QuickBooks Desktop Pro 2020 Accounting Software for Small Business

Overview

If you’ve heard of accounting, you’ve heard of Intuit QuickBooks. Intuit was founded in 1983 with the idea that there should be a better, simpler way to do accounting. It has been one of the biggest names in accounting and personal finance for three decades now. The company’s first product, Quicken, was launched in 1984. QuickBooks followed in 2002, and QuickBooks Online came along two years later. Read QuickBooks online reviews pros and cons for a full guide about QuickBooks Desktop Pro 2020 Accounting Software for Small Business.

Since its inception, QuickBooks Online has grown to 2.2 million users, and the software has seen some significant changes and advancements, with one of the most recent being a long-awaited project management feature and a pricing plan for larger businesses.

While the software has a lot to offer, there are some drawbacks, including navigational difficulties, a semi-steep learning curve, and lengthy support wait times. QuickBooks Online has also increased its prices — again — making it an expensive choice for some businesses.

Despite these drawbacks, QuickBooks Online has some great things going for it: strong reporting, customizable invoices, inventory capabilities, multiple currencies, and nearly 600 integrations. There’s also a unique lending platform called QuickBooks Capital and an add-on called QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping, where you can outsource your bookkeeping tasks to a QuickBooks Online accounting expert.

Additionally, there are several features offered by QuickBooks Online that you can’t get with the more traditional QuickBooks Desktop (such as automatic sales receipts, split transactions, scheduled invoices, and location and class categories). Many customers believe the sheer mobility of QuickBooks Online is entirely worth the upgrade. And despite the minor navigational difficulties I mentioned earlier, the program is still much easier to learn and use than QuickBooks Pro.

Continue reading to learn more about QuickBooks Online’s recent changes and to see if QuickBooks Online is a good fit for your business.

Pros Cons
Numerous features Occasionally unintuitive
Cloud-based Expensive
Easy to use Fair customer support
Advanced invoicing features —————————–
Numerous integrations —————————–
Good mobile apps —————————–
Built-in lending —————————–

Pricing

QuickBooks Online has four pricing tiers. The company recently added the new Advanced Plan, which is geared towards medium to large-sized businesses that need up to 25 users and advanced reporting and support. QuickBooks Online offers a free 30-day trial of any plan and a test drive account of QuickBooks Plus. No credit card information or contracts are required, and you can cancel the service at any time.

QuickBooks has recently increased its prices, so discounts are more important than ever. Luckily, Intuit is constantly offering discounts, so be sure to check if it’s running any promotions.

Simple Start Plan

QuickBooks Online’s Simple Start plan costs $25 per month and includes:

  • Unlimited invoices
  • Unlimited estimates
  • Expense tracking
  • Live bank feeds
  • Reports
  • Integrates with 200+ apps
  • One user

Essentials Plan

QuickBooks Online’s Essentials plan costs $40 per month and includes everything in the Simple Start plan, plus:

  • Accounts payable
  • Time tracking
  • Three users

Plus Plan

QuickBooks Online’s Plus plan costs $70 per month and includes everything in the Essentials Plan, plus:

  • Inventory
  • Project management
  • Class tracking
  • 1099 tax support
  • Five users

Advanced Plan

QuickBooks Online’s Advanced plan costs $150 per month and includes everything in the Plus plan, plus:

  • Fathom subscription for advanced reporting
  • Import invoices
  • Custom user permissions
  • A dedicated customer success manager
  • Priority Care
  • QuickBooks training (five classes through Real World Training)
  • 25 users

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Extra Costs

Before purchasing QuickBooks Online, there are several additional costs and services to know about:

Payroll: QuickBooks Online has three different payroll plans ranging from $45-$125/month + $4-$10/month per employee. You can choose between Core Payroll, Premium Payroll, and Elite Payroll, depending on your company’s needs. Read our full Intuit QuickBooks Payroll review for more details. If you opt for Intuit’s payroll, you can also add worker’s compensation insurance to your plan and shop for health, vision, and dental benefits.

QuickBooks Payments: QuickBooks Payments allows you to accept payments from your customers. Payment processing costs 2.9% + $0.25/per transaction when a customer pays their online invoice with a card, 2.4% + $0.25/per transaction when a customer swipes their card, or 3.4% + $0.25/per keyed-in transaction. There’s a 1% charge for ACH transfers ($10 maximum fee).

A Custom Invoice Template: You can pay an extra $4.99 for a custom invoice template.

QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping: QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping allows small business owners to outsource their bookkeeping tasks, which can include categorizing transactions, reconciling, reviewing your financials, and closing the books. When you sign up for QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping, you’ll get matched with a personal Certified QuickBooks Advisor and accounting expert, and you can schedule a video chat with him or her from within QBO. Prices range from $270 to $670 per month and are based on the dollar amount of your monthly expenses. Here’s what some users say about the service:

Hardware & Software Requirements

As cloud-based software, QuickBooks Online operates with nearly all internet browsers so long as you have internet access. QuickBooks Online also has desktop apps for Windows and Macs, which are said to run faster.

