Complete QuickBooks Online Review 2024: Accounting & Payroll Tested

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Our Verdict

One of the most popular accounting and payroll solutions

QuickBooks Online is one of the leading accounting and payroll platforms with thousands of users. The software is armed with an intuitive interface and robust features, such as inventory management, quarterly tax estimating, and project profitability tracking, making it the go-to option for tackling financial problems small and medium-sized businesses face.

Overall, we found QuickBooks to be a worthwhile option for small business owners for both payroll and accounting. Although it’s one of the costlier providers, it has an intuitive interface and versatile features. The fact you can integrate QuickBooks products and rise through the pricing tiers also makes it very scalable.

Pros

  • Tax penalty protection
  • Real-time bank data import
  • Cloud-based and accessible anytime and anywhere
  • Detailed, customizable financial reports
  • Smooth integration with payroll systems like OnPay
  • Smart automation features like auto invoicing

Cons

  • Limited features on the payroll-only plans
  • No employer mobile app
  • Limited invoice design customization
  • Difficult to manage multiple currencies and international transactions

QuickBooks Accounting Software Pricing

There are four straightforward pricing plans with QuickBooks. Each plan includes a complimentary mobile app, comprehensive support, and effortless integration capabilities.

You can easily cancel any of the plans whenever you like from inside the QuickBooks dashboard. If you want to switch plans or add other QuickBooks products, the monthly cost will automatically change.

Although QuickBooks is one of the higher-cost payroll providers, it often has promotions. You can usually choose between a 30-day free trial or a 50% discount for the first three months.

Simple Start Essentials Plus Advanced
Monthly Cost $30 per month $60 per month $90 per month

$200 per month

Free Trial

✅ – 30 days

✅ – 30 days ✅ – 30 days

✅ – 30 days

Users

1

3 5

25

Multi-currency Transactions

✅  ✅ 

✅ 

Inventory Management

✅ 

✅ 

Reporting

Basic

Detailed, with business snapshot Access to all report formats

Custom

Customer Support

✅ – Dedicated phone support

  • The Simple Start Plan — This is best for micro businesses — It allows you to easily track your expenses and income, generate invoices and estimates, connect your bank accounts, accept online payments, access basic reporting capabilities, manage cash flow, mileage tracking, and manage sales tax.
  • The Essentials Plan — This is the top choice for service-based businesses — It offers all the features of the Simple Start Plan and additional functionalities such as bill management, support for up to three users, and time-tracking capabilities.
  • The Plus Plan — This is best for small businesses — It has all the features of the Essentials plan, and gives users more advanced features such as the ability to track inventory, track project profitability. This plan also gives you a dedicated account team. You can onboard up to five users on the account.
  • The Advanced Plan — This is best for larger businesses with complex inventory management needs — It has all the features of the Plus plan and allows users to set up payment reminders, batch invoices and expenses, and training classes for new users. It includes 25 users for collaborative access as well.

QuickBooks Payroll Software Pricing

QuickBooks Payroll is an optional extra to any plan and comes in three tiers. As standard for payroll software, there’s a fixed monthly rate and a charge per employee.

You can choose to buy now and save 50% for your first three months or try it free for 30 days. The pricing below reflects trying it for free for 30 days.

Core + Simple Start Core + Essentials Premium + Plus
Monthly Cost

$75 per month + $6 per employee

$105 per month + $6 per employee

$170 per month + $8 per employee

Free Trial

✅ – 30-day free trial

✅ – 30-day free trial

✅ – 30-day free trial

Employee Portal

✅ 

✅ 

✅ 

Direct Deposit

Time Tracking

✅ 

✅ 

  • Payroll Core + Simple Start —The starter plan offers stripped-down basic features consisting of automated payroll, tax filing, the ability to generate purchase orders, send invoices next-day direct deposits, and benefits administration for up to three users. Considering the high starter cost, we would’ve liked to see time tracking included in the offerings like competitors Homebase and Square.
  • Payroll Core + Essentials —In the Premium plan, you get everything from the previous plan and the ability to schedule payments and time tracking. Many types of businesses will appreciate the versatile GPS time clock. You can also download QuickBooks Time as a separate product if you like this tool but decide the payroll feature isn’t right for you.
  • Payroll Premium + Plus — The main difference between the Premium and Elite plans is the extra support and tax penalty protection. You get extensive customer service with a review of your set-up and 24/7 support. The tax penalty protection is a standout feature. Many payroll providers offer compliance management to help you avoid fees but not all insure you against it. QuickBooks will reimburse you for up to $25,000 of any fines provided you contact them within 15 days of your notice.

