QuickBooks Online Plans Comparison 2024: Choose Which One is Best For You?

QuickBooks Online provides four plans- Essential, Advanced, Simple, and Plus. The cost ranges from USD 30 to USD 200 every […]

QuickBooks Online provides four plans- Essential, Advanced, Simple, and Plus. The cost ranges from USD 30 to USD 200 every month. Such plans differ in the number of features included and users added and are designed for separate purposes.

In the meantime, QuickBooks Self-Employed, which is a totally distinct product, is ideal for those who are self-employed professionals and begin at USD 20 per month. In today’s article, you will learn which version is ideal for you and also get a detailed overview of the QuickBooks Online plans comparison guide.

  • QuickBooks Online Plus: It is ideal for wholesalers, retailers, contractors, and several other small businesses that need job costing, budgeting, inventory tracking, and access for a maximum five users.
  • QuickBooks Online Simple Start: Ideal for small service businesses that have employees and generate invoices daily.
  • QuickBooks Online Self-Employed: It is ideal for small service business owners who report business earnings on Schedule C of their particular personal tax return, do not have any employees, do not need to monitor time, and generate only some invoices every week.
  • QuickBooks Online Essentials: Ideal or small businesses that allocate hours worked on clients, monitor bills due, and offer access to a maximum of three users.
  • QuickBooks Online Advanced: Ideal for small and mid-sized businesses looking for advanced reporting, fixed accounting, a committed support manager, custom user permissions, and access for a maximum of 25 users.

Now let us learn in detail about QuickBooks Online plans and their features.

What are the Different QuickBooks Online Plans: Features and Pricing

The QuickBooks Online comparison table given below showcases some of the primary features of the five versions of QuickBooks Online. This chart will offer an in-depth, parallel comparison of every plan with its next counterpart.

FeaturesSelf-EmployedSimple StartEssentialsPlusAdvanced
Send InvoicesInadequate functionalityYesYesYesSend Invoices
Print Balance SheetNoYesYesYesYes
Manage Unpaid BillsNo NoYesYesYes
Track Inventory & Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)NoNoNoYesYes
Advanced ReportingNoNoNoNoYes
Dedicated Customer Service RepresentativeNoNoNoNoYes
Users included113525
Connect Bank AccountsYesYesYesYesYes
Print ChecksNoYesYesYesYes
Track Time & Add to InvoicesNoNoYesYesYes
Track Activity by Project, Class & LocationNoNoNoYesYes
Fixed Asset AccountingNoNoNoNoYes

When should you use QuickBooks Essential, Advanced, Simple, and Plus for Your Business?

QuickBooks Self-Employed:

Here are the ones who should use QuickBooks Self-Employed for their business:

  • Freelancers Who Merge Personal Transactions and Business in the Same Bank Account: QuickBooks Self-Employed enables you to monitor and classify your transactions with ease, even when personal and business expenses are mixed.
  • Self-Employed Individuals: As it is evident, QuickBooks Self-Employed is for self-employed individuals like independent contractors, freelancers, and sole proprietors. It has characteristics customized to self-employed taxpayers comprising the capability to make and send invoices to respective clients and monitor deductions plus expenses.

It also determines quarterly tax payments, and this is not possible with other QuickBooks Online plans.

QuickBooks Simple Start:

Here are the ones who should use QuickBooks Simple Start for their business:

  • Small Business Enterprises with no Complicated Accounting Requirements: In QuickBooks Online, Simple Start is considered the cheapest option for small business owners. It is considered the best option for certain businesses with no inventory management requirements and project accounting.
  • The core features comprise expense and income tracking, basic reporting, and invoicing. It is a big step up from Self-Employed since it enables you to issue and print balance sheets.
  • Businesses that Pay Employees or Vendors via Checks: Self-employed enables you to enter and then print checks to clear employee salaries and pay the pending bills
  • Solopreneurs: In case you perform all your bookkeeping, Simple Start may be adequate because it supports no more than one user
  • Small Businesses with Employees: Via its QuickBooks Payroll integration, Simple Start assists you with certain payroll-related tasks like determining payroll taxes and paycheck processing

QuickBooks Essential:

QuickBooks is perfect for businesses that have employees and those who pay via checks, but it is more apt than Simple Start for:

  • Businesses that are Required to Monitor Unpaid Bills: In contrast to Self-Employed and Simple Start, Essential enables you to handle and pay bills from suppliers and vendors. You can also monitor outstanding bills, which will enable you to track your Accounts Payable.
  • Those who Conduct Business with other Nations: The plan assists several currencies, making it ideal for those who perform business out of the United States.
  • Small Businesses with Maximum Three Users: Essential enables you to add a maximum of three users without any extra cost.
  • A Service-based Business Where the Clients are Charged by the Hour: Essential enables you to monitor billable hours by project and customer. You can add and register the hours that your employees have worked on the projects from the platform directly.


