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QuickBooks Online: Evolution and innovation Updates

Editor’s note: This update was posted on Feb. 5, 2020.

QuickBooks® Online is a unique platform that brings together accounting professionals and business owners, with a shared goal of helping small businesses succeed. One way we at Intuit® strive to fuel success for both groups is by encouraging every QuickBooks Online user to connect with a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor® from the day they sign up. However, there are many small business users who still take the DIY approach. They often try QuickBooks, get frustrated because they struggle to find their way, and then abandon it for the familiarity of Excel.

This sparked the question: What would it look like if we could create different, right-for-me experiences for accountants and small businesses on the same platform?

“We approached this question by doing a ton of research to understand the needs of small business customers coming to QuickBooks Online from spreadsheets,” says Richard Blitz, group product manager, QuickBooks Online. “What are the things they are trying to do and what makes them hard to do in QuickBooks? We learned that the interface was a primary challenge for them, which led us on this journey to rethink our user interface, and simplify terminology and transactions, while putting in more guardrails to help small businesses get their work done intuitively and accurately.”

For the first time, QuickBooks Online will offer different experiences based on the user’s familiarity with financial management, and we want to bring you, our accounting partners, along for the journey. For small businesses, this means more intuitive workflows and terminology to help complete key tasks accurately. It also keeps businesses out of the hairy accounting entries they routinely call out as obstacles, and improves the reliability and accuracy of their data. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to evolve the experience for accountants, including rolling out enhancements that save you time and help you better serve your clients.

Here’s a look at some of the innovations we’ve released to a small subset of customers and those you’ll be seeing in the weeks to come as we continue to evolve the QuickBooks Online experience.

Business View and Accountant View

In January 2020, we introduced a new view in QuickBooks Online to a small subset of users. The experience called “Business View” is presented to self-selected business owners and employees (non-accountants) who could benefit from a friendlier interaction with the product.

Business View has different terminology and slightly different presentation from the original view that accounting pros are used to seeing, which is now called Accountant View. This traditional view will continue to be available to all QuickBooks Online users through a toggle in Advanced Settings. Accountant View is also your default when accessing your clients’ books through QuickBooks Online Accountant.

Business View is meant to help newcomers to QuickBooks Online get started quickly on the key workflows that matter most to small businesses. It makes accounting language easier to understand, reduces complexity in workflows and forms such as invoices, gives people guardrails that help them get the accounting right without needing a textbook, and puts cash flow front and center, since that’s what most small business owners care about most.

Currently, the primary differentiation of Business View is a new cash flow report on the dashboard and new terminology in the +New (create) menu. Instead of Customers, Vendors, Employees, and Other, Business View users will see Money In, Money Out, and Other as their headers. Please note that we are still learning what will work best for users, and terminology may change.

Business View:

Accountant View:

To help you understand and communicate the differences, we’ve created a simple translation guide. Keep it handy so you can easily communicate with your clients.

At the moment, Accountant View will remain as the QuickBooks Online you know. We will continue to look for opportunities to make the product more efficient (think more batch actions) and information dense for our experts who are ready and willing to flex that kind of power.

What about journal entries and checks?

One thing to note: Journal entries are not visible in Business View, but they are still visible in Accountant View.

  • If you have a client that needs access Journal Entry or Check, you can simply change your client’s setting to Accountant View, rather than Business View.
  • Or, here’s a great workaround: Give your small business client a bookmark for the journal entry form that they can click when they need it. The journal entry won’t show up in the client’s Business View user interface, but it will still work when they click the bookmark as long as they are logged in to their company when they click it. Make sure the client has the proper permissions in place, because just having the link will not automatically bring up the Journal Entry form – the user also has to have permission to carry out that function.

How to switch views

To learn more about Business View and Accountant View, check out this short video by product specialist Woody Adams, which shows the new experience and how to switch from Business View to Accountant View (spoiler alert: it’s easy, just go to Account and Settings → Advanced → User View, then toggle to “Accountant View” and click Save).

For more details, check out the FAQs at the end of this article.

What’s next?

Banking → Transactions

Soon, Business View users will start to see “Transactions” instead of “Banking” in the left navigation. Similar to the terminology above, our research has demonstrated that it is a term that helps many small businesses to understand the variety of activities (beyond banking) available in that tab.


A subset of new QuickBooks Online users and accountants are currently in a beta experience that enables them to “tag” their front-of-house data in a very flexible way. With tagging, QuickBooks Online users will be able to search for data and report on it, without having to use (and possibly confuse!) the chart of accounts. Tagging will be available in the Business View and Accountant View. Initially, tagging will be available on expense and invoice forms, with more types of data-in to follow. We’ll have more information to share on tagging in our next update. [UPDATE: As of 2/14, most money-in and money-out forms in QuickBooks Online allow tagging, with still more in progress.]

Note: Tagging is not replacing classes/locations! Also, rest assured that you will still be able to reserve the chart of accounts, classes, locations, and custom fields for tracking any business-critical information, while letting business owners track their front-of-house information their way using tags.

If you’d like to provide feedback on the innovations mentioned above, please take a moment to share your thoughts here.

Interested in more information about these innovations and what’s to come?

  • QBO Show – podcast on Business View and Tagging Preview
  • QB Power Hour – webinar on Business View, Accountant View and tagging


Business View vs Accountant View

  • How can I tell if my client is seeing Business View?

To see if Business View is turned on, go to Account and Settings → Advanced → User View. You or your client can toggle back to Accountant View if you like.

  • How do I see what I’m used to seeing in QuickBooks?

It’s easy! If you’re logged in through QuickBooks Online Accountant, your default setting will be Accountant View, which is the original QuickBooks view you’re used to.

If you want to see what the client sees, you can “toggle” to Business View easily by going to Account and Settings → Advanced → User View.

  • How do I create a journal entry in Business View?

Since Business View is tailored for small business owners without an accounting background, you won’t be able to access Journal entry from the Create menu in Business View.

Follow the instructions above to switch to Accountant View, or sign in through QuickBooks Online Accountant to access Journal entry in the same location on the Create menu.

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