To read forms and use the print checks feature in QuickBooks Online, you will need Adobe Reader 11.0+ or the Firefox PDF plugin.

QuickBooks Online also has mobile apps for Apple products (iOS 11.2+) and Android products (5.0+).

Specific Size Of Business

QuickBooks Online is ideal for small businesses in need of strong accounting, ample features, and mobility. The addition of QuickBooks Advanced has opened the software up as an option for mid- to large-sized businesses as well. Businesses can have five to 25 users, depending on their plan (Intuit does not count time tracking-only and reports-only users toward your user limit). You can set user permissions to control user access, and there’s a complete audit log of all activity.

Business owners with multiple companies will need to purchase a separate QuickBooks Online subscription for each business. QuickBooks Online is available in over 225 different countries (although this post focuses specifically on the US version).

Accounting Method

Both cash-basis and accrual accounting.

Ease Of Use

For the most part, QuickBooks Online is intuitive and easy to use. The UI is beautifully designed, though the organization could still be improved. Some features are hidden in settings and frustratingly difficult to find, but the built-in help button can make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

Features

QuickBooks Online has an impressive feature selection. Here are some of the features that QuickBooks Online supports:

  • Dashboard: A basic dashboard gives you an overview of your business’s financial state with charts for Invoices, Expenses, Bank Accounts, Profit and Loss, and Sales. There’s a menu on the left to navigate the most used features and a plus button and gear button on the top right-hand side of the screen where you’ll find shortcuts and more advanced features. There’s also a search transactions button and a help button, and you can enable an AI chat button in the settings as well. The “see all activity” option at the bottom of the dashboard will take you to a full audit log and history of recent activity.
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  • Sales Overview: In addition to a traditional dashboard, QuickBooks Online has recently introduced a Sales Overview page where you can view your income over time and quickly access sales shortcuts, such as “new invoice” or “new sale.”
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  • Invoicing: QuickBooks Online offers six invoice templates and ample invoice automation (you can also import an existing invoice template via Microsoft Word). You can customize the logo, logo position, font, font size, color scheme, header, footer, number of columns, and more. You can add shipping charges, discounts, and attachments to invoices. If you have the Essentials, Plus, or Advanced plan, you can send invoice reminders to late customers, and you can create recurring invoices.  QuickBooks Online is also one of the few accounting programs that lets you auto-schedule invoices. QuickBooks Online now offers invoice tracking, so you can see when customers view their invoices; it has added support for progress invoicing as well. QuickBooks has also recently added multi-lingual invoicing, so you can now send invoices in six different languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Chinese.
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  • Estimates: Creating estimates and converting them to invoices is easy. Estimates are sent via email, and customers receive the documents as PDFs. Sadly, there is no separate estimates tab, making it difficult to view past estimates.
  • Client Portal: QuickBooks Online does offer a client portal but only for invoices, not estimates. Customers can view, print, save, pay, or ask questions about their invoices.
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  • Contact Management: QuickBooks Online has a highly developed contact management system. A user can save an incredible amount of information on your customers and vendors, including a display name, billing address, shipping address, preferred payment method, default payment terms, opening balance, attachments, and default tax codes. You can attach relevant files, such as contracts, to each contact. You can also send batch emails to contacts. As a recent addition, you can now change what you call customers (e.g., clients, customers, donors, guests, members, patients, or tenants).
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  • Expense Tracking: You can add individual expenses, manually import bank statements, or enable live bank feeds. You can categorize expenses, create custom bank rules, and attach receipts to expenses. QuickBooks will automatically match transactions (although you still have to approve the matches manually). QuickBooks Online also now offers a new receipt capture feature. Unlike most accounting programs, QuickBooks Online does not use Yodlee for live bank feeds. As Yodlee is known to violate some banks’ terms and conditions, QuickBooks Online gets extra points for using its own bank connector.
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  • Bank Reconciliation: You can easily reconcile bank accounts in QuickBooks Online and run a reconciliation report.
  • Chart Of Accounts: QuickBooks Online has a default chart of accounts, which you can customize to fit your business, or you can import your own. You have to track fixed assets manually by using the chart of accounts (rather than having a built-in depreciation schedule for assets like Xero).
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  • Accounts Payable (Essentials, Plus, & Advanced Plans Only): With QuickBooks Online, you can enter and sort bills easily. You can also create recurring bills. There’s a nice vendor dashboard that shows your total purchase orders, overdue bills, open bills, and recently paid bills.
  • Checks (Plus & Advanced Plans Only): You can order and print checks directly from the software.
  • Inventory (Plus & Advanced Plans Only):  While each plan allows you to add items or services, only the Plus and Advanced plans track inventory. When adding items, you can save default sales prices, purchase prices, SKU numbers, images, and create item descriptions. You have the unique option to create item bundles, which makes invoicing a breeze. You can now set reorder points and see the current stock level when you are creating invoices.
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  • Project Management (Essentials, Plus, & Advanced Plans Only): You can create projects, add billable and unbillable time, and create billable and unbillable expenses. You can easily create invoices for projects, and you can use progress invoicing to invoice in steps. There is no way to add tasks at this time, but there is basic job-costing, so you can track job profitability. There’s also a project management screen with quick access to project reports and an overview of that project’s transactions.
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  • Time Tracking (Essentials, Plus, & Advanced Plans Only): In QuickBooks Online, you can create single-time activities or timesheets. Weirdly enough, if you create a time activity that is separate from a project, it will show up under sales (one of those navigational difficulties I mentioned earlier). You can attach billable and unbillable time to projects.
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  • Reports: QuickBooks Online has over 80 reports.  The exact number of reports varies with each plan and the features you have access to. These reports cover everything from accounting and sales to cash flow and job-costing, and more.
  • Budgeting (Plus & Advanced Plans Only): Unlike the desktop version of QuickBooks (which only allows for one year-long budget), you can have multiple budgets in QuickBooks Online. You can create monthly, quarterly, or yearly budgets. You can use data from a previous financial year as your basis for a budget and run numerous budgeting reports.
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  • Journal Entries: You can create journal entries as needed.
  • Purchase Orders (Plus & Advanced Plans Only): One can create purchase orders and recurring purchase orders in QuickBooks Online. You can easily convert purchase orders to bills. Also, You can record payments and receive inventory from purchase orders in full or in parts.
  • Credit Memos: You can create credit memos and customer refunds.
  • Sales Receipts: Sales receipts are another way of recording sales in QuickBooks Online. Instead of creating an invoice, where you have to wait for your customer’s payment, sales receipts are to record sales for which you have already received payment. Sales receipts are the method restaurants, salons, and other similar businesses would use to enter daily sales into the software.
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  • Packing Slips: You can create and print packing slips.
  • Class Tracking: This unique feature lets you sort transactions, estimates, and billable hours by a specific location or class. You can also run reports by specific location or class for more detailed reporting.
  • Default Email Messages: You can save time by creating default email messages. You can create messages for your invoices, estimates, credit memos, sales receipts, customer statements, refund receipts, and purchase orders.
  • Workflows: QuickBooks Online’s Routines Beta feature is now a feature called Workflows. Workflows will let you set automated tasks, such as sending reminders to your team or sending automated invoices. This feature is only available for Advanced plan users.
  • Sales Tax: You can save as many sales tax rates as needed. Also, you can assign a default sales tax to your customers.
  • Tax Forms & Support (Plus & Advanced Plans Only): The Plus plan lets you prepare and print 1099-MISCs and W-2s for each employee. There is an additional fee to e-file these forms.
  • Multiple Currencies: QuickBooks Online supports over 150 currencies.
  • Importing & Exporting: QuickBooks Online’s importing feature is refreshing and easy to use compared to most other programs. You can import your customers, vendors, chart of accounts, products, and services. Exporting is more limited. You can export reports to Excel. All other data can only be exported via Internet Explorer.
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  • Lending: QuickBooks Online offers built-in lending called QuickBooks Capital. QuickBooks Capital uses the financial information within your account to determine if you are eligible for a loan. Read our full QuickBooks Capital review to learn more.

