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- One-on-one support
- Cleanup and setup
- Personalized reporting
- Free consultation
- Charges a one-time cleanup fee
- No advisory services
Are you looking to take your accounting in-house and gain more financial insight into your business? With so many options available, knowing which one best suits your needs can be hard.
QuickBooks itself is one of the most well-known accounting tools on the market today, but the Live factor gives you access to human accountants to help you ensure everything is accurate.
In this QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping review, I’ll run you through the most important features, pricing, and other information to help you learn more about it so you can decide whether it’s right for you.
SMB Guide’s Verdict for QuickBooks Live
Because of the hassle of not being able to see how Live operates before committing to it, and the mandatory clean-up fee, which seems to be there regardless of the current state of your books, I’m giving this an 9 out of 10.
It’s a good accounting program, with plenty of awesome features, but it is quite costly compared to many alternatives.
In this review of QuickBooks Live, I’ve followed SMB Guide’s detailed criteria for evaluating the bookkeeping service.
QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping is an additional service charge in addition to your current subscription rate.
Pricing starts at $200/month and is based on your monthly revenue.
If your business earns between $10,001 and $50,000 a month, you’ll pay $300 a month, and if your business earns more than $50,001 a month, you’ll pay $400 a month.
It’s worth noting that QuickBooks Live isn’t available for all QuickBooks Online plans. It cannot be used with QuickBooks Self-Employed. You must have a Small Business Online Plan to use this additional service.
Who it’s for: Small business owners who need help managing their bookkeeping and optional payroll features.
General Ledger and Chart of Accounts
QuickBooks is one of the best names in the accounting software industry because it is known for its flexibility to adapt to businesses of all sizes across multiple industries.
It’s incredibly easy to import and categorize your transactions.
Plus, your bookkeeper will review your information for accuracy, asking questions about categorization and recategorizing as necessary for clean reports.
Bank Integration and Reconciliation
QuickBooks uses Plaid to connect to your bank accounts. Search for your bank, provide your account login information, verify your ID with your bank, and the connection is made.
Loading all the transactions takes a few minutes (especially if you connect multiple accounts). If you change your banking login information, you’ll lose the connection to the account and have to repeat the process.
In my experience, because I’m already a QuickBooks user, it loads new transactions into the system pretty fast and syncs the new data hourly.
But I do notice that it likes to throw a lot of my stuff in “Other Business Expenses” rather than taking the time to try to figure out what it actually is.
If the transaction description on your bank statement isn’t explicitly clear, it seems to confuse the system. You may have to spend some time recategorizing a few things here and there.
The level of financial reporting you get directly relates to the initial QuickBooks Online subscription you purchase.
You’ll get the most flexibility and customization with the Advanced Plan. The higher your plan, the more reports you’ll get – but the Starter plan includes basics like Profit and Loss.
The Demo Account shows all the available report options, which are only accessible via the Advanced plan.
Searching for a specific report is easy using the box in the upper right corner.
AP and AR Management
You’ll only need accounts payable (AP) management if your company uses accrual basis accounting, which records transactions when income and expenses when invoiced and paid, rather than requiring real-time payment.
The AP part of Quickbooks is found under Expenses, which is then broken down into four areas: Expenses, Bills, Vendors, and Contractors.
The Expenses section shows all your expense transactions, where you can manually enter tractions, and bring them in from your bank, or another connected account.
You have the option to process actions in batches, or print checks.
You can automate the AP process with QuickBooks. All you have to do is create your Chart of Accounts, assign vendor details, review invoices for accuracy to approve them, process payment, and record it.
After a vendor payment has been processed, you can remove it from the AP list, and repeat the process every week. To automate it though, you’ll need QuickBooks Online Advanced.
The accounts receivable part of QuickBooks is found in the Sales menu. From there, you’ll get an overview but also be able to navigate to things like:
- All Sales
- Payment Links
- Products and Services
You’ll have to spend some time connecting accounts where you can receive payments, but once you do that, your customers can pay with credit cards or bank transfers. You can even create unique payment links that you can send to customers via email, text, or QR code.
The customers view makes it easy to see how many estimates you’ve sent, how many unbilled accounts you have, how many overdue, open, and how many invoices have been paid in the last 30 days.
Payroll and Tax Management
QuickBooks doesn’t require you to add on Payroll and Tax management, so you’ll have to pay extra for that, should you decide you need it.
What you get depends on the plan you choose. In this demo account, you can see how easy adding or editing employees or contractors is.
I couldn’t test the actual payroll function since the demo doesn’t allow you to connect bank accounts or make payments.
You can write a check to a Contractor, though.
User Interface and User Experience
Overall, I must evaluate the QuickBooks user interface and experience because the Live Add-On isn’t available in the demo account.
When I reached out to customer service for more information, I was told there was no way for me to demo it without making a purchase.
I won’t pay $500 as a one-time clean-up fee when I don’t have books to clean up and maintain. (Everything I have in Self Employed is so easy and self-explanatory, I handle it all myself.)
The UI is clean, with everything you need accessible from the left hand side menu. Depending on the screen, you may have additional options across the top.
I had no problems finding what I needed as I explored the platform. The main dashboard looks like this:
It’s safe to say adding a Live subscription would add additional menu options, like a messaging feature to communicate with your bookkeeper.
