Many business owners today are looking for mobile software options to do their accounting with. Since the most commonly known accounting software has been QuickBooks for quite some time, we have some good news and some bad news: there is a mobile option of Intuit’s new product, QuickBooks Online, but only in three paid versions, each coming with different features.
Let’s compare the most important differences, and then look at an alternative that is rising in popularity for those who are still hung up on the expense of a monthly QuickBooks bill.
QuickBooks Online offers Simple Start, Essentials, and Plus versions of their product, all of which can be accessed on the go. The Simple Start version allows you to do the basic things that you need as a business owner: track income and expenses, send invoices, and download bank and credit card transactions. The price is $15/month, which isn’t terrible, but there are a couple major drawbacks to this version.
First of all, with Simple Start you can’t set up invoice to automatically bill on a recurring schedule. If you want to do that (many if not most business do), you’ll have to bump up to the Essentials package. Another key feature that Simple Start is missing is a license that grants other employees to access QuickBooks Online. That means only one person can do all of the accounting for your company.
In the Essentials package, not only can you automatically bill on a recurring schedule, but up to three people can access QuickBooks Online. While it isn’t clear from their package comparison page whether those additional two people can access all of the features, this is certainly a step-up. Throw in a handful of other minor features and the price doubles from $15/month to $30/month.
Should three people with access not be enough, the Plus package offers a total of 5 people. It also allows users to track inventory, create and send purchase orders, and it gives employees and subcontractors limited access to enter the time that they’ve worked. These are definitely helpful functions, and there are more you can check out on the QuickBooks Online comparison page. The Plus package comes in at $40/month.
Is there a free version of QuickBooks? Unfortunately not. Can most users get by with the $15/month version? That depends on their needs, but most will need software with more features.
It’s unfortunate that the Simple Start package offers too few features for most business users, and to get the full benefit of using QuickBooks Online you’ll have to upgrade to the Plus version for a total of $480 every year.
But if you’re just getting started, or are looking for a Free QuickBooks software package, you’ll find a great alternative at an infinitely better price. ZipBooks is a free professional accounting option that is quickly becoming the preferred alternative for many users. Through ZipBooks, you can send and receive invoices, track income and expenses, track inventory, and even set recurring profiles for your customers so they are automatically billed.
The reason they don’t currently charge a monthly fee is because they make money off invoice financing and they also offer premium paid services like full-service online bookkeeping. All the services are optional so you can use their accounting software for free even if you never use a paid service.
For this online accounting software provider, they are playing a numbers game. Even if only 5-10% end up using a paid service, that really starts to add up as subscription numbers climb into the millions.
But is it mobile-friendly? Yes, and the ZipBooks iPhone app is remarkably functional and intuitive. It lets you easily send professional looking invoices from wherever you need to send them, and do just about everything else a business owner hopes for. They have an Android app coming soon and the web app looks good on any screen size.
In addition, any of your employees can access all of the features of ZipBooks without paying a dime. It’s the free QuickBooks that we’ve all been hoping for, and it comes with no ads or gimmicks attached.
Maybe we’re finally moving into a new age of accounting software that allows any type of business to flourish in today’s modern world! If so, ZipBooks seems to be at the forefront of that movement, and if you’re looking for a good mobile app or a free version of QuickBooks, it takes less than a minute to setup a ZipBooks account that you can try out instantly for yourself.