QuickBooks Online Review: Features & Pricing for 2023
This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
QuickBooks Online is cloud-based accounting software for small businesses that need advanced features like inventory management and tracking of profit and loss (P&L) by class, location, and project. QuickBooks Online comes in four plans ranging from $30 to $200 per month, depending on the number of users and features desired. QuickBooks is currently offering 50% off for the first three months or a 30-day free trial.
- Industry-leading accounting software on the market
- Scalable plans priced depending on the number of users features included
- Efficient bank reconciliation
- Robust inventory management features
- Generates a wide selection of accounting and financial reports
- Calculates sales tax rates to apply to an invoice automatically
- Capable mobile app with many bookkeeping features
- Vast network of QuickBooks Online ProAdvisors
- A bit expensive compared to other similar products
- Cannot track inventory assemblies like QuickBooks Desktop
- Mobile app can’t record time worked
- Cannot compare estimated to actual project costs
- More of a generalized solution; no industry-specific features
- Invoicing customers: It’s our best invoicing software because of its abilities to calculate sales tax based on the customer’s location and customize invoices to any industry.
- Ecommerce retailers: Its recent focus on ecommerce integrations makes it the clear winner for the best ecommerce accounting software.
- Mobile accounting: As one of our best mobile accounting applications, its mobile app allows you to send invoices, receive payments, track mileage, capture receipts, and more.
- Property management companies: Its class and location tracking features allow property management companies to separate net profit by type of property and location, making it our best real estate accounting software.
- Manufacturing companies: QuickBooks Desktop Pro has a robust inventory management system that tracks inventory parts and assemblies (bill of materials). Check out our comparison of QuickBooks Online vs QuickBooks Desktop to see which is right for you.
- Small businesses with a limited budget: QuickBooks Online is one of the most expensive small business software on the market. For budget-minded small businesses willing to sacrifice some features, we recommended Wave. It’s free and is one of our leading QuickBooks alternatives.
- Fixed asset management: QuickBooks Online doesn’t track or calculate the book value of your fixed assets. Xero is unique among accounting programs because it can track and calculate depreciation for fixed assets, such as vehicles, machinery, and equipment. Read our Xero review to learn more.
- Project managers needing to compare estimated and actual costs: If you want the ability to compare budget costs to actual time and expenses, you might appreciate FreshBooks. Find out what the solution has to offer through our review of FreshBooks.
- Law firms: Without an integration, QuickBooks Online cannot perform the triple reconciliation between the client trust account, client ledgers, and bank statements that are required of a law firm accounting software.
QuickBooks Online Deciding Factors
Supported Business Types
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that need inventory management, project accounting, and the ability to track income and expense by class and location
30 days with no credit card required
50% off for three months, unless you choose the 30-day free trial
QuickBooks Payroll; $45 plus $4 per employee
Excellent—thanks to flexible tiered pricing, which is based on the number of users, user permission levels, advanced features, etc.
Overall Ease of Use
Generally user-friendly but may require you to at least know the basics. You may check out our free QuickBooks Online tutorials to get started.
Self-help resources, chatbot, live chat, and phone support (send a request and wait for a call from QuickBooks)
Why We Chose QuickBooks Online
We chose QuickBooks as the best small business accounting software because of its feature selection and leading global market position—it holds a 62% share of the global small business accounting software market. QuickBooks has a comprehensive feature set, including the ability to send customizable invoices, manage accounts payable (A/P) and accounts receivable (A/R), manage inventory, and track billable time and project profitability. Additionally, it has a strong support network and robust integration.
While other similar software is best for specific use cases, QuickBooks Online can be customized to nearly any type of business and industry, including farms, law firms, real estate, and trucking companies.
QuickBooks Online Awards on Fit Small Business
- Best small business accounting software: Best overall
- Best farm accounting software: Best overall
- Best real estate accounting software: Best overall
- Best ecommerce accounting software: Best overall
- Best startup accounting software: Best overall
- Best trucking accounting software: Best overall when integrated with TruckingOffice
- Best law firm accounting software: Best for small firms when integrated with LeanLaw
- Best church accounting software: Best easy-to-use and customizable accounting software
- Best nonprofit accounting software: Best for nonprofits seeking bookkeeping assistance
- Best construction accounting software: Best for tracking costs by project, location, and class
- Best accounting software for Mac: Best for extensive support network
- Best restaurant accounting software: Best for small restaurants and cafes
- Best hotel accounting software: Best for small hotels wanting support from local bookkeepers
- Best mobile accounting apps: Best for QuickBooks Online users
- Best receipt scanner apps: Best scanner within an accounting software
QuickBooks Online New Features for 2023
- Improved speed: QuickBooks Online is now 12% faster, helping you get your accounting done quicker.