It’s all pretty straightforward and easy to understand.
Integrations, Compatibility, & Supported Platforms
QuickBooks supports over 750 apps and integrations. From customer acquisition to getting paid, and managing your workforce, chances are, you can find an app or integration for other platforms you’re already using in your business.
Some apps, like Bill.com are premium, but that’s because you have to pay for the service to use it, not because you have to pay for the integration itself.
Search for your app or integration in the App Store, then connect it. You’ll need to sign into your third-party accounts as part of the process.
The beauty of QuickBooks Online, which is required with QuickBooks Live, is that you can use it from any device as long as there is an internet connection.
You don’t have to download or install any software, like you do with the Desktop version.
I’m already a QuickBooks Self-Employed customer, and I’ve never actually had to contact support for anything before.
When I reached out to learn more about how to proceed with a demo of QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping, I got a bot who asked me a few questions, then sent me to a helpful sales team member.
He answered all my questions and let me know how to proceed. I was a little concerned when the customer service agent said it would be $1,000 for the first month of service – especially considering that’s not what’s shown on the website.
Beyond the live chat, there’s a FAQ section that addresses many common concerns, such as how QuickBooks matches you with the right bookkeeper, bookkeeper qualifications, etc.
There’s a knowledge base too, but it’s more specific to the software itself rather than the Live service.
QuickBooks Live – Unique Features
This may or may not be a good thing, depending on where you are in your business and how well your books have been kept in the past.
One thing “unique” to QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping is the one-time set-up fee, which you pay as a clean-up fee to get your books in good working order before your service actually begins.
It’s a $500 fee – and that would sting if you’re starting out as a brand new business with no books to clean up. I mentioned this as a unique feature here because it’s not something I’ve seen as mandatory with other bookkeeping software.
Bench Accounting, for instance, offers a catch up service as an optional add-on. Yes, it will cost you more, but you’re not required to pay it.
QuickBooks Live also comes with an accuracy guarantee you don’t find with competitors like Ignite Spot Accounting and Decimal.
What the Experts Say About QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping
At the time of this review, QuickBooks has the following ratings:
- 4.5/5 stars at Capterra (670+ reviews)
- 4/5 stars at G2 (70+ reviews)
Prior to starting on QuickBooks Live my business finances were a mess. I was on QuickBooks but it was up to me to put all of the invoices and expenses where they go and I was not good at this. When I upgraded and also got a live bookkeeper it was a game changer for me. She helped me fix the errors in my past and get me on track. I feel so much more confident now and really enjoy learning this side of my business.Laura J., Practice Owner – Verified Capterra review
I love the user friendliness and ease of use. It uses picture and traditional accounting terms to help novices and experienced folks get thing going. The Live Bookkeepers helped me when I got stuck and save me (and my hair) so much time and effort. Free me up to focus on building the brand and business.Cynthia W., Owner – Verified Capterra review
While many reviews speak highly of QuickBooks and the Live service add-on, there are several complaints about the time it takes to get in touch with someone and how long it takes to get the books sorted.
QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping Alternatives
If you’re unsure about spending all that cash on Quickbooks Live, check out these other options:
Bench starts at just $249/month but doesn’t use QuickBooks as many other services do. You get unlimited access to your accountant and can add optional tax services, too.
You won’t be able to add payroll services unless you partner with Gusto. It’s best for businesses that need support through the entire process, and want accounting and tax questions answered.
Decimal offers bookkeeping services starting at $395/month for sole proprietors and small businesses with simple accounting needs.
It’s a bit more expensive than other services. If you want a dedicated accountant too, you’ll have to upgrade to the Pro plan that starts at $795/month.
These plans don’t include any tax preparation, but they do include “tax-ready financials.”
With Fincent, you get nearly everything QuickBooks Live offers (except payroll), including invoicing, payments, and expense tracking.
Pricing starts at $199/month, ($179/month with annual billing) but doesn’t increase with your monthly revenue or expenses.
It’s best for businesses that want everything in one place, and don’t mind paying more as they go.
Getting Started with QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping
Ready to take your QuickBooks use to the next level? Get your free consultation now!
QuickBooks Live FAQs
Is QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping worth it?
Whether QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping is worth it largely depends on your specific business needs. If you require a robust financial management tool with real-time data access, customizable reports, and the option for professional bookkeeping assistance, it can be a valuable investment.
However, smaller businesses or those with simpler accounting needs may find it more costly and complex than necessary. It’s crucial to assess your business’s unique requirements and budget before deciding.
What does Quickbooks Live not do?
Though you’ll get a dedicated bookkeeper, you’ll still be sharing that bookkeeper with other businesses. You have limited access to professional assistance since it’s only available during specific hours.
You may struggle to contact someone depending on your time zone or business hours. It also doesn’t include advanced inventory management features, which may be necessary for your company.
How does QuickBooks Live bookkeeping work?
With QuickBooks Live, your business gets access to a team of virtual bookkeepers who manage and organize your financial records. After an initial consultation and a one-time cleanup fee, the team will categorize transactions, reconcile accounts, and generate monthly financial reports.
QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping
QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping is an online bookkeeping service that connects small businesses with trusted, QuickBooks-certified virtual bookkeepers.
Product Brand: QuickBooks