The Pros and Cons of QuickBooks Online (QBO)

Due to its popularity, QuickBooks Online for small businesses is used by professionals and businesses across various industries in the United States.

Through QuickBooks Online (QBO), Intuit takes its offerings one step further. With cloud connectivity and multi-platform sync, QuickBooks Online is a favorite of loyal and new QuickBooks users.

But QuickBooks Online is more than just an online version of the original QuickBooks. Besides being easily accessible to small businesses everywhere, QBO has several accounting software features that are not available in the desktop version. Yet, it also falls behind on a few aspects that go beyond functionality issues.

Whether you need a modern solution to manage your company’s books or work as a professional accountant for other businesses, it is incredibly important to learn about QuickBooks Online – its pros and cons, as well as how Stax Enterprise syncs with it.

The following guide can help small and mid-size business owners like yourself with all the information you need to know about QuickBooks Online and starting a Quickbooks Online account.

How Does QBO Differ from QuickBooks Desktop?

While both versions of Quickbooks are accounting software with all the standard features like tracking accounts billable and receivable, there are a few key differences.

QBO is an online cloud-based solution that does not need to be installed on specific devices nor does it require a specific operating system. Instead, it can be accessed online from any modern web browser from any computer. QuickBooks Online also has a mobile app that enables users to access some of its features from their smartphones or tablets. This is in stark contrast to QuickBooks Desktop, which needs to be installed on your designated device before you can use it.

The second most notable difference is in the pricing plan. The highest QBO subscription comes with the ability to add up to 25 users. Whereas, a Quickbooks Desktop subscription requires you to pay an additional amount for each user added to your software.

QBO also comes with the promise of free and consistent upgrades with the latest accounting software features. This is something that isn’t freely available with QuickBooks Desktop and either requires an expensive yearly subscription or a new license.

Apart from these significant differences, QBO also sports a few more functionalities that are either not available in QuickBooks Desktop or come at additional prices.

With these distinctions in mind, it’s easier to see what QBO’s accounting software has to offer for your business and how it can help you streamline your accounting operations.

The Advantages of QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online has quite a few pros which advocate its status for being an advanced accounting solution. These advantages make sure you can manage your financial reporting needs through a holistic program, while also using additional tools whenever the requirement calls for it.

ALSO READ: Connect QuickBooks Online (QBO) with Stax

User Interface Surpasses Expectations

If there’s one department where QBO excels, it’s without a doubt the user interface (UI). Through its intuitive design and modern outlook, QBO makes the feature-rich program easy to use. With the way the application is structured, you can discover and utilize the functions you are looking for without seeking additional help or tutorials.

This has a positive effect on the learning curve of using QBO as an entirely new user. But it also lets you seamlessly transition from QuickBooks Desktop.

While other programs offer basic accounting functionalities, they often fall short in terms of a user-friendly design. This makes the intuitive UI one of the most desirable features of the software.

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Customizable Reporting Improves Workflow

QBO also provides highly detailed features that can meet your specific needs and allows you to customize your financial reports. This brings more simplicity to the consistent task of managing your company’s books. It also provides access to key information at your fingertips.

This makes accounting processes more straightforward, cutting back the time it takes for you to manage different financial statistics. By generating reports that fit your requirements, you won’t have to click through generic sheets to find what you need. You can glance at your generated reports to get a grasp of your company’s financials.

This is a highly dependable feature that sets QBO apart from other accounting solutions, and lets you make the most of your investment.

Latest Features Improve Adaptability

When QuickBooks Online first came to the surface, it offered limited features and provided restricted functionality. While it added some more options in its 2013 revamp, it still left a lot to be desired for various industries that needed an inclusive solution for their specific needs.

The latest version of QBO impressively resolves these concerns. With new features such as mileage tracking, batched transactions, and artificial intelligence (AI) powered automation, QBO fulfills the specialized needs of key sectors. This improves its adaptability and equips it to handle the requirements of certain segments.

