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What is Quickbooks Online?

Quickbooks Online, or QBO, is a convenient cloud-based software that helps with your bookkeeping, financial health, and planning for your small business. It’s adored by both accountants and businesses alike!

Its simple-to-use features help save you time and money while it goes to work helping you manage the finances of your business.  Leaving you with the flexibility to work wherever you have internet access.

QBO is the bookkeeping software that we use with ALL of our hundreds of clients, and we’re going to go over a lot of the features that will be helpful to you here!


Features for Everyone


QBO has a lot of features. Frankly, it can be a little overwhelming if you’ve never used any financial software before. We don’t want you to feel out of your element though, so we’re going to walk you through the most useful features that QBO has to offer so you can confidently start managing the finances for your small business!



Quickbooks Online offers 3 tiers of pricing as well as a “self employed” option for sole proprietors that are only filing a schedule C. The other tiered options are: Simple Start, Essentials, and Plus. We’ll review the basic features and additional features in for each tier below, and give you the option to use our wholesale discount! All options below have access to basic reporting features and application integration (aside for QB self-employed).


The Self Employed option is very basic and doesn’t offer the user many options to customize their accounts or experience, but it is extremely inexpensive! It does allow you to estimate your quarterly tax payments, track your income and expenses, organize receipts, invoice/accept payments, and track miles. Self employed is only an option for you if you’re filing a Schedule C for your business.


Simple Start offers you all the above features with some added bonuses: You can now send your customers invoices, add payroll (this is an additional monthly fee), track sales and sales tax, as well as added tax deductions for your business. The simple start option can only be used by one member of the company, whether that’s the business owner or the business bookkeeper, it’s still a lot of bang for your buck!

The next tier is Quickbooks Online Essentials and it offers more features for a business that has even more moving parts. First of all, you can have up to three users in your Quickbooks company, which allows more people to help with the record keeping. You should still have someone dedicated to your monthly bookkeeping, but having multiple people recording transactions can be very useful, as long as they are talking to each other! Aside from the added users, Essentials allows you to manage your bills through the Quickbooks interface (and use recurring payments) as well as added time tracking features. This makes billing your customers and paying your employees easier and less time consuming!


Last, we have the “all inclusive” option of Quickbooks Online Plus. With this option you can track inventory, record and manage contractors and 1099 records/payments, as well as a project tracking dashboard. They also have added access to more complicated financial reporting and you can have 5 or more users in your business. In our business, we use plus and it offers more tools and features than I could reasonably fit into an essay, let alone a blog!


Quick Books, Better Books, Kept Books


Quickbooks definitely makes keeping your books quicker. You can manage every financial transaction that your business has in one place! You have the option to link your bank, credit, and other financial accounts directly to Quickbooks, which saves time with data entry and adds another level of accuracy to your records. We’ve talked before about double entry bookkeeping which is the most accurate form of record keeping for your business, and Quickbooks does it automatically.

Save Time and Energy


The less time you spend working on your business, the more effort you can put into working in your business, or maybe it means that you can finally reclaim your evenings and your hobbies! Regardless of how you want to spend that saved time, what’s most important is that you’ll have more time. You really can work smarter, have better financial records, and still not have to work harder. Let’s go over some of the time-saving features we use everyday!


  • Record Income and Expenses: We already mentioned that you can import transactions from your bank and other financial institutions, but that also includes PayPal, Square, and other payment services! Since QBO works with tablets and smartphones you can record pictures of your receipts and save them directly to the software too! Quickbooks allows you to set up “bank rules” which help you automatically sort transactions into different categories based on the the amounts, payee, and type of transaction. Quickbooks is set up so that you can easily see outstanding invoices or bills, as well as pre-built reports to track your ongoing income and expenses!
  • “Smart” Invoicing: The future is now, and that means that you can receive online payments and send online invoices, as well as bank transfers. Don’t want to deal with paper checks anymore? Now you don’t have to! QBO allows you and your customers to pay with credit card, Apple or Google pay, and so much more. You can even create partial invoices for incremental payments, talk about convenient!
  • Manage 1099 Contractors and Payments: Stay compliant and up-to-date! No more stressing over paperwork and employee files for you, get everything consolidated into one place for payments and tax records! QBO offers information and self-testing on the difference between 1099 requirements and W-2 requirements, making sure that you know what you need to pay your workers and be prepared for tax season. They're also set up to help you print and file your 1099s when the time comes.
  • Self-Service and Full-Service Payroll Options: QBO offers access to Intuits payroll services, allowing you a discounted rate. It might be a super convenient option for your business because it works inside of QBO and integrates with time tracking and billable rates. With the options for direct deposit and mobile apps for additional flexibility, you can pay your employees (and yourself) fast and on time! QBO also helps you calculate your owed taxes during the year and keeps your information ready for tax season, saving you time and extra stress!
  •  Manage Bills: You can create checks at any time and print them in batches! You can record one or multiple payments at a time, and even make recurring payments so you know your bills will always be paid at the same time each month. You can pay multiple bills or vendors at the same time!