QuickBooks Online Accounting & Payroll Overview

Accounting Starting Price  $30 per month
Payroll Starting Price  $75 per month + $6 per employee
Best for Best for small to medium businesses using QuickBooks as a one-stop-shop solution
Customer Support Phone and chat
Integrations Over 100 including Microsoft, Asana, and QuickBooks
Security & Compliance Encryption and multi-factor authentication
Reporting & Analytics ✅- Basic & Custom
Mobile App ✅ – Only for employees
Auto-alerts and Reminders
International Payroll ❌ – No direct support

QuickBooks Review: Standout Features

QuickBooks Online provides advanced features for streamlined accounting, payroll, effective employee management, improved client relationships, and optimizing various business processes. This section will focus on some of its standout capabilities.

Expense Tracking

A screenshot of QuickBooks' dashboard

The QuickBooks software’s expense tracking feature streamlines the process of recording and categorizing business costs. This includes employee expenses and business expenses. It provides businesses with a comprehensive toolset to effectively monitor and manage their expenses, ensuring accurate financial records and improved control over spending.

Users can easily import transactions from their bank accounts, credit cards, or manually enter expenses along with relevant receipts. The software intelligently categorizes expenses into predefined or custom-made categories, which saves valuable time and minimizes the likelihood of errors associated with manual data entry.

The feature also facilitates in-depth analysis and generates insightful reports, which gives managers real-time visibility into the financial health of the business, empowering them to make informed decisions and the ability to create accurate profitability reports.

You can effortlessly generate comprehensive expense reports, track expenses for tax deductions, and simplify employee reimbursement procedures.

We did find during our testing, that it took a while to get to grips with the initial setup so some training might be beneficial to get familiar with the software.

Payroll

A screenshot of QuickBooks Payroll

You can automatically calculate payroll for your salaried employees so you only have to review the information when it’s time to run payroll. QuickBooks Payroll also supports variable compensation like commission and bonuses.

We would’ve liked to see more features for contractors and overseas workers. As QuickBooks doesn’t support international payroll, you have to connect via another app to make transfers. If you use a lot of contractors for one-off projects, you can spend a lot of time manually entering the payment details. There also isn’t a dedicated QuickBooks plan for contractors like Gusto and Patriot offer.

However, QuickBooks Payroll impressed us with its intuitive interface and efficient workflow. There were no glitches or lags and the user reviews show you can rely on the software over time. What QuickBooks lacks in features, it makes up for in overall performance.

Bank Reconciliation

QuickBooks bank reconciliation report

Bank reconciliation is a crucial QuickBooks’ feature that ensures the accuracy of financial records, comparing transactions recorded in the software with those on bank statements to identify any discrepancies.

Besides saving time and reducing errors, automatically matching and reconciling transactions helps to uncover missing or incorrectly recorded transactions, ensuring that the financial data in the accounting software aligns with the actual bank account activity.

This also provides a clear overview of available funds, highlights potentially fraudulent activities, and enables businesses to generate precise financial reports for informed decision-making.

It should be noted that accurately resolving some discrepancies will require manual intervention, and handling large or complex datasets may present challenges. However, QuickBooks provides solutions, tutorials, and other forms of support to help users effectively address reconciliation issues and optimize the bank reconciliation process.

Tax Filing

A screenshot of Quickbooks payroll tax center

QuickBooks Payroll calculates and files your state and federal taxes from the lowest-cost plan. It takes care of all your staff’s withholdings so you can avoid human error and costly penalties. That’s essential for small businesses when the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) can charge over $5000 for inaccurate filings and cut into your revenue.

Even if you do incur a fine, the QuickBooks team pledges to pay for any of their mistakes and up to $25,000 of your own.