This makes the solution more reliable for niche industries that cannot find access to certain accounting features in popular applications.

App Integrations Boost Compatibility

In today’s day and age, businesses have to use digital solutions for all critical functions. They must process data in specific ways and use that to make business decisions, stay compliant with regulatory authorities, and thrive in the marketplace.

But different apps can create compatibility issues, especially when you have to fetch financial information from various sources. QBO’s app integrations ensure this problem is a thing of the past. The QuickBooks app marketplace contains numerous applications – some of which are developed by QuickBooks itself.

QBO app integrations connect seamlessly to crucial divisions, including e-commerce platforms, payment processors, and payroll management, making accounting tasks easier for your business. This also reduces the possibility of human errors and makes your workflow more efficient. These add-ons can be accessed via the QuickBooks App Store. It is important to note that some of these apps come with costs.

With the Stax platform, you can sync your data two ways with our QuickBooks Online Pro Sync. You’ll streamline payment management, maximizing QuickBooks capabilities. Besides invoices, you can sync your customer data, payments, catalog items, and more.

Invoices and payment history are tracked in both places, securely, so you can have peace of mind about your data and your customer data. Customer and transaction details are also individually listed and reconciled across both platforms.

Detailed Payroll Features Help with Management

One of QuickBooks’ biggest strengths shines through in the form of its payroll management. This also translates into the latest version of QuickBooks, where the cloud-based program lets you approach critical payroll tasks with support from laser-focused functions and automated features.

Through its Self Service Payroll and Full-Service Payroll add-ons, Quickbooks payroll management can help small businesses address complex payroll requirements with ease. The payroll features don’t end there. With additional app integrations, QBO can complement any business’s preferred payroll solution.

This ensures businesses don’t have to let go of their primary payroll applications because they choose QuickBooks as their accounting app.


Handy Automation Features

QuickBooks is designed to help you streamline your financial processes. For instance, if you need to reconcile transactions between different bank accounts, QBO will automatically find and compare figures from your linked accounts, so all you have to do is “Match” them.

Another example? QBO’s sales tax automation features. QuickBooks can automatically take care of recording sales tax for any sale that you generate. Simply create an invoice or receipt, and QBO will calculate sales tax based on the transaction date, location, and type of product or service sold. QuickBooks also keeps your sales tax updated when laws change, ensuring that your business complies with the latest tax guidelines.

These are just a few examples of features that enable you to put tedious tasks (like bank reconciliation) on autopilot, so you can save time and devote more energy to high-level tasks.

Wide Adoption Among Small Businesses and Accountants

QuickBooks is the most widely-used accounting software for small businesses, capturing nearly three-fourths of the market. Quickbooks’ self-employed features also make it popular amongst freelancers.

The software is also highly popular among accountants and bookkeepers. Nearly 1.5 million businesses are connected to their accountants through QuickBooks. This is a major perk, especially if you’re looking to outsource financial tasks in your business. If you ever need someone to handle your books for you, finding a QBO expert is a breeze.

And if you need immediate assistance, QuickBooks lets you tap into its wide network of financial professionals through Live Bookkeeping services that allow you to chat with QuickBooks-certified bookkeepers.

The Disadvantages of QuickBooks Online

Similar to any other program, QuickBooks Online comes with a few drawbacks. However, since QBO offers a broad range of accounting processes, these disadvantages don’t mean you should abandon the app altogether. Instead, you can simply switch to another solution to meet the specific need QBO fails to meet.

Inability to Revert to a Previous Version

One aspect where QBO falters is restoring to a previous version of your books. If you want to go back to a point where the last transaction data is available, you will not be able to do so unless you are on the highest tier or price point of QBO.

QBO’s explanation regarding this issue refers to cloud storage and management, which updates and saves your data without creating any restoration points. As a result, you are unable to easily go back to transactions that are deleted or modified.

