Core Accounting Capabilities:
QuickBooks Online offers different features than its desktop (on-premises) cousin, and may not be quite as comprehensive. Some features included in QuickBooks Online are not included in the on-premises application, which may make the service more attractive to some users. These features include remote access, mobile application access, free technical support, business location tracking, and options for automatic and delayed billing. The system includes a full, traditional general ledger, along with payables and receivables management. Transaction items can be quickly drilled down to from both invoices and reports, and users can also track bills and payments for automated rebilling to customers. Banking features include new streamlined reconciliation capabilities that are enabled by linking the system with the business’ banking accounts.
The system allows application of sales tax to products or taxable services. Tracking of tax exempt ID number is also offered on customer data sheets. The program does not offer automated sales tax table integration so tax rates must be managed manually.
Businesses can add payroll to all three versions of QuickBooks Online starting at an additional $39 per month, which includes withholding tables, unlimited printing and direct deposit of checks, as well as print or online compliance filing, electronic deposit of federal and state employment taxes, and W-2 printing. The system does not offer direct integration with other payroll programs. QuickBooks Online supports up to 25 concurrent business users (it can be used to manage and pay more employees than this), plus an accountant login, all of whom can use the program from their own office or mobile locations. The program can support businesses with multiple locations, but offers only basic inventory capabilities that are not designed for multiple warehouse tracking or other geographic capabilities.
In keeping with its limited use of accounting terminology, the program’s audit trail is called the Activity Log, and is a full-time function that provides tracking of user name, time, client, activity and other information for transaction or data changes. While it cannot be turned off, it can be customized to show less or more information, but only by top-level administrative users. The U.S. versions do not support multiple currencies. The program is designed for the management of a single business, and does not offer functions for consolidating multiple companies.
Everyday use of the program is aided by an intuitive navigation structure and menus, along with occasional “mini-interview” guides for tasks such as setting up bank and payroll features. Users can easily create and email invoices, including scheduling delayed billing. The program does not offer direct integration with shipping companies, but does offer basic built-in functions for order tracking. Fields tracked include destination address, shipping date, carrier, and shipment tracking number.
Although a web-based system, QuickBooks Online lacks basic e-commerce capabilities such as tie-ins to e-shopping carts. Users must perform a workaround of creating duplicate product/service items in order to accommodate multiple sales tax rates. Likewise, there is no point-of-sale hardware integration. The system’s customer and vendor management functions are easy to use and understand, with quick access to master lists that offer search and filter capabilities. The menus provide links to common tasks such as invoicing, receiving payments, entering and paying bills, creating purchase orders, and generating receipts. Customer invoices can be printed or emailed from within the program. There is no direct integration with third-party CRM programs, and contacts such as customers and vendors will only store details information for one person.
The inventory functionality in QuickBooks Online is essentially just a basic listing of products. It is generally limited to single component items, with the system allowing name, basic description and one price, although it does offer the ability to create sub-items. It does not support inventory valuation cost methods or tracking for inventory items, nor are there quantity control management features, such as “on-hand” or automatic reordering. No features are available for manufacturing of products.
QuickBooks Online offers a credit card acceptance function for cards accepted via “key entry” (not swiped). After a free two-month trial, the cost of this service is $19.95 per month, plus a $0.27 per authorization fee and a 2.44% transaction fee. A new feature currently in beta will allow direct ACH payment from customer bank accounts to the business account at a flat cost of $0.50 each. The program does not integrate with other merchant service accounts or online payment systems.