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Top Five Things Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know About QuickBooks

October 1, 2018

QuickBooks is the most widely used accounting software for small businesses, but this doesn’t mean that the software is easy to use. Even if you have used it for years there’s always additional information to help you along the way.


The first thing that is important to note is that Intuit offers two different platforms, QuickBooks Desktop (QBD) and the QuickBooks Online (QBO). OBD is a local install of the program which allows users to create multiple company files with that one program. QBD has been around for years, making it their flagship product. In 2001, Intuit launched OBO which is cloud-based allowing users to access their books anytime, anywhere. With the updated technology changes, Intuit is putting the majority of their capital and resources into improving this product. Each program has their pros and cons, and it depends on a business’s individual situations to know which version is the best fit. With technology, we believe the online version will become a more popular choice, so we will concentrate on that product.


OBO continuously improves and utilizes artificial intelligence to create efficiencies within their product.  By utilizing features like Bank Feeds and Invoices correctly in QBO, the system can complete different parts of the accounting process automatically for you. For example, when utilizing Bank Feeds, QBO can learn how you code certain transactions and will create rules that it will apply going forward. This can decrease your time spent on coding transactions. If you create your invoices out of QBO and have clients pay you electronically, QBO will make the deposit for you and close out the accounts receivable. Both features give the business owner the ability to spend less time in the books which gives them more time to improve or grow their business.


Reporting is another area of QBO that has the potential to help clients tremendously. QBO allows companies to generate several reports and customize them as needed. In addition, QBO has a built-in dashboard allowing a business owner to quickly look at business statistics, for example how many invoices are currently overdue or the current bank balance. It is important to note that if the inputs are wrong, your reports are going to be wrong. Therefore, it is very important to enter information into QBO correctly and to keep your books up to date.

Third-Party Applications

One of the best features of QBO is the ability to work with third-party applications. This ecosystem opens a whole new market for clients to create efficiencies in their process or help solve other pain points that they might have within the operation of their company. It can be overwhelming without any guidance on which apps to use, but creating that technology stack to run your business can be game changing.

Overall, QuickBooks has been a market leader for accounting software used by small businesses. We recognize that, and want to provide you with the knowledge to pick the right product, then to properly use the program to create efficiencies, reports and apps to help run your business. Watch the video above to get a deeper dive into making the most of QuickBooks.

Learn about other Accounting & Taxes resources in The Partnership’s Small Business Resources Hub or sign up for the Small Business Resources newsletter and stay connected for information about upcoming events, other resources and the latest announcements in the small business community in Greater Des Moines (DSM).

Jonathan Porter

Jonathan is currently a manager at McGowen, Hurst, Clark & Smith, P.C. in the Business Advisory and Tax Services Department. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master of Accounting in May 2011. Jonathan's area of expertise is small business accounting and taxation, along with consulting clients on their processes and procedures within their business. Jonathan is a member of the AICPA, CPAmerica International and the ISCPA. Jonathan is also a past graduate of the Kansas Society of CPAs "20 up to 40" Leadership Program.