To recreate them, you either need to enter them manually or pay for the Advanced plan that creates consistent backups for you. This explanation is not only frustrating but also brings about questions of limited features. Many applications operate on the cloud, yet show their ability to execute restoration points within basic plans. QBO’s lack of support for this crucial functionality can create a lot of problems for accountants who want to have a backup plan without having to pay for an upgrade.

RELATED: QuickBooks Desktop is Ending Now What?

Expensive to Maintain and Add Features

While QuickBooks Online brings a world of features to the table, they remain quite expensive to maintain. Yes, its pricing is one of the less appealing aspects of the service. For instance, while the platform lets you add up to 25 users at the same price, this feature is only available at the highest price point of QBO that is 6X more expensive than the basic plan. This creates accessibility issues for those who are trying to maintain their books without breaking the bank.

This costly structure also extends to add-ons, which come with their own price. The mechanism also affects basic features such as automated data backups that let you restore your company to a previous point in time. These functionalities are not available unless you are going with the highest possible subscription for the application.

Other functionalities such as automated approvals, management charts, and customized reporting are also not available in the starter or mid-level plans. This makes it incredibly challenging to use the service’s full features as a small business. Some of QBO’s latest features, such as invoice batching, are only available to those who pay top dollar for the application.

Payment Processing Is More Difficult Than It Should Be

QuickBooks Online undoubtedly excels at aspects such as payroll management. But it doesn’t do well at payment processing. While QBO can connect with select payment processors such as PayPal and automatically reflect new transactions for review, it doesn’t boast of the same convenience when it comes to its payment solution.

QuickBooks Payments is Intuit’s premier solution to facilitate inward payments such as credit cards, debit cards, and bank transfers. But the service comes with its pros and cons.

QuickBooks Payments adds the convenience of generating invoices, conducting mobile payments, and generating quick deposits right from the application. But these features come at a high rate.

For example, for payment cards that are swiped, the rate per transaction is 2.4 percent of the transaction amount + 25¢. For payment cards that are invoiced, the rate per transaction is set at 2.9 percent of the transaction amount + 25¢. For payment cards that are keyed in, the rate per transaction stands at a whopping 3.4 percent of the transaction amount + 25¢.

These rates may seem competitive at first, especially when you compare them with some of the most popular payment processors. However, studying them carefully and comparing them to specialized payment vendors paints a different picture.

It’s because these charges are higher than the standard market rate of modern payment processors.

Intuit’s Data Sharing Policies May Raise Concerns

QuickBooks’ parent company, Inuit, has been known to share user data within its owned companies (i.e., Turbo Tax, Mint) as well as third parties. Financial institutions like CapitalOne and Wells Fargo have data-sharing agreements with Intuit, and earlier this year, the company announced that it will be sharing payroll data with the credit bureau Equifax.

These practices may make you feel queasy, especially if you’re concerned about data privacy and security. The good news is that you can easily opt-out of these things through the app. Login to your QuickBooks account using your browser and navigate to your account icon on the top right. You should see a link to “Manage your Intuit Account” and from there, you” be able to manage your data privacy settings and delete any data shared with Intuit Quickbooks.

QBO Has a Steeper Learning Curve Than Some Accounting Software

While the online version is newer, Quickbooks is a longstanding accounting software system. It is, in many ways, the gold standard for accounting software as a result. But that also means all its functionality takes some time to learn. Because of that, it may not be the ideal small business accounting software. 

Cambria T., operations manager for a company with fewer than 50 employees, calls this out specifically in her September 2022 Quickbooks Online review on G2Crowd, saying, “I don’t like that QuickBooks requires so much training in order to use it well and to its full potential.” (Conversely, you can find absolutely rave reviews all over the internet from specialized accountants about QBO’s ease of use. So for those with accounting know-how already, this learning curve is unlikely to bother.)

Is QBO Worth It?

Given that QuickBooks Online provides robust features but also comes with certain limitations, this can be quite a tricky question to answer briefly.

On the one hand, you have a set of critical functionalities that help your accounting operation through each essential step. On the other, you have to bear with the shortcomings QBO exhibits regularly.

