Small businesses looking for a software accounting solution have a wealth of choice available to them but it can be hard to work out which is the best software for your needs because of this choice. We’ve examined as many solutions as we can find to get to our recommendation for the best small business paid accounting software and for us that’s Quickbooks Online.
Why Did We Choose QuickBooks Online?
There were a fair number of factors which led to our recommendation of QuickBooks online including:
QuickBooks has been around for a long time and while normally longevity isn’t a premium concern in software – after all there’s always an alternative product – it is for accountancy software. It’s bad enough having to learn one system to do your books; you don’t want to relearn a new system every year do you?
There’s also the fact that QuickBooks is “accountant approved” and that means your accountant should be perfectly happy with your choice of software. One of the advantages of being a dominant market force like QuickBooks is is that your accountant is going to have many customers using the software.
Cost of Use
QuickBooks Online has a very reasonable entry-level cost at just $9.99 for a single user version each month. It also scales to multiple users for a sensible increase in fee. This can be a very big deal to small business owners who aren’t going to want to pay thousands of dollars for an accounting package. It’s also worth noting here that your accountant doesn’t count as a user for QuickBooks so you don’t need to buy a license for them.
It’s important to note that the low cost doesn’t mean that QuickBooks is low on features; in fact it’s one of the most comprehensive packages available and you can run financial reports, keep an eye on income and expenditure, access your financial statements, prepare tax filings, etc. with ease.
It’s Easy to Use
The QuickBooks Online set up is extremely user-friendly as soon as you login to your account; you’ll find that you’re guided to enter the basic information to get started and then the main dashboard is simplicity itself.
The dashboard isn’t a static device; the QuickBooks team regularly updates the control center for QuickBooks Online so that it is as intuitive as possible to use. The page is set out with a navigation bar along the top of the screen with a men running down the side and then the dashboard displays useful “quick insights” into the financial health of your business.
So you can see which invoices have been paid and which are overdue, your current expected profit/loss, etc. without having to go through a bunch of menus to get reports.
There’s Plenty of Task Automation
Small business owners, in our experience, don’t want to spend all day every day managing their accounts. They want to spend their time managing their businesses. That means a good accounting package, like QuickBooks Online, has to take as much of the weight as possible when managing accounts.
You can automate an awful lot of tasks quickly and easily in the QuickBooks setup. Examples include the ability to automate bill payments, sync data between your bank and your accounts, reconciliation of accounts and get reports that tell you exactly what you need to know, when you need to know it.
Integration With Other Systems
QuickBooks Online isn’t only an accounting solution; it offers support for integrating over 150 apps from third parties. That means you can make it work with CRM systems, payroll services, etc. too. This is really handy if you’d like to draw down data from one system and use it in QuickBooks and saves you a ton of time compared to manually-entering data all over again.
QuickBooks’ is no slouch when it comes to supporting their product. You can access help via online chat or through a call center and you can do it from within the software itself rather than having to manually dial or add Skype connections, etc.
You’ll also find that there’s plenty of online help and support which is designed to help you get more from your experience of using QuickBooks Online. There’s a knowledge base, a training center, a resource center for small businesses, a community center and more.
If you need some hands on support; you can also get in touch with a local QuickBooks expert (at a cost) and have them come and walk you through the use of the software.
Our brief conversation with the QuickBooks support team was impressive. They’re happy to answer any question you have and in as much detail as you need without making you feel like you need to get off the line.
QuickBooks Big Drawback
There’s only one real drawback to using QuickBooks at the moment but it might be a major drawback to some users. That is the QuickBooks mobile app isn’t great. It offers far less functionality than the main QuickBooks Online offering and really offers very basic features. Now, this won’t be a big deal to many small businesses but for the small businessman who is constantly on the move and who has switched to working from a tablet or a phone – it’s possibly a deal killer.
iPad users cannot edit customer details from their tablet. They are able to see client information, process invoices, take photos and accept an electronic signature. We’d like to see QuickBooks improve on this in the near future.
iPhone users plus Android users can edit customer data, create estimates, record invoices as paid and see customer balances in addition to the iPad functionality. This is still a far cry from the power of QuickBooks Online as a whole.
We chose QuickBooks online as the best small business accounting paid software because it does so much right. The company has a sterling reputation and has been in business for a long time (in IT terms that is). The product is competitively priced and easy to use. The only serious failing we could find was the lack of mobile support; that’s something we expect to see them address in the near future.