Jan 4, 2024
5 mins

Why multi-entity companies choose QuickBooks Online

Expense fraud and the CitiBank sandwich
Quick summary

According to research from Gartner, a massive 60% of software buyers regret their purchase. The secret? Choosing the right software is essential. Discover if QuickBooks online is the right accounting software for you in this in-depth run down.

Table of Contents

    Picking accounting software for multiple businesses takes a lot of work. The multi-entity accounting software you choose must simplify accounting and work well with your expense management system to ensure smooth payments, from card tap to month-end close.

    Intuit’s QuickBooks Online is one of the most popular online accounting software providers for multi-entity businesses in the US. It fits perfectly into the niche between entry-level packages for small and growing businesses and something more complex, such as NetSuite by Oracle, which targets bigger organizations.

    Make multi-entity expense management efficient with Payhawk

    Why picking QuickBooks Online as your multi-entity accounting software is a smart move

    Seven out of ten finance software buyers regretted at least one purchasing decision they made over the past year. That’s the finding of a recent Capterra survey, which goes on to point out that a similar number of respondents plan to spend even more on software in 2024 than they did in 2023. The survey also notes that narrowing that field down to one software provider, then actually signing a contract, generally takes between three and six months. That’s a lot of time to waste on a decision you might very well regret.

    Capterra’s Max Lillard says:

    Poor software decisions can needlessly drain company coffers, hamper productivity, and even create tension with employees who find themselves stuck using difficult software that makes their job harder than it needs to be.

    If you’re looking for accounting software for multiple businesses, the last thing you want is buyer's remorse. One way to avoid this is thorough research based on reviews and popularity.

    While QuickBooks Online, the current market leader with 80% market share, should be on any company’s list of potential multi-entity management software packages, you’ll want to know what other options you have. And FreshBooks, Patriot, Sage, Wave, Xero and Zoho also attract high ratings across review sites.

    What if your multi-entity enterprise has expanded to the point where the solutions above no longer scale? Here, NetSuite might be a good contender, as it’s complex enough to offer more functionality around multi-entity spend visibility, foreign currency control, inventory, and more.

    Three challenges of picking multi-entity accounting software

    QuickBooks Online consistently holds up well compared to other accounting software, especially when it comes to some of the biggest challenges. Here’s a look at some of those pitfalls in brief, and how QuickBooks Online avoids them.

    1: High startup and subscription costs of modern accounting solutions

    Unsurprisingly, the top reason financial controllers struggle to pick the right software is the cost. As with so many subscription-based expenses, the real-world bill is often higher than initially scoped, creating planning and budgeting issues.

    Generally speaking, these subscriptions are based on the number of users with access to the software or are priced per seat. Some companies offer a “freemium” service in which the bare-bones version is free. Then you pay for everything else. Still, most have a basic level, a premium level, and an advanced level. Greater user numbers usually correlate to a company’s need for more functionality, so the per-user rate increases as the business expands.

    QuickBooks Online’s pricing schedule is pretty clear. According to research by NerdWallet, it starts at $30 per month for the first three users and goes up from there as you add seats and functionality.

    If you go with the top-shelf Advanced plan, you’ll be billed $200 per month for up to 25 users, according to Forbes Advisor. And if your accounting department is bigger than that, you probably need a more industrial-strength package.

    Payroll processing is around an extra $45 per month, plus $4 per employee on the payroll. You can expect the occasional add-on for maintenance or software updates unless they’re specifically covered in your agreement with Intuit.

    Plus, multiple businesses usually require multiple QuickBooks Online subscriptions.

    While it can seem overwhelming to figure out the different fees, your QuickBooks Online price will come down to your company’s needs and allow for a lot of flexibility. Are you still concerned about costs? QuickBooks Online is generally considered to be of great value. Online startup advice platform Startups asks: “Is QuickBooks Online worth the money?” And answers: “In short, yes”.

    2: Advanced multi-entity accounting features that some finance controllers don’t need

    Another challenge in picking the right accounting software is that the package might offer more features and is more advanced than required. Taken together, it seems people sometimes buy for all the gee-whiz features rather than what their business needs and subsequently pay too much.

    As mentioned above, QuickBooks Online addresses this by offering four different plans. For a $30-per-month ante, the Simple Start plan allows one user to:

    • Track income and expenses, then sort them into tax categories
    • Send invoices
    • Accept payments
    • Run and export financial reports
    • Use your phone’s GPS to track miles
    • Monitor and manage cash flow
    • Customize and send estimates
    • Manage 1099 contractor payments

    That user can then upload receipts via Payhawk’s mobile app, available through Google Play or the App Store.

