- Free Plan: /
- Free Trial: 30 days
- Number of App Integrations: 650+
- Mobile App: Android, iOS
- Customer Support: Free UK phone support, live chat
- Free Plan: /
- Free Trial: 30 days
- Number of App Integrations: 650+
- Mobile App: Android, iOS
- Customer Support: Free UK phone support, live chat
Businesses with few employees
- No software installation required
- Intuitive and user-friendly interface
- Invoice customisation
- Dedicated self-employment package
- Built-in payroll solution
- A limited number of users
- No 24/7 customer support
Intuit’s QuickBooks Online is cloud-based accounting software that helps small businesses manage their finances. With its comprehensive features and user-friendly interface that makes it simple to track expenses, invoices, and payments, QuickBooks Online is the go-to accounting application for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
In this QuickBooks Online review, we’ll look at some of the key benefits of using this accounting software and explain how it can help you grow your business.
What Is QuickBooks Online?
QuickBooks Online is popular web-based financial management software designed to help small and mid-sized businesses automate their accounting process.
Developed by Intuit, a market-leading business software company, QuickBooks Online boasts a robust feature set, flexible pricing, an intuitive user interface, and 650+ app integrations. It was made to help businesses stay on top of their finances by completing various tasks — from basic billing and invoicing to project management and tax calculations.
QuickBooks has a long track record and was one of the first accounting software to move to the cloud. The desktop version of the software was first introduced as far back as 1983, while its online counterpart, which we will cover in this review, was first launched in 2001. The QuickBooks UK version of the software was released in 2011.
As a web-based solution, QuickBooks Online can be accessed from any internet-connected device, with no software installation required.
How Does QuickBooks Online Work?
When you sign up for an account, you will enter the QuickBooks Online dashboard. Navigation is easy, thanks to the navigation bar on the left, from where you can access all QuickBooks’ features.
If you’ve been using a different online accounting solution, you can immediately import your existing CSV/Excel files into QuickBooks. That way, you will avoid the hassle of adding all of your customers, suppliers, employees, and other data manually.
When you log into your account, the first thing you see is your company name and logo, along with shortcuts to some of the day-to-day tasks you will complete with QuickBooks Online.
Clicking on the Business Overview option allows you to connect a bank account to see cash flow. That will give you an overview of the amount of money moving in and out of your business and allow you to see a future cash flow forecast.
The forecast is based on recurring transactions and expenses, and it’s not 100% accurate. However, it is still a useful tool if you want a rough estimate of what lies ahead for your business.
If you scroll down, you’ll see a list of all the people you do business with, such as your customers, employees, and suppliers. For example, adding customers will let you track invoices and see who owes you money. Similarly, you can also import your clients and track to who you owe money.
From the navigation bar, you can also set up taxes, view your banking transactions, reconcile your account, and manage your chart of accounts.
Clicking on the “+” icon at the top of the navigation bar lets you create everything from invoices, sales receipts, and bills to weekly timesheets and bank deposits.
Finally, from the gear icon on the far right of the dashboard, you can access your account settings, lists, and several advanced accounting tools (for example, export and import data, budgeting, and audit log). There is also a handy search icon that lets you search for customers, suppliers, reports, transactions, etc.
Your account can be displayed in two ways — business view and accountant view. Users who are brand new to accounting typically get the business view by default. Still, you can switch between the two whenever you want to.
All these options may seem overwhelming at first, but luckily, QuickBooks makes everything simple and streamlined. All the options are clearly laid out, making it easy to find your way around.
QuickBooks Online Main Features
Invoices and Estimates
Invoice creation is a key feature of any online accounting application. An invoice is a payment request for a customer issued by the seller of a particular service, detailing the service sold, the amount owed and when it is due.
The process of creating an invoice with QuickBooks Online is simple and smooth. Here are some of the options you will get when creating your invoice:
- Add shipping costs, discounts, deposits, and custom tracking numbers
- Choose from six invoice templates and customise them to your preference
- Add messages and attachments to invoices
- Create recurring invoices you can automatically send on a weekly or monthly basis
- Translate invoices into five different languages (Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, and Portuguese)
If you sign up for the QuickBooks Payments service, you can also create invoices customers can pay directly with PayPal and Direct Debit.
