Readers’ Choice: The Top Quickbooks Apps
Accounting Today’s audience chooses its favorite third-party apps for the popular accounting software solution
Accountants have always availed themselves of the latest technologies and office tools to speed their work, from the abacus and the ledger book to the slide rule and the adding machine, and the wholesale move of accounting and bookkeeping work to computers and software programs is just the latest iteration of this age-old propensity.
There are a few twists to tool selection these days, however: First, there are far more available to accountants than ever before, and finding the right one for the job can be problematic. Sorting through the vast selection of software in any particular category is a major endeavor, with significant consequences. The second twist comes once the choice is made: Often, that first choice opens a whole realm of other applications that work, integrate or otherwise interface with the primary software, requiring an entire range of secondary choices.
This is the world of the software “ecosystem,” where a single application acts as a broad platform onto which smaller, often single-purpose apps, can be added.
Market-leading small-business software Quickbooks is the pioneer of the ecosystem in the accounting market, having long made a point of empowering and recognizing third-party developers who make software that expands the capabilities of its accounting program. Of course, Quickbooks and its parent company, Intuit, aren’t the only players in the ecosystem game, but with commanding market share and a long lead, they have built a mammoth stable of hundreds of apps that allow accountants to handle special tasks, better serve niche markets, and otherwise build out the capabilities of QB and its cloud-based counterpart, Quickbooks Online.
Knowing how difficult it can be to pick among so many options, Accounting Today surveyed its audience to see which apps they preferred, hopefully offering a little guidance to those looking to power up their accounting software. We surveyed close to 300 accountants, over 95 percent of whom reported that they or their clients are current or past users of QB or QBO. A few things to note:
Just because an app was preferred in our survey doesn’t mean it’s the only choice for a particular purpose. In many cases, an app that only got a few votes may be more appropriate for an individual use case, because it was designed for a specific function or industry niche.
Similarly, not every category had a leading prefer- ence. No clear leader emerged for human resources apps, for instance, or inventory management; instead, votes were spread out over a wide range of apps.
Not everyone had a favorite in every category. In fact, the consistent top reader choice in every category was “I don’t have a preference,” as readers only picked apps where they had knowledge from their own practices or their clients’ businesses.
Finally, by far the most common “extra app” that respondents mentioned was Excel, which remains a go-to tool for a wide range of purposes.
With all that in mind, here is the inaugural class of Accounting Today’s Readers’ Choice: Top Quickbooks Apps, presented by category.
Bill Pay for Quickbooks Online and Bill.com (Bill.com) One of the most popular apps across the board was Bill. com’s Bill Pay for QBO, which was chosen by 26 percent of respondents as a preferred app. It integrates the cloud-based accounting software with Bill.com’s business payments system, allowing users to pay vendors and contractors with a single click. It also lets them track payments, and manage their bills from their QBO Online account. A caveat for accountants: It is not available with Quickbooks Online Accountant; to use it for clients, you’ll have to open it from their QBO account.
Stripe and Paypal Sync — Business Payments (Cloudbusiness) Manual data entry is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, thankfully, in no small part due to apps like this one, the top choice of Accounting Today’s audience in the AR Category. It automates the synchronization of transactions from Stripe and Paypal, two of the most popular of online payment systems. (You can also turn off the “automatic sync” mode if you want more control, and the app lets you trace the synchronization process.)
Runners-up: A close second in the AR Category was Nowaccount for Quickbooks Online (Nowaccount Network), while a not-insignificant number of respondents said that they rely on Quickbooks’ built-in AR capabilities.
Billing & invoicing
Bill Pay for Quickbooks Online and Bill.com (Bill.com) Given the closeness of the two functions, it’s no surprise that Bill.com’s Bill Pay for QBO app would prove almost as popular for billing and invoicing as it is for AP. Almost a fifth of respondents (19 percent) named it their top choice in the category.
Runner-up: While there is no QB app for veteran time & billing software Sage Timeslips, the two are integrated, and a number of readers made a point of noting that that was how they handle billing and invoicing.
Customer relationship management
Salesforce Quickbooks Integration Solution (Workato) The accounting profession as a whole hasn’t yet completely wrapped its head around CRM software, but it’s working on it — and its favorite app is this one that syncs QB with one of the leading CRM systems out there. It automatically shares client updates back and forth, generates invoices for closed opportunities, and more.
Runners-up: Jetpack Workflow and ZOHOCRM tied for second-most preferred in this category.
Smartvault Integration (Smartvault Corp.) This app for integrating QB with one of the leading document management systems was the top choice for giving users a safe place to store source documents, queue documents for later processing, and share them securely with colleagues and clients.
Runners-up: Coming a very close second was Sync for Quickbooks Online from Cdata Software, which lets users create and maintain a replica of their QB data. Many respondents also noted that they use Carbonite for their backup needs; there is no specific QB app for Carbonite, but it will automatically recognize and back up QB files.
Sync with Square (Intuit) The top choice among e-commerce apps is this tool that automatically imports sales-related transactions from the popular Square mobile payment system into QBO and then creates invoices, as well as matching deposits, payments, refunds and fees against your bank statement. And it’s worth noting that while most apps are from third parties, this one comes from Intuit itself.
Runners-up: Shopify by Onesaas and Amazon Accounting by Entriwise both made strong showings
Apps Expense management
American Express (American Express) Managing T&E is a nightmare for everyone, and the ubiquity of the American Express card helped make this app for sharing transactions from Amex with Quickbooks the top choice in this category.
Runners-up: Apps from some of the more popular expense solutions were among the top choices, including Expensify, Receipt Bank, and Concur Travel and Expense.
Timesheets.com (Timesheets.com) The most preferred app in this category isn’t actually a payroll app, but rather Timesheets.com’s solution for time tracking, which offers one-click integration with QBO.
Runners-up: Straightforward payroll apps from Sure- Payroll and Gusto were also popular. A significant number of respondents, though, said that they use payroll vendors that don’t have specific apps for QB or QBO, including ADP, Paychex, Intuit Payroll and Payroll Relief.
Point of sale
Sync with Square (Intuit) With Square being one of the most popular digital POS systems, it makes sense that Intuit’s Sync with Square would be the top choice in this category, as it was in the E-commerce Category.
Tax Planner Pro (Tax Planner Pro) Many of the apps in this category focus on financial reporting and forecasting, but the top choice is all about tax planning — giving small businesses a detailed look at their tax liabilities and offering strategies for lowering their tax bill. No wonder it’s popular with accountants!
Runners-up: Also popular were B2B & Rep Portal and CRM for Quickbooks from Crik-it, and Fathom. Many respondents, though, said that they rely either on the strong reporting tools that are built-in to QB itself — or on that old standby, Excel.
Tax Planner Pro (Tax Planner Pro) Joining the ranks of apps that took the top spot in more than one category, Tax Planner Pro was also the favorite among Tax Tools, as it was in the Reporting Category.
Runners-up: 1099 MISC e-file by Tax1099.com from Techatlantis Inc., and Avalara’s Avatax also received strong support from respondents, but most reported that they rely primarily on their tax prep programs.
Tsheets Time Tracking (Tsheets) One of beauties of the ecosystem model is that it allows Intuit to expand the capabilities of Quickbooks without doing the development itself. And with Tsheets’ time tracking app, the results were so compelling that Intuit actually acquired the company in late 2017. As if that wasn’t endorsement enough, it was also by far the top choice of AT readers in the Time Tracking Category.