As QuickBooks Payroll integrates seamlessly with its own high-quality accounting and bookkeeping software, you can ensure compliance across all your accounts. If you opt for one of the higher price plans you also have the benefit of working with accounting professionals. There’s less risk of manually transferring the wrong data across platforms like you might with standalone software.

Inventory Management

QuickBooks inventory management

Offering a bit more than your basic inventory management, the QuickBooks feature enables businesses to track, organize, and manage their inventory efficiently. The SaaS platform provides tools to:

  • Manage inventory tracking
  • Record purchases and sales
  • Track the cost of goods sold (COGS)
  • Generate insightful reports for inventory analysis

You can create product and service items, set reorder points, and track stock movements to manage your inventory tracking effectively. We like that QuickBooks automatically adjusts inventory quantities as transactions are recorded, ensuring accurate stock information. You can easily generate inventory reports which offer businesses improved control over inventory.

This minimizes the risk of missing when it’s time to reorder inventory or overstocking, and streamlines order fulfillment, empowering businesses to make informed decisions regarding purchasing, pricing, and replenishment.

Integrations

QuickBooks Online’s integrations facilitate smooth connectivity between the platform and various third-party integrations through the utilization of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). The software can be integrated with over 750 apps like CRM systems, e-commerce platforms, and inventory management tools. This ensures businesses can harness the best tools suited to their specific requirements while simultaneously maintaining precise financial records.

Integrations include Square, Shopify, and Gusto. You can also find industry-specific integrations such as Buildertrend for construction businesses.

QuickBooks Online Customers Reviews

QuickBooks has a good reputation with an aggregate rating of 4.3/5 on G2 and 4.5/5 on Capterra. One key factor contributing to the SaaS program’s reputation is its long-standing presence in the market.

QuickBooks reviews generally say the software is easy to use and customizable. They also praise the customer support team for their expertise and responsiveness. Other features that QuickBooks users often praise are invoicing capabilities like batch invoicing and the ability to create purchase orders and customize invoices when you’re on the Advanced plan.

QuickBooks Online Review by online customer

What is QuickBooks Good For?

QuickBooks is one of the best small business accounting software on the market and its payroll works seamlessly when used together. Small to medium businesses who already have a QuickBooks Online account or want to use it as a one-stop shop will get the most out of the payroll and accounting software. When you connect all the platforms, the deep integrations offer small to medium businesses a lot of flexibility and control over their operations.

Alternatively, QuickBooks could be a great payroll software for small businesses with a limited tech stack. The flexible pricing plans give you a lot of room to scale and grow. You can decide whether to add other products or try alternative integrations as your needs change.

QuickBooks Alternatives

Comparing accounting software options is an essential step in finding the right solution for your business. By examining key features such as pricing, number of users, free versions, and money-back guarantees, you can make an informed decision based on your specific needs:

QuickBooks Online Gusto ADP Rippling
Best For Companies that already use QuickBooks Small businesses looking for a simple solution Companies that need a scalable solution Tech-savvy organizations that need customization
Starting Price Accounting: $30/month
Payroll: $75/month + $6/employee
$40/month + $6/employee Custom pricing Custom pricing
Free Trial ✅ – 30 days ✅ – Not for all plans
Standout Features Integrates well with other QuickBooks products

Tax penalty protection

Range of integrations

HR and people experience features

Payroll for solopreneurs

Local compliance support

Support for multiple pay rates

Modular pricing

Reporting ✅ – Custom ✅ – Custom ✅ – Custom ✅ – Custom
Mobile App ✅ – Requires QuickBooks Time for full access ✅ – Only for employees ✅ – For both employees and employers ✅ – For both employees and employers

Quickbooks vs Gusto

The main difference between the two platforms is that Gusto is a standalone software whereas QuickBooks has a range of other products.

Gusto is the better option if you need to connect to a variety of other solutions. It integrates with hundreds of other software including HR, time tracking, and collaboration apps.

However, if you need deep connections between your software, QuickBooks is the best fit. The company has an extensive range of products such as accounting, bookkeeping, and HR which can fit together seamlessly.

Find out more in QuickBooks vs Gusto, or check out our Gusto review.

QuickBooks vs ADP

Similar to QuickBooks, ADP has a wide range of business software that you can integrate with payroll. They both offer employee management and HR. However, QuickBooks is more focused on accounting whereas ADP has more IT and recruitment tools.