QuickBooks also allows you to turn the estimates you send to your customers into invoices and send them by email.
Connecting Your Bank Account
Connecting your bank account to QuickBooks Online will allow you to accurately track your business’s financial transactions, get cash flow updates and forecasts, and save a lot of time on data entry.
Connecting your bank account will also let you set up pre-configured bank rules that automatically assign your bank transactions into the proper categories.
Luckily, QuickBooks Online can connect to most major UK banks, and new banks are constantly added to that list.
You can use QuickBooks Online to track your expenses and see how much you spend on business-related costs. The software organises your bills and receipts and automatically matches them to your transactions, saving you countless hours of admin time and manual data entry.
QuickBooks Online has superb tax planning features. The software is recognised by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), allowing users to submit their VAT returns online in line with HMRC’s Making Tax Digital regulations.
If you are a freelancer or self-employed worker, you will also benefit from the Self-Assessment Tax Return feature. QuickBooks Online automatically calculates your tax liability based on the information you input, allowing you to file your tax return to HMRC confidently.
QuickBooks Online is one of the few online accounting applications with a built-in payroll service. For an extra monthly fee, the QuickBooks Payroll service will handle all your employees’ payrolls, generate payslips, as well as submit Full Payment Submission to HMRC.
There are two payroll plans on offer — Standard Payroll and Advanced Payroll, coming at £4 and £8 a month, respectively.
Here are the key features you will get if you subscribe to the Payroll service.
- HMRC-Recognised Payroll
- Ability to pay employees on a weekly and/or monthly basis (+ fortnightly, 4-weekly, quarterly, and annually for Payroll Advanced users)
- Automatic calculations of maternity, paternity, and sick pay (+ adoption and parental bereavement for Payroll Advanced users)
- Automatic pension submissions to Nest (+ The People’s Pension, Smart Pension, Aviva, and NOW Pension for Payroll Advanced users)
- Automatic pension submission to Nest (+ The People’s Pension, Smart Pension, Aviva, and NOW Pension for Payroll Advanced users)
Third-Party App Integrations
QuickBooks Online currently integrates with over 650 popular business applications. These integrations serve to automate business processes and increase the software’s functionality.
There is an app integration for virtually any service you can think of, including invoicing, bookkeeping, data entry, inventory, and more. Note that QuickBooks Online integrates with Stripe, allowing you to import your Stripe transactions automatically.
There is also a PayPal integration that lets you accept payments and send invoices directly from QuickBooks Online. Premium integrations include HubSpot, Salesforce, DocuSign, Bill.com, and LeanLaw, to name a few. You can find all integrations in the App section of the QuickBooks Online dashboard.
QuickBooks Online Mobile App
For users who want to manage their business on the go, there is also a handy mobile app available for Android and iOS devices. The QuickBooks mobile app automatically syncs any changes you make while on the move across all your devices.
The most notable feature of the QuickBooks app is its ability to scan receipts, saving you the hassle of entering them manually. You take pictures of your receipts and upload them into QuickBooks (or simply take a picture within the app), after which the app extracts the vital information and creates an expense.
QuickBooks Online Customer Support
The level of customer support you get depends on your QuickBooks subscription. The Simple Start, Essentials, and Plus plans provide free UK phone support. The QuickBooks support team is available Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 7 pm. The Sole Trader plans come with free chat support, which is available from 8 am to midnight on weekdays and from 8 am to 8 pm on weekends.
QuickBooks Online also has an extensive knowledge base with a number of video tutorials that make it easier to get up to speed with the platform.
QuickBooks Online Pricing
QuickBooks Online is reasonably priced, offering three plans for limited companies and two plans for sole traders or freelancers. You can try out each of these plans for free for 30 days before committing to a subscription.
The Limited Company plans are called Simple Start, Essentials, and Plus. They range from £12 to £32 a month. Plans geared at freelancers are cheaper, ranging from £8 to £12 a month.
These prices are also very frequently discounted. At the time of writing this QuickBooks Online review, there was a huge 50% discount for the first six months of using the software, provided you purchase instantly, without trying the QuickBooks free trial first.
Here is an overview of each of the plans offered.
