The Pros and Cons of Using QuickBooks Online
When project managers track the hours and expenses of their team, they are able to compare it with the project budget. It quickly gives them the information if they have gone over or still have room to spare. In business, knowing how much the company is earning and spending gives the owners vital information about the health of their business. In fact, accounting does much more than keep track of income and expenditures. It enables business owners to provide investors, management, and government important financial information.
Cloud computing has become highly popular because it offers businesses considerable savings along with other advantages. Online accounting software, like QuickBooks, is also providing users almost the same functionality and reliability of their desktop software, but with the additional benefits that cloud technology offers. As more households pay bills with online banking, check email with their smartphone, more businesses are also updating their business accounts with online accounting software. For example, the global accounting software market valued at $57M in 2017 is projected to grow to $117M by 2026.
QuickBooks Online Software
QuickBooks Online (QBO) is an online accounting solution by Intuit for small and growing companies. Intuit is an American company founded in 1983 that has become successful with its Quicken financial management software. As the company released QuickBooks, it became very popular with small business owners with no formal accounting training. In 2008, QuickBooks reached up to 94 percent share in the retail unit in the business accounting category. Following these successes, it released QuickBooks Online as a cloud service where users pay a monthly subscription fee for its use. It is a distinct product from the desktop version and offers integration with many third-party software, as well as financial services such as banks, credit card companies, and others.
Small business owners usually manage QuickBooks themselves. Otherwise, they have a dedicated staff or an outsourced person who does the bookkeeping for the company. Here are some of the ways businesses use QuickBooks.
- For managing company sales and income. QuickBooks allows users to manage sales and income by creating invoices to track sales. Business owners can do this by customer, and know exactly how much each customer owes them. They can look at their accounts receivables report to view the details of current and past due invoices.
- For bills and expense tracking. The accounting software can automatically keep track of the company’s bills and expenses. This is done by connecting bank and credit card accounts to the software. As a result, all expenses are downloaded and categorized. Other transactions, such as cash or check transactions, can be directly recorded in the software.
- For business reporting. When business owners are recording and managing all cash inflow and outflow activities in QuickBooks, they can generate several reports from the software. These pre-built reports can be run in a few clicks, and are updated in real-time as they enter and save transactions. They can gain valuable business insights from these reports, which they can use when they are negotiating with a potential investor or getting a loan from the local bank.
- For payroll. QuickBooks has a payroll function that automatically calculates and runs payroll for the company. Together with payroll tax tables, doing payroll with the accounting software offers the advantage of having an updated financial statement because of the integrated system.
- For inventory tracking. The accounting software can automatically track and update amounts and unit costs of inventory. Moreover, it has several reports to help manage inventory.
The Cons or Disadvantages of QuickBooks Online
Based on the feedback of users, here are some of what they have to say negatively about the online accounting software:
- Limited reports. Some customers found that reporting is much better in the desktop version than in the online version. The charts are not customizable, and the report builder is limited. Also, cleaning up outdated reports is time-consuming, and exporting reports to Excel or PDF format is inconsistently reliable.
- Difficult to learn. The simple interface does not match with the rich-set features included. Some users complain that it is not as easy to learn compared with other online software. A user finds it overly complicated, unintuitive, and can easily turn into a nightmare if a mistake in the entry is made. Another user suggested that providing a short video tutorial on simple tasks within the current screen would be a big help.
- Limited inventory management. QuickBooks Online tends to be problematic in addressing inventory management concerns. It can be solved, however, with third-party software.
- Wrong/Missing entries. Some users find it worrisome that the online accounting software sometimes incorrectly uses due dates automatically for their next invoice. At times, when they change a category or department in an invoice, it clears out all data from that invoice, forcing the user to start all over again.
- Syncing problems. There have been instances that QBO users experience syncing issues with credit card transactions. It can take a day or two later to sync successfully. A user also complained that the platform seems to go down more frequently than it should be.
The Pros or Advantages of QuickBooks Online
At the same time, many users are happy with QuickBooks Online as their online accounting software. Millions of users globally are able to organize their accounts in one place, and save hours and tax savings as well.
- Payroll automation. Users are glad they are able to run payroll where taxes are calculated automatically and checks are deposited directly. Automated reminders are also very helpful.
- Remote access. One of the benefits of cloud computing is that users are able to access their accounting system from wherever they are. It provides them with convenience as well as confidence in a secured online system. And if they manage multiple companies, they can easily switch between companies.
- Integration. QuickBooks Online allows for easy integration with banks, credit card companies, and other financial management software. It has REST API that can integrate with other solutions such as ERP to automate postings.
- Expense tracking. Users have the option to create rules to make it easier to track expenses. It can be as general or as granular, depending on the user’s needs. They can group things into one broad expense type, or break it down to specifics.
- Free-form invoicing. Many users like QBO for its invoicing features, which it does very well. They can create products or services, or enter line items in free form for a specialized service. They find it easy to use and can be shared as links or printed in PDF.
QuickBooks Online addresses the requirements of many small business owners for their accounting needs. Like any other software solution, it has strengths and weaknesses. Every business is unique, so the important thing is to know your requirements first, and find out if QBO or another solution would be more suitable for your needs.