Whether you are a business owner starting a brand new small business or moving your existing books online, we have several QuickBooks® Online subscription options to fit your needs as your business grows. Let’s review each subscription level of QuickBooks Online and associated cost to help you find the best version of QuickBooks for your small business.
QuickBooks Self-Employed is designed specifically for independent contractors and freelancers who file a Schedule C form with their 1040 at year-end.
In QuickBooks Self-Employed, you’ll securely import transactions from your bank accounts and credit cards to easily separate business versus personal transactions, categorizing business transactions to Schedule C tax categories as you go. QuickBooks will estimate quarterly tax payments and help you avoid late fees.
- Using the mobile app, QuickBooks Self-Employed can automatically track mileage without draining your phone’s battery. Snap photos of receipts and QuickBooks’ receipt capture tool will record your expenses, helping you maximize your deductions at tax time.
- Create and send invoices to track sales, with the option to turn on QuickBooks Payments to accept credit cards and bank transfers from customers, right within the invoice (additional fees apply).
- Invite your accountant to review your books at no additional cost, or connect to TurboTax to file your state and federal returns (additional fees may apply).
The cost of QuickBooks Self-Employed is $10 per month. You’ll be able to access the account anywhere with an internet connection. Customer Support is included and available via live chat and email. QuickBooks Self-Employed is a major upgrade for those who are currently tracking in Excel, storing receipts in shoeboxes, or have no system of organizing their business finances for Schedule-C form filing.
Although QuickBooks Self -Employed cannot be configured for other business types/tax forms, you can leverage IRS resources or work with an accounting professional if you are unsure of your filing requirements. In addition, QuickBooks Self- Employed is not a good fit for small businesses that manage open invoices and/or bills across customer and vendor lists, pay contractors or employees, track inventory, or need a custom chart of accounts with financial reporting. If these needs apply to your business, consider a different subscription level.
QuickBooks Online Simple Start is designed to support sole proprietors, LLCs, partnerships, and other types of small businesses because you can configure the chart of accounts with up to 250 accounts to meet your needs. However, it is a best fit for solo-entrepreneur small business owners with basic accounting needs.
- Use Simple Start to track income and expenses. Securely import transactions from your bank accounts and credit card accounts, and create custom rules to automatically add categorized transactions. QuickBooks connects with thousands of financial institutions, helping you reduce data entry and keep your books current.
- Simple Start allows for unlimited estimates, invoices, and sales receipts. You can enable the option to accept credit cards and bank transfer payments from customers by using QuickBooks Payments (additional fees apply). Use sales form templates to create custom invoices, with the option to track up to three custom fields. In Simple Start, you can track accounts receivable, run reports to track sales, and monitor cash flow.
- Sales Tax rates are also automatically calculated for you based on what you sell, where you are, and where you ship, helping you stay compliant and file your sales tax returns, right within QuickBooks.
- Upload, email, or take photos of your receipts and QuickBooks’ receipt capture tool will help you categorize expenses. You can create sales transactions on the go using the mobile app and easily track sales at a glance.
- Simple Start is for one user, but you can invite up to two accounting firms to review your books at no additional cost. Add on a payroll subscription to pay employees and 1099 contractors by 24-hour direct deposit and handle payroll taxes, right within QuickBooks (additional fees apply).
- Run 20+ reports to monitor the health of your business. Schedule reports to email automatically, even to users not on QuickBooks.
The cost of Simple Start is $20 per month. Customer support is included, and available via live chat and phone.
Simple Start is not a good fit for businesses that manage multiple users, track inventory, create purchase orders, track billable time and expenses, manage bills (accounts payable), track projects for job costing, create budgets, manage multiple currencies, or need more detailed reporting. If these needs apply to your business, consider a different subscription level.
QuickBooks Online Essentials has all of the features included in Simple Start, with extra functionality for businesses with more needs.
- Essentials supports managing multiple users. You can add three users and configure their access. In addition, you can invite employees and contractors to have time tracking-only access to enter their own hours. These users do not count against the three-user limit. Each user signs in with their own unique login credentials, while QuickBooks tracks who does what in its robust audit log.
- Hours can be entered for payroll and marked billable to pass thru to invoices. Easily run reports to see billable time by customer and review time entries.
- Enter your vendor bills and track accounts payable. Review and pay multiple bills at the same time. Detailed reports will display who you owe money to – and who owes you. You can add the option to pay vendor bills electronically with Bill Pay powered by Bill.com (additional fees apply).
- Essentials has the option to create recurring transactions, saving you time and energy. Invoices, sales receipts, bills, and more can be created automatically on a schedule, as a template, or you can tell QuickBooks to remind you to create them. This powerful automation will save you time.
- If you do business internationally, you can track income and expenses in multiple currencies. QuickBooks will automatically update exchange rates throughout the day.
- Run 40+ reports to monitor and measure the health of your business. Essentials offers detailed reports for more insights into your financials and the ability to share custom reports with other users.
