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QuickBooks Online greatest hits: Innovations for your practice and your clients

In case you haven’t noticed, Intuit® has been ramping up the features in QuickBooks Online over the past year. I wanted to share some of them with you, and tell you which are my favorites and why.

Before we start, I want to mention one of my favorite features: Price Rules. This was added in 2017, so I won’t list it this article, but you can read about it here; I also have some tips for using it to create discounts here. Also, click on the image to the right to get a concise, visual list of features and enhancements over the last 12 months.

Here are some of the more recent QuickBooks Online Greatest Hits. My personal favorites are marked with an asterisk (*).

*Track project profitability: Bottom line here is that we now have labor costing in Projects. This is a big, huge deal. (And, yes, I realize those words mean the same thing.)

With QuickBooks Online Plus or Advanced, you can use Projects to track each job’s expenses, income and labor costs, all in one place.

To access Project Profitability, select Projects from the left navigation. If you don’t see that option, you’ll need to turn on Projects. I thought the best way to explain this was to link to a video that Woody Adams created.

You’ll see a consolidated list of your projects, as well as their profit margin.

Direct bank feeds: With direct bank feeds, users can sync bank transactions automatically to QuickBooks Online. This is a huge update, and taking the time to understand it and make the switch is well worth it by taking a look at these direct bank feed FAQs.

What this means is that we’ll all have less issues with feed interruptions, duplicate transactions and connectivity errors.

To set up direct bank feeds, select the banking tab in your clients’ QuickBooks Online.

Look for the banner under the account card that lets you know if your client’s bank is eligible, then select Update now and follow the prompts.

Sales tax enhancements: QuickBooks Sales Tax makes calculating, collecting, tracking and remitting sales tax more convenient. The feature currently supports customers on accrual accounting.

Here’s how it works:

Set up sales tax: Customers can set up sales tax by visiting the taxes tab in QuickBooks. They will need to confirm their business address and record which tax agencies they are registered with.

Create an invoice: Customers can include sales tax on an invoice by entering customer information, categorizing their products/services and marking them as taxable. Unless shipping information is provided, QuickBooks Sales Tax will use the company address for a default rate.

See the sales tax breakdown: Once a customer has included a taxable product on an invoice, they will be able to see the rate calculation and breakdown by clicking on the sales tax drawer. Customers are also able to make changes from the sales tax drawer.

Filing: Customers who track sales tax through QuickBooks are provided the option to electronically file and pay through QuickBooks. Note that not all states are currently supported for e-filing.

QuickBooks Sales Tax helps save time and manage their sales tax obligations by providing the most accurate rules, rates and filing services. Users won’t need to track the rates of the 11,000 taxing jurisdictions or 60,000 tax rules (that’s right – 60,000!); sales tax rates and rules are automatically updated as changes come into effect. For example, many states implemented sales tax rule and rate changes on Jan. 1, 2019. These changes were communicated to QuickBooks Sales Tax users, but there was nothing more for these users to do than read the communication.

You can find more detailed information on how to set up QuickBooks Sales Tax here.

*Progress invoicing: Do you or your clients have projects that are invoiced incrementally? Right before I started writing this article, my firm just finished a project where we were paid in three installments. Progress invoicing makes it really easy to stay on top of where the business is, in terms of getting paid.

After you turn on the feature, just create an estimate, then choose “Create Invoice” in the top right corner when the estimate is open and choose how much you want to invoice:

Once the invoice is created and when you open the estimate, you’ll have a link to it in the top left. The estimate will show you how much has been invoiced and what is remaining:

Contractor self setup and 1099 e-filing: This is a huge timesaver! From the Workers tab, click on Contractors, then “Add a Contractor.” You’ll be asked for the name and email address, and QuickBooks does the rest! It sends an invitation out to the contractor who completes their W-9 information. QuickBooks adds it to their record and adds a PDF of the W-9.

At year end, navigate to the same area, and this time click “Prepare 1099s.” QuickBooks will already have all the info needed to prepare the forms. Using Intuit’s 1099 e-file service lets you do it all in one place!

Simultaneously manage multiple companies in the QuickBooks Online app: We all know the trick for accessing more than one client QuickBooks subscription at once by using a different browser, multiple Chrome users or an incognito window. The QBO Desktop app makes it even easier by letting you open multiple clients at once.

One-page payroll summaries: I know, this really doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I really think it is! My clients (and I’m sure many other small business owners and my fellow ProAdvisors®!) want to see wages, tax info and deductions all on one report and contained on one page. With this update, we got it! Any time we can simply run the report, it’s a “Good Thing.”

This list isn’t a comprehensive accounting of all the new features in QuickBooks Online; it’s just a few that I felt were important to call out and some that are my favorites. To keep up to date on what’s new, you can bookmark these search results from Firm of the Future.

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