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Quickbooks Essentials Introduction
QuickBooks Essentials is an upgrade from QuickBooks Simple Start and part of the family of QuickBooks Online products. While it can be daunting to figure out all of the different QuickBooks out there, the company has tried to simplify it by offering generous upgrades for each program – giving you something worth your dime. With Essentials, you enjoy the features of Simple Start plus extras like vendor management and payments.
A version of QuickBooks online that offers more robust features for better accounting.
- Ability to pay and manage vendors
- Free trial
- Cheap introductory price
- Secure online data storage
- Automatic upgrades
- Payroll not included
- No inventory tracking
- No timesheets or time tracking
- Can be costly with add-ons
- No schedule C
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Scoring and Rating
Accounting and Business Tasks: (Rating: 9/10)
QuickBooks Essentials offers all of the basic accounting tasks you would need and then a few extra. As an upgrade from the company’s Simple Start, you are getting a few more features.
When it comes to basic accounting, Essentials offers income and expense tracking and you can also sync up with a bank account for faster inputting. You can also print checks and record them, enter bills and schedule payments (or pay immediately) manage and pay vendors, compare sales and profits as well as trends, etc.
There’s no inventory tracking with QuickBooks Essentials and you cannot prepare or do your taxes online. You can give access to an accountant for faster importing/exporting though.
Invoicing: (Rating: 10/10)
QuickBooks Essentials does allow you to create custom invoices and you can use their premade templates to make it your own. If you want, you can add your logo for a little more personalization.
Invoices are sent via email and you can print to send via Postal Service, but they don’t mail them automatically for you.
You can, however, accept payments through your QuickBooks Essentials account, but this comes at an added fee and you will need a QuickBooks Payments account before you can accept credit card payments. You can choose to pay per transaction or pay their monthly rate for a lower per transaction fee.
They do have recurring invoicing as well if you need to automatically send an invoice to a client on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Multiple tax rates can be entered and multiple currencies.
Management: (Rating: 7/10)
There are some great management features with QuickBooks Essentials, but it isn’t as robust as it could be. That being said, they have specifically designed Essentials to be a step up from Simple Start and a way for people to find the right level of accounting they need. So while it doesn’t offer everything, you can upgrade to the version ahead of Essentials to get what you need management-wise too.
For management, QuickBooks Essentials still offers the ability to manage and pay vendors – something Simple Start cannot do.
You cannot track inventory, projects or purchase orders with Essentials though. They also don’t have time tracking.
To add payroll, you will need to sign up for QuickBooks Payroll – and this is something you’re required to do no matter what level of QuickBooks you have. You can also integrate your Essentials software with POS and ecommerce software offered by QuickBooks – or just accept payments directly from them and skip the hassle of two programs.
Ease of Use: (Rating: 10/10)
Most of the QuickBooks products are easy to use and Essentials is no different. They make the system very self-explanatory and even if you cannot figure it out, they have guides, tutorials and customer service all there ready to help you. Setting up is easy because when you login, you’re automatically prompted with a setup guide that will take you through each process – and they even have convenient reminders so that you can continue to setup later.
Overall, they work hard to make you spend as little time as possible you’re your accounting.
Access: (Rating: 10/10)
QuickBooks Essentials is part of the Online family, which means it is a cloud-based accounting program. You can access it from any device (including computers, tablets and phones). They offer free mobile apps for access, billing and even receipt capture.
Everything is stored and backed up online using bank-level encryption as well.
With QB Essentials you can have up to three employees access the system (and establish what they have access to) and up to two accountants access the data at tax time.
Taxes: (Rating: 7/10)
For taxes, QuickBooks Essentials doesn’t do much – other than get you organized so that you or your accountant can file the actual tax return. You can print reports and income per client, which will help as you input your tax information.
To print or prepare 1099s and W2s, you will need to upgrade to their Payroll, which is an additional $32.97 to $69.47 per month and $1.50 to $2.00 per employee. If you upgrade to the Payroll edition, you can then file and pay payroll taxes, but this won’t help with regular business taxes.
You can give up to two accountants access to your QuickBooks Essentials account for tax purposes and tracking, which will help save time.
Pricing: (Rating: 10/10)
You can try QuickBooks Essentials free for 30 days, but if you choose the trial, you cannot access the introductory rate.
For the first six months you’ll have an introductory rate of $18.86 per month and then after the trial period you will pay $26.95 per month. There are no discounts for paying upfront for the year and your card will be automatically billed each month for the service amount.