- New integrations: QuickBooks Online Advanced integrates with new tools, such as PandaDoc, Centage, and Spreadsheet Sync, to boost your productivity further.
- Enhanced migration process: The export process includes a user ID automatically, allowing you to create an account easily. Also, the transaction limit has been raised from 350,000 to 750,000.
- Better customer support: Intuit has made some improvements in customer service, such as building expert knowledge on QuickBooks Payroll and QuickBooks Payments and reducing waiting times.
- Mobile check deposit: This lets you deposit checks from the mobile app. When you take a photo of your check and upload it to QuickBooks, the program generates a digital transaction automatically. QuickBooks says mobile deposits may take up to five business days. Note that this feature is only available to users with a QuickBooks Checking account. If you don’t have one, read our detailed QuickBooks Business Checking review to see how it can benefit your business.
QuickBooks Online Alternatives
Best for: Businesses that need assembly inventory accounting
Best for: Service businesses that want to track estimated vs actual project costs
Best for: Companies that require fixed asset management
Starts at: $799 per year for one user
Starts at: $17 per month
Starts at: $13 per month
QuickBooks Online is available in four subscription options ranging from $30 to $200 per month. The lower-priced plans, Simple Start and Essentials, mostly have basic features, while the higher plans, Plus and Advanced, have enhanced features that most SMBs need for scaling their business.
You can either get a 30-day free trial or purchase right away and receive a 50% discount for three months. You can’t take advantage of both options.
QuickBooks Online Plans Compared
Pricing & Features
Number of Users
Track Income & Expenses
Send Invoices & Accept Payments
Connect Your Bank
Capture & Organize Receipts
Run & Export Reports
Create & Send Estimates
Manage & Pay Bills
Track Employee Time
Record Multicurrency Transactions
Track Inventory & Cost of Goods
Track Project Profitability
Create & Send Invoices by Batch
Set Up Custom User Permissions
Access to Dedicated Success Manager
Free Training for Staff ($3,000 Value)
Expert tip: Don’t choose a QuickBooks Online plan based solely on the number of users you need. Let’s say you need to track inventory but only need three users, so you chose Essentials because it’s limited to three users—and more affordable than Plus. However, you’ll be disappointed when you find out that Essentials can’t track inventory and project profitability. If you need more help deciding which plan to choose, read our QuickBooks Online versions comparison.
QuickBooks Online vs Competitors
To determine how QuickBooks Online stacks up against other similar software, we conducted a comparative case study against FreshBooks and Xero. The chart below sums up the results.
QuickBooks Online vs Competitors FSB Case Study
Touch the graph above to interact Click on the graphs above to interact
QuickBooks Online From $30 per month
FreshBooks Starting at $15/month; $50 as tested
Xero From $13 per month
- Banking: Bank feeds in QuickBooks make it easy to import your transactions. QuickBooks Online is better than FreshBooks because you have the option to upload your files manually. With FreshBooks, the only way to import your files is to establish a bank connection. Hence, if you prefer not to connect your bank account, such as for security reasons, then FreshBooks’ banking feature is nearly unusable. Meanwhile, Xero doesn’t allow you to combine multiple checks into a single deposit, which is possible with QuickBooks.
- A/R: QuickBooks’ invoicing feature is a complete package. You can create highly customizable invoices, as opposed to Xero, which doesn’t allow you to customize invoices by color, layout, and font. FreshBooks trails behind QuickBooks because of minor weaknesses, such as the inability to issue a receipt for sale paid immediately and issue a refund check to resolve a negative A/R.
- Reporting: QuickBooks Online lets you run a wide range of reports, including those missing in Xero, like income and loss by customer and unbilled time. Reporting in FreshBooks is very limited as you can’t drill down for more specific levels of detail, like location and classes.
