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  • QuickBooks Online Comparison:Simple Start vs Essentials vs Plus

    QuickBooks Online comes in three versions, Simple Start, Essentials and Plus. The primary differences between each version is their price and features, like the ability to pay bills online. We are going to deep dive into these differences, and provide examples of the types of business best served by each version.

    Which QuickBooks Online Version Is Right For You

    • Simple Start in general, this online version will work for a business that needs to track income and expenses manage accounts receivable and pay employees.
    • Essentials – in general, this online version will work for a business that needs to perform all of the tasks mentioned for Simple Start plus manage accounts payable and give multiple users access to your data.
    • Plus – in general, this online version will work for a business that needs to track everything that both Simple Start and Essentials will do plus manage inventory, create purchase orders and issue 1099s.

    Feature Comparison of QuickBooks Online Versions

    Below is a chart summarizing the features available in each version of QuickBooks Online and the cost:

    Feature
    Simple Start
    Essentials
    Plus
    Monthly Cost
    $15
    $35
    $50
    Track your income and expenses
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Manage accounts receivable (invoice customers and receive payments)
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Invite your accountant to access your data
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Download your bank and credit card transactions
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Add payroll service
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Add online payments service
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Print checks instead of manually writing them
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Manage accounts payable (schedule & pay vendor bills)
    ?
    ?
    ?
    # Users included with monthly subscription
    1
    3
    5
    #Reports you can run in just a few clicks
    20+
    40+
    65+
    Create purchase orders to place orders with suppliers
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Track inventory using FIFO method
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Prepare & issue 1099s to contractors
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Track billable hours by customer
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Create & manage budgets
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Track profitability for multiple locations
    ?
    ?
    ?

    QuickBooks Online Simple Start

    When doing a QuickBooks Online comparison, Simple Start has the least impact on your pocket book but does not offer the additional features that both Online Essentials and Plus offer.

    Simple Start is generally right for a business that is currently tracking income and expenses using one or more manual options like the “shoebox” method or Excel spreadsheets. Simple Start is very easy to set up and compared to Essentials and Plus, it is the simplest to use.

    Give QuickBooks Online Simple Start a try if you have never used a computerized program to manage your bookkeeping and DO NOT need any of the following features to run your business:

    • Manage & pay bills from vendors
    • You do not need to give anyone (outside of your accountant) access to your data
    • Create purchase orders
    • Track inventory
    • Prepare & issue 1099s
    • Track billable hours by customer
    • Create & manage budgets
    • Track profitability for multiple locations

    If you do find that you DO need one or more of the above features to run your business, then keep reading about QuickBooks Online Essentials and QuickBooks Online Plus.

    QuickBooks Online Essentials

    QuickBooks Online Essentials is generally right for a business which may currently be using a combination of manual processes like Excel spreadsheets and Word documents to manage their bookkeeping.

    This product is also great for those of you who are currently using QuickBooks Desktop and want to convert to a QuickBooks Online solution. Setup is easy when you have your data in an Excel spreadsheet or a QuickBooks Desktop file, because you can easily import it into your Online Essentials account.

    Give QuickBooks Essentials a try if you are ready to spend less time on bookkeeping and more time in other areas of your business and DO NOT need any of the following features to run your business:

    • Track inventory
    • Prepare & issue 1099s
    • Track billable hours by customer
    • Create & manage budgets
    • Track profitability for multiple locations

    If you DO find that you need one or more of the above features to run your business, then QuickBooks Online Plus is generally going to be your best option.

    QuickBooks Online Plus

    QuickBooks Online Plus is generally right for a business that currently uses:

    • A combination of manual and automated systems to manage bookkeeping
    • QuickBooks Desktop and wants to switch to QuickBooks Online
    • QuickBooks Online Simple Start or Essentials and wants to upgrade to Plus to access additional functionality offered like inventory tracking, purchase orders, budgeting and tracking profitability by location.

    If you still aren’t sure which version is right for you, here is a more in depth comparison of each.

