QuickBooks for LLCs (2024 Comprehensive Comparison)

Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: June 20, 2024
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One of the first decisions you must make when starting a small business is what accounting software to use. With various QuickBooks options, finding the right software that aligns with your LLC's (Limited Liability Company) financial requirements is crucial.

As experts in software for small businesses, we've extensively researched and analyzed the options to help you find the best version of QuickBooks for your LLC.

In this comprehensive buyer's guide for 2023, we provide an unbiased assessment of the available QuickBooks editions. We’ve considered factors such as features, pricing, scalability, and user-friendliness.

Quick Summary

  • QuickBooks Online is the best choice for an LLC due to its comprehensive features, user-friendly interface, and cloud-based accessibility
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed is ideal for independent contractors and freelancers, offering simplified income and expense tracking and tax support
  • QuickBooks Desktop is a robust accounting software and is suitable for larger LLCs and businesses that prefer locally installed software


 

The Best QuickBooks for LLC

A person writing on paper while looking up what is QuickBooks all about

The ideal QuickBooks solution for an LLC incorporates robust financial tracking and reporting tools.

Here are the three best QuickBooks solutions you can use to facilitate your LLC’s accounting tasks:

1. QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is our top pick for LLCs due to its comprehensive features and user-friendly interface.

It is cloud-based accounting software for small businesses that organize financial information all in one place. This software solution offers a range of features to help streamline financial management for LLCs.

As LLC owners, we’ve used QuickBooks Online for several years, and it simplified our financial management tasks. The user-friendly interface made it easy for us to get started, and the cloud-based nature of the software allowed us to access our financial data on the go.

The only drawback we experienced was the limited features in the lower-tier plan. However, you can solve this by upgrading to a higher-tier plan to resolve.

QuickBooks Online Plans Include:

  • Simple Start ($15 Monthly): This plan is ideal for self-employed professionals and small businesses. It allows users to track income and expenses, create invoices, and run basic reports. It provides essential bookkeeping functionalities.
  • Essentials ($27.50 Monthly): Designed for growing businesses. The plan includes managing bills and payments, and time tracking and has up to three users access. It offers additional capabilities beyond Simple Start.
  • Plus ($42.50 Monthly): The plan suits established businesses with more complex financial requirements. It can perform inventory management, analyze project profitability, and has up to five users. It provides comprehensive features.
  • Advanced ($100 Monthly): Geared toward large-scale businesses, the plan offers advanced reporting, customized user permissions, and premium customer support. It also includes up to 25 users and enhanced features for inventory management.

Pros
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Excellent privacy protection
  • Useful integrated tools
  • Great value for money
  • Simplified tax management
Cons
  • Lack of business-specific features

2. QuickBooks Self-Employed

A woman holding a notebook with the quickbooks logo

QuickBooks Self-Employed is designed for independent contractors and freelancers. It can assist with transaction tracking and sending invoices to customers.

QuickBooks Self-Employed has many features tailored to help:

  • Manage finances
  • Track business and personal expenses
  • Send invoices
  • Simplify sales tax preparation

We tried QuickBooks Self-Employed and liked its simplicity and ease of use. It offered a straightforward setup process and intuitive navigation. This makes it accessible even for those without accounting experience.

The software also offered us built-in sales tax support, including automatic categorization of expenses and mileage tracking. These features helped us save time during tax season.

QuickBooks Self-Employed Plans Include:

  • Self-Employed Plan ($7.50 per month after the discounted period): Allows tracking of your income and expenses, separates business and personal transactions, maximizes your deductions, and estimates your quarterly taxes.
  • Self-Employed Tax Bundle ($12 monthly (after the discounted period): This plan includes all the features of the Self-Employed Plan, along with the added benefit of filing your federal and state taxes at no additional cost. 
  • Self-Employed Live Tax Bundle ($17 monthly (after the discounted period): The plan offers all the features of the Self-Employed Tax Bundle, with the added advantage of expert guidance. You can access CPA tax experts who will provide personalized advice and help you maximize your deductions.

Pros
  • Efficient expense tracking and separate personal/business transactions
  • Integration with popular payment platforms
  • Built-in tax support and simplified tax preparation
Cons
  • Limited reporting capabilities for in-depth financial analysis
  • Lack of integrations

3. QuickBooks Desktop

A close up shot of someone's fingers on a laptop

QuickBooks Desktop is a robust accounting software that offers advanced features for LLCs. You can download and install the software on your computer.

It provides comprehensive financial management tools and can easily handle complex accounting tasks.

The Quickbooks desktop version offers offline access and is ideal for businesses that prefer a locally installed software solution.

As small business owners operating LLCs, we have been using QuickBooks Desktop for several years has been a game-changer for my accounting needs.

One of the standout features for us has been its robust reporting capabilities. This allowed us to generate detailed financial reports and gain valuable insights into my business's performance.

Offline access has also been beneficial, especially during times when internet connection was unreliable.

QuickBooks Desktop Pricing Plans Include:

  • QuickBooks Desktop Premier Plus ($799 per year): Support for up to 5 users allows easy collaboration. You can conveniently create and send invoices, track income, and expenses, manage sales tax, and capture receipts. Additionally, this small business accounting service helps you maximize tax deductions and efficiently manage your inventory.
  • QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise ($1410 per year): Along with all the features of Premier Plus, you can opt for cloud access, enabling flexible remote work. The software includes built-in payroll functionality and supports 1099 contractors. You can integrate over 200 apps, streamline batch invoices and expenses, and benefit from a dedicated account team. You can also connect with Salesforce CRM through an add-on for further convenience.

