How to Get the Most Out of Your QBO

QuickBooks Online (QBO) is the full bookkeeping, cloud-based version of QuickBooks for SMBs and accountants. Instead of downloading a new version of the desktop app every year, QBO offers a range of plans, with numerous features, and affordable recurring prices. However, many companies use this particular bookkeeping solution, few of them realize its full potential to get the most out of QBO.

There is no shortage of articles, promising tips for QuickBooks. This article focuses more on high-level thinking that’s intended to move you toward the best utilization possible, communicated in three considerations.

Move Up (or Down) a Plan

Difficulty: Easy

QBO offers several pricing tiers or plans. Each tier has a number of features included. The higher the price of the tier, the more features and users you get. As an example, the plans on the higher end allow you to project profitability and manage inventory within the application. A look at the most expensive plan (while still relatively reasonable) grants access to “exclusive premium apps” and dedicated account teams.

How does this affect you and your business?

It’s possible you need to upgrade a tier to gain greater utilization. (Less likely, you could be paying for a plan you don’t really need, and should downgrade.) Here are a few things to think about, regarding your QBO plan:

  • Business needs: Does your business include inventory? Do you want to build a forecast to better plan for the future? How do you currently use QuickBooks? Evaluate how important the software is, how much you use it, and what kind of financially-related improvements you’d like to see.
  • Access controls: This comes down to understanding how many people need access to the software. For instance, the lowest-tier plan only includes one user. The next is three users, then five, and 25 for the Advanced plan. Whether it’s you and your accountant, or a full exec team, your plan should reflect the number of users.
  • Use of financial data: How important are things like transaction data, COGS, and other data to the planning of your business? Higher-tier QBO plans offer features that assist companies in tracking and visual reporting, to better understand and use data.

Use Rules to Build a Workflow

Difficulty: Medium (possibly high)

The current name of the highest-tier plan is “Advanced.” This plan has a number of features not included in the others. One of the features is called “Workflow automation” which gives you the ability to create custom rules.

Essentially, it’s a way to set up unique, automated processes including:

  • Reminders for past-due (or nearly due) invoices
  • Send customers payment notifications, once they pay
  • A number of other recurring tasks and reminders to help reduce redundant workloads

The question is, should you employ QBO’s workflow automation in your business?

To answer this question, you’ll look at your current financial practices. Are there a number of late invoices in your accounts receivable? Do you forget certain things or feel like you spend too much time on redundant tasks? If so, it’s a good idea to look into rules and workflow automations.

Of course, there is a learning curve with the feature, which leads to the next way to get the most out of QuickBooks Online.

Get Training or Find an Expert

Difficulty: Outsourced

Organizations who aren’t using QBO to the fullest often have two primary roadblocks; time and/or knowledge. Some see the potential and don’t have the hours in the day. Others either don’t know what the platform offers or don't trust their ability to implement it properly. There are solutions for both cases via training or employing an outsourced expert.

Find Training

Intuit itself offers hours of training material to show virtually every feature of QBO, and their payroll tool. Training classes, either provided or endorsed by Intuit, are also available from their website. In addition to these, a number of third-party training providers exist, as well.

Find an Expert

The final way to fully exploit QuickBooks is to hire someone who understands the platform, inside and out. The right consultant will help you determine the best plan for your business needs, assist in setup and workflow creation, and also train your team to run your accounting machine after everything is running smoothly.

While this isn’t a list of tips, hopefully, you’re ready to look at your own QBO account and ask how you can get the most out of it.