Both platforms also offer time and attendance. One advantage that QuickBooks has over ADP is that it combines time tracking with its payroll plans rather than keeping them separate.

Find out more in QuickBooks vs ADP, or check out our ADP review.

QuickBooks vs Rippling

Rippling has modular pricing for its range of features. Unlike QuickBooks, you can mix and match the HR, benefits administration, and employee management tools. You may prefer this if, for example, you don’t need extensive benefits and want to add them later.

However, if you have a strict budget, you may appreciate QuickBooks’ straightforward pricing plan. The tiered structure also makes it easier to add tools as you need them.

Find out more in our Rippling review.

Verdict – is QuickBooks Worth it?

QuickBooks Online, with its intuitive interface, rich functionality, and dedicated innovation, is the best accounting software and payroll solution for businesses across a plethora of industries. It offers comprehensive tools for streamlined accounting, expense tracking, bank reconciliation, payroll management, tax calculations, and reporting.

The software’s accessibility lets you manage your finances from anywhere, and its integration capabilities allow for effortless connections with various applications, expanding functionality. To top it off, the platform’s automation features automate repetitive tasks, improving productivity and accuracy.

QuickBooks boasts phenomenal reviews from users online, too. However, some do mention restrictions on user access, industry-specific availability, and certain features, like batch processing, require improvement.

Despite these, QuickBooks Online remains a highly regarded accounting solution. However, the decision ultimately depends on individual business requirements, preferences, and budget. Try the free 30-day trial now to determine if the software aligns with your specific needs.

How We Test Accounting & Payroll Software

If you want to understand how we reached our verdict, here are the steps we take to evaluate all our human resources software:

  • Pricing – We research the plans, compare them against other leading solutions, and consider their target market’s budget.
  • Features – Using the free trial, we run all the tools through different tests to see how they work. We consider whether they do everything the user needs and which situations they’d be best for.
  • Integrations – We check that the software connects with a range of different apps that the target market will need.
  • Automation – Both accounting and payroll software rely on auto calculation and categorization tools so we check their speed and accuracy.
  • Ease of use – We time how long it takes to use tools and see how this compares to other leading solutions. For beginners, we consider the amount of resources and support they have access to while they get started.
  • Third-Party Reviews – To see how the software performs in different contexts, we analyze hundreds of user reviews across sites like G2 and Reddit.

How to Choose the Best Accounting & Payroll Software

As there are many great options out there, you may be struggling to decide between QuickBooks and similar providers. Read our tips to help you finalize your decision:

  • Price – Check the software’s plans to see whether they provide all the essential tools for a competitive price. It’s important to explore all their offerings to ensure you’d get the same value from higher-cost plans if you upgraded.
  • Features – Get deeper into the specific features to see whether they do everything you need them to. You can read the company’s help pages or watch demo videos to learn more.
  • Scalability – Consider your future requirements and whether the platform can meet them. For example, it’s no use getting software that doesn’t support international payroll if you plan to explore foreign labor markets.
  • Ease of use – Look at how much time and expertise the platform requires. If the tools are intuitive, your team will learn how to use them more quickly and reap the benefits sooner.
  • Integrations – Make a list of all the software you use and plan to add to your tech stack. Your software should be able to connect with most of them so you can work seamlessly across platforms.
  • Customer support – Considering how issues may arise, especially in the early, prioritize a solution with robust customer service. They should offer a range of support so you can message them with non-urgent requests or call them about emergencies.

FAQs

Where are QuickBooks files stored?

Is it hard to learn how to use QuickBooks?

Is QuickBooks Online being phased out?

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How does QuickBooks Online work?

Rhiannon Stone
Technology Writer
Rhiannon Stone
Technology Writer

Rhiannon Stone is an experienced web content creator with over four years in the industry and graduated with an MA in English. Before she began working with Techopedia, she traveled the world teaching Business English where her students worked in sectors such as banking, manufacturing, and telecommunications. After teaching Rhiannon joined a publishing house where she started her writing career. Now, Rhiannon is based in Greece and specializes in writing in-depth reviews and thought-out comparison content within SaaS, HR, and accounting to help Techopedia readers make fully-informed choices.