Cloud Accounting Practice Management QuickBooks

Have You Used QuickBooks Online Lately?

Written by Stacy Kildal

I tell my clients to avoid QuickBooks Online” is a common post I see on QuickBooks forums, and one that I continually rush to offset. For many accounting professionals, it seems that QuickBooks Online (QBO) is a “worst case scenario” for their clients. I want to share some new QBO features that may help change your mind and that might make QBO an option to offer to more clients (and increase your client base!)

QuickBooks Online is a web-based accounting solution offered by Intuit. It was introduced to the market in December 2000 as an additional option to the other editions of QuickBooks: Pro, Premier and Enterprise Solutions.While it has similar functions, because it is a web based application it looks at feels different from the desktop editions of which many of us are familiar. Let’s take a look at some important new features.

QuickBooks Online Invoice List

The Invoice List is a simple feature and one that I had never thought about needing until Intuit introduced it. It’s exactly what it says it is, a list of all invoices that you can filter by paid status or date. It allows you to sort by a variety of ways: customer name, amount, invoice number, etc.

QuickBooks Online Invoice List

What I like about the invoice list is that you can filter by overdue and re-send an entire group of emails to clients as reminders, or print the list from this screen. No need to create and memorize a report. It’s easy to get to, as well – directly from the Create Invoice screen or from the Customer menu.

QuickBooks Online Income List

Taking a page from the ease of the Invoice List, QBO recently added the Income List. I believe the idea was to help save time by eliminating the need to create a report. While not a true list of income, it’s more a list of sales transactions – both pending and open. I say pending because it pulls Sales Receipts, Invoices and Estimates.

Income List

As with the Invoice List, it allows you to print or email transactions directly from this list, and it has the ability to filter by transaction or customer (one at a time for each). This could be helpful in calculating simple commissions, or you could also use this feature to quickly print packing slips.

Copy Estimates and Invoices

One of the newest features to be added is the ability to Copy Estimates and Copy Invoices. This comes in handy for me personally – I find that I’m often quoting the same types of projects: Data file conversions, file clean up, new company setup, etc. Since I have a set system for monthly bookkeeping, I can create one estimate (or Invoice) in my copy of QBO and just copy it for any new prospect, regardless of the work. Another reason I like it is because sometimes I just feel lazy and clicking one button is much more inviting than typing a bunch of stuff in, right?Copy Invoice

Add Estimates to Invoices

The copy features are a nice segue into another time saving feature introduced within the last year – the ability to Add Estimates to Invoices (or Add Purchase Orders to Vendor Bills). Similar to QuickBooks desktop functionality, QBO users can add items from estimates to invoices. The only difference with QBO is that you can’t pick and choose what you want to add – it’s all or nothing. In other words: No progress invoicing.

Add Estimates to Invoices

Intuit GoPayment

The biggest improvement to be added (at least in my little world) was Intuit GoPayment Integration (see Intuit GoPayment Brings Payment Processing to Small Business). Since I’m a big fan of (a) using mobile devices and (b) getting paid, I’ve been using QBO since 2005 and GoPayment since it was introduced by Intuit. This saves me the hassle of chasing money – QBO and GoPayment makes it easy to say “Fees are due at the time of service”.

GoPayment in menu

Even though I could create and invoice on site with a client and immediately take payment, there was no way to directly connect the two. I would have to remember to manually receive a payment when I got back to my office and mark payment type as GoPayment. It was never really that big of a deal – but remember when I mentioned being lazy on occasion? Now all I have to do is click right on the GoPayment option in the Client/Customer menu and I can download transactions and apply them to invoices or create Sales Receipts.

GoPayment Transactions in QuickBooks Online

These are just a few of the many recent additions that I think make QBO a better option than it was even a year ago. While not every company is a good fit for QBO – and that’s an entirely different article to be written – it’s certainly an offering that should be included in possibilities when doing a needs analysis and determining what accounting program to choose.

About the author

Stacy Kildal

Stacy Kildal is owner/operator of Kildal Services LLC, located in Waterford Michigan—a full service bookkeeping company that specializes in all things QuickBooks. As a Certified Professional Bookkeeper and Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor, she supports QuickBooks clients all over the country, offering payroll, bookkeeping, training and consulting.

She regularly teaches QuickBooks workshops through the local county planning and economic development department, along with community college and continuing education classes for various school districts.  Stacy is one of the three hosts for the Radio Free QuickBooks weekly online radio show.

As a member of the esteemed Intuit Trainer/Writer Network, Stacy has presented many live seminars and webinars. Her attendees enjoy the passion she exhibits for her work and can easily relate to the many real life examples she uses during these presentations. She has also been featured frequently on Intuit’s Community "Ask the Expert" forums, at various Intuit Academy To Go podcasts, as well as hosting a number of Intuit Small Business Online Town Hall sessions. She an big fan of working mobile and has been recognized by Intuit as being an expert on QuickBooks Online, having written the Intuit Academy courses for the US, Singapore and Canadian versions.

Kildal Services LLC provides consulting, speaking and writing services to clients (including other accounting professionals) nationwide.


  • QuickBooks Online has gotten MUCH MUCH better in the last year. Not only are there many new features that fill some of the gaps that previously existed, but there have been a lot of unheralded tiny performance improvements too. I have had clients using QuickBooks Online for over seven years and I’ve always liked some of the things QBO was good at. This year I am very excited at how much easier the data entry has gotten for me. I am even thinking of recommending that some of my desktop QuickBooks clients switch to QuickBooks Online!

    • Mary,
      Glad to hear it. I actually have been known to recommend QBO + as alternative to Enterprise.
      It’s a great solution for certain situations that have scattered staff, advanced inventory & a cost effective solution.

    • More performance improvements will be noticeable for certain pages (more in the future) in the March release, keep an eye on for updates

  • Stacy:

    Thanks for the update. My biggest frustration has been the payroll module and the difficulty to edit paychecks (which has been corrected) and edit payroll tax payments like the desktop version offers. I would like to see an “after the fact” payroll feature like the desktop for those clean up projects.

    I am inspired to follow you with iPad and cloud computing. And I am a big crime show fan, too!

    • Oh, the payroll module is SO much better now & getting better all the time! I can’t believe how nerdily happy I was about editing paychecks!

  • We have been entertaining the idea of converting our Enterprise QB 2009 to QB Online + SOS inventory. One hurdle for us is that our company file is 650mb and QBOnline limit is 200mb. Do you have any suggestions on if this can be accomplished? (I am trying to avoid using a hosting company for our QB Ent file)

    • Travis,
      There are a number of ways we can shrink the file or export data for conversion. Please feel free to contact me directly: info at kildalservices dot com.

    • Hi Travis,
      I am accountant for Small business company. We are looking into the prospect of converting Ent 2009 to QB online? The enterprise handles upto 1 million inventory (Items listing) items…do you know how much QB online does? I also heard about reporting limitations. We use a lot of reports, would really help to get some input on that. Also estimates don’t get transferred and so will PO’s. Would really appreciate your feedback.


  • I like qbo for non-profits. Pull up the report with a projector at the board meeting and walk through the numbers. Have board members be able to view reports at home. GoPayment has just been added to an Assn of Fundraising Professionals, its great for the meeting fees. Also Departmental accounting is great for those Grants that a very picky about their advances.

  • Nice article, Stacy. I’ve been thinking for some time I needed to take another detailed look at QBO. It’s got some real advantages in the right situation.

  • Stacy is an excellent resource for Quickbooks. I’ve been using her for years. Not only is she an expert with the software, but she knows what business owners want and need to know. Very expedient. Great article!


  • Great article. I agree with Mary that there have been a lot of great enhancements in the last year. Also there are more and more third party applications becoming available every month via the Intuit App Center further extending the capabilities of QuickBooks Online. This is great news for Mac users who may need third party applications that are just not available on QuickBooks for Mac platform.

    I also have noticed a lot of free Intuit training webinars so that users can learn about all the functionality of QuickBooks Online.

  • Hi Stacey – QBO for Australia has just been released, unfortunately we don’t have payroll in our version and no inventory add in. I didn’t realise there was a 200 mb file size limit. It will be interesting to see how it takes off in Australia. We had the Intuit team over last week deno’ing the product

    • Hi Margaret,

      I’m over in Canada and feel the same QBO pain as you, no payroll, no inventory. I did do an extensive try-out and review of QBO for United States and it was much better than the Canadian version.

      I’d have to agree with Stacey that QBO is getting better as time goes on.

  • Online is still terrible for any kind of heavy user of Quickbooks. Not being able to have multiple windows open and flip back and forth. Not being ablet to easily print Registers. I agree that there are some interesting differences, tools and features with online that ARE NOT in desktop version, but it doesn’t compare with the negatives. Slow, slow and slow refresh when going one section to another. I put in an entry and the next section doesn’t have access to the updated info for several minutes sometimes. Who has time for that? Or patience. Avoid at all costs is my opinion. I am a business consultant and do some bookkeeping on the side.

  • […] QuickBooks Online is a web-based accounting solution offered by Intuit. It was introduced to the market in December 2000 as an additional option to the other editions of QuickBooks: Pro, Premier and Enterprise Solutions.While it has similar functions, because it is a web based application it looks at feels different from the desktop editions of which many of us are familiar. Let’s take a look at some important new features.  More… […]

  • Not impressed. Cumbersome and slow. Sometimes when logging in message is “Not available now, try later”. No one has mentioned how expensive it is…and Intuit’s long going habit of squeezing every penny they can get you for. “You want to do a particular function. — Upgrade now”, more money.

    The version that works on I-pad is really dissapointing. I could find no method to display a simple balance sheet. (Probably an upgrade required). No way to filter out infrequently used vendors nor not show accounts with zero balances on income statement.
    Plus, this isn’t your old familiar quickbooks…get ready for a long learning curve.

    One plus, right now you can experience it yourself for 30 days free. I tried the $13 a month version. One day with that was more than enough to know…Yuk.

  • Great article Stacy

    Every time I read an article like this promoting the improvements to QBO and read the various comments, I am reminded that the primary objective should always be to match the appropriate tool with the client.

    It has been our discovery that many people would love to have the cloud provide a resource for them rather than having the cloud dictate their life. Based on the increased cost, reliance on the internet speed/connection/web server reliability and in some cases, reduced functionality, many people we encounter are opposed to moving their financial data completely to the cloud. That doesn’t mean cloud hosted solutions are bad, it just means they would like an alternative.

    With Qbox, they continue to work on a locally hosted copy and keep the desktop version of QuickBooks that they are familiar with. Additionally, while working in the file, they are not subject to the speed (or lack thereof) of their internet connection. The internet/cloud is not involved until they are done working in the file and the sync/backup process initiates. (happens automatically)

    In fact, while working in the file, their internet can go down completely and they are still able to continue working in the file.

    In other words, Qbox integrates the best attributes of the cloud without really changing how they work on their financials.

    • Chris, like you say, the proper tool for the client’s needs. QBO provides better opportunities for collaborative integration with different apps, as it stands now. Desktop provides a richer complement of in-product services. All along we’ve said that you have to understand the options and pick the best one for the client.

  • Would quickbooks online be a good fit for just creating invoices and using our intuit merchant account for payments. Could I then export these invoices and payments and put them into my desktop accountant edition and keep everything else there one the desktop?

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