5 Annoying Accounting Tasks You Will Almost Love Doing With QuickBooks

A business man sitting at a desk covered in stacks of paper. He is holding an abacus with a Eureka look on his face.

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Business accounting is a royal pain in the ass. And don’t even get me started on taxes. If you share my pain, you should look into QuickBooks, a comprehensive accounting solution designed for SMBs. It consolidates your financial data onto an easy-to-use platform, updates in real-time, and comes with a mobile app for on-the-go access. Then there’s a smorgasbord of tools to manage cash flow, automate bookkeeping, simplify tax filing, and so much more. Here’s how QuickBooks can eliminate the 5 things you hate most about business accounting.

1. Cash Flow Management Without the Scut Work

Managing day-to-day cash flow is one of the most important skills you need to have, but it’s also one of the hardest to master. And the stakes are high. Poor cash flow management can lead to catastrophic outcomes. QuickBooks has four particularly powerful tools that automate the entire process for you: bank account integration, invoice management, bill management, and cash flow projections.

You can finally put the dreaded account reconciliation on auto-pilot. QuickBooks connects directly to your bank account and then automatically imports and categorizes your transactions as they occur. This information is updated in real-time and the dashboard gives you a quick visual summary of your current cash flow situation.

Invoice management tools let you create, send, and track invoices directly in the system. It shows you which invoices are paid and which are outstanding. 

The bill management feature tracks and organizes bills, due dates, amounts owing, and sends upcoming payment notifications so you never miss a due date. You can even sort these pesky bills by supplier, due date, or whatever floats your boat. 

2. No More Shoeboxes for Your Receipts 

That old shoebox full of receipts might as well be bonfire fuel because it’s obsolete now. QuickBooks turns that chaotic kindling into organized digital files with receipt capture and an audit log. 

With receipt capture, just snap photos of receipts using the mobile app. QuickBooks then extracts key details like vendor, date, and amount, and automatically matches them to the correct transactions. You can also store documents like invoices and receipts digitally, making it easy to organize and retrieve them come tax time. 

3. Financial Reporting Without an MBA

This is another tricky skill to hone as a business owner. Fortunately, QuickBooks turns complex financial data into clear, understandable reports and visual representations. This makes it significantly easier to interpret your business’s financial situation without requiring deep accounting knowledge.

From the dashboard, you can quickly view key metrics like income, expenses, sales, and upcoming bills. This information is displayed with easy-to-understand visual aids like graphs and charts. It also displays which bank accounts and credit cards are connected so you always know exactly where the data is coming from.

QuickBooks makes it easy to create financial reports like Profit & Loss, Balance Sheets, and Cash Flow Statements (to name a few). These reports are customizable to show the information that’s most relevant to your business. Since QuickBooks updates your data in real time, the reports you generate are always based on the latest information.

4. Tax Compliance Without an Epidural

Ugh, taxes – our collective hurt locker. Get this wrong and you’re in for a world of pain. Or at least a world of missed deductions and credits. QuickBooks helps you plan effectively for tax liabilities and takes the guesswork out of changing regulations.

You can easily track sales tax because each province’s rate is already in QuickBooks. This makes it so much easier to comply with Canadian tax regulations. It also reduces the risk of an unexpected liability or even the dreaded audit. Combine this with the record-keeping features, and your ass is covered if the CRA decides to pick on you.

One of my favourite features is the deduction finder. This handy tool identifies potential tax deductions which keep more of that hard-earned profit where it belongs. I especially love this feature for small business owners and new entrepreneurs who likely don’t know all the deductions they’re entitled to 

5. Budgets That Are Actually Helpful

This is the art of connecting all the dots of your financial data and using that information to steer the ship in the right direction. QuickBooks helps you plan for growth and prepare for the unexpected with budgeting tools and ‘what if’ scenarios.

Budgeting and cash flow management go hand in hand but are not quite the same. Managing cash flow involves tracking how much money is coming and going to ensure you have enough cash to meet your obligations. Doing this effectively relies on accurate budgeting – the framework that dictates how cash flow is managed.

QuickBooks allows you to create detailed budgets on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis, using current or previous year data. It supports budget segmentation by class, customer, or location. 

You can also generate critical reports like ‘Budget Overview’ and ‘Budget Vs Actuals’ for a summarized comparison of budgeted and actual figures, including variances. Not only does this help you meet your short-term obligations, but it is also essential for long-term success and creating a roadmap to your goals. 

Finally, one of the most underrated skills every successful business owner needs is agility. And QuickBooks can bake that right into your accounting process with ‘What-If Scenarios’. This feature enables you to test different financial situations and how they impact your budget and forecasts. By adjusting variables like sales forecasts or expense budgets, you can better prepare for the unexpected with appropriate contingency plans in place. 

My Opinion of QuickBooks for Business Accounting

My biggest complaint about QuickBooks is that it is so feature-rich it’s almost impossible to do it justice. Ain’t nobody got the time to read a bajillion-word article on every single tool it has to offer. So I’ll try to sum it up as best I can. Other features you’ll love include, but are not limited to: 

  • Customers can pay directly through the invoice
  • Integrates with popular platforms like Shopify, Amazon, PayPal, Square, and more
  • Automated payroll solutions (available as a subscription add-on) 
  • Time tracking for employees
  • Track inventory and cost of goods
  • Track mileage for work-related travel

The only thing this program can’t do is make me a sandwich, which is overwhelming – especially if you’re new to the program. I suggest booking a live demo instead of trying to figure it out yourself. This will save you a heap of time, money, and sanity. 

The QuickBooks staff will get you onboarded in no time and personally show you how to get the most from your subscription package. Which leads me to my next point…

How Much Does It Cost? It’s Complicated

My second biggest complaint is cost. QuickBooks is one of the most expensive accounting programs out there. But that’s to be expected given all the heavy lifting this thing can do. 

Luckily, there are four different plans to choose from depending on the features you need and the size of your operation. The price can range anywhere from $6/month for the first six months up to $140/month for the entire year.

My third biggest complaint is that the pricing model is complicated, based on whether or not you want to take advantage of the 30-day free trial. However, they also offer special promotions and discounts that make it cheaper to subscribe without the free trial period because you could get up to 75% off for the first 6 months.

You just run the risk of paying for a month for an accounting tool that might not fit your needs – but at least it’s not full price. 

Luckily, you’re not locked into a contract. You can cancel anytime, regardless of the pricing model you choose.

Is QuickBooks Worth it?

In my opinion, yes. QuickBooks offers a comprehensive accounting solution suitable for many people, from freelancers and solopreneurs to more robust enterprises. It eliminates most, if not all, of the stuff you hate about business accounting. However, its complexity and cost can be challenging. Despite this, QuickBooks stands out as a Swiss Army Knife if you want financial clarity and growth without a Finance degree.

Heidi Unrau is a senior finance journalist at Hardbacon. She studied Economics at the University of Winnipeg, where she fell in love with all-things-finance. At 25, she kicked-off her financial career in retail banking as a teller. She quickly progressed to become a Credit Analyst and then Private Lender. This hands-on industry experience uniquely positions her to provide expert insight on loans, credit scores, credit cards, debt, and banking services. She has been featured in publications such as WealthRocket, Scary Mommy, Credello, and Plooto. When she's not chasing after her two little boys, you'll find her hiding in the car listening to the Freakonomics podcast, or binge-watching financial crime documentaries with a bowl of ice cream. Fun Fact: Heidi has lived in five different provinces across Canada and her blood type is coffee.