    QuickBooks Simple Start Vs. QuickBooks Essentials

    Below is a summarized chart comparing the three key differences between Simple Start & Essentials:

    Feature
    Simple Start
    Essentials
    Manage accounts payable (schedule & pay vendor bills)
    ?
    ?
    Number of users included with monthly subscription
    1
    3
    Number of reports you can run in just a few clicks
    20+
    40+

    When it comes to comparing QuickBooks Simple Start to Essentials, here is some additional info on the three key differences:

    1. Manage & Pay Vendor Bills

    With QuickBooks Online Essentials, you can manage your entire accounts payable process. This includes but is not limited to:

    • Creating & managing vendor information such as remit to address, due dates, contact information, etc.
    • Entering bills from vendors
    • Receiving reminder alerts from QuickBooks when a vendor bill is coming due
    • Writing checks directly from QuickBooks to pay bills (you can write checks but not manage accounts payable with Simple Start)

    2. Give Access to Multiple Users

    All three versions of QuickBooks Online allow you to provide access to your accountant on top your user access. With Essentials, you can give two additional users access to your data. You can also specify which areas of QuickBooks these users have access to. For example, if you have a bookkeeper who is only responsible for invoicing customers, then you can give him/her access to just invoicing customers and nothing else.

    Learn more about the different kinds of QuickBooks user accounts.

    3. Number of Pre-Built Reports

    When you sign up for QuickBooks Online Essentials, you get access to 40 + pre-built reports. This is more than double the reports that come with the Simple Start version. The Company Snapshot, Customer Balance Detail and Profit & Loss Detail are just a few of the additional reports available in Online Plus:

    • Company Snapshot – The Company Snapshot report provides an overview of the money coming in and going out of your business, along with the ability to compare your business to others in your industry.
    • Scorecard – With the Scorecard, you can compare your performance in net profit margin, sales growth and cash flow with other businesses in your industry.
    • Profit & Loss Detail – The Profit & Loss Detail report shows year to date transactions instead of just totals like the Profit and Loss Summary report.

    QuickBooks Essentials vs. QuickBooks Plus

    The chart below highlights the ten key differences between Essentials & Plus.

    Feature
    Essentials
    Plus
    Number of users included with monthly subscription
    3
    5
    Number of reports you can run in just a few clicks
    40+
    65+
    Create purchase orders to place orders with suppliers
    ?
    ?
    Track inventory using FIFO method
    ?
    ?
    Prepare & issue 1099s to contractors
    ?
    ?
    Track billable hours by customer
    ?
    ?
    Create & manage budgets
    ?
    ?
    Track profitability for multiple locations
    ?
    ?

    When it comes to comparing QuickBooks Online Essentials to QuickBooks Online Plus, here is some additional info on the ten key differences:

    1. Number of users who can access data QuickBooks Online Essentials comes with five user access and up to two accountant user access.
    2. Number of pre-built reports – With QuickBooks Online Plus, you get access to 65+ pre-built reports. That’s 25+ reports more than what you get with Essentials! A couple of reports that you gain access to with Online Plus are:
      1. Profit & Loss by Class – This report shows revenue and expenses categorized by department or location.
      2. Transaction Detail by Account – This report lists individual transactions, subtotaled by each account on your chart of accounts.
    3. Profit and Loss by Class – This report shows revenue and expenses categorized by department or location.
    4. Transaction Detail by Account – This report lists individual transactions subtotaled by each account on your chart of accounts.
    5. Create purchase orders – QuickBooks Online Plus allows you to create purchase orders and email them to your suppliers to place your product orders.
    6. Track inventory – If you need to track inventory of products that you sell, Plus allows you to track your inventory using the FIFO method.
    7. Print & prepare 1099s – If you hire contractors who you need a 1099, you can manage this process using QuickBooks Online Plus.
    8. Track billable hours by customer There is a time tracking feature in QuickBooks Plus that allows you to keep track of the hours that are billable back to your customers.
    9. Create & manage budgets – QuickBooks Online Plus allows you to create monthly, quarterly, or annual budgets so that you can estimate future income and expenses.
    10. Track profitability for multiple locations – if you have multiple store locations, you can track sales, expenses and overall profitability of each location in QuickBooks Online Plus.
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