In the world of tech, there are thousands of tools you can use to make your life easier and there are a few that are a perfect fit for the jobs you need to do. These are the tools of your trade.

Then there are software applications like QuickBooks Online. QBO is more than a tool; it’s a toolbelt. In addition to being one of the most powerful and best supported cloud-based accounting applications, QBO has a huge network of other apps that sync smoothly with its interface and allow you to integrate all your tools into one workflow.  

How it works

If you’re not familiar with cloud-based accounting, here’s the short version. QBO handles your bookkeeping and accounting tasks much like desktop software (like QuickBooks Desktop) but it operates online. Rather than purchasing and installing the software on your computer, you sign up for a subscription and can log in to QBO from any computer with an internet connection. You can also connect to your account from a mobile app, although there is a limited amount you can do from there.

Cloud-based software is ideal for bookkeeping because it lets you enter items and view data in the same system that your accountant can see and work with from their own office. This makes teamwork with a remote accountant very simple. If you outsource your bookkeeping to someone outside of the office, this also makes it very easy. Your bookkeeper can simply use their secure online access to work from wherever they are. Conveniently, so can you on a day you want to work from home. 

Which QuickBooks Online subscription is right for you?

Unlike desktop software, you sign up for QBO by monthly subscription. This means that you get the latest updates automatically and never have to upgrade to a newer version. There are, however, several levels of QBO to choose from. These aren’t updates, but rather more comprehensive levels for businesses that need a more robust system. Intuit offers a side by side comparison on its website, but here are the basics.

Simple Start – This is the most basic level of QBO. It’s best for micro businesses or freelancers who want to track income and expenses but don’t require many extras.

Essentials – Essentials is the default level for most businesses. In addition to the functionality of Simple Start, it gives you additional features for invoicing and bill pay, allows more users to access the account (like an external accountant or bookkeeper) and can handle multiple currencies if you work internationally.

Plus – In addition to another increase in the number of users and the number of built-in reports you can generate, Plus adds features for budgeting, class tracking of income and expenses, and tools for inventory and time tracking.

One of the best things about QBO’s cloud-based software is that you can upgrade at any time. As you grow your business, you may find that you need new features for your software. You can upgrade to the next level of QBO without losing your data or needing to do a manual export of your information.

If you’re looking into accounting software and wondering if QuickBooks Online would be right for you, feel free to reach out to us. We’d be happy to discuss your accounting needs and the tools that can help you meet them. I’m an Illinois licensed, Registered Certified Public Accountant with over 25 years of experience. I’m dedicated to providing outstanding tax and accounting services to individuals and small businesses in the Chicago area.

Disclaimer: Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this article, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, I would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.


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