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The New Year Is The Right Time to Get Started With QuickBooks Online

Happy New Year and Happy New Beginnings!

As someone who once worked as an accountant for Fortune 500 companies and two of the Big 4, I honestly find cloud accounting software, like QuickBooks Online (QBO), to be a breath of fresh air. It is one system that can grow as your company grows. I’m going to repeat a key word: ONE

The companies and firms I once worked for had multiple accounting systems to support their business. Multiple systems were needed because each did something unique that the other did not. Unfortunately, many of those systems failed to talk to each other, which was why someone like me had a job.

With QBO [as well as the other cloud accounting software], the ability to talk or communicate is what makes it great. For example, it communicates with major banks and credit card companies to seamlessly import your transactions into the system. It also gives you, the user, the ability to communicate directly from a phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop. And if you have been using the desktop version of QuickBooks, you can easily import your data into QBO.

QBO has three different subscription levels. There is Simple Start, Essentials, and Plus. The main difference in each subscription level is the user access.

There is another online subscription called QuickBooks Self-Employed, which will be reviewed in another article.

QBO Simple Start

Simple Start allows for one primary user and up to two accountant users. It is the primary user that gives the accountants access.

As mentioned earlier you are able to link your business bank account and credit cards to Simple Start, which will automatically download transactions to the system. Your business is also able to manage receivables (money owed), generate unlimited invoices, print checks, and record transactions. However, you are not able to enter bills to manage your accounts payable, and Simple Start does not have a general ledger report.

QBO Essentials

Essentials has all the features of Simple Start and more. It allows for three users and two accountant users. Bills can be entered for accounts payable management. Essentials also supports multi-currency transactions and it does have a general ledger report in addition to other report options.

Essentials does not have the ability to create budgets and track inventory. It is also unable to create purchase orders. Finally, it does not have the ability to track time for employees and contractors.

QBO Plus

Plus includes the features of Essentials. It also includes access for up to 5 users and 2 accountant users. For an additional charge, the business can add up to 25 additional users.

With Plus, your business can create purchase orders and track inventory. Access to the time tracking module can be granted to an unlimited amount of employees and contractors, who can enter their time worked. Finally, the budgets can be created.

There is an easy to read chart that summarizes the differences in the subscription levels. You can access that chart here.

Which Subscription Is Best?

The best subscription is one that satisfies the needs and wants of your business. For example, if your business does not keep inventory or require a budgeting tool and also needs access for the owner and office manager, Essentials might be a good fit. If your business is a firm that requires the employees to track time, Plus would be the best option. Lastly, if you run an online business and all you need is a tool to track income and expenses because you don’t have employees and inventory, then Simple Start could be a good option.

Your business can always upgrade its subscription. For example, if you are currently using Simple Start, you can upgrade to Essentials and Plus. Similarly if you are subscribed to Essentials, you can upgrade to Plus.

Unfortunately, your business cannot downgrade its subscription within QuickBooks Online. However, that does not mean it is not possible to downgrade. To downgrade you can export your data from QBO to QuickBooks Desktop. From QuickBooks Desktop you import your data into your new online subscription. You can get more details on moving from Desktop to Online by visiting the QuickBooks Import Resource Center.

Just remember, the subscription with more features is not always best for your business. In other words, just because Plus has everything does not mean Plus is the best subscription for your business. Connect with your accountant or a ProAdvisor in order to determine the best subscription for your business.


So are you ready to move the cloud? Are you ready to view your financial picture online, through a secure connection? Are you ready to have one system that talks to you? Then get started with QuickBooks Online (QBO).

If you are already using QBO, what are your thoughts?

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