Simple Start Plan
The Simple Start plan is perfect for small businesses that are just getting started and only need basic accounting features. The plan costs £12 per month and allows you to:
- Manage expenses and income
- Create and send invoices that can be paid instantly
- Submit VAT return directly to HMRC
- Automatically track mileage
- Snap and sort receipts
- Preparing self-assessment tax forms
- Get Income Tax and National Insurance estimates
- Automatically import, reconcile, and categorise transactions
- Create customised reports
You’ll also get a 90-day cash flow forecast and free UK phone support.
The Essentials plan is geared towards growing businesses that work with suppliers. It costs £22 per month and includes everything in the Simple Start plan, plus:
- Importing and managing bills from suppliers
- Ability to track employee time
- 145+ currencies
- Three users
At £32 per month, the Plus plan is QuickBooks Online’s most expensive plan. It is aimed at businesses managing stock, projects, VAT, and Income Tax. It includes everything in the Simple Start and Essential plans, adding the following possibilities:
- Setting up and managing your stock
- Seeing the profitability of projects
- Setting monthly, quarterly and annual budgets
- Five users
The self-employed plan costs £8 a month and is aimed at sole traders who are not VAT registered. Most notably, it allows freelancers to prepare Self Assessments, get Income Tax estimates, import bank transactions automatically, and manage their income and expenses.
Simple Start Sole Trader Plan
The Simple Start Sole Trader plan is geared toward freelancers who need to manage VAT, Income Tax, and expenses and costs £12 a month. It comes with roughly the same features as the Self-employed, but it also includes:
- The Making Tax Digital ready option
- The ability to submit VAT directly to HMRC
- Free UK phone support
QuickBooks Online Alternatives
QuickBooks Online vs Xero
Xero is another cloud-based account software program. Like QuickBooks Online, it is a robust and fully featured accounting solution, including everything from billing and invoicing to tax planning and inventory management. It is also similarly priced to QuickBooks Online, with plans ranging from £12 to £33 per month.
Xero also provides 24/7 customer support, but you will not find phone support among its support options. By comparison, QuickBooks provides free UK phone support with all its plans.
Unlike QuickBooks Online, Xero doesn’t impose limits on the number of users you can invite into an organisation, making it an excellent option for businesses with multiple users. However, if you have few employees but have more complex transaction demands, QuickBooks Online is the obvious choice.
QuickBooks Online vs FreshBooks
FreshBooks Online is another alternative to QuickBooks Online, popular among small businesses in the UK. FreshBooks includes an unlimited number of users with its two top tires, while QuickBooks only allows for a maximum of five users with its highest-priced plan.
However, FreshBooks does charge an additional £7 per person per month for each additional user you add to your organisation.
FreshBooks has some of the best invoice creation tools on the market, allowing users to preview invoices before sending them, automatically calculate taxes, and choose from several currencies.
Pricewise, these accounting websites are pretty much the same, with FreshBooks’ prices ranging from £11 to £30, currently available at a massive 70% discount.
However, QuickBooks Online is the better option for freelancers. This is because Freshbook doesn’t offer a self-employed package equivalent to the QuickBooks Sole Trader plans.
If you are looking for a quick and easy way to keep track of your finances, QuickBooks Online is a great option. The software is user-friendly and has all the features you need to manage your money effectively. You can even access it from your smartphone or tablet, so you can stay on top of your finances no matter where you are.
Did this QuickBooks Online review convince you to try this accounting software? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below.
QuickBooks Online is not difficult to learn. The software is designed for small businesses and offers a knowledge base along with a number of training resources (video tutorials, webinars, etc.).
Yes, QuickBooks Online is user-friendly. The main dashboard is intuitive and easy to navigate, with all the options clearly laid out. Even if you haven’t used an online account software before, you’ll be able to get the hang of QuickBooks Online quickly.
Yes, QuickBooks Online has a monthly subscription fee. The Simple Start plan costs £12 per month, the Essentials plan costs £22 per month, and the Plus plan costs £32 per month. There are also two plans aimed at freelancers, costing £8 and £12 per month, respectively. QuickBooks Online also offers a free trial so that you can try the software before committing to a subscription.
Yes, QuickBooks Online is easy to set up. All you need to do to sign up to the platform is enter your email address, create a password, and provide some basic information about your business. QuickBooks Online will then take you through the process of setting up your account step-by-step.