Friday, March 25, 2016

Turbo Tax Online vs. Download / CD

Choose the right product to file taxes.

This was my first year filing taxes using the Online product. For many years, I would buy the CD or in recent years, download the software and complete both business and personal returns. What attracted me to try the online version this time was the pricing which was 20-30% lower than the CD/Download product. And via my preferred airline's shopping portal, I would also get 400 miles. I figured I had nothing to lose by going through the wizard as nothing would be charged until I was ready to file. The deal was sealed when TurboTax recognized my Intuit ID so that I was able to log in and I even had the ability to upload last year's personal return done on my computer via the downloaded product. I did not use TurboTax for my business return, as the cost is so much higher for this version, only available as a download, versus the ones for personal returns and I find it pretty easy to just manually fill out the 1120S form from the IRS. But I did use the Premier online edition so that I could bring in investment data from Fidelity. TurboTax made it very simple to suggest this upgrade based on my choices going through the wizard.

I was surprised at how fast the navigation was from section to section in the wizard, very similar to the downloaded product but it just seemed to be a whole lot faster. I was able to switch from section to section very easily and every time, TurboTax was really smart about double-checking with me to make sure that I wasn't missing any possible deductions when completing a section. The only "glitch" and I think this had more to do with Fidelity than with TurboTax, was that the imported stock information was bucketed to the wrong boxes in TurboTax. So, I still had to refer to the paper tax statement from Fidelity to add/change information. E-filing for both federal and state was breeze and worth the money since it didn't take long and I received confirmation from both agencies that my return was accepted (no errors). I think this was the fastest it ever took me to do my taxes and a lot of it had to do with the nice comparison in each section of what amounts I had for last year versus the previous year. Don't get me wrong, the online version is very similar to the downloaded product in many ways; it just seemed a lot faster since I didn't have to download, install program and get updates. 

Now if only TurboTax Business had an online version that would import my data from QuickBooks Online and it was priced lower, I would be golden.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Cool Features in QuickBooks Online that are Not Even in QuickBooks Enterprise

Here is a list of some of my favorite things that are in QuickBooks Online. These features are not even available in the highest version of QuickBooks, Enterprise Solutions (QBES)!

Email Memorized Reports on a Schedule

Memorized reports are great, but when you can have them emailed to yourself or a group of people on a regular schedule, you look very professional. You can put whatever subject and/or note for the body in the email and even attach the report as an Excel spreadsheet.



Automatic Download of Bank and Credit Card Transactions
QuickBooks Enterprise allows for downloading transactions in what is called Bank Feeds, but you still have to click on the Update button whenever you want to get newly posted transactions. When I tried this recently, I got a blank pop up about "Update Branding Files" which then timed out with a server error. Frustrating, not to mention that I have to put in my pin or password to the bank/credit card account every time I update. Not very practical when only the owner has access to the accounts and doesn't want to give that info to a bookkeeper.

QuickBooks Online saves your login credentials and allows you to easily change them if you get a new account or change your password. It also updates all your accounts overnight or when the bank or credit card accounts post new transactions. You can also organize the order in which the accounts appear on the Banking page by editing the Bank accounts on the right of the Home page (pencil icon). Rules are even more sophisticated because you can create one with splits, with a % of the amount downloaded to more than one category (account).

Automatic Download of Merchant Service Deposit
If using QuickBooks Payments, you still have to click on Record Merchant Service Deposits in QBES in order to bring in the batch of credit card payments. QBO does this automatically so that when the downloaded deposit comes through via Banking, it is matched.

Multiple A/R and A/P Lines in a Journal Entry
What's never been allowed in QuickBooks for Desktop, is the ability to put multiple accounts receivable or accounts payable lines in one journal entry. You have to do separate journals for each one. QBO lets you do as many as you want in just one journal entry.

Quick Loading and Easily Switch Between Companies

I've timed how long it takes to and launch and log into a QBES company file (not a large one) and it takes longer than QBO. Granted I have fast internet, but with QBO, you can quickly switch between company files without having to re-enter your password. In QBES, you can't have 2 company files open in the same year version of the software without restrictions. With QBO, I have multiple users in Chrome so that I can have more than one company file open at a time in multiple windows with full access (not limited by the primary/secondary restrictions as in QBES). But it is so easy to switch back and forth between customers or clients, especially in QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA).


No More Annoying Pop Ups!

I hate them when surfing the internet so I really hate them in QBES. There are tons of them and I am always reminded of them when I set up a new company file for a client. At least in QBO, I get a nice Tasks section with a link to view reminders on the Home page and error messages are in red on existing pages, a much more pleasing experience since we are accustomed to pop ups being obtrusive.

No More Annoying Single User Mode Restrictions!
In QBO, I can make any changes without having to ask anyone else in the account to log out. In QBES, there are so many instances where things can only be done in single user mode. This is very impractical especially in a version where you can have up to 30 users working simultaneously for a large company.
Rename Your Customer List

In QBO, you can rename your Customers to Clients, Donors, Guests, Members, Patients, or Tenants. It would be nice if we could have a custom option though to call them whatever we want. I could imagine some very creative descriptions for customers. 

Mobile App

There is no longer a mobile app for QuickBooks for Desktop. There was one at one time but it's gone and it's not coming back. End of story. There is an iOS and Android app for QBO. I use the Android one and it is great for creating sales receipts. Linked with QuickBooks Payments, I can create a receipt and charge a client's credit card and send it to them via email. This is very convenient. Access to data anytime, anywhere, and on any device is a necessity these days. 

Attachments

Since attachments in QBES uses a folder in the same location as the company file (if not using a Google Drive or Dropbox folder), anyone that has access to QuickBooks can delete or move this folder, thus unlinking or destroying all attachments. There is also no way to select all documents in the doc center and download them for safekeeping, which would be nice considering that this folder isn't backed up into the cloud, unless set up outside of QuickBooks. In QBO, I love the Attachments page. It not just shows me the transaction linked to an attachment, but I can click on that link and it will open that transaction. I can select an attachment and create an invoice or expense transaction that will become linked to it. I can also select multiple attachments and export them, but since they are inherently stored in the cloud, I don't have to worry about losing them. I can even add attachments to downloaded transactions, which can't be done in the bank feeds of QBES.

Online Customer Invoice Activities

I love it when I send an invoice to a client and then in QBO I can see the date and time my client viewed it. I can also write a message to my client linked to the invoice, which sends them an email with the option to reply back. It's like a mini CRM for tracking activities linked to a job. 

Automatic Recurring Sales Receipts

With QuickBooks Payments, QBO lets you create monthly sales receipts that will automatically charge the customer's credit card on file and send the receipt via email. What a time saver!

QuickBooks Online is all about automation, convenience, and simplicity! I am sure there are many more features to mention, and I will certainly update this page when I can think of more.