Start plan plus even more.

This plan allows access to three users in your organization instead of only one account. The upgrade also includes full access to bill management and payment right in the QuickBooks software.

Lastly, you can use the time track feature for contractors and employees to pay based on billable hours worked. QuickBooks Time is a simple time tracking software tool that any user in your business can access with the Essentials plan.  

Plus

The Plus plan is for bigger and growing businesses that need added features to handle their business finance and accounting needs properly. All features in the Essentials plan are included in this plan and more. The pricing for the Plus plan is $35/mo.

The Plus plan upgrades your number of users to five to expand your team’s access. This means you can track more time, grow your accounting team, and handle more tasks inside the software platform for only a small increase in the monthly cost.

Other feature upgrades include inventory tracking and project profitability tracking. Both features add more to your software and give your business better features to analyze and improve processes daily.

Advanced

The Advanced plan has many upgrades across the board in features and access. All features from prior plans are included, plus much more. Pricing for the Advanced plan stands at $75/mo.

This plan gives your business 25 user accounts. It is clearly geared towards larger businesses that need a wide range of accounts to access the available features.

Other upgrades include business analytics and insights, invoice and expense batching, role access customization, premium app access, and more. The features really set this plan apart and make it the most advanced.

You also can automate workflows and restore the company data at any time.

Live Bookkeeping

All plans can be upgraded to include a one-time $50 fee for professional bookkeeping setup. This feature gives a professional bookkeeper access to your account to connect all of your accounts, automate frequently performed tasks, and teach you the best practices for using QuickBooks.

This is an optional feature addon to consider and is not required when starting your plan.

Full-Service Bookkeeping

QuickBooks also offers custom plans that include full-service bookkeeping from a professional. Pricing is subject to the type of tasks required, and free consultations are provided to learn more about how this works.

Who is QuickBooks for?

Because of the wide range of plans available, QuickBooks serves a large market and doesn’t limit access despite the size of your business. All plans are adjusted to accommodate you based on the number of employees and business size.

Freelancers or solopreneurs can use QuickBooks to get started on their self-employment journey. And as the plans grow, so do the businesses they serve. Small businesses, mid-size businesses, and larger enterprises can all utilize a specific plan based on their needs to get the most out of the platform.

QuickBooks Online and the plans discussed in this article are mostly limited to small to mid-size businesses. Enterprises typically will look to hire in-house and use much bigger plans than the ones we mention. However, each plan discussed here can give small business owners everything they need to run their business.

QuickBooks Pros & Cons

QuickBooks has many features that entice users to sign up. But being in such a crowded software market takes further analysis to decide exactly how valuable it is. Here are the pros and cons of QuickBooks to help make your decision a bit easier.

Pros

  • The user interface is seamless and easy to understand.
  • Reporting customizations available are extensive.
  • App integrations available increase your efficiency.
  • Payroll features are detailed and manageable.
  • Affordable upfront monthly pricing.
  • Easy to find internal errors and reporting mistakes.
  • Customer search in your internal database is quick to use.
  • Accounting reports are thorough.
  • Software is easy to learn for beginners.
  • All data and information can be stored on the cloud for access anywhere.

Cons

  • Limited reporting available outside of accounting.
  • Invoice design tools are below average.
  • Limitations with share larger files and documents.
  • Need internet connection to access accounts.
  • Not able to revert to an older version of a book.
  • It becomes expensive to add premium features and integrations.
  • Payment processing can be a hassle.  

QuickBooks Alternatives

QuickBooks is an industry leader for a reason, but there are other competitors in the space to consider. While we prefer QuickBooks as the number one software choice, we have discussed two excellent competitors with plenty of features to offer.

FreshBooks

FreshBooks initially launched as a time tracking software with basic invoicing capabilities. After much time spent growing and expanding, they have become a powerhouse brand in the online account software market.

While we believe this is an excellent platform, we do not rank it highly as a primary accounting software solution. The strengths are in both invoicing and time tracking, while the accounting features are lagging.

Pros

  • Excellent invoice creation and automation process.
  • Extremely user-friendly.
  • Affordable pricing.
  • Time tracking is reliable.
  • Reporting features are solid.
  • Plenty of templates available for customization.  

Cons

  • Software freezes and crashes often.
  • Too much information can slow down the load times.
  • Accounting aspects need to catch up.
  • The mobile app is poorly designed and slow.
  • The reporting features are below average.  

Xero

We believe Xero is the best competitor to QuickBooks because it provides a balance of available features. The full accounting package competes more directly with the offerings from QuickBooks, and the pricing tiers are similar as well.

The preference for QuickBooks remains because they provide more advanced reporting features, better functionality, more reliable payroll features, and it is much easier to learn to use.

Pros

  • One-click quote to invoice conversion.
  • Automatic invoice payment reminders.
  • In-depth profit and loss reports.
  • Excellent customer support.
  • Low pricing.  

Cons

  • You cannot set your own fiscal calendar.
  • Check printing is erratic.
  • Not many integrations are available.
  • Inventory tracking is poor.
  • Templates are challenging to use.  

Why is QuickBooks the Best?

There are plenty of direct competitors to QuickBooks, but none of them can match the number of features available at similar prices. QuickBooks is simply the best in the business, with unbeatable software for your small business accounting needs.

The available tax tools are much more extensive than both Xero and FreshBooks because of their TurboTax integrations. QuickBooks is the go-to solution for automating your tax processes to make your business run more smoothly.

The mobile app is among the best available compared to other competitors too. This gives you more access without being concerned about any issues. They also don’t place a limit on your clients like FreshBooks. Instead, they embrace and encourage your business to grow while using their software.  

Charles Hall

Charles Hall

Charles has spent 25 plus years in the world of accounting and business. His experience includes working as a CPA/Auditor international accounting firms. He has worked as a controller and as a COO for small to medium sized companies.

Learn more about Charles Hall