Intuit — QuickBooks Online
From the June 2010 Review of Web-Based (SaaS)_Small Business Accounting Systems.
The installed version of QuickBooks is the most widely used small business software in the world, with the ability to purchase it off the shelf at big box stores and online retailers. QuickBooks Online is not the same as the installed program, but rather a completely web-based system with a different design and structure. The system is geared toward very small businesses in almost any industry, providing simplified e-banking, invoicing and client management tools.
BASIC SYSTEM FUNCTIONS:
QuickBooks Online is offered in two versions: Basic and Plus, with Plus providing additional options for time tracking, connecting to the user’s bank account, data import, budgeting and other features. During initial company setup, users can select their industry and business type from various template lists, which the program then uses to build charts of accounts that are generally standard to similar businesses. Users can change charts of accounts or other data configurations manually, if needed. Industry selection also can help the system use different language (such as customers or clients), but the system has limited project management functions and really no specialty tools for tracking WIPs or manufacturing progress. Each QuickBooks Online account can support only one business entity, with one user being standard for the Basic system and up to three users as the standard for the Plus version. Additional users can be added for additional fees after initial subscription.
QuickBooks Online opens into an intuitive home screen that gives users options for jumping to tasks such as creating invoices, entering expenses, managing client information, banking and reporting, along with a collection of tabs across the top for moving between the core areas of the program. These include tabs for company, clients, vendors, employees, banking, reports and shortcuts, the last of which can be used to create links to frequently used areas. Each of these areas provides overview screens and workflow diagrams, along with how-to questions, related report options and tips. Other functions on the main home screen include links to recent transactions, a user-based messages and tasks panel, and notices of system alerts.
The main Help utility in QuickBooks Online opens into a strange three-step attempt to guide the user through their query, but I found it to be less than intuitive than the program’s “How Do I?” button, which is more like a traditional Help utility. Intuit also offers an online knowledgebase and an Ask Qubie feature that is loosely like a tech chat session, but with an automated attendant. Customer support for the Basic version is limited to email correspondence, while the Online Plus system includes unlimited call-back and chat for tech support.
CORE ACCOUNTING CAPABILITIES:
QuickBooks Online is not as comprehensive as the installed version of QuickBooks, which might be a good thing for some small businesses. Where many very small entities can find the full version of QuickBooks a bit overwhelming, QuickBooks Online is more streamlined and designed to manage the basics. The system includes GL, AP and AR, but tasks are labeled using common terms, such as clients, vendors, employees, etc., with centers for each of these areas. The main function areas for back-end accounting work is the banking center, which provides at-a-glance views of account registers and reconciliation functions, and the company tab, which offers the chart of accounts, budget management and options for recurring transactions. The system also maintains an audit trail, which it calls the Activity Log, that tracks all user activities.