It is essential to determine whether you will even use the provided functions.

Some of the most popular of these features include:

  • Expense tracking.
  • Report customization (though not unlimited).
  • Multiple users.
  • Invoice batching.
  • Payment approval automation.
  • Payment reminders.
  • 24/7 support.
  • Online training.
  • Invoicing.
  • Inventory tracking.
  • Real-time data access.
  • Remote access—including from mobile devices like Android smartphones. 

Quickbooks Online Pricing

Quickbooks offers a variety of plan tiers. Pricing starts as low as $7.50/month, which gets you the ability to track income and expenses, organize receipts, estimate quarterly taxes and tax deductions, run some basic reporting, and track your miles. This tier is best suited to the self employed or very small business owners. 

More advanced features such as the ability to create invoices, get enhanced sales reports and manage cash flow start at $15/month. This is a competitive price for small business accounting software.

 For large businesses, $100/month unlocks QBO’s full range of functionality that includes:

  • The ability to track inventory and generally run inventory management
  • Comprehensive reporting on financial performance, including inventory reports and profitability reports
  • Payment processing
  • Run payroll
  • Track project profitability

What’s the Best Approach to Take?

How do you know if QBO is the best accounting software for your small business? If any tier of QuickBooks Online seems to provide features you can’t do without, assessing whether you can afford these solutions is the way to go. If the answer is a resounding “Yes,” you should go for it.

However, if the app falls short of your expectations on available functions regarding customer information, sales receipts, tracking bill payments, mileage tracking, or time tracking, it’s best to look for more affordable options that don’t strip your business of extra cash.

Alternatively, you can also move forward with using select solutions in QBO while substituting for other features. For instance, instead of signing up for QuickBooks Payments, you can find a more affordable payment processor and integrate its app within your QBO. This ensures you can strike the perfect balance between affordability and functionality.

That alternative option provides the best approach to take in this process because it enables substantial customization at your end. Stax offers payment technology solutions that can work for many types of businesses that use QuickBooks for accounting and processing payments.

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As we’ve seen earlier, many business owners and managers might find it confusing to combine their accounting software and payment processing solution within one platform. The fact is that QuickBooks Online focuses on accounting but might not have the necessary features and ease of use that businesses enjoy with solutions like Stax’ payment processing.

Because of this, a growing portion of businesses has switched over to Stax from QuickBooks Payments because Stax provides simplicity and powerful features that make life easier for these managers.

Here are some of the features that differentiate Stax’ payment processing solutions from QuickBooks Online.

  • Send and track customer invoices
  • Recurring billing
  • Mobile application syncing
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Overview of transactions and reporting while keeping credit card transaction costs low
  • User experience
  • Next day funding for qualified businesses and 24-hour funding for general businesses
  • Human-centric customer support and service

Professionals and small business owners can find a better experience by using QuickBooks accounting software for bookkeeping purposes and Stax for payment processing.

We know the user experience is critical to our customers. You don’t want to spend excessive time learning how to use an application – you want to save money and run your business more efficiently. That’s why we’ve designed our payment processing platform to quickly integrate with your current platform, so you can save money and time per month while focusing on your customers and your business.

You can get started with a simple tutorial that lets you see all of the critical features, from conducting a payment to sending an invoice and viewing overall credit card transactions. Of course, if you have any questions, one of our customer service representatives will be happy to help you walk through the platform.

You’ll appreciate our simple, clear pricing, which lets you skim over the report and quickly have an overview of your overall costs.

Finally, as a smaller specialized company, customer service and general customer support are as important to us as it is to you.

That’s why we have real people who will answer your call and answer any questions you might have.

The Stax platform equipped with its QuickBooks Online Sync: Pro provides a powerful solution that offers convenience while managing your payments. You won’t have to sign on to multiple accounts to check on outstanding invoices or to create new ones. With Stax, you can access everything you need in one place. You’ll know your data is secure with our commitment to data security and Level 1 PCI compliance.

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