Midsize business

4 key cloud ERP accounting features in QuickBooks Online Advanced

Ask 10 different people about their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system experience and you’ll likely get 10 different answers—including good, bad, and downright ugly. While ERP platforms are accounting systems designed to support multiple business functions within a central database—from sales and marketing to human resources and accounting—they can be overwhelming to set up, learn, and manage and can be exceptionally costly. For many, the overall ERP implementation experience can feel more like an albatross than a silver bullet.

At the end of the day, however, growing businesses (from large to small businesses) require the power of ERP solutions to capture and integrate multiple data points and processes, produce detailed reports, and automate workflows end-to-end. Also mission-critical is the ability to readily access real-time insights that support on-demand decision-making.

The good news is that full-scale, high-price-tag ERP systems aren’t the only option for business owners. QuickBooks Online Advanced, the most powerful cloud-based QuickBooks solution, offers key ERP functionality with a proven, intuitive user interface. Like an ERP, Advanced acts as the “nerve center” of an organization—integrating and automating essential financial and operational functions and providing a wealth of data insights across general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, financial statements, income statements, and financial reports.

Advanced offers so much more than an accounting solution. With sophisticated features to streamline business processes, enhance financial management, and provide deeper insight into business intelligence, you get the benefits of ERP with the familiarity and intuitiveness of your core accounting software.

Keep reading to learn how to use QuickBooks Online Advanced like an ERP and why it’s the best choice for your business needs.

Feature 1: Custom financial reporting and views

As a business grows, the number of data points and processes increase as well. And as operations become more complex, reporting can be difficult or even ineffectual. Business leaders require a system that offers custom reporting and views for full visibility into operations across departments and roles.

The system’s advanced Custom Report Builder answers this need. This feature of QuickBooks Advanced allows users to select the data they want to see and create the reports that are most impactful to their business. Reports can be filtered, grouped, and summarized to highlight the KPIs and data that is essential and unique to each customer’s operation. With custom reports in hand, business owners can easily identify and showcase critical information that provides deeper insights and supports informed, data-driven decisions.

With Advanced, you can still create familiar, traditional accounting reports like balance sheets and cash flow statements. However, the Custom Report Builder tool enables you to move beyond these standard models to build your own business-specific and industry-specific reports.

Gaining a deeper understanding of your enterprise is possible with Advanced. Consider a few key features:

  • Add custom fields as columns in reports to easily track key details about each transaction or line item. You can also quickly reorder columns as needed.
  • Sort data to organize and scan reports with greater efficiency. Sort in ascending or descending order to further manage data views. Your sort takes effect instantly.
  • Group data to see the activity and totals for the same type of item in one place. This feature allows you to drill down into the exact data set you want and in the order you want.
  • Filter data points to isolate the data required. This allows you to create reporting that is multi-dimensional and exceptionally organized. The system offers unlimited classes for granular filters and unlimited charts of accounts for broader filters.

You don’t need a high-priced ERP to make reporting easy. QuickBooks Online Advanced offers custom report capabilities to help you monitor specific data across sales forms, purchase orders, customer profiles, and more to track what’s important to your business—from sales and projects to unique classes, departments, and detailed customer information.

QuickBooks Online Advanced allows you to track the data that matters most to you with ease and efficiency. With Advanced, you get all the muscle of an ERP system—without the excessive cost and implementation complexity.

Feature 2: User roles and permissions management software

As a business grows, presumably, so does its staff. This requires more control over who sees what. With QuickBooks Online Advanced, you can easily control user access when you take advantage of the software’s flexible ERP-like features for custom roles and user permissions.

Over time, different employees may need access to sensitive financial data. To ensure you maintain full control of who sees what, Advanced provides several options, including the following:

  • Role-based access control allows you to manage who has access to what data and from where. You control what users can do within different areas of QuickBooks—such as banking, sales, payroll expenses, reports, and inventory. Easily configure access for individual team members or assign roles across multiple employees.

  • Predefined roles enable you to choose from a set of predetermined roles and permission levels that range from sales and expense managers to admin and basic time tracking. This is a fast and efficient way to set up a new user role when customization is not required.

  • Accountant seats allow you to give access to outside accountants and auditors—limiting access to only the data they require. Data can be accessed by outside parties using a QuickBooks Online account and permission. You can assign up to three seats for compliance or audits.

Offering preset and customizable roles and permissions, QuickBooks Online Advanced is packed with options to help you manage access to data across business operations, departments, and roles. Consider the following:

  • Sales: Those assigned as Sales users (without location restrictions) have access to all sales transactions, customers, invoices, and estimates. When location restrictions are set, the user is limited to the Sales role only and is unable to receive payments, create weekly timesheets, and import CSV files.

  • Expenses: This role allows access to all expense transactions and vendors, checks, and bills. Standard limitations include the inability to set up new tax agencies or change tax settings, view bank registers, write checks, create transactions via checks, and change details of bill payment records.

  • Banking: Offers access to all banking transactions as well as to sales, expenses, and lists. To help keep your books in order, it’s common to also give access to sales transactions.

  • Inventory: Users at this level can view and edit existing product and services lists, manage categories, adjust inventory, view existing inventory accounts (asset, adjustment, income, and expense), and view and update vendor details. This role is restricted from such actions as preparing 1099s, adding new inventory accounts, and running reports.

  • Workers: Offers access to payroll (with a payroll subscription), employees and contractors, workers’ comp, and benefits. This role also gets access to expenses and lists. Other common user capabilities include adding employees, changing payroll schedules, viewing payroll reports and paycheck lists, completing timesheets for anyone, and paying contractors. Worker-level users are restricted from such items as viewing bank information, creating journal entries, and performing home currency adjustments.