  • Inventory Management: If you sell and manage products, you know the additional effort that goes into keeping track of additional moving parts. Now you can have your inventory managed in the same place as every other aspect of your business! You can track your inventory by item and your purchase orders with vendors, all with a few clicks. Quickbook has also included some inventory-specific reports, which allow you to track sales by item, popularity, sales taxes, and more.

  • Tax Deductions: Yeah, the T word can be stressful, but better records mean simpler tax preparation, and when QBO is doing the recording for you, things get much easier! QBO helps you calculate your quarterly tax payments, which already helps take a lot of the surprise out of tax season, but they can also automatically export your data into other intuit tax programs to simplify your life. You can easily save receipts inside of QBO with their transactions to make sure your records are bullet proof! With the addition of the hundreds of apps that QBO integrates with, recording things like business mileage, travel, and other deductible expenses becomes less of a hassle for you during everyday life.


Above and Beyond: Making your Business Better


So we just told you about all this stuff that you can use, but we want to make sure you understand why having it can be helpful. Improving your business starts with making better, more informed decisions, and QBO is the place to start doing that!


Planning and Reporting

QBO helps you make more informed decisions, which really allows you to make and commit to financial goals; whether you have a savings plan or a debt repayment plan, knowing more about the financial health of your business will help. QBO comes with a ton of pre-made reports that you can customize to show the specifics that you need, and then you can share it with just a click!


Budgeting and forecasting are key components of successful and growing businesses, and with QBO, it’s easier to do both. So why is a budget valuable to you? A budget is made using previous financial data to create a projection of where you think you’re money will go and come from. Budgeted amounts and actual amounts can be compared and analyzed to make better decisions and understand your business workings. A budget can help you recognize and decrease non-essential spending and increase revenue or decrease your debit!


Now let’s talk a little bit about forecasting! Like a budget, a forecast is a projection, but it’s less detailed and can cover a variety of different scenarios. A forecast can inform staffing decisions or help you know when you need to cut costs or consider additional expenses. Some businesses will create multiple forecasts, so they can prepare for different scenarios with high numbers of variables. You can change a forecast as things happen, but you’ll probably want to stick to a budget for a given time frame. With knowledge provided by QBO, you can see where your money is going and make decisions about where it needs to be!


Flexibility Meets Productivity


One of the great things about QBO is how flexible it allows you to be. You can work from wherever you need to be! Since QBO has apps for your tablet or smartphone, you don’t even need to have your computer to record transactions. 


One of the things we (as accountants) love about QBO is that our client data is NOT stored on our portable devices, which means that if they are lost or stolen, we don’t lose our work! It also means that it’s easier to keep our data secure while still having access to it from a variety of places, and that means we can work smarter.


If you can access your data when and where you need it, your decisions are easier and you’ll be less stressed. You also won’t be tied to an office when you need to be multitasking to run your business.

We Hope to See You Soon!


Now that we’ve covered WHY we think QBO is the best option for small businesses, we’re going to show you HOW to set up your books. QBO gives you a wonderful template to start from, but every business is unique, so we’ll make sure that you know how to use the options you’ve chosen to their fullest extent!

Disclaimer This article presents general information and is not intended to be tax or legal advice.  Refer to IRS publications and discuss possible tax deductions with your tax preparer.

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