This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
QuickBooks Online Accountant, also called QBOA, is a cloud-based accounting practice management software that helps accounting professionals manage client transactions, review their books, and make adjustments. In addition to accountant-only tools, it includes bookkeeping features of QuickBooks Advanced that you can use for your own firm. When you sign up, you’re eligible to take part in the QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor program. QuickBooks Online Accountant is available for free for accounting professionals.
- Incompatible with QuickBooks Desktop
- No dedicated app for managing clients with QuickBooks Online Accountant
- Doesn’t calculate realization percentage when employee time is written off of a job or project
- No document management and customer relationship management (CRM) features
- No due date list
When To Use QuickBooks Online Accountant
- Firms and accountants looking for free accounting practice management software: QuickBooks Online Accountant is available for free for accounting professionals, making it one of our choices for the best accounting practice management software.
- Firms with clients using QuickBooks Online: If your clients use QuickBooks Online, our overall best small business accounting software, then you will need QuickBooks Online Accountant to access their accounts.
- Firms that want to manage their clients and their own business all in one place: The program lets you access all of your clients’ financial data from one central dashboard. You’ll also have access to QuickBooks Online Advanced so that you can manage your own books.
- Firms that require assistance with marketing their services: QuickBooks Online Accountant allows you to obtain the leads you want by showcasing your services in a custom Find-a-ProAdvisor profile, which is free with certification as a QuickBooks ProAdvisor. In addition, the Intuit Marketing Hub provides a library of guides and templates for expanding your brand and converting leads to clients.
- New bookkeepers and accountants looking to become QuickBooks ProAdvisors: QuickBooks Online Accountant includes free training courses that you can tailor based on your schedule and experience level to help you learn how to use QuickBooks Online correctly. To become a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, you must pass the certification exam administered by QuickBooks.
When To Use an Alternative
- Firms working with QuickBooks Desktop clients: If any of your clients use QuickBooks Desktop products, then you’ll need QuickBooks Accountant Desktop to import the Accountant’s Copy of their desktop books.
- Firms working with Xero clients: If your clients are using Xero, then we recommend using Xero Practice Manager, which integrates with Xero for invoicing and payments and has a portal to your clients’ books. It also has a dedicated mobile app for when you need access on the go.
- Accountants and tax firms that need specialized features like CRM: If you are looking for specialized features in addition to standard accounting features, consider TaxWorkFlow. It includes extra features, like document management and CRM tools that help track leads and prospects.
QuickBooks Online Accountant Deciding Factors
Firms and accounting professionals with clients that use QuickBooks Online
Phone support (callback only), live chat, community forum, video tutorials, webinars, and start guides
4.6 out of 5 based on about 15 reviews on Capterra
QuickBooks Online Accountant New Features for 2023
- Bulk transaction processing in Books Review: This allows you to process hundreds of transactions in one go, helping you save time and deliver more efficient results for clients.
- Enhanced client request management: You can now view and fetch transaction-level information provided by your clients instantly no matter whether they are in their QuickBooks account. Also, your clients can now generate new requests easily from the Accountant Toolbox if additional data is needed.
- Improved document management: Accountants can now capture and store items—such as document types, folders, and contextual notes, which provides a more organized way to manage essential data, such as tax documents, checks, and expense receipts.
- Custom roles: Coming soon, this’ll enable you to select from popular role types, such as admin, payroll manager, and sales manager.
QuickBooks Online Accountant Alternatives
Best for: Firms with clients using QuickBooks Desktop
Best for: Firms with clients using Xero
Best for: Tax firms that need specialized features like CRM and document management
Cost: Starting at $799 per year for the ProAdvisor Premier software bundle
Cost: $149 per month for up to 10 users—free when you become a Silver Partner
Cost: $1,500 per year—includes support and unlimited access to all features
We awarded QBOA a perfect score because it’s free for accounting professionals. It includes a portal to your clients’ books and QuickBooks Online Advanced, which you can use for your firm’s books. Since you have free access to the QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor program, you can serve your clients regardless of the QuickBooks Online product they use.
QuickBooks Online Accountant Features
There are a variety of features that make QuickBooks Online Accountant an attractive choice for accounting firms managing QuickBooks Online clients. These include the ability to manage your firm and clients from one central dashboard and access to accountant-only tools and the QuickBooks Online Advisor Program.
