For sales tax purposes, QuickBooks Online allows users to apply taxation to clients or to specific products, as well as the option to apply taxes before or after any discounts. A single default rate can be applied to customers (if they are marked as a taxable customer). Although the web-based system can be accessed from anywhere, it is better suited to entities with a single taxing location and generally in-person sales, since tax rate tables cannot be automated. For firms without taxation issues or multiple warehousing needs, the system could be used by businesses with professional staff in different locations. No multi-currency functions are available.
The main interface for QuickBooks Online provides a good central starting point for users, with some screen customization options and the ability to customize invoices. Recurring transaction functions are available, but the program is really suited more toward professional services firms or lower volume retailers. Basic sales functions enable management of sales taxes, client contract terms and discounts, but tax rates and discount rules cannot be permanently assigned to customers. No point-of-sale hardware integration is available for QuickBooks Online.
Customer activities can be managed by the new Client Center, which offers a basic client list that can be searched, with a summary of a client’s invoices displayed in a spreadsheet view and the ability to filter by period, invoice status and other factors. A better array of information is available on the Client Overview screen, including the client register, an AR aging summary, sales by client reports and other options. Likewise, basic vendor management functions are available, including the ability to set preferences for vendors and purchasing processes. The system can also produce 1099s for contractors and vendors. Inventory is limited to a singular warehouse and simple items. Data fields are available for manually entering shipping carrier and tracking numbers. Employee management functions are primarily focused on time tracking, with good timesheet entry options that make it easy to get the data in, while also being able to monitor unbilled time and analyze the productivity of activities, employees and clients. Unlimited payroll for the small business can be added to QuickBooks Online for an additional $39 per month.
The program’s primary interface offers mostly text and icon links to program areas, such as working with invoices, tracking expenses and managing clients, with no dashboards available from these main areas. A good dashboard overview is available from the reports section (called the Company Snapshot), which would probably be really useful if there was at least a link to it from the homepage. The graphical on-screen displays show charts for income, expenses, prior year comparisons, and AR and AP aging, with the ability to drilldown to greater detail levels or to display other key business indicators. The reporting tools also provide a unique benchmarking tool available from a link titled, “Compare me to similar businesses,” which looks at national data for businesses of the same size and industry specialty.
Customer invoicing functions can be accessed from the home page or from the Clients center, with pull-down lists speeding selection of customer and inventory/service items, and calendars for select-ing invoice and due dates. Users can choose from various terms and can manually apply sales tax rates and discounts. However, these rates and discounts can’t be permanently applied to specific customers. During invoicing, users can also add messages and memos and can add information on shipping or set a transaction as recurring on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis, with the ability to select specific days, and a user alert notifying them when the invoice has been automatically prepared.
QuickBooks Online uses secure server technologies and allows firm management to control the amount of access different employees have in the program. Users can have full access, reports-only access or time tracking only access … or very specific tasks can be permitted or not permitted for any user.