    The $60-per-month Essentials plan encompasses all Simple Start functions, allows for three users, and adds the ability to:

    • Run sales, A/R and A/P reports
    • Pay bills
    • Enter billable time to invoices

    The $90-per-month Plus plan enables its five users to:

    • Run a broader array of reports
    • Control inventory and cost of goods
    • Track project profitability
    • Pass expenses through to specific customers

    Using QuickBooks Online for multiple entities benefits from one key function of the Plus plan: Its class-tracking function assigns transactions to specific departments, locations or subsidiaries.

    This also works well with Payhawk’s tracking. You can set the same categories within your Payhawk solution as in QuickBooks Online, allowing for faster reconciliation and more accurate project, spend, and ROI analysis.

    Other features for multiple companies in QuickBooks Online are also nested in the Advanced plan, which provides the capability to:

    • Manage employee expenses
    • Customize financial performance charts
    • Use batch invoicing to accelerate workflow

    The Advanced plan further provides ‘round-the-clock account team and premium customer service via phone or chat.

    3: Slow, painful integration and incompatible software

    Traditionally, implementation has a few big challenges. It can be slow and painful, and not all software plays together nicely and can sometimes be completely incompatible. Integrations are key here, and at Payhawk, we focus hard on providing interoperability with many of the leading software publishers. QuickBooks Online integration is no exception.

    QuickBooks Online itself boasts more than 650 integrations, too. (But remember to check which plan you need. HubSpot and DocuSign integrations require the Advanced plan.)

    Thanks to the smart integration, using QuickBooks Online and Payhawk together is a game-changer. It means Payhawk and QuickBooks Online customers benefit from a real-time perfect sync between the two systems, get insightful real-time insights and achieve a quicker, easier month-end close.

    At Payhawk, our QuickBooks Online integration has supported customers for over two years, quickly exporting transactions, documents, and data while sustaining a 99.9% hands-free export success rate.

    What’s the best multi-entity accounting software? (According to Capterra users)

    The ideal multi-entity management software for accounting will grow with you, with scalable functionality, reliable pricing, and solid integrations with other systems. While it’s tricky to find a package that checks all these boxes, some stand out above others.

    QuickBooks Online stands out for multiple reasons, notably the best accounting software for month-end closing and best user experience.

    TechRepublic’s Madeline Clarke says:

    The cloud-based tool helps users manage their multi-business accounting operations through its platform, which acts as a single source of truth to unite each client and business in one user-friendly system. With its automatic data integrations and real-time updates across devices, all your important information will be easily accessible for more visibility and functionality. This unified data can give you deeper insights into your client’s growth, workflow productivity, and overall business performance.

    While QuickBooks Online’s pricing might be an issue for smaller businesses, there are plenty of reasons to recommend this package.

    Clarke lists bulk importing, unlimited invoicing, cash flow forecasting, and, of course, user-friendliness. At the same time, other reviewers point to QuickBooks Online’s tools for customer tracking, vendor management, inventory control, and tax reporting.

    QuickBooks Online offers five major benefits for organizations with multiple businesses it:

    1. Doesn’t push functionality your companies don’t need.
    2. Can easily be implemented by your current staff.
    3. Involves minimal initial investment
    4. Offers a predictable monthly subscription rate.
    5. Integrates well, not only with Payhawk but with hundreds of other applications.

    In short, Quickbooks Online offers the most advanced set of multi-entity accounting features, fair pricing, and easy-to-use interface, making it one of the best picks for many growing companies.

    Payhawk and QuickBooksPayhawk and QuickBooks

    Why Payhawk’s QuickBooks Online integration is key to efficient multi-company expense management

    With our smart QuickBooks Online integration, setting up takes around 20 minutes and offers real-time expense export, payment and deposit. Our integration ensures faster month-end processes and minimizes errors by synchronizing codes, automating reconciliations and syncing expense corrections between QuickBooks Online and Payhawk.

    The best part? Our OCR technology streamlines data input by extracting information from invoices and receipts, making it easier and more precise when exporting data to QuickBooks Online.

    Ready to choose your next multi-entity accounting solution?

    Whichever multi-entity accounting software you select, we can integrate with it seamlessly. Book a demo today, and we'll reach out to discuss your unique needs and how our solution can help you streamline corporate finance management across all your entities.

    Trish Toovey - Content Director at Payhawk - The financial system of tomorrow