- Pricing: Xero has features that are nearly similar to QuickBooks, but it’s considerably less expensive. All plans include unlimited users, and advanced features cost less than QuickBooks. For example, project accounting in QuickBooks is offered in Plus at $85 per month, as opposed to Xero’s $70 per month.
- Customer service: FreshBooks stands out because you can directly make a phone call to a customer support agent. With QuickBooks, you have to send a ticket first and wait for QuickBooks to call you. Meanwhile, Xero offers only email support, a chatbot, and self-help resources.
- Project accounting: QuickBooks Online can’t compare estimated costs against actual costs, which is possible in both Xero and FreshBooks.
- QuickBooks vs Wave
- QuickBooks vs Xero
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- QuickBooks vs Sage Business Cloud Accounting
- QuickBooks vs Quicken
- QuickBooks Online vs QuickBooks Desktop
QuickBooks Online Features
QuickBooks Online could’ve garnered a higher score in general features if it had the ability to import beginning balances, which could have helped make reconciliation and reporting easier. Also, setting up a company in QuickBooks Online takes time—you have to go through a series of steps, including entering your company name, email address, and entity type.
To customize your accounting process, configure your advanced settings from the Advanced menu under the Account and Settings page. From here, you can enter the fiscal year and tax year of your company, choose the accounting method, and set up categories to track your income and expenses.
One of QuickBooks Online’s biggest strengths is the ability to create classes and locations for tracking P&L. You can also modify your chart of accounts, enter an additional user, and control how much access you want to give them. QuickBooks Online allows you to close books at year-end, which is important to prevent changes in your financial data.
On the downside, you can’t import or input opening balances, so you have to use a journal entry. Overall, QuickBooks Online offers a lot of advanced features to control how you run your accounting, but in terms of ease of setup and use, you might prefer a different solution like Xero.
QuickBooks Online General Features Video
QuickBooks Online could have earned a perfect score if not for its inventory module, which we found a bit difficult to use. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do in QuickBooks Online in terms of managing unpaid bills and expenses.
You can view the list of your unpaid bills to track them effectively. With a little practice, it’s easy to record a bill, add a new vendor, record an expense without paying, and attach and send a copy of the receipt. All these transactions can be conveniently initiated from the + New button on your dashboard. You can create recurring transactions, record partial payments of an invoice, set up and track inventory items, and print checks instead of writing them manually.
To enter a new bill in QuickBooks Online, click on the + New button, select Bill, and then provide the required information in the Enter Bill screen, as shown in the screenshot below.
QuickBooks Online Accounts Payable Video
The only problem we saw is the inability to issue a refund check when giving your customer a refund or credit. Despite the tiny issue, we found QuickBooks Online’s ability to manage sales taxes and invoices equally as terrific as its ability to manage payables, making it our overall best invoicing software. The good thing is that QuickBooks calculates sales taxes in every jurisdiction where you collect sales tax automatically.
In terms of invoicing, there are many reasons to love QuickBooks Online. You can choose from different templates, add your logo, change colors, and include personalized messages. You set up recurring invoices and print and email them to your customers.
QuickBooks Online also lets you combine multiple checks into a single deposit, which makes reconciling between your check register and your bank statement much easier.
Other great features include the ability to
- View sales tax liability details
- View and track sales tax collected and remitted
- Pay sales tax liability with a check
- Accept short payments from customers
QuickBooks Online Accounts Receivable Video
Just like most accounting software, you can connect your bank and credit card account to QuickBooks Online. If you’re uncomfortable connecting your bank account, you can upload your transactions in a QuickBooks Online format.
If you dread reconciling your bank account manually, you can use QuickBooks Online’s powerful bank reconciliation feature and generate reconciliation reports to see cleared and uncleared transactions. Unlike FreshBooks and Xero, QuickBooks allows you to reconcile your bank and credit card accounts, even if you choose to record all activity manually vs importing bank transactions.
QuickBooks Online Cash Management & Banking Video
QuickBooks Online’s score in this criterion took a hit because it can’t set up cost estimates for projects and compare them to actual costs, which is an important feature for contractors. However, the platform is good for project accounting. You can create projects and assign wages and income and expenses to a project. You can also create project estimates and include inventories, sales taxes, and labor in those estimates.