Plus includes all that is included in Essential, however, it is ideal for:

  • Businesses with Inventory: Plus enables you to monitor the cost of goods sold and inventory, making it the right tool for product-based businesses.
  • Businesses with Several Locations and Departments: QuickBooks Online Plus’s class and location monitoring is helpful for companies that operate in different locations or have multiple departments or segments.
  • HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) companies, for example, can utilize classes to track revenue and costs related to each of their services, including installation, repair, and maintenance.


The advanced version provides all the capabilities and features of the Plus plan, however, it is highly recommended for

  • Businesses that must Monitor Fixed Assets: With Advanced, it is possible to record and monitor fixed assets, set up depreciation schedules, determine their depreciation automatically, and issue fixed asset reports.
  • Companies that Require Actual vs Estimated Project Cost: You can issue project cost vs actual cost reports, assisting you to comprehend the profitability of every project you manage with ease.
  • SMB with a Maximum of 25 Users: Advanced supports nearly 25 users, compared to five in Plus
  • Businesses with Several Entities: Advance enables you to combine financial details from several company files into one report
  • Businesses with Difficult Accounting Workflows: In case you have complicated financial operations and wish to leverage the characteristics of QuickBooks Online, Advanced offers you access to free training that is actually priced at USD 3000.

Now let us learn about the key differences between QuickBooks Simple Start and QuickBooks Self-Employed.

What are the Key Differences between QuickBooks Simple Start and QuickBooks Self-Employed?

Here is a table that states the key differences between QuickBooks Simple Start and QuickBooks Self-Employed:

FeaturesQuickBooks Self-EmployedQuickBooks Simple Start
Number of Users Included11
Transfer Income & Deductions to Schedule CYesNo
Print Balance Sheet Showing Assets & LiabilitiesNoYes
Add Sales Tax to Invoices AutomaticallyNoYes
Monthly Pricing$20$30
Calculate Estimated Tax PaymentYesNo
Use Custom Tags to Categorize TransactionsYesYes
Manage 1099 ContractorsNoYes
Payroll Add-on AvailableNoYes

For independent contractors in the service sector who file their business income on Schedule C of their personal income tax return, QuickBooks Online Self-Employed is a great tool. It is even considered best for filing taxes and keeping track of freelance revenue.

What are the Benefits of using QuickBooks Online Simple Start?

Simple Start is an ideal starting point for several small businesses, specifically those that are not required to type bills, handle projects, monitor billable hours, and manage inventory.

It comprises payroll processing that enables you to determine and monitor payroll taxes, and it allows you to monitor assets plus liabilities and on invoices use automated sales tax. Furthermore, it also allows you to register and monitor payments made to 1099 contractors.

If you wish to have a committed expert to manage your ongoing bookkeeping work, you need to sign up for QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping, present in Simple Start and higher plans.

Note: QuickBooks provides a free one-on-one meeting for the new users with QuickBooks ProAdvisors. The ProAdvisors will assist you in setting up the company file, along with your business information, and connecting your bank accounts after setting them up.

Now let us learn about the key differences between QuickBooks Essentials and QuickBooks Simple Start.

What are the Differences Between QuickBooks Essential and QuickBooks Simple Start?

Here is a table that displays the prime differences between QuickBooks Simple Start and QuickBooks Essential:

FeatureQuickBooks Simple StartQuickBooks Essential
Number of Users Included13
Record Billable Time and include in InvoicesNoYes
Control What Users Can UseNoYes
Monthly Costing$30$60
Schedule and Pay Vendor BillsNoYes
Supports various CurrenciesNoYes
Number of Built-in Reports Present20+40+

What are the benefits of QuickBooks Online Essentials?

