Review of QuickBooks Online: Best Overall Small Business Accounting Software.


QuickBooks Online (QBO) is ideal for businesses of all shapes and sizes. If you’re looking for an accounting software that can grow with you from a sole proprietor to a corporation.

While QBO can be more expensive than its competitors, between $15 and $150 per month, the time and resources it can save your small business are priceless.

Pricing & Features

QuickBooks Online offers five pricing tiers


Simple Start,




Pricing starts at $15 per month for Self-Employed and $25 for Simple Start. While these two plans are the most affordable, they also have limited features.

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Standard Features

All five QuickBooks Online plans include the following features:

  • Ability to connect bank and credit card accounts
  • Unlimited tech support via telephone or chat
  • Ability to accept online payments from customers
  • Access to key financial statements such as profit and loss and balance sheet

When deciding which accounting software package is right for your small business, it’s important to compare the offered features and consider growth.

Check out QuickBooks Online Comparison guide can help answer many of your questions.

Plans for Comparison & Summary

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Self-Employed TurboTax Bundle Simple Start Essentials Plan Plus Plan Advanced Plan
Monthly Pricing $15 $25 $40 $70 $150
Users Included 1 1 3 plus 2 accountants 5 plus 2 accountants 25 plus 2 accountants
Contacts (customers, vendors, employees) Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Setup/Ease of Use Easy Easy Moderate Moderate Moderate
Connect Bank/Credit Card Accounts Limited Limited
Accept Online Payments
Manage Accounts Receivable
Payroll Processing
Manage Accounts Payable 3 20+ 40+ 65+ 100+
Prepare Key Financial Statements N/A N/A N/A N/A
Smart Reporting Powered by Fathom N/A N/A N/A N/A
Accelerated Invoicing N/A N/A N/A N/A
Custom User Permissions N/A N/A N/A N/A
Dedicated Success Manager N/A N/A N/A N/A
Training for Staff ($2,000 Value) N/A N/A N/A N/A

Self-Employed (QBSE) TurboTax Bundle

QuickBooks Self-Employed is ideal for an individual or a business that pays most of their expenses with a debit or credit card. QBSE does not have payroll processing or the ability to manage and pay bills. Unlike other QBO plans, it includes the ability to transfer your data to TurboTax, and file both your federal and state tax returns.

Simple Start

QBO Simple Start is an ideal QuickBooks software for small businesses that want to give other users access to their data. Also need the ability to pay employees. Unlike QBSE, you can add payroll processing to QBO Simple Start for an additional fee. QBO Simple Start also includes over 20 reports, like profit and loss, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows.

Essentials Plan

QBO Essentials is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses that need to give other users access to its data. And has a lot of accounts payable to manage. Unlike QBSE and QBO Simple Start, QBO Essentials allows you to manage the full accounts payable cycle, including entering bills, managing due dates, and printing checks to pay bills. It also includes double the amount of reports that QBO Simple Start has (40 versus 20).

Plus Plan

QBO Plus Plan is ideal for product-based businesses that need to keep track of inventory purchases and sales. Unlike the other three QBO plans, QBO Plus includes the ability to track inventory and create budgets and forecasts. Plus it has over 65 reports.

Advanced Plan

QBO Advanced. is the best small business accounting software for fast-growing businesses. QBO Advanced allows up to 25 users with customized access permissions. QBO Advanced also includes Fathom, a reporting tool that allows you to generate customized reports for key performance indicators (KPI). You also get a dedicated account manager, and free self-paced training for your staff.

Based on our criteria, here is how QBO compares against its competitors:


QBO gives you the best deal for your money. The QuickBooks Self-Employed plan starts at $15 per month, which is almost double the cost of the starter plans for Xero and Zoho Books. However, it includes the following features that you won’t find in any of its competitors on our list:

  • Separate personal and business expenses
  • Quarterly estimated tax calculations
  • Mobile mileage tracker
  • Integration with TurboTax
  • Setup & Ease of Use

QBO is more complex to set up compared to FreshBooks, Zoho Books, and Wave. However, navigating the program is very easy.

QBO doesn’t require a bookkeeping background to set up, the same as the other package listed. Anyone should be able to pick up QBO easily.

Manage Accounts Receivable

QBO, like most other packages, allows you to create customized invoices to bill your customers for the products and services you have provided. In addition, you can keep track of unpaid invoices by running accounts receivable aging report. Staying on top of your accounts receivable balances helps you avoid the need to send collection letters.

Manage Accounts Payable

The Essentials, Plus, and Advanced QBO plans allow you to track your outstanding balances with suppliers.  QBO Essentials, Plus, and Advanced also include the ability to enter bills, pay bills, and run an accounts payable report to review open balances. These features are not available in Wave, Zoho Books, or FreshBooks.

Connect Bank & Credit Card Accounts

The ease of using cloud accounting software like QuickBooks Online is that you can connect your bank and credit card accounts to the software. Similar to the Xero Early plan, QBO Self-Employed and Simple Start limit the number of transactions you can download. However, QBO Essentials, Plus, and Advanced, allow you to connect an unlimited number of bank and credit card accounts.

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Payroll Processing

Unlike FreshBooks and Zoho Books, which do not have a payroll add-on, four of the five QBO plans let you add payroll services. The two QBO payroll plans are self-service and full-service.

Self-service Payroll:

Cost: $35 per month plus $4 per employee per month.

Services included: The employer can process payroll for all employees and contractors (including 24-hour direct deposit and check payments), file and pay all payroll taxes directly from QuickBooks, and print and mail W-2 forms.

Full-service Payroll:

Cost: $80 per month plus $4 per employee per month.

Services included: The employer provides hours worked during each pay period and the system processes payroll for all employees and contractors. Including same day direct deposit and check payments. Depending on your subscription level, QBO Full-service Payroll also files and pays payroll taxes on your behalf and prints and mails W2 forms.

Accept Online Payments

All the packages lets you get paid faster by adding online payments to your account. Unlike similar small business accounting software. QuickBooks is the only product that has its own online payments processor, QuickBooks Payments.

Below are the fees associated with adding online payments to any QBO plan:

Transaction Type Fee
Bank Transfer (ACH) 1% (max $10)
Card–Swiped 2.4% + 25 cents
Card–Invoiced 2.9% + 25 cents
Card–Keyed 3.4% + 25 cents

Prepare Key Financial Statements

QBO Simple Start, Essentials, Plus, and Advanced include more reports than its competitors, with over 20 in the Simple Start plan and over 100 in the QBO Advanced plan.

Besides the standard profit and loss, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows, QBO allows you to prepare:

  • Accounts receivable aging report
  • Accounts payable aging report
  • Sales by customer report
  • Sales by product report
  • Budget versus actual report (QBO Plus only)
  • Key performance reporting (QBO Advanced only)

 What QuickBooks Online Is Missing.

QBO includes all the features a small business needs to start, run, and grow their business. However, they do not offer a free version of the software like you get with Wave.

QuickBooks Reviews

QBO user reviews often mention how easy the accounting software is to navigate and how much they enjoy being able to access their data from any mobile device using the QBO app. A few users feel that QBO is expensive, but quickly admit that it is more than capable of handling all aspects of their business.

In my view, this is the best value for money package for any small business. It can be installed without a great deal of hassle. Besides using it is very easy to learn and any competent office person can use it quickly.

The cost is not high when compared to other packages because all the versions provide more than the equivalent competition. I would definitely recommend these packages.

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