QuickBooks Online is the cloud accounting solution from Intuit Software, the maker of the QuickBooks suite of accounting and bookkeeping software. QuickBooks was launched in 2002 and QuickBooks Online in 2004; the software is by far the most widely used software accounting tool in the business today, particularly with small and medium business enterprises.
Commanding such a wide share of the accounting software industry leads to a lot of insight about upcoming trends and disruptive technologies. QuickBooks Online was one of the first cloud accounting tools on the market that truly recognised the benefits of a web based application over traditional desktop software. QuickBooks Online has undergone a number of significant changes over the years, the biggest one being a completely new user interface in 2013, and is now the best cloud accounting solution on the market.
QuickBooks Online is subscription based, meaning pay for it as you go. This might sound counter intuitive at first when you think that traditional software claimed a one-time only payment after which it was your property. However, when you consider that such desktop level software is often updated and have new features added every new version, your property quickly becomes outdated and inefficient. Repeatedly upgrading your software every year therefore becomes expensive. In a subscription model, because you are making continuous payments, you always get access to the latest and most feature packed version of the software.
QuickBooks Online is capable of performing all tasks that the traditional QuickBooks desktop tools can, such as double entry accounting, inventory management, payroll services, integrations, automatic bank transactions, etc. QuickBooks Online supports a number of different currencies, which is a big advantage over the desktop versions, which lack support for multiple currencies. Other features that are exclusive to the Online version of QuickBooks include generating automatic receipts for sales, split transactions, categorisation according to location or class, etc.
The biggest advantage of QuickBooks Online however is the ability to access your QuickBooks data from any computer system that is connected to the internet. QuickBooks servers are equipped with high security and authentication systems to ensure that your precious data cannot be accessed by any unauthorised individuals. However, not having to be tied down to the one computer system that has the physical copy of QuickBooks installed on it is a great advantage. QuickBooks online also allows multiple people to work on the same files and collaborate together from separate computer systems without needing to purchase three different copies of the software.
While QuickBooks Online as a software tool is almost perfect in functionality and utility, Intuit’s customer service is shockingly lacking. This is particularly surprising from a company that has delivered such high quality software and industry leading performance since the days of DOS.
QuickBooks Online comes at a variety of price points. The “Self-Employed” plan starts at USD 10 per month and is targeted mostly towards individuals rather than companies. It contains a section for managing personal finances. At the more extreme end is the “Plus” plan, starting at USD 40 per month and offers the most advanced feature set of all QuickBooks Online plans.