Here is the list of the advantages of using QuickBooks Online Essentials for business organizations and companies using this accounting software:

Record Time Activity to Customers as Billable

You cannot track billable time per job and assign it to a specific customer with Simple Start; however, you may be able to do so with QuickBooks Essentials.

Your billable time can be included in your invoice and sent to your client once you’ve logged it. This functionality is perfect for service-based companies like independent contractors and attorneys who bill by the hour.

Handle Accounts Payable

The inability to manage and pay expenses is the primary distinction between Simple Start and Essentials. This is annoying because bills still need to be paid even by freelancers or solopreneurs. However, Simple Start can be sufficient if all you need to do is track your costs as you pay them.

You can simply keep track of your outstanding invoices with Essentials and pay them straight from within QuickBooks. To pay bills, just choose the bills you wish to pay from the Pay Bills window, checkmark the bills, and then choose either Save or Save and Print.

Issue Basic Reports

Basic Start generates balance sheets, cash flow statements, and profit and loss (P&L) statements. The general ledger, quarterly Profit and Loss summaries, and Profit and Loss by month and customer are a few of the additional twenty-plus built-in standard reports that are accessible.

You can generate reports in Simple Start and get access to over 40 reports with Essentials. Accounts payable (A/P) and accounts receivable (A/R) aging, transaction lists by customer, vendor expenses, unbilled charges, unpaid invoices, and summaries of supplier expenses are some of the extra reports that you can generate.

Rather than just seeing the overall amount outstanding, you may check out the list of your unpaid invoices.

Note: It is easy to upgrade to Essential, Advanced, or Plus from Simple Start, instead of shifting from Self-Employed to any other version of QuickBooks Online.

What are the Key differences between QuickBooks Plus and QuickBooks Essential?

Here are the prime differences between QuickBooks Plus and QuickBooks Essential:

FeaturesQuickBooks EssentialQuickBooks Plus
Number of Users Added35
Location and Class TrackingNoYes
Inventory ManagementNoYes
Prepare BudgetsNoYes
Standard Price Every Month$60$90
Allocate Billable Expenses to CustomersNoYes
Profit and Loss by ProjectNoYes

QuickBooks Plus is a significant upgrade in comparison to QuickBooks Essentials. The key differences between these two QuickBooks Plans are the ability to prepare billable expenses and allocate them to clients, monitor inventory costs, and determine Profit and Loss by project. Other key features in QuickBooks Plus include classes, locations, limitless report-only users, budgets, customer types, etc.

Wholesalers and retailers should select Plus so that they can monitor the quantity in hand along with the inventory price. Contractors must also choose QuickBooks Plus to monitor the individual projects’ profitability. Other businesses must consider whether monitoring Profit and Loss by location and class is required or not USD 30 per month.

What are the benefits of QuickBooks Online Plus?

Here are the list of the benefits of QuickBooks Online Plus:

Prepare Purchase Orders

With QuickBooks Online Plus, you can create Purchase Orders, monitor them, and then direct them to vendors. Purchase Orders are important since they assist you in identifying which services and products you require from your supplier or vendor and when you require them.

While preparing Purchase Orders in QuickBooks Plus, you can enter particular items you wish to purchase. When all your Purchase Orders are completed, it is possible to convert them to a bill seamlessly.

Monitor Project Profitability

With QuickBooks Plus, you can prepare projects and include expenses, income, along wages. The Projects tool assists you in handling various jobs plus projects for your customers and monitoring costs concerning materials and labor.

However, the issue with QuickBooks Plus or any of the versions is that it is not possible to compare the cost estimates with the original project costs.

Monitor Inventory

QuickBooks Plus comprises inventory accounting that enables you to track stock quantity and items, which is an important requirement if products are being sold. It enables you to update inventory quantities and costs, distinguish nontaxable from taxable items, and create alerts or notifications if you are out of stock.

Furthermore, QuickBooks Plus will isolate the price of your ending inventory from the cost of goods sold using the First in First out method. If you select a lower-tier plan, you will need to make this complicated calculation in a spreadsheet.

Track Profit and Loss by Location

QuickBooks Plus enables you to allocate locations and classes for your transactions, to enable you to witness the performance of your business across locations, areas, divisions, or any unit that is connected to your business.

In case you have businesses in several locations and wish to see which one benefits the most, it is mandatory that you upgrade from QuickBooks Essential to Plus and the cost is worth it.