If you want a feature to compare actual costs to estimates, find alternatives in our list of the best construction accounting software.
QuickBooks Online Project Accounting Video
QuickBooks Online does a great job at sales and income tax tracking, and it could’ve scored higher if the QuickBooks team had a service for filing sales tax returns on behalf of the client.
You can add sales taxes to your receipts, invoices, and estimates, and QuickBooks Online will calculate and track them automatically for easy tax filing. It also keeps track of your tax payment due dates to avoid late filing and late payment penalties. One of its advantages over similar software is that you can e-file your taxes either through email or your agency’s website. If you’re working with independent contractors, QuickBooks Online lets you generate 1099 tax forms and either file them online or print and then mail them to the IRS.
We evaluated QuickBooks Online’s sales and income tax features across the other categories, so there’s no separate video.
If inventory accounting is a crucial part of your business, QuickBooks Online can be a great choice. Available for QuickBooks Online Plus and Advanced users, the inventory accounting feature lets you track stock items and quantities, update inventory quantities automatically, organize items by their taxable and non-taxable status, create purchase orders and send them to vendors, and set up alerts to see when it’s best to replenish your stock. However, QuickBooks Online doesn’t handle inventory assembly like QuickBooks Desktop Premier.
There’s no separate video since QuickBooks Online’s inventory management is evaluated across the other categories.
QuickBooks Online is arguably one of the best accounting software programs for reporting. In our case study, we generated 16 different types of reports successfully, which isn’t possible in most other accounting software. QuickBooks Online can generate more than 100 reports, depending on your subscription. Whether you need standard reports, such as balance sheets, P&L statements, and cash flow statements, or sales reports by customer, location, or class, you can do it all in QuickBooks Online.
QuickBooks Online Reporting Video
QuickBooks’ mobile app is functional, but we hope to see more features in the future, such as the ability to enter bills and record time worked. Available for Android and iOS devices, it contains many features available in the browser-based desktop interface, making it a top pick in our list of the best mobile accounting apps. It even allows you to create and send invoices on the go, receive payments from customers, assign expenses to customers or projects, and view financial reports.
QuickBooks Online Mobile App Video
We find QuickBooks Online to be relatively easy to use especially given how many features it offers. You can learn QuickBooks even without an accounting background, but it becomes much easier to use if you have some knowledge of basic accounting concepts.
You can set up your company easily and customize QuickBooks based on your needs. From the Accounts and Settings page, you can configure various settings, such as your company information, billing and subscription, sales transactions, expenses, and advanced settings.
Also, QuickBooks has pretty decent customer service. However, if you want to talk with a real person, you need to submit a form and wait for them to call you, meaning you can’t initiate a call. You can also seek help through a chatbot, chat with representatives online, and check out its vast self-help resources, such as blogs, setup guides, troubleshooting tips, and community forums. If you prefer getting support through email, then QuickBooks isn’t for you.
A huge advantage of choosing QuickBooks is the availability of local bookkeepers in your area who can provide assistance. QuickBooks dominates the market for small business accounting, and most professional bookkeepers use it for their small business clients. It’s almost certain you’ll be able to find a local QuickBooks ProAdvisor to help you.
QuickBooks Online Integrations
QuickBooks Online integrates with a wide range of third-party software, including popular tools like PayPal, Square, Stripe, Gmail, Google Sheets, Salesforce, HubSpot, WooCommerce, and Shopify. It also connects with thousands of apps through Zapier. If integration is important to your business process, we highly recommend QuickBooks Online.
Most of the positive QuickBooks Online reviews are attributed to the program’s robust feature set and ease of use. Many users commented that it’s extremely easy to add customers and vendors and share files with their accountants. Meanwhile, some dislike that the platform can’t manage multiple companies using a single account and that it lacks advanced inventory accounting features, such as assembly management.
We have compiled the top QuickBooks Online ratings from several review websites.
- App Store (mobile app): 4.7 out of 5 based on over 151,000 reviews
- Google Play (mobile app): 3.9 out of 5 based on over 49,000 reviews
- G2: 4.0 out of 5 based on over 3,000 reviews
- Software Advice: 4.33 out of 5 based on nearly 6,000 reviews
QuickBooks Online Drawbacks
While QuickBooks is by far the leading small business accounting software, it’s also among the most expensive. If you’re looking for simple income and loss tracking, you can probably find something less expensive, or even a free alternative like Wave.