Customer Service & Support

In the past, QuickBooks Online has been notorious for long phone wait times and poor customer support. It used to be that I would wait 20-40 minutes before speaking to a representative. Once, when I was reviewing the software, I experienced a major software glitch that took three weeks to fix.

More recently, my hold times have been shorter — and my calls were answered right away about half of the time. The level of helpfulness from each representative varies. Some are incredibly helpful and get your issue resolved right away, while others are uninformed and can’t answer your questions. The other drawback is that there is no email support. But while support is still not ideal, QuickBooks is trying. Support staff are working on shortening wait times, have redesigned the help center, and have added new in-software support options.

QuickBooks Online offers phone support from 6 AM to 6 PM PST, Monday through Friday; Saturday hours are 6 AM to 3 PM PST. All of QuickBooks Online’s support services include:

  • Phone: You can call QuickBooks Online for help.
  • In-Software Help: QuickBooks Online features a help button in the top right corner of the software. You can search a database of help articles with step-by-step instructions. You can also enable the QuickBooks Assistant in QuickBooks Labs. The QuickBooks Assistant is an AI live chat that helps with questions, such as “how much money did I make last month” or “which customers are late on their invoices.”
  • Help Center: QuickBooks Online has a comprehensive, redesigned help center that is far easier to navigate. It features how-to articles, FAQs, and questions from other members of the QuickBooks community.
  • Videos: QuickBooks Online provides video tutorials to explain how each feature works.
  • Training Of QuickBooks : QuickBooks Online offers both in-person and online classes at an additional cost.
  • Resource Center Of QuickBooks : There is also a QuickBooks Small Business Resource Center that hosts articles, business advice, and guides.
  • QuickBooks Pro Advisor: You can search for and hire a QuickBooks Pro Advisor who will walk you through the program.
  • Blog Of QuickBooks: QuickBooks has a blog with information on software updates and company news.
  • Social Media: QuickBooks has a Facebook page where it posts updates and helpful advice articles. QuickBooks also maintains Twitter and YouTube accounts. It’s worth mentioning that YouTube can also be a great source to find videos from CPAs and other seasoned QuickBooks users.

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