QuickBooks Online Accountant gives you free access to QuickBooks Online Advanced that you can use to manage your own firm. In our case study, QuickBooks Online Advanced excels in accounts payable (A/P) and accounts receivable (A/R) management, banking, and reporting. In addition to the standard accounting features discussed in our QuickBooks Online review, Advanced offers more features, such as batch invoicing, custom user permissions, and a dedicated success manager.
There are two ways you can add a new client in QuickBooks Online Accountant—depending on whether they already have a QuickBooks Online account.
Adding Clients Who Have a QuickBooks Account
If your client already has an account, then simply ask them to send you an invitation link to become their accountant. You then need to sign in with your user ID and password and then select the right firm (if you have multiple firms). If you have clients who are currently paying for their own QuickBooks Online subscription, then you can transfer them to your wholesale discount plan in QuickBooks Online. If your client wishes to manage their own billing, then you can still give them Direct Discount.
QuickBooks Online Accountant offers two types of discounts: ProAdvisor discount (your firm handles billing) and Direct Discount (your client handles billing).
Adding Clients Who Are New to QuickBooks
If your client has no QuickBooks account and doesn’t intend to sign up for QuickBooks, you can still add them to your QBOA account. To do this, select the Clients menu from the left navigation bar, click Add Client, and then provide the required client information. Make sure to select No subscription under the Products section. Click Save to add your new client.
Project management can be accessed through the Work menu. This feature lets you create projects or tasks and assign them to your team members. One of the most useful features is the ability to create recurring projects, which makes sense as accounting professionals often manage projects that are repeated regularly. You can specify how often the project will be repeated and the end date.
The “Books Review” feature is an expanded version of “Month-End Review,” and it’s designed to help QuickBooks Online accountant users streamline their workflows for initial transaction review, reconciliation, and final review. The Books Review includes two new review phases:
- Setup phase: This allows you to find and fix errors made during setup, including errors on the existing balance sheet, profit and loss (P&L) reports, and opening balances and chart of account issues, like bank accounts that haven’t been linked to bank feeds, missing system accounts, and incorrectly classified account types.
- Wrap-up phase. This helps you add finishing touches to your work. With this new tool, it’s easier for you to prepare a customized report of your client’s monthly financial data and business performance, helping you provide them with better information for more strategic business decisions. The feature also enables you to email the report to your client and close the books for the accounting period.
Manage Your Firm
In the “Your Practice” section, you’ll have access to built-in tools for workflow tracking, document sharing, and team assignments. This enables you to streamline your communications by sharing client documents and keeping them organized in a password-protected environment.
You can also view your firm’s upcoming deadlines and urgent tasks and filter by clients, assigned team members, or type of task. Additionally, you can manage employee permissions by allowing access to specific information. The client menu lets you add new clients, edit existing clients’ details, or make a client inactive.
With these accountant-only tools, you can streamline your work and access customizable reports, so you can advise clients quickly. The accountant toolbox includes quick links to your chart of accounts, journal entries, and reports, as well as tools for performing several functions like reconciliation and reclassifying transactions.
- Chart of Accounts: Review the list of your client’s chart of accounts to make sure it’s still relevant to their business.
- Journal entries: Create an accounting journal entry easily to track money spent and received by your client.
- Reconcile: Match your client’s transactions on QuickBooks to their bank and credit card statements to make sure their books are accurate.
- Report: Build and view different types of reports. You can pick from standard reports, like balance sheets, P&L statements, and cash flow reports, or you can create a customized report based on your client’s business needs. The Performance Center gives a visual chart of your financial data, which is easier to comprehend than plain numbers:
- Void/Deleted Transactions: Quickly run a report of voided or deleted checks. You can select your desired date range and track which user made the transaction.
- Close Books: Reconcile your client’s books to the prior year’s tax return. If everything is accurate and complete, you can close the books to prevent unwanted changes.
- Reclassify Transactions: Reclassify income, expenses, cost of goods, and balance sheet accounts to make sure that no transactions are incorrectly paired up with classes or accounts.
- Write off Invoices: Record uncollectible invoices as a bad debt by using the Write Off Invoice tool. This feature helps you keep your net income and accounts receivable up to date.
- Prep for Taxes: Review and adjust your client’s accounts to prepare for the tax season. After you review their accounts, you can export the pre-filled form to ProConnect Tax Online to help you file your client’s tax returns easily.
Mobile App & Integrations
While there isn’t a mobile app designated for managing client books within QuickBooks Online Accountant, you can access your own books through the QuickBooks Online mobile app, just like any other user. The app has most of the same features as the software itself, such as entering transactions, recording expenses, invoicing customers, and sending reports.