Although QuickBooks Online’s general accounting features can be configured to almost any industry, the platform’s not built as a niche-specific solution. This means it lacks some of the features that specialized industries need. For instance, law firms needing trust accounting features might want to check our PCLaw review, while churches requiring church-specific features might want to see our Aplos review.
How We Evaluated QuickBooks Online
We evaluated QuickBooks Online and other leading accounting software using an internal scoring rubric with 12 major categories.
5% of Overall Score
In evaluating pricing, we considered the billing cycle (monthly or annual) and number of users.
7% of Overall Score
This section focuses more on first-time setup and software settings. The software must be quick and easy to set up for new users. Even after initial setup, the software must also let users modify information like company name, address, entity type, fiscal year-end, and other company information.
7% of Overall Score
The banking section of this case study focuses on cash management, bank reconciliation, and bank feed connections. The software must have bank integrations to automatically feed bank or card transactions. The bank reconciliation module must also let users reconcile accounts with or without bank feeds for optimal ease of use. Lastly, the software must generate useful reports related to cash.
7% of Overall Score
The A/P section focuses on vendor management, bill management, bill payments, and other payable-related transactions. A/P features include creating vendors and bills, recording purchase orders and converting them to bills, creating service items, and recording full or partial bill payments.
7% of Overall Score
This takes into account customer management, revenue recognition, invoice management, and collections. The software must have A/R features that make it easy for users to collect payments from customers, remind customers of upcoming or overdue invoices, and manage customer obligations through analytic dashboards or reports.
10% of Overall Score
Businesses with inventory items should choose accounting software that can track inventory costs, manage COGS, and monitor inventory units.
10% of Overall Score
Service or project-based businesses should choose accounting software that can track project costs, revenues, and profits. The software must have tools to track time, record billable hours or expenses, send invoices for progress billings, or monitor project progress and performance.
4% of Overall Score
In this section, we’re looking at sales tax features. The software must have features that allow users to set sales tax rates, apply them to invoices, and enable users to pay sales tax liability.
4% of Overall Score
Reports are important for managers, owners, and decision-makers. The software must have enough reports that can be generated with a few clicks. Moreover, we’d also like to see customization options to enable users to generate reports based on what they want to see.
30% of Overall Score
Ease of use gets the highest weight in this case study because we want to give more credit to easy accounting software. For this section, we considered customer service, support network, and a subjective expert opinion score. Users must have easy access to customer service channels in case of problems, questions, or assistance.
Support network refers to a community of software users that can extend professional help to businesses. Having an independent software expert perform the bookkeeping is good for overall ease of use. Lastly, our expert opinion score is our subjective rating based on our experience in trying the software.
5% of Overall Score
The software must also have a mobile app to enable users to perform accounting tasks even when away from their laptops or desktops.
4% of Overall Score
We went to user review websites to read first-hand reviews from actual software users. This user review score helps us give more credit to software products that deliver a consistent service to their customers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
QuickBooks Online is great for businesses that need inventory and project accounting and companies that want to track activity by class and location.
Some of the top alternatives to QuickBooks Online are Zoho Books, Xero, Lendio Accounting, and FreshBooks. These QuickBooks alternatives might save you money and provide a better solution for your business.
QuickBooks Online is very user-friendly, but you need to know the basics. Check out our series of 46 free QuickBooks Online tutorials to get started.
The best plan depends on the size of your company and the features you need. We have an in-depth comparison of QuickBooks Online versions to help you choose the best one for your business.
No, they are two completely different products. QuickBooks Online is cloud-based, while QuickBooks Desktop is installed locally. Read our QuickBooks Online vs Desktop comparison to learn more about their differences.
Yes, it does. You may purchase the QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping add-on, which gives you access to a team of certified bookkeeping professionals who will provide you with live support through video chat.
QuickBooks Online dominates the market for small business accounting software due to its extensive features and flexibility in meeting the needs of nearly any small business. It can track inventory costs, generate invoices, track unpaid bills, and calculate P&L separated by many factors, including user-defined classes and locations.