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Which version of QuickBooks is best for startups?

Vanessa Kruze, CPA, is a leading expert in startup taxes and tax compliance. Her team at Kruze Consulting has filed thousands of tax returns for companies that have raised billions in VC funding, and her work has been diligenced by leading VCs, attorneys, and M&A teams at the largest technology companies.
Vanessa Kruze, a highly-experienced CPA, brings valuable tax expertise to startups, drawing from her rich background at Deloitte Tax and as a financial controller for a $20 million startup. As the leader of Kruze Consulting, recognized multiple times in the Inc 5000 list, she specializes in navigating the complex tax landscape for startups. Her firm is known for delivering precise and strategic tax solutions, delivering tax credits utilizing advanced tools to ensure compliance and optimize tax benefits for startups throughout the United States.

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Quickbooks comes in many flavors, and once upon a time, this was a piece of Desktop software. Quickbooks has now migrated to the Cloud (ie in your Internet Browser) and the only remaining Quickbooks desktop applications are heavyweight solutions meant for manufacturing, inventory, or enterprise level companies.

What is the best version of QuickBooks for your startup?

The vast majority of companies can and should use QuickBooks Online (vs the desktop version) - called QBO. The best version of QBO for a startup is usually QBO Essentials, the version of QBO that Intuit designed for companies that expect growth and to eventually have a professional finance team.

Which version of QuickBooks is best for startups

Here are the Quickbooks Online options, of which there are 5:

  1. Quickbooks Online Simple Start: too simple. Don’t do it. Not having bill tracking and multiple users is a deal killer.
  2. Quickbooks Online Essentials: WINNER WINNER CHX DINNER! Start with QBO Essentials. Its just right for 92%+ of Seed Startups who come to us.
  3. Quickbooks Online Plus: upgrade to this version after QBO Essentials when you’re ready to start tracking departments or different service lines. This typically happens when you’re 20+ employees or have greater than >$100K in revenue.
  4. Quickbooks Online Advanced: upgrade to this version after QBO Plus when you’re ready to start tracking departments, profitability by project, or different service lines. This typically happens when you’re 50+ employees, have an accounting team of 5+ people, or have greater than >$5M in revenue.
  5. Quickbooks Online Self-Employed: best for Single Member LLC, one person consultants, etc, whose company has less than <$100K in revenue.

We strongly believe that QuickBooks Online is the best accounting software for startups (especially if you are based in the US). Lots of API integrations into banks and credit cards and other fintech software, pretty good UX, and it’s an accepted industry standard - so pretty much any CPA or VP of Finance should be able to use it. 

PS. Don’t do the Quickbooks Payroll “add-on” - its awful and we see a ton of missed payroll filings. Read about the best payroll providers for startups - we cover Gusto, Rippling and some PEOs.


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