QuickBooks Simple Start Review

QuickBooks Online Simple Start
••• Intuit Inc.

QuickBooks Simple Start is an ideal accounting solution for most new and many existing small businesses. From individual contractors and freelancers to businesses that are just getting started, this basic online accounting software is easy to learn and to use. And apps made for iPhone, iPad, and Android provide added convenience when you’re away from the office.

With Simple Start, you’ll find a good set of features in this online accounting software without being overwhelmed by unneeded modules. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial, which should be long enough to help you decide if this is the best accounting solution for your business.

Better yet, if your business grows, you’ll have the ability to expand to a more powerful version without losing any of your account data. On the flip side, however, downgrading is not currently possible. Data from higher versions is not yet backward compatible and will not transfer to Simple Start.

Simple From the Start

Each time you open QuickBooks Simple Start, the Home Page guides you through creating transactions. Menu tabs and links make it easy to find the type of transaction you need to enter:

  • Invoices: Create and customize invoices.
  • Sales and Expenses: See money coming in and being paid out, track expenses and sales.
  • Reports: Twenty small business reports can be customized, such as balance sheets, sales, and profit and loss.
  • Customers: Store contacts and customer information in the searchable Customer Center, where you can also find each customer's outstanding balance and transactions.
  • Reduce Data Entry: Automatically download transactions from business bank or credit card accounts.

Flexible Accounting Features

If you're currently using a spreadsheet or manual ledger to do your accounting, you should find QuickBooks Simple Start much faster. Entering data is easy and accounting reports are generated with very few mouse clicks. Small business tax information is also automatically organized for future reporting. Accounting features include:

  • Estimate preparation tools
  • Invoice creation tools, which can be sent via email or print for mailing
  • Electronic bill payment/check printing tool
  • Sales, expenses, and tax reporting tools
  • Options at additional cost:
  • Payroll subscription
  • QuickBooks Merchant Services, which allows for credit card payments
  • Hundreds of apps and add-ons available for inventory, CRM, project management, time tracking, and more

QuickBooks Simple Start vs. Quicken Home and Business

Quicken Home & Business is fully-featured personal finance software with very basic small business accounting features. It may sound ideal for a small business, but the business features in Quicken Home & Business are not flexible enough for more than a small side business. 

QuickBooks Simple Start is the better way to go since it's designed for accounting. As your business needs grow, you can upgrade to QuickBooks Essentials for $40 per month, which allows more than one person to use the software, making bills easier to manage and pay. If you have a larger inventory, you should seriously consider QuickBooks Essentials Plus for $70 monthly.

Bottom-Line

While small business accounting software options like QuickBooks Simple Start can save time and can reduce how much you'll need an accountant, nothing replaces working with a licensed professional.

QuickBooks Simple Start earns 4.5 stars, but it’s best for very small businesses. It is not adequate for businesses managing substantial inventory or that require a considerable amount of fiduciary oversight.