Which version of QuickBooks is right for me?

Which version of QuickBooks is right for me?

If you have looked at the list of features and still are not sure which version of QuickBooks you need for your business – fear not

I should also point out that you are not alone.

Picking the right version of QuickBooks or any software product often takes you to a sales page promoting the ‘most popular’. That doesn’t mean the most popular is right for your business

Starting with the basics

With QuickBooks online you have the option of three versions in the UK.

QuickBooks Simple start

QuickBooks Essential

QuickBooks Online +


The good news is you get some of the more advanced features in the simple start version. Simple start will give you Smartscan (the robot to help you with VAT), CIS calculations and even the Cash flow planner.


Simple Start – why would you purchase anything else?


Well, as soon as you need more that one user, bills (purchase invoices) and / or multi -currency you will need to move up for some additional features.

In essence simple start is fine if you are a one man band, doing the books yourself, and not recording your creditors (people you owe money to).

The name says it all, it gets you started, but when your business starts to grow you start to ask the question of your processes and accounting system

Why am I keeping an excel of the people I owe money to?

Should I employ a bookkeeper?

How much did I make on that job?



Explore the Essentials


With Essentials you get a little bit more for your monthly subscription. Up to 3 users and the option to enter purchase invoices (bills) and report on outstanding creditors (people you owe money to). The balance sheet starts to make more sense (if you’re the type to read a balance sheet).

You can’t raise a purchase order or report against that budget but for many businesses Essential will do the trick.


What’s in the +


You won’t need each and every additional Online + feature but you may find the feature that delivers that key requirement, that improves your reporting, helping make key business decisions, that save time monitoring profitability on your latest project.

You get basic Stock Management which includes Purchase orders but not Sales orders. It’s fine for maintaining stock if you buy and sell product but if you manufacture you will need to look at a potential add on.


Classes and locations will offer the ability to report at a departmental level or by area. You can use this to split your Profit & Loss into almost any segment you like.


You can also look at projects to provide that profitability reporting at a customer or job level.

You get the idea Online + provides the reporting options you miss out on with Essentials or lower.

Take it a step further an enter budgets for the business, class or customer etc for that budget v actual report you need.


On top of the reporting and stock management capability you get additional users (up to 5)



When picking the QuickBooks online version for you it’s a balance between functionality and price. You can always change your version but it’s easier to upgrade than downgrade. (watch out for that stock If you downgrade from Online +).

Invest a little time in considering your businesses accounting needs for the next , say, 12 months.

I mentioned ‘most popular’ in the introduction. That’s Essentials in QuickBooks. It’s not a bad choice you get the option to monitor creditors ( the people you owe money) , the basic standard reports most businesses need and the flexibility to upgrade if you need to get the more sophisticated reporting available in +.

  If your still not certain which version is best for you we can help

If you’re on Essentials and thinking of upgrading to Online + or on online + and considering a downgrade drop me a line.


written by Graham Steele  

Katara Ltd


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