QuickBooks Online Basic Compared to QuickBooks Online Plus

By Sandor Lenner,CPA

QuickBooks Online has three levels of online accounting solutions packages: Free, Basic, and Plus. After making your decision to use QuickBooks Online, the next step is to decide between QuickBooks Online Basic and QuickBooks Online Plus. This article will address the differences between the two alternatives. Any accounting solution should be tailored to the kind of business you operate. There is also a free version of QuickBooks, however because of its limited functionality it was not considered for this analysis. However, the free version does a provide a good introduction to QuickBooks with some limitations such as five customers. However, it's good if you want to write up a full years transactions with out customer and vendor history. You should give it a try by going to Intuit's website. For purposes of clarity I will abbreviate QuickBooks Online Basic as "BASIC" and QuickBooks Online Plus as "PLUS". Each significant difference between the two alternatives is discussed below.

The following capabilities work only with Plus:

Importing -By using Plus, you are able to import your Simple Start Edition,QuickBooks Online basic, QuickBooks Pro or Premier Edition file(s) to PLUS only. Unfortunately, this type of import capability does not work with a Mac.

Estimates - Estimates are important to avoid misunderstandings and can be created and then seamlessly imported to an invoice for billing. This feature is only available in PLUS.

Online Banking - With online banking, transactions downloaded into QuickBooks directly from your financial institution only in PLUS. You only have to review them instead of entering them from scratch. When you download an electronic statement, QuickBooks compares it to the transactions already in QuickBooks and identifies discrepancies. It helps you manage your cash flow, because you always know which checks have cleared your banking account, you also know how much money you have available.

Exporting - You can export transactions and balances to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet only in PLUS. This is a very important feature, since it adds greater reporting capabilities. It gives you flexibility is obtaining and analyzing different types of financial data .

Class tracking - Within Plus classes provide a system for categorizing transactions that goes beyond the normal ways of assigning transactions to expense or income accounts. With classes, you can categorize each detail line on a transaction. This lets you write one check to the office supply store for items bought for two different business units and still track the business unit for those purchases. For example, suppose you have a consulting business and an installation business. Class tracking is ideal for you if it is typical to have purchases and sales that include both types of work. By specifying the appropriate class on each detail line, you can run a Profit & Loss by Class report that will tell you if your consulting business is more or less profitable than the installation business.

Business tracking - With PLUS you can categorize data from different locations, offices, regions, or outlets of your company. You are able to assign each transaction to a business. By assigning a business to each transaction as you enter it, you can later see businesses on reports with great detail and clarity. Assigning businesses also lets you efficiently manage groups of transactions.

Time tracking - This feature is only in PLUS and allows you to enter your time into a timesheet for fee for service business i.e. consultants, freelancers, architects,sole proprietors, etc.

Invoicing - Adding fields to track more information on transaction forms is only in PLUS. You can create your own custom fields to include on sales forms.

Reporting and Financial Statements - With BASIC you receive 40 standard financial reports. However, with PLUS you get over 65 standard financial reports and customization and formatting options. If you are interested in a very detailed analysis in a chart format of the reporting differences, please got to Intuit's knowledge base for comparison of the QuickBooks Online Products.

Budgeting - You can use a budget to estimate future income and expenses. Moreover, PLUS budgets' uses a format similar to a spreadsheet, with a horizontal row for each of your income and expense accounts, and vertical columns for each month or quarter. This feature is only in PLUS

1099 Reporting - The IRS requires you to issue a 1099-MISC form to workers for nonemployee compensation if the payer is a trade or business and the payments are to a noncorporate entity were $600 or more for services rendered.This feature is only in PLUS

Number of Users - BASIC provides access for you and your accountant (2 users). Whereas PLUS provides access for 3 users PLUS your accountant(4 users). Plus can be expanded to 25 users for an additional cost.

QuickBooks Support - BASIC includes email support which is provided by Intuit whereas PLUS includes callback and chat support as well as email support also provided by Intuit. Obviously, PLUS support is better, but with BASIC you can resolve your questions by email.

Cost - BASIC costs $9.99 a month whereas PLUS according to the Intuit website is $34.95 per month. However, if you purchase PLUS by utilizing a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor you can buy the product for $21, which is net of a discount 40% discount, which is currently in effect at this time. Discounts and prices may change in the future.

Conclusion - For the most part, BASIC works well for smaller companies, whereas PLUS is for small to midsized companies. Before you make your decision, you are able to test drive the software for 30 days for both BASIC and PLUS and, then decide which is best suited for your business. They are other drawbacks, when comparing BASIC and PLUS to Desktop QuickBooks i.e. Pro, Premier, etc.The most significant drawback is that the Online versions doe not provide inventory functionality, unless you purchase an inventory add on. More importantly, its incumbent upon you to ask you CPA or accountant for help in making this important decision. - 29856

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