Pros
  • Robust features
  • Customization options
  • Offline access
Cons
  • Limited collaboration
  • Costly upgrades

Factors to Consider When Choosing QuickBooks for an LLC

A person using a laptop

In selecting QuickBooks for your LLC, prioritize features aligning with the entity’s requirements for streamlined financial management.

Here are some factors you can consider:

1. Company Size and Complexity

Quickbooks Online and self-employed options are meant for small business owners.

If you’re running an enterprise or your small business is transitioning and growing to become an enterprise, the online version might not suit you.

In that case, it is recommended to get a QuickBooks Enterprise, desktop software that gives access to up to 40 people and is intended for big companies.

2. Budget Considerations

Budget is an essential factor when choosing any software for your LLC. QuickBooks Online operates on a subscription model with monthly fees.

This can be affordable for many small businesses. QuickBooks Desktop versions require an upfront purchase but don't involve ongoing subscription fees.

Analyze your budget and determine whether the upfront cost or ongoing subscription fees align better with your LLC's financial situation.

3. Start Small

Buying a basic package is good if you are a new small business owner starting now.

Remember that it is much easier to scale up and upgrade than to downgrade a package after realizing you are not using all its features.

4. Scalability and Growth Potential

When selecting QuickBooks for your LLC, consider its scalability and growth potential.

QuickBooks Online Advanced is cloud-based and can accommodate growing businesses, allowing you to easily add users and access your data from anywhere.

QuickBooks Desktop versions offer advanced features suitable for scaling businesses and can handle larger amounts of data.

Assess your LLC's growth plans and choose a QuickBooks product that aligns with your future needs.

5. Talk To A Certified Public Accountant

QuickBooks data may quickly become difficult, and while accounting tools might be helpful, they are no substitute for an educated and professional data analyst.

Figures don't lie, but focusing on a few numbers (such as averages) over others can be highly misleading.

If you don't have a background in mathematics, statistical analysis, data, or small business intelligence, the conclusions you draw from your QuickBooks reports may not be correct or mathematically sound.

Therefore hiring a CPA would be a good idea in this scenario.

6. Integration with Other Business Tools

Consider the tools and software your LLC already uses or plans to use.

QuickBooks integrates with numerous small business tools, including payment processors, point-of-sale systems, CRM software, and more.

Ensure that the QuickBooks product you choose integrates seamlessly with the existing or planned tools to streamline your LLC's operations and enhance efficiency.

How to Set Up a Sole Proprietorship in QuickBooks?

To establish a sole proprietorship in QuickBooks, begin by opening QuickBooks and then navigating to the "File" > "New Company." The Setup window for QuickBooks appears.

You’ll then follow these 5 steps below:

1. Select "Express Start" and input your company name and industry in the "Company Name" and "Industry" fields.

2. Select "Sole Proprietorship" from the "Company Type" drop-down box.

3. In the "Tax ID #" area, enter your Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security number [1]. In QuickBooks, the number is utilized in tax forms. When asked what the company's business structure is, select the tax structure you have chosen (or plan to choose) for your LLC to be treated as.

4. Click "Continue," then "Create Company File" after entering your company's contact information. QuickBooks opens the "Add Info" window after creating the company file.

5. To add the information to your account, click the "Add" button next to the "People," "Products," and "Bank Accounts" sections [2]. Click "Start Working" after you're finished, or if you wish to skip this step, enter the information as you go.

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FAQs

Is QuickBooks Suitable for the Self-Employed?

Quickbooks is suitable for the Self-Employed. It provides tools for tracking income and expenses, generating invoices, and managing taxes. With its user-friendly interface and tailored features, QuickBooks can aid self-employed individuals in efficiently managing their finances.

Is Quickbooks Online or Offline?

QuickBooks is primarily an online accounting software designed to be accessed through a web browser. While offline versions may be available, QuickBooks Online is the most commonly used and widely recommended option.

It offers the convenience of cloud-based access and real-time data synchronization, making it a popular small business choice.

Is QuickBooks a One-Time Purchase?

QuickBooks is not a one-time purchase. It is a subscription-based software offered by Intuit. Users pay a recurring fee to access and use QuickBooks, which provides ongoing updates, customer support, and additional features as part of the subscription.

How Do I Ask a Question to the QBO Community?

You can ask a question to the QBO Community for assistance by visiting their official website and navigating to the community forum section. You can post your question there, and community members or experts may provide valuable insights and solutions.

Do You Have to Update QuickBooks Every Year?

You do not have to update QuickBooks every year. However, QuickBooks updates are generally recommended to ensure access to the latest features, security enhancements, and compliance with tax regulations. Regular updates also help maintain optimal functionality and ensure a seamless user experience.

Which QuickBooks Is Best For An LLC

QuickBooks Online is the best for an LLC or a small business owner looking for affordable and feature-rich accounting software.

I have personally used the software and can attest to its effectiveness in streamlining financial management for LLCs.

The Online version of QuickBooks offers a range of tools and functionalities that cater specifically to the needs of limited liability companies.

One of the key advantages of this version is its accessibility. Being a cloud-based solution, it allows for easy and secure access from anywhere, anytime, with no need for on-site installations or manual data backups.


References

  1. https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/launch-your-business/get-federal-state-tax-id-numbers
  2. https://www.oreilly.com/library/view/quickbooks-2012-the/9781449317898/ch01.html

About The Author

Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Jon Morgan, MBA, LLM, has over ten years of experience growing startups and currently serves as CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter. Educated at UC Davis and Harvard, he offers deeply informed guidance. Beyond work, he enjoys spending time with family, his poodle Sophie, and learning Spanish.
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Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
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18 thoughts on “QuickBooks for LLCs (2024 Comprehensive Comparison)

  1. What’s up, I log on to your blogs like every week.
    Your story-telling style is awesome, keep up the good work!

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