  • Reports: Users have access to common sales and customer reports such as sales performance, product/service list, and terms list. Users can also access expense and vendor reports such as accounts payable, bill payment list, vendor balance, check detail, expenses by vendor summary, purchases by product/service detail and vendor detail, transaction list by vendor, and vendor contact list.

  • Account management: This level of user can make changes to your company name, type, contact info, and address. Users can also view or manage your company’s subscription in QuickBooks.

Whether you need to add a new role, edit access to an existing role, or deactivate a user’s role, you can quickly accomplish these tasks in QuickBooks Online Advanced. With Advanced, work like you have an ERP implemented—without the expense and complexity of a full-scale suite.

Feature 3: Financial management system with automated workflows

Automation is at the core of a well-run, highly efficient business—especially as a dynamic organization grows. ERPs provide the ability to automate repeatable business tasks like accounting, payroll, order processing, invoicing, and reporting. And when the financial aspect of the business runs properly, it positions the whole enterprise to operate like a well-oiled machine.

Automating accounting processes minimizes time spent on manual data entry, reduces errors, and bolsters productivity company-wide. QuickBooks Online Advanced serves as a business’s accounting hub—a central workspace for automating accounting workflows end-to-end.

Using the Workflow feature in Advanced enables you to automate common tasks like sending customer payment reminders and task reminders to staff to keep work moving forward. You can also set up multiple workflows of the same type (customers or team) to run simultaneously. For example, run multiple payment received workflows for different sets of customers.

The following are specific examples of common workflow uses for customers and your team.

Workflows for customers:

  • Automatically launch unsent invoices: Automate the tedious process of unsent customer invoice execution.
  • Send batch invoices: Automate the company’s accounts receivable and accounts payable function with batch invoicing.
  • Payment received: Automatically email customers to let them know you received their payment.
  • Payment due reminder: Automatically email customers to alert them that an invoice is due soon.
  • Overdue invoice memo: Automatically update an invoice message with an overdue or customized stamp.

Workflows for your team:

  • Invoice approval: Automatically create a task and send a notification to your team when a new invoice requires approval.
  • Unsent invoice reminder: Send helpful reminders to yourself or your team about unsent customer invoices.
  • Pay vendor reminder: Send helpful reminders to yourself or your team when a vendor bill is due.
  • Bank deposit reminder: Send helpful reminders to yourself or your team to record bank deposits.
  • Run reports: Generate and distribute reports across departments and roles as needed to deliver full visibility into financial information.
  • Bill Approvals: Take control of your accounts payable with bill approval workflows.

QuickBooks Online Advanced also supports setup of complex rules and conditional reminders to further enhance and automate accounting workflows. Complex rules allow you to apply logic that triggers actions when a set of criteria is met. This prevents critical to-dos from slipping through the cracks. It also helps eliminate chasing down employees and customers to complete tasks via outdated communication vehicles such as email and phone calls.

Within the system, you can choose between templated or custom workflows. Templated workflows include key reminders and actions, including:


  • Pay vendor
  • Invoice due
  • Bank deposit
  • Unsent invoices


  • Receiving payment protocol
  • Overdue invoice memos
  • Send unsent invoices
  • Automation is essential to how successful businesses operate. It’s what eases growing pains, mitigates inefficiencies, and supports budgeting and pricing decisions. With QuickBooks Online Advanced, you can automate your accounting function with ease and run your business with confidence. Advanced positions your business for success—without the weighty and expensive full-scale ERP features you don’t need.

Feature 4: Sync with purpose-built applications

With QuickBooks Online Advanced, you can tailor your software to work seamlessly with a growing suite of best-in-class apps, add ons, and purpose-built integrations offering exclusive capabilities available only in Advanced. With Advanced’s Premium Apps, your QuickBooks becomes a hub for managing all of the workflows that help you work smarter and grow faster—all from one place.

  • Bill.comGet more financial control over your accounts payable with customized workflows for faster and easier bill pay approvals. Advanced has deep linking between bills in Bill.com and QuickBooks, reducing steps and increasing the ease of use.

  • HubSpot: HubSpot for QuickBooks integrates your customer relationship management (CRM) and financial management solutions, enabling sales and finance teams to work together more efficiently. With Advanced’s HubSpot integration, set up automated workflows to move invoices from draft to approval.

  • SalesforceThe Salesforce Connector by QuickBooks seamlessly integrates data between Salesforce and QuickBooks. Built by QuickBooks exclusively for Advanced users.

  • DocuSign: DocuSign eSignature for QuickBooks Online Advanced is a software solution that streamlines processes for growing businesses. Easily sign, send, and manage digital documents directly from Advanced.

A software system that works with and for you

The nature of an on-premise ERP system is that data is entered one time and made available across an organization. It’s the solution for automating workflows, providing detailed reporting, and ensuring full visibility into data and processes across the business. This is how QuickBooks Online Advanced works as a native cloud-based system and what it can do for your business.

With features like custom reporting and views, user roles and permissions, and workflows, Advanced operates like an ERP—without the high price tag and complex implementation. Data from 2021 G2 software reviews of Advanced show customers are more likely to recommend QuickBooks Online Advanced over ERP vendors, thanks to our quality customer support, ease of setup, robust reporting, and customization. With Advanced, you get the power of an ERP with the familiarity of a proven and tested SaaS solution. QuickBooks Online Advanced is designed to grow with your business.

Learn how QuickBooks Online Advanced can give your business the power of ERP software with the intuitive interface of QuickBooks—without the high price tag or complex implementation required with other ERP providers. Learn more.

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