If you choose to add on payroll, you will pay $32.97 to $69.47 per month with an additional fee of up to $2 per month for each employee.
If you opt to process your payments via the program, you can pay per transaction fee which is 2.4% and $0.25 or pay the monthly $19.95 per month for lower transaction rates of 1.6% and $0.25.
Compared to other services, QuickBooks Essentials is relatively affordable and they are by no means the most expensive – especially for the services offered.
Customer Service: (Rating: 9/10)
Customer service is available via phone, email and chat – and the chat and email are highly convenient. Intuit is quick to respond to inquiries. They also have guides and tutorials online and when you first set up your account you are walked through each step – making it easy enough for even the novice of accounting software users. Email is available 24/7.
Intuit currently has an A+ rating with the BBB.
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Quickbooks Essentials Specifications
Regular Pricing(after intro): $26.95 per month
Introductory Pricing: $18.86/month for 6 months
Free Trial: 30 Days
Score Based out of Total of 10
# of Users Per Account
# of Clients/Customers
# of Invoices
Basic Accounting Features
Can Import Bank Transactions
Estimates or Quotes
Converts Estimates to Invoices
Managing Bills and Paying Bills
Credit Card/Paypal Processing: Added Fee
eCommerce or POS Compatable
# of Built in Reports: 40
Prints Payroll Checks or Process Electronically
Can e-file or Manually File Payroll Taxes
All (Cloud Based)
Mobile Expense Tracking
Receipt Capture via Mobile Phone
Help and Support
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What Type of Business Could Use This Software?
QuickBooks Essentials is more for small to medium-sized businesses that want to manage multiple vendors. If your company has vendors you pay regularly, then Essentials is the better upgrade – plus you can pay straight from QuickBooks. If you need inventory tracking, Essentials will not be able to help you and you will need to upgrade to Plus.
If you have employees, you can still manage them via Essentials and you will need to add the Payroll option in order to pay your employees via QuickBooks.
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Quickbooks Essentials Pricing
QuickBooks Essentials offers a 30-day free trial.
QuickBooks Essentials: Tracks income and expenses, creates estimates and custom invoices, syncs with your bank account, manages and pays bills, offers instant profit and loss analysis. Starts at $18.86 per month for six months and then $26.95 per month after that.
QuickBooks Essentials with Enhanced Payroll: Pays employees and helps file payroll taxes. Starts at $32.97 per month for 12 months and then $65.95 per month thereafter as well as $1.50 per employee per month.
QuickBooks Essentials with Full Service Payroll: Pays employees, files payroll taxes, is full-service and run by QuickBooks and includes error-free paychecks and payroll taxes. Starts at $62.97 per month for 12 months and then $125.95 per month thereafter plus $2.00 per employee.
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What We Like About Quickbooks Essentials
Managing and Paying Bills: With QB Essentials you can manage your vendors, bills and even pay them through your QuickBooks. This is a helpful feature for businesses that want to keep track of their payables.
Free Trial: It is always a good sign when a company is willing to offer a free trial in order for you to see if it works. QuickBooks online offers 30-day free trials, but you should note that if you do the free trial, you cannot enjoy the introductory rate.
Access for Employees and Accountants: You get up to three employee access points with QB Essentials, plus you can add up to two accountants to your profile – so five total access points. This ensures that not just one person is in charge of accounting and also doesn't waste employee accesses with accountants.
Mobile Access: QuickBooks Essentials and other QB online products are all mobile-friendly. You can view your company's finances, input expenses, add receipts and even invoice right from the mobile app.
Unlimited Invoicing and Estimates: It is always appreciated when a company offers unlimited invoices and estimates. There are quite a few products out there similar to QB Essentials that can limit people on how many invoices they send monthly.
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What We Don't Like About Quickbooks Essentials
High Price for Payroll: QuickBooks is helpful, but they have one of the higher priced payroll options compared to the competition. In fact, they charge almost double of some providers. Hopefully they balance out their payroll solutions a little better in the future.
Not Freelancer or Contractor Friendly: While Essentials has great features, it lacks something an independent contractor or freelancer would need; therefore, we wouldn't recommend it to those individuals. They don't have Schedule C's or estimated quarterly tax payments – something small business owners still need access to.
No Inventory Tracking: Considering this is an upgrade from Simple Start, you would assume QuickBooks Essentials would have inventory – but instead, you have to upgrade even further to enjoy inventory tracking and management.
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QuickBooks Essentials offers an upgrade from their Simple Start program with more features, intuitive accounting and additional access for up to three users.
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