There are also many integrations for both your firm and your clients. These include:
- Accounting firm: Practice Ignition, Karbon, Aero Workflow, and Hubdoc
- Clients: Method:CRM, SOS Inventory, Expensify, Float, Plooto, and Veem
To learn more available integration options in QuickBooks, read our review of QuickBooks Online.
This tool reduces time spent on manual data entry by exporting your clients’ QuickBooks Online data directly into their tax returns prepared with Intuit ProConnect and correcting entries to simplify end-of-year duties. This includes adjusting entries and mapping account balances to specific tax lines.
Access to the QuickBooks ProAdvisor Program
The QuickBooks ProAdvisor program offers benefits and resources that get better as your firm grows. You’ll earn points and rewards such as free training and software discounts for the things you do already, like training in QuickBooks Online, adding clients, and attaching software.
Once you complete the training, pass the exam, and become a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, you’re eligible to list your profile for free in the Find-a-ProAdvisor Directory. Essentially, the faster your firm grows and earns points, the faster you’ll elevate your status and gain access to rewards.
Access to QuickBooks Online Advanced
When you sign up for QuickBooks Online Accountant, you’ll gain access to QuickBooks Online Advanced. This version has features such as Batch Transactions, which gives you the ability to define and automate specific tasks and workflows. It also assists with organization, integrating seamlessly with Google Sheets. The Performance Center also allows accountants to track business performance and gain valuable insights with customizable, presentation-ready reports.
For more information about QuickBooks Online Advanced and the other QuickBooks Online products, read our comparison of QuickBooks Online versions.
If you drive for work, you can use QuickBooks Online Accountant to record your deductible mileage. With the free QuickBooks mobile app, you can automatically track your business mileage without manually recording your odometer readings. Alternatively, you can manually enter your mileage each time you drive.
QBOA provides a variety of support methods, which include a searchable knowledge base, video tutorials, webinars, and quick-start guides. You can also ask a question in the community forum, and other users may be able to help troubleshoot issues. Additionally, you can fill out a support form on the website to request a phone call from support staff.
The platform is generally easy to use, and since there are plenty of training resources available, it only takes a short period to familiarize yourself with the features. When you log in to your account, you’ll be greeted by an intuitive dashboard that allows you to access both your books and your clients’ books in one central area. Your dashboard includes important sections:
- Your Practice: Here, you can find links to view your list of client companies, see the team section where your team members and their access rights are listed, and the ProAdvisor section, which has great tips for ProAdvisors to develop their business. You can also access the Work space, where you can create Projects and Tasks, and there’s a link to the Apps space, with additional apps that can help your practice and support clients.
- Go to QuickBooks: This is where you’ll find links that take you to your clients’ QuickBooks Online accounts. Select the client you want to view, and you’ll have access to their QuickBooks Online company dashboard. The Client Switcher stays at the top of the screen, allowing you to switch quickly to another client’s books.
- Accountant Tools: This drop-down menu is only available to you as an accountant user. Selecting this takes you to a list of accountant-only tools, including Prep for Taxes, Reclassify Transactions, and Write-Off Invoices.
- Your Books: This area is where your firm’s own versions of QuickBooks Online Advanced and Payroll Elite are accessed. You can manage expenses and sales dashboards, calculate taxes, view financial reports, and track mileage here.
QuickBooks Online Accountant User Reviews
QuickBooks Online Accountant reviews from users are generally positive. One reviewer commented that it’s widely used by many businesses and accountants and added that many of their clients are already familiar with the software. Meanwhile, those who weren’t as impressed complained that doing payroll adjustments is a bit troublesome and that the receipt capture feature is complicated for their clients.
Here’s how QBOA is rated on popular review websites:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How is QuickBooks Online Accountant different from QuickBooks Online?
QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based accounting software designed to be used by business owners, whereas QuickBooks Online Accountant is a cloud-based portal that lets professional bookkeepers access the QuickBooks Online accounts of their clients. QuickBooks Online Accountant also includes access to QuickBooks Online Advanced for the professional bookkeeper to use for their own books.
Are there training resources available to me as I get started using QuickBooks Online Accountant?
Yes, you can benefit from plenty of training courses, including free online recorded sessions and in-person and virtual events.
QuickBooks Online Accountant is more than just a portal to your clients’ information. It includes a free subscription to QuickBooks Online Advanced to use for your firm, free access to the QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor program, free training and other educational materials, and a listing on the QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor website. It’ll also help you improve your business by providing key trends based on client data, performance indicators, and financial ratios.