QuickBooks Online Plan Comparison:
Simple Start vs Essentials vs Plus

Compare QuickBooks Online Plans

There are five different levels of QuickBooks Plans:

  • Self-Employed,
  • Easy or Simple Start,
  • Essentials,
  • Plus, and
  • Advanced.

We are going to compare QuickBooks Online versions and the feature set available in the Easy or Simple Start, Essentials, and Plus Plans.

QuickBooks Online is excellent cloud based accounting software for small business owners and entrepreneurs. You can save time, automate your bookkeeping, track your sales tax and payroll tax and make use of the reporting features available in the various plans. You will have up to the minute information available for your business to better manage your cash flow and make financial decisions.

In order to determine which plan is best for your small business this guide and accompanying videos walk through the features of each plan, to help you determine which QuickBooks Online plan is best for your business! 

Which QuickBooks Online Plan is Right for You?

QuickBooks Online Simple Start or Easy Start Plan is ideal if you pay for your expenses using your debit or credit card, and have simple invoicing needs for your clients and customers. If you are a consultant or contractor who needs to keep track of expenses as they happen, provide invoices and receive payment, track mileage, and run simple reports this is a good place to start!

The QuickBooks Online Simple Start or Easy Start Plan will track all the information you need to file sales tax and prepare your income tax returns at the end of the year, and run reports to see how your business is going throughout the year.

QuickBooks Online Essentials Plan is for businesses who pay for some expenses at a later date, for example have credit from their suppliers, purchase goods and pay for them later and need to record the expense before payment.

There are also more advanced invoicing options in the QuickBooks Online Essentials Plan.

You can track additional information such as sales reps or work crew on your invoices. There is also an option to account for tips and gratuities and enter your employees time in timesheets.

If you have multiple currencies you need to use the QuickBooks Online Essentials Plan.

QuickBooks Online Plus Plan has more advanced reporting options by allowing you to allocate locations and “classes” to your transactions to be able to report by division, rep area, location, or whatever makes the most sense for your business!

If you track and sell inventory you need the QuickBooks Online Plus Plan. You are able to correctly account for the cost of the items sold, issue purchase orders to your suppliers and track the quantity of inventory on hand.

Budgeting is another great feature that is only available in the QuickBooks Online Plus Plan.

There is also a new Projects tool in QuickBooks Online Plus that can be used to manage different jobs for your customers. A great feature for keeping track of costs against project estimates, and progress billing.

QuickBooks Online Comparison Chart

The QuickBooks Online comparison chart below shows the feature set available in each QuickBooks Online version plan.

To sign up for a free 30-day trial click the link for your country:

Compare QuickBooks Online Plans Simple Start Ess­en­tials Plus
Standard Monthly Fee - USA $30 $50 $80
Standard Monthly Fee - Canada $20 $40 $60
Standard Monthly Fee - UK £15 £20 £30
Standard Monthly Fee - Australia $20 $35 $50
Number Of Users Available1 1 3 5
Easily Reconcile Your Accounts, And Ensure The Accuracy Of Your Information
Invoice Your Customers, And Receive Payments On The Go
Prepare Basic Accounting Reports
Capture Expenses Using The App
Track Mileage
Track And Report Sales Tax
Send Estimates To Your Customers
Progress Invoicing
Manage 1099 Contractors (USA)
Enter And Pay Bills
Record Time Activity As Billable To A Customer
Weekly Timesheet
Recurring Transactions
Delayed Credits and Charges
Pay Down Credit Card
Custom Fields On Invoices
Shipping Account
Class Tracking
Location Tracking
Purchase Orders
1 - Note that if you require more than 5 users signing up for QuickBooks with an accountant will enable unlimited users. Reach out -- I can set you up!

Other QuickBooks Online Plans

The QuickBooks Self-Employed plan is an app that has very basic features.

You can check out the options here.

The QuickBooks Advanced Plan is much more robust, with advanced reporting and add-ons that are not available in any other plan. It allows you to batch invoices and expenses, customize user roles, further automate your workflows, and back-up and restore your company data.

For more information click here.

How Much Does QuickBooks Online Cost?

What does QuickBooks Online cost is not as easy a question as it may appear!

Each version of QuickBooks Online has a different price, with the features and number of users increasing for each subscription level.

There is also a QuickBooks Online version for every country!

The advantage of using a QuickBooks Online plan for your country is that your reporting will be in local currency, and it will be easier to account for local tax programs such as sales tax and payroll tax.

The rules of each country differ, and creating and filing the returns required will be easier if you use a QuickBooks Online plan that takes these differences into account at the time of recording of transactions.

Most countries require that you file any returns in your local currency, you can set your reporting currency, and using the multi currency feature in QuickBooks Online record any transactions in other currencies, and still report using the reporting currency of your country.

Be sure to check for special offers before signing up:

There is always a deal! 

Note that if you use the 30 day free trial option, you will not qualify for the discounted subscription on offer.

QuickBooks Online Simple Start Plan

The QuickBooks Online Simple Start Plan costs $30 per month in the US, $20 per month in Canada and Australia, and 15 pounds per month in the UK.

QuickBooks Online Essentials Plan

The QuickBooks Online Essentials Plan costs $50 per month in the US, $40 per month in Canada and Australia, and 20 pounds per month in the UK.

The QuickBooks Online Essentials Plan allows access for up to 3 users.

QuickBooks Online Plus Plan

The QuickBooks Online Plus Plan costs $80 per month in the US, $60 per month in Canada and Australia, and 30 pounds per month in the UK.

The QuickBooks Online Plus Plan allows access for up to 5 users.

Note that if you require more than 5 users signing up for QuickBooks with an accountant will enable unlimited users. Reach out -- I can set you up!

QuickBooks Online Payroll Subscriptions

Note that cost for QuickBooks Online Payroll subscriptions are in addition to the monthly QuickBooks Online subscription price, and vary from 4 pounds for a basic plan in the UK to $125 per month for an Elite plan in the US.

After selecting your QuickBooks Online plan you have the option to select an add on for payroll based on the features you would like for your business.

For all the features it offers for the price, QuickBooks Online is very affordable.

The QuickBooks Online monthly fee for each plan is the ongoing amount charged after any special offers end. QuickBooks regularly offers incentives for new customers that will save you money.

Be sure to check these links to see the latest QuickBooks Online offer:

If you would like assistance to select or set up your QuickBooks Online file you can book a session here.

If you have QuickBooks, and have connected the bank, check out my bank feed training course before you get started.

About the Author

Kerry Smithies headshot

Kerry Smithies is a top ranked QuickBooks Pro Advisor and CPA.

Be sure to subscribe to Kerry’s YouTube channel with lots of QuickBooks Online how to videos and tips for managing your business finances.

With extensive experience working with small businesses and entrepreneurs in Australia, Canada, and the US. Kerry now focuses her attention entirely on helping business owners manage their finances and grow their businesses by automating their accounting function utilizing QuickBooks Online and related cloud applications to streamline their bookkeeping functions giving them more time to focus on what they do well, run their own business, and enjoy hard earned down time!

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