Which version of Quickbooks Online should I use?

by Denai Wolfe

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Today’s post is something that’s close to my CFO heart – how to know which version of Quickbooks Online is the best for you and your business!

If you’ve followed me for a while, you will know just how much I love Quickbooks Online. It is my favorite accounting software, with great capabilities to automate your accounting process. 

But I know for some people, the thought of bookkeeping and business finance management can be incredibly overwhelming. 

I believe in keeping things as simple and easy as possible. This post will break down the differences between all the versions.

If you decide to give Quickbooks Online a try, you can access it here (disclaimer: this is an affiliate link, so I will earn a small commission when you sign up.)

So, what IS Quickbooks Online?

Bookkeeping is an essential part of running a successful business. It’s the process of organizing your financial transactions.

What Quickbooks does is make the entire organization process easy!

There are 4 versions of Quickbooks Online, which I will run through for you. But first I want to talk about a fifth version: Quickbooks Self Employed.

This version can be confusing, because it’s not a desktop version – it’s purely an app, and is a totally separate product. While it can help you import and organize transactions, and track mileage, it doesn’t grow with your company.

If you’re managing your business finances and making strategic business decisions, your company will of course grow! Quickbooks Self Employed is a very minimalist approach to accounting. 

When the time comes that you’re ready to outsource your bookkeeping (which I am always happy to help with, by the way!) you won’t be able to add that extra user. You’ll have reporting issues, and you can’t simply upgrade.

I strongly urge you to build your business in a way that will allow for growth – think of accounting as if you’re running a multimillion dollar company! Quickbooks Self Employed just won’t have the functionality for that.

So, let’s get into the different Quickbooks options available for your business!

Quickbooks Online Simple Start

Simple Start is the first tier of Quickbooks Online. It allows you to:

  • Track income and expenses
  • Invoice customers
  • Generate simple reports, such as profit/loss balance sheets
  • Track mileage (which you can do from your phone)

The downside to Simple Start is that it only allows for one user. This might be fine for the start of your business, but when you are at the stage of outsourcing your bookkeeping, you’ll need to bear this in mind.

Quickbooks Online Essentials

This is the next tier in Quickbooks Online, and it has all the features of Simple Start. 

But here’s where it begins to shine. Quickbooks Online Essentials allows you to also:

  • Have up to three users
  • Track staff time
  • Manage and pay your bills online!

Being able to easily track the bills you owe – your Accounts Payable – is really powerful. Not only can you pull a report that shows you exactly what you owe, you can pay those bills through Quickbooks with the simple click of a button! 

No more writing checks or using third party software for bills!

Quickbooks Online Essentials is, essentially, a complete bill management software.

Quickbooks Online Plus

Moving up yet another tier in the Quickbooks Online options, we have Quickbooks Online Plus. This is the company’s most popular version, and the one I use for The Chic CFO.  

Quickbooks Online Plus allows you to have up to five users, and contains all the features of Quickbooks Essentials. But here’s where it stands out in helping you make strategic business decisions: it allows you to tag financial transactions into a different class or location.

As an example, I offer Done For You virtual CFO services, and I have digital products. I have these set up as two different classes within my Quickbooks Online Plus.

I am able to tag revenue and expenses for my SERVICES and my PRODUCTS into different classes, and see exactly how much profit I am making from each area of my business. This allows me to make decisions on where I am going to invest in marketing – the area that yields a higher profit margin.

Quickbooks Online Plus also allows you to set up budgeting reports to keep on top of your money management too.

A quick PSA though: if bookkeeping is really not your thing, if you’re struggling to keep on top of it and you’re not outsourcing, QBO Plus is not for you. Sure, it’s completely awesome for  my business and where I’m at. But the extra money you’d pay for it is not going to be worth it if you’re not utilizing the extra features. 

You will likely find Essentials covers everything you need.

There is one further option for Quickbooks Online that I want to cover, although it might not be relevant for your business yet…

Quickbooks Online Advanced

I want to be straight up here – this is designed for much bigger companies than most small business owners are running.

  • It allows for up to 25 users, has some great workflow tools and also allows for an assistant to approve and pay bills on your behalf.
  • QBO Advanced allows you to track inventory too, and alerts you when stock is dropping so you can order more.
  • It will also give you a more high-level of financial reporting.

However, it’s the type of software aimed at companies that are bringing in $2m, $3m or more per year.

In my opinion, most small business owners will benefit from Quickbooks Essentials. While not as popular as QBO Plus, it will cover everything you need without the added bells and whistles – especially if you prefer to DIY your bookkeeping. My FREE Profit Plan tool will definitely help you get started!

Again, you can access and purchase the appropriate version of Quickbooks Online for your business through my affiliate link here. 

Hopefully this post has helped you decide that you can benefit from using Quickbooks Online for your financial accounting software, and has helped you choose the right option for you. You can watch the live training I did on this over on YouTube, and you can always message me with any questions!

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Denai Wolfe with laptop

My name is Denai Wolfe and I’m dedicated to helping big thinking entrepreneurs increase their profits and decrease their stress. I’m laser-focused on turning your passion into profits. When it comes to business I have one core truth – If it doesn’t make money, it doesn’t make sense.