The cost of Essentials is $40 per month. While double the price of Simple Start, you’ll have more users, the ability to manage and pay bills, time tracking and the option to mark time billable, as well as the option to automate transactions, manage multiple currencies, and double the number of reports to better understand your business.
Essentials is not a good fit for those who need to buy, sell, and track inventory, create purchase orders, mark expenses billable, track projects for job costing, or create budgets. If these needs apply to your business, consider subscribing to Plus.
QuickBooks Online Plus has the features included in Simple Start and Essentials, plus more functionality for small businesses with more complex needs. It’s the most popular subscription level.
- Plus supports managing multiple users. You can have up to five users and configure their access. You also can invite reports-only users to run reports, but not make changes. These users do not count toward the five-user limit.
- If you have segments of your business that you want to keep a close eye on and compare, you can turn on classes and location tracking, add up to 40 combined classes and locations, and assign them to transactions.
- If you buy and sell products, you can track inventory using first-in, first out (FIFO) valuation and easily review quantity on hand. Create purchase orders, receive products via payment or bill, and monitor stock status. Run reports for stock counts and create inventory adjustments, as needed.
- For businesses that perform work for customers by job with Project Profitability. Plus allows you to organize income, expenses, and time by project-by-project, as well as measure the profitability of the work performed. This job costing functionality helps you know which projects are helping your business grow. Plus also allows you to mark expenses as billable to pass through to customers and projects.
- Create budgets to plan the year ahead and monitor income and expenses. Run budget vs. actual reports to measure performance.
- Plus includes 65+ reports to monitor and measure the health of your business.
The cost of QuickBooks Online Plus is $70 per month. While $30 more than Essentials, you have the ability to add more users, track transactions by class and location, manage inventory, track jobs with Project Profitability, budgeting, and even more reports.
QuickBooks Online Plus is not a good fit for businesses with more than 250 active accounts, more than 40 classes and locations, and the need to manage more than five users. If these needs apply to your business, consider subscribing to Advanced.
QuickBooks Online Advanced is the newest subscription level in the QuickBooks family. It includes the features in Simple Start, Essentials, and Plus, with additional features for a growing business approaching mid-market size. You can set up a chart of accounts with unlimited number of accounts to meet the needs of your business.
- Advanced has even more controls for multiple users. Advanced supports up to 25 users and up to three accounting firms. User permissions can be narrowed for the 25 users to better delegate work and restrict visibility. You can also invite time tracking and reports-only users, which do not count toward the 25-user limit.
- Accelerated invoicing allows you to create multiple invoices at once for batch processing to multiple customers, or import hundreds of invoices at once via excel import. Both functions allow you to manage higher volume in a fraction of the time.
- Advanced allows for unlimited classes and location tracking, enabling you to track transactions across even more business segments. You can also create and manage up to 10 custom fields to track more information at the customer or transaction level. Customize your reports to get deeper insights across these areas.
- Advanced includes a subscription to Fathom—a $468 per year value. Fathom is a powerful financial analysis and reporting app that helps you assess business performance, monitor trends, and identify opportunities. You’ll have interactive tools and visual dashboards, along with options to compare financial and non-financial data. Fathom lets you create customized, visually engaging management report packages.
- To help you along the way, Advanced offers Priority Circle support. You’ll have a dedicated customer success manager to connect you with the right resources. When you call in, you’ll be routed to the front of the line and connect with our top agents. Advanced also includes five online QuickBooks courses—a $2,000 value—to help you and your team learn QuickBooks Online.
QuickBooks Online Advanced is $150 per month. While $80 higher than Plus, Advanced has 20 more users, an unlimited chart of accounts, class, and location lists, accelerated invoicing, the ability to track 10 custom fields (Simple Start, Essentials and Plus are limited to three), a subscription to Fathom for advanced reporting and analytics, and Priority Circle benefits.
A few things to keep in mind
All subscription levels of QuickBooks Online allow you to securely access your books from anywhere you can connect to the internet. There’s nothing to install, no servers or data files to maintain, and no backups needed. Many small business owners report a reduction in IT expenses (and fewer IT headaches!) when they work on the cloud.
To use many features of QuickBooks Online on your mobile device, sign in from your web browser and download the QuickBooks app from the Apple store or Google Play. Multiple users can be signed in at the same time without any complicated network setup or expensive hosting service. Simply sign in and run your business.
You can switch plans or cancel at any time, allowing you to adjust to fit new business needs as you grow. In addition, third-party apps can be connected to make QuickBooks Online even more powerful, some of which you may already be using in your business. Apps.com showcases a variety of tools that work with QuickBooks Online.
Get current pricing and promotions; if you work with an accounting professional, you may want to speak with your accountant or bookkeeper prior to signing up for any possible discounts or packages. Many accounting professionals also offer set up services, ongoing support, and advisory services to help your small business work successfully on QuickBooks.