Other Characteristics

The other key features of QuickBooks Plus which are not added in QuickBooks Essential, include:

  • Issue more than 60 reports, comprising unbilled time, and unbilled charges. Budget vs outturn, and budget overview
  • Issue and handle budgets

Now let us learn the main differences between QuickBooks Advanced vs QuickBooks Plus.

What are the key differences between QuickBooks Advanced and QuickBooks Plus?

Here are the key difference between QuickBooks Plus and QuickBooks Advanced:

FeaturesQuickBooks AdvancedQuickBooks Plus
Number of Users Added525
Maximum Chart of Accounts250Unlimited
Customize Access by RolesNoYes
Training for StaffNoYes
Compare Actual vs Estimated Project CostsNoYes
Standard Price every Month$90$200
Maximum Locations and Classes40Unlimited
Bills, Batch Invoices, Checks, and ExpensesNoYes
Manage Fixed AssetsNoYes
Combine Multi-company Files Into a Single reportNoYes
Dedicated Success ManagerNoYes
Advanced ReportingNoYes

Several small businesses will think QuickBooks Plus is the right fit, however, there are ample reasons you may wish to upgrade to Advanced, especially when multiple new features have been included in the program.

QuickBooks Advanced now provides fixed-asset accounting, multi-company report consolidation, actual vs estimated cost reporting, etc. These can be helpful for businesses with complicated accounting workflows and business structures.

It assists up to 25 users, in comparison to 5 in QuickBooks Plus. QuickBooks Advanced also eliminates the limitation on the number of locations, classes, and charts of accounts, and hence it is perfect for businesses with expanding team members. It also includes an expense management and batch invoicing feature that is perfect for those who handle a huge volume of expenses and invoices on a frequent basis.

What are the Advantages of QuickBooks Online Advanced?

Here are the list of advantages of using QuickBooks Online Advanced:

Batch Expensing

Batch expensing enables you to register and classify several expenses together, rather than typing them one by one. This is highly significant, in case you have several expenses to register like office supplies, business travel expenses, and equipment purchases. It is possible to upload expense receipts together, classify them as per the relevant expense account, and then submit those for confirmation.

Batch Invoicing

Advanced is a little better than QuickBooks Plus and other QuickBooks Online plans in Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable, due to its expense management and batch invoicing features. Batch invoicing enables you to prepare several invoices at once, instead of creating one invoice at a time. It can be very helpful if you have several customers who require to be invoiced for the same services or products, you just require a single invoice template and then implement it to all the customers who need the same invoice.

Access to Priority Circle Membership

Advanced users get better customer assistance via its Priority Circle membership. As a member of Priority Circle, you can access a dedicated customer success manager who can help you with any issues or questions you have with your particular software. You will receive priority support via phone or chat and a shorter wait time compared to non-priority circle members.

Actual vs. estimated Project Cost Reporting

It enables you to compare the estimated revenue and costs of your particular projects against the original number that took place during the finishing of the project. It assists you in locating potential issues and performing adjustments once you conclude that your projects are not going to make money.

Advanced Reporting

When it comes to reporting customization, QuickBooks Advanced offers more options than the other QuickBooks Online versions. By combining and filtering data, as well as building new fields and dashboards, users can customize their reports.

You may also create reports for many companies using Advanced and schedule reports to be sent to specific email addresses.

Spreadsheet Sync is a noteworthy new feature that makes it simple to create consolidated reports across several entities. You may import and export data between Microsoft Excel and QuickBooks using this sophisticated capability.

With just one spreadsheet, you can quickly build custom reports, do intricate computations, and work with your data using Excel’s built-in capabilities. You may quickly post the completed data from Excel back into QuickBooks Online Advanced.

You can easily set Spreadsheet Sync with the help of the steps given below:

  • Press the cogwheel which is present on the company dashboard
  • Now choose Spreadsheet Sync under the Tools option
  • Now activate the Spreadsheet Sync add-on by pressing the option, Let’s Go seen in the pop-up screen
  • Comply as per the on-screen prompts and then you can successfully install Spreadsheet Sync and then log in with your login details.

Fixed Asset Accounting

QuickBooks Online Advanced now provides a fixed asset accounting element that enables you to enter and monitor fixed assets like buildings, vehicles, and equipment. Depending on the depreciation process you select, QuickBooks Advanced automatically determines the depreciation for the fixed asset and makes a depreciation schedule.

