Why QuickBooks Online Isn’t Ready for Power Users

Eric Greenspan Cloud Accounting 8 Comments

I’m NOT an accountant; I’m a business owner and entrepreneur. This means I know and use accounting software and have since the days of DOS. I use QuickBooks Online for my company Modernize My Business and schoolofbookkeeping.com too. We are doing this to learn them all and to keep fresh with the latest technology.

QBO is full of features and for the new users, startup or small business, it gets the job done. But power users, bookkeepers, accountants and CPAs, it’s just not ready.

QBO is supposed to be designed to be cloud friendly and app-enabled. The mobile app has no reports (yet), doesn’t allow you to add bills and is very different from the online interface. The lack of consistency is confusing and sucks time.

The online version of QBO is sluggish and relies on the connection and the limits of HTML. The button that moves so smoothly through Intuit’s Quicken or the desktop version of QuickBooks is useless. Much of the design is dependent on the click of a mouse, which is far less efficient than the keyboard when hammering at multiple line items.

My biggest issue with QBO are in the settings. They are clunky and far from sexy. The interface is borrowed from a desktop app and is missing certain key WYSIWIG components. When adding your logo to an invoice, it doesn’t show it unless you preview the invoice. Every site I’ve ever used has this figured out so I’m not sure why Intuit fails here.

Also, beware, they update the app without notice and things change. Such is the nature of cloud computing and in their defense, we do the same at schoolofbookkeeping.com.

In short, QBO is likely to win the race but competitors like Freshbooks, Xero and Wave have an opportunity here and they know it.

Please take a moment to add your comment about what you like, dislike and any other opinions about QBO. We will build a list and send it to Intuit. Together, we can help them help us.

Comments 8

  1. I have a big issue with QBOA. I just my 1st year with them. I went to start with 2014 and realized if I make any changes to my accounts, Ex: delete, merge, or change a type it goes back to prior years and changes the accounts there too. Also there is no way backup my data files and structure of QBOA onto my hard drive in case of a something would happen to their computers.

    1. Lynette
      Here is the official answer from Intuit. I’m not satisfied with the backup answer but she is correct.

      1) Regarding the changes to accounts comment:
      a. it is acting exactly like QBDT. If you merge accounts, it merges them all the way back. So that isn’t inconsistent with the way QUICKBOOKS works. We do give plenty of warnings though.
      b. But please know that it is always possible to set up a NEW account, and then just move the relevant transactions over in a batch, (you go into QBOA, and you open up the Company Cog (the gear icon at the top right corner) and then you Reclassify Transactions. In that way, you can keep the old years the way you want them, and just move the current year data to the new account.
      2) As to the data backup comment…. This is a common complaint. People want the “security” of having the data on their hard drives. Well, with a SaaS product, we can’t put the “application” on their hard drive. HOWEVER… they can download any report they want into Excel, and keep great data backups that way. Additionally, we do many redundant fail-over backups each day.

  2. I often have multiple registers open on the desktop. It makes it easy to track what is in different accounts. Especially reconciliations, if I need to add something I just click on the register add it and finish the reconciliations without having to wait for the internet to do it’s thing. I don’t like having to go back and forth on the browser, it’s a time waster when compared with the desktop. If there’s anything like that available with the online, I haven’t seen it.

  3. I think QBO is for service companies with straightforward invoicing and many debit card purchases. A ton of companies are in that category.

    However, that being said, the screens could be a bit more friendly to data entry monkeys. 🙂

  4. QBO will meet parity with QBDT in 2 years. I am so not worried. If QBO is not yet ready for you or your SB client’s needs, go with hosted QBDT. Eventually, “QBDT is more robust” will be a thing of the past like the typewriter, wall phone, or the post office.

    1. I agree on both. However, I’m not an accountant. I’m a business owner and my focus now is building schoolofbookkeeping.com. I do believe QBO will outpace its predecessors soon but I also want more now. I’m a tech junkie and I love updates and beta programs where new features make life easier and solve many of the issues of a new(er) product in a not so bleeding edge environment.

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