QuickBooks Online Essentials Review 2023 | ChooseWhat.com

Online Essentials Comparison and Review

Online Essentials Review

This version is great for:

  • Any small business that wants access to their books from anywhere with an Internet connection and doesn't need to track inventory
  • Small businesses that need to accomplish basic bookkeeping tasks, including the ability to upload bank and other financial files
  • Companies that outsource their bookkeeping duties
  • Those who wish to give multiple users (up to 3) remote access to the books
  • People who want to have copies of their books automatically backed up online


Online Essentials is an excellent starting point for small businesses that want to have online access to their books. With this version, you will get all of the necessary bookkeeping tools and the ability to easily upload bank and other financial files. Online Essentials gives you unlimited access to phone and email support if you ever have a question or problem. With this software, remote and mobile access is included as well as online backup. If your business has inventory, upgrading to Online Plus will be necessary to give you the ability to track these products. There is no copy of this software that you can work on directly from your computer without an Internet connection, if you don't want the online access capabilities, try QuickBooks Desktop software.

Ease of Use

QuickBooks Online Essentials received 5 stars for Ease of Use

Setting up Your Books: QuickBooks Online Essentials is very easy to set up because it includes an initial setup guide, interface guidance tools, such as text that links to FAQs, and unlimited U.S.-based customer support. In order to access Online Essentials, you do not have to download or install any software like you have to with the Desktop Versions. You can access your account from any computer with an Internet connection. You can also import your financial and accounting data from Quicken, Peachtree, Microsoft Office Accounting, and Desktop QuickBooks versions. With Online Essentials, you can import customer information and other contact data from Excel, Outlook, and Gmail.

Day-to-Day Operations: QuickBooks Online Essentials is easy to use along with your daily business activities. This software gives you online access to the entire software from anywhere with an Internet connection. Coupled with the ability to designate different levels of access to your multiple accounts, this feature can be very beneficial, especially if you choose to outsource your bookkeeping duties. This version allows you to import your bank and credit card transactions into QuickBooks, which is incredibly important because it dramatically reduces the time required to record and categorize these expenses and deposits. Online Essential’s interface is very intuitive, easy to navigate, and includes a section with quick links to important parts of the software, such as invoices, expenses, customer lists, banking, and reports. You can customize the layout by adding or removing quick links to features such as recent transactions and online banking. It also has a recent transaction window that details your latest transactions.

With Online Essentials, there is no local copy available to download onto your own computer. This is a disadvantage of the software because if for some reason you lose your Internet connection or the QuickBooks website goes down (which happens on occasion), you could be left without access to all of your financial information. There is Helper Text within the interface that links to an FAQ section that explains the different options within the interface. Online Essentials backs up your data daily. Mobile access is included and available for the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. With the mobile app, you can manage your payable, receivables, bank balances, and customer contact information. Online Essentials also comes with free product upgrades.

Managerial Features: Customer Invoices, Estimates, & Budgets

Online Essentials has what we call "beginner-level" Managerial Features because it lacks several advanced bookkeeping capabilities. All QuickBooks software can create invoices for whatever business you operate, including traditional retailers that need to include sales tax, contractors providing a service that invoice customers based on time and expenses, and anything in between. You can easily create invoices with this version by entering your customer’s name, the products or services you’re invoicing, sales tax, and a personalized message all on one page. Online Essentials allows you to automate and schedule your invoices. With this version you can also track the quantity and price of each product sold, as well as create estimates for a customer for future projects.

You can accept credit and debit cards if you apply for a Merchant Account through Intuit Payment Solutions for 2.4%+$0.25 per "swipe." Payroll management is also available for an additional $31.20 per month.


Online Essentials offers more than 40 financial, sales, and tax reports, which include accounts receivable aging, profit versus loss, and reconciliation reports. Online Essentials includes a Company Snapshot that summarizes profit, expenses, revenue, transactions, previous period information, outstanding bills, outstanding money owed, etc. With any of the QuickBooks software you can create custom reports by adding to or editing the report templates.

Since you cannot track inventory with this version of QuickBooks, an inventory report is not available. However, a tool called a "Company Scorecard" is available that lets you view your performance as compared to other businesses in a similar industry.

Tracking Payments to Vendors & Inventory

Online Essentials allows you to set up a vendor list where you can easily enter in bills as you receive them and create vendors as-you-go. In addition, this version gives you the ability to view and pay all current bills. You can set up a schedule to automatically pay bills as they come in or delay bill payment to a different time than when you record them. Online Essentials does not include inventory tracking or allow you to create purchase orders. You also cannot prepare and print 1099s directly from the software with this version of QuickBooks, but this task can be done using tax software like TurboTax.

Online Banking

Online Essentials reconciles your bank account by going through every transaction in your bank and making sure the information matches in your QuickBooks software. It also gives you the ability to write and print checks from within the software, which is as easy as filling out an onscreen withdrawal form and printing. QuickBooks offers in-depth deposit records that provide details like who made a deposit, which account a deposit went to, and the payment method used. The software allows you to view histories of credit card expenses, check expenses and cash expenses across all your accounts, as well as view each of these expenses by transaction. Online Essentials also syncs with your bank account to automatically download transactions into your QuickBooks software.

Pricing and Support

QuickBooks Online Essentials costs $40.00 per month, but is currently available for $20.00 per month for the first three months. Online Essentials comes with the option to give up to three users access to the software. You can use these user licenses to monitor usage and set different permission levels for individuals in your organization. If you would like to add more users, you have upgrade to Online Plus.

Unlimited email, phone and live chat customer support is included for free with Online Essentials, and is available between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Phone support is also available on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. It may take up to 24 hours for their email support to get back to you, but we found their phone and live chat support to have little to no wait time. QuickBooks’ searchable FAQ section is helpful as it provides a list of relevant topics when a user enters a query. Intuit also provides many user forum categories such as QuickBooks Tasks, Intuit Products, Intuit Resources, Intuit Payroll, and more, which we found very helpful.



$55 $27.50/month

Number of User Accounts


Free Trial

30 Days, but

General Features

Ease of Use

Unlimited Customer Support


Online Access

Permission Controls

Edit Your Books Offline

Prints Checks

Uploads Bank Files

Helps Create Tax Forms

Managerial Features



Creates Invoices

Automated Invoicing

Tracks Inventory

Creates Estimates

Manages Bills

Bills Your Customers

Creates Purchase Orders

Helps Create Budgets

Forecasts Sales and Expenses


Number of Reports


"Company Snapshot"

"Company Scorecard"

Industry-Specific Reports

Online Essentials Screenshots
(Click Thumbnails for Larger Images)

Online Essentials: Home

Online Essentials: Invoice

Online Essentials: Reports

Online Essentials: Vendors

Online Essentials: Banking