Note: In order to include a fixed asset, you must offer crucial details like the depreciation details or asset name, etc.

The ideal QuickBooks Online plan for your business depends on your organization and your particular requirements. In case you handle large projects or inventory, QuickBooks Online is often tagged as the best option for you. But self-employed individuals must consider Self-Employed till they have an employee for which an upgrade to Simple Start is important.

If you have a service-based business minus any inventory, then Essentials must offer everything you require, while saving USD 30 every month in comparison to Plus. If you are aiming for five to 25 users and require enhanced features like fixed asset accounting, then QuickBooks Advanced is ideal for you.

We hope that after reading this article, you now can figure out which QuickBooks Online Plan is ideal for your business enterprise.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which QuickBooks Online Plan is Oerfect for Your Business?

The features you require and the size of your company will determine which QuickBooks Online plan is best for you. For instance, QuickBooks Simple Start is the greatest option for small enterprises looking to manage assets and liabilities, while QuickBooks Self-Employed is best suited for independent contractors or solopreneurs.

If you need to track outstanding payments, QuickBooks Essentials is better, but QuickBooks Plus is excellent if you need project management and inventory. Upgrade to QuickBooks Advanced once you reach 25 users.

Is it Possible to shift to any other version of QuickBooks Online from QuickBooks Self-Employed?

Yes. It is possible to shift to any other version of QuickBooks Online from QuickBooks Self-Employed. However, it is important to note that QuickBooks Self-Employed is designed on a different platform compared to QuickBooks Online, hence the conversion does not function perfectly every time.

Is QuickBooks Online good as compared to QuickBooks Desktop?

If you choose cloud-based accounting software over locally installed software, QuickBooks Online is a better option than QuickBooks Desktop. The main benefit of QuickBooks Online is that it can be accessed from any location with an internet-connected device.

When should I think of acquiring a QuickBooks Online alternative?

QuickBooks Online does not fit as a solution for every business accounting problem. Here are some scenarios when you need to look for an alternative to QuickBooks Online:

  • Require parts inventory management: Despite having robust inventory management capabilities, QuickBooks Online is unable to track parts and inventory assemblies. A good substitute for QuickBooks Desktop Pro is QuickBooks Desktop Pro if your manufacturing company needs this functionality.
  • Require free accounting software
  • Like desktop-based software: There are various reasons why certain firms would opt for desktop-based accounting software, such as having restricted internet access. If this describes you, QuickBooks Desktop may be better than QuickBooks Online.

How Can I do 5 Years Comparison in QuickBooks?

Following are the steps in order to have a 3 to 5 years of comparison in QuickBooks:

  • First you have to open the profit and loss report on your system.
  • Now navigate to the customize button and click on it.
  • From the menu you have to select the rows or columns which you want to customize.
  • From the drop-down menu of columns field you have to select the years whose comparison you want.
  • Once you are done with the above steps, click on the run button in order to run the report.

How can I Run the Comparative Balance Sheet in QuickBooks Online?

The Steps for running of the comparative balance in QuickBooks Online are explained below:

  • First you have to navigate to the report menu.
  • Now you have to select the balance, Sheet.
  • Hit on the customize button in order to edit the report.
  • Now you have to select the specific date for the report period.
  • Select the rows or column as per your requirement, which you want to customize.
  • The section which you filter will be displayed on the report.
  • Now hit the run report button so that the report will be customize as per your requirement.

What are the Pros and Cons of the QuickBooks Online?

Following are the pros and cons of the QuickBooks online:

QuickBooks Online Pros

  • QuickBooks Online is the cloud-based applications you can use them on internet at anytime and anywhere.
  • There is no requirement of servers on the premises.
  • Both are very helpful and user friendly in such a way that it reduces the need of the IT staff hours.
  • QuickBooks online includes up to 25 users log in.
  • It is very helpful in restoring the data files of the company.
  • QuickBooks online includes the updated features and the automatic backup.
  • It had a feature of adding third party apps for the AP automation which is very helpful in fewer the labor needs, better cash flow management, Streamlined and automated workflows.

QuickBooks Online Cons

  • It does not have the robust features.
  • The reports are more extensive.
  • It offers the customization particularly for the enterprises.
  • It has the lack of industry specific edition.

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