QuickBooks Online

What makes QuickBooks Online Advanced Different than the Essentials and Plus Versions

There are over 4.5 million customers using QuickBooks across the globe right now. QuickBooks is one of the longest-running and most reliable accounting software systems available, and their online versions offer robust functionality and flexibility that organizations love. There are multiple versions to suit the unique needs of businesses of every size and style. 

In fact, it can be tricky to know which online version is right for your company. That’s why our blog breaks down the important information you need to know about QuickBooks, as well as other accounting systems. One question that we’ve been receiving a lot lately is how the online Advanced version of QuickBooks is different than the Enhanced and Plus versions available. 


The Basics of QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online offers four main versions: Simple Start, Essentials, Plus, and Advanced. Pricing varies between $20 and $150 per month. Your ideal plan is going to vary based on the number of users you need and whether your business requires features like accounts payable (A/P), inventory, or advanced reporting. 

Here is a quick breakdown of the three key online versions:

Essentials – Helps small businesses that need to assign billable hours to customers, track bills due, and provide access for up to three users

Plus – Ideal for retailers, wholesalers, contractors, and other small businesses that require inventory tracking, job costing, budgeting, and access for up to five users

AdvancedThis works for up to midsize businesses that want more detailed reporting, custom user permissions, a dedicated support manager, and up to 25 users

Additionally, it’s important to know that all of the Online versions offer this set of functionality: 

  • The ability to track your income and expenses
  • Invoicing capability – both invoice customers and receive payments
  • The ability to invite your accountant to access your data
  • Download capabilities for bank and credit card transactions
  • Mileage tracking via a mobile device
  • The ability to capture and organize receipts via a mobile device
  • Access to unlimited customer support

This information leaves many people scratching their heads when it comes to choosing a version. Essentials and Plus seem similar in many ways, with overlapping capabilities. Advanced is the premium offering, with up to 25 users. Which would work best for your business? How do you know when it’s time to invest in Advanced vs. another option? 

The “Advanced” Differences Explained

For one thing, Essentials is less expensive than Plus ($40 vs. $70 respectively) and Advanced is the most expensive at $150 – and here’s why. On a basic level, Essentials lets you have 3 users, while Plus lets you have 5, and Advanced offers 25.  As we mentioned, a lot of the decision comes down to how many users you need, so that is key information and the biggest difference.  We also have the ability to apply discounts to all the QuickBooks Online products of up to 50% off so that can is something to be considered as well.

Other than that, if you were to study QuickBooks’ online comparison chart, you would notice a list of features that are included in Advanced that are not present in Essentials or Plus. These are:

  • A Key Performance Indicators dashboard
  • Custom user permissions
  • Automated workflows
  • A dedicated success manager
  • Training for staff (valued at $2,000)

Generally speaking, Plus is a substantial upgrade from Essentials and Advanced is the most….well, advanced. Advanced offers a lot of bells and whistles but none of them are crucial to day-to-day accounting. A small business might benefit from the tracking and inventory features of Plus but do not yet need Advanced functionality. However, Advanced is a great option for businesses with a growth mindset who are planning to scale in a year or two. In addition to allowing the most users (25), Advanced removes the limitations on the number of classes, locations, and accounts imposed by Plus. Most companies find that the most critical enhancements available in Advanced are the KPI Dashboard and the ability to rely on a dedicated success manager. A high-value training class kicked in doesn’t hurt either. 

Need help deciding which QuickBooks Online version is right for you?  If you give us a call at 866-949-7267, our seasoned professionals can walk you through the nuances of the QuickBooks products and provide real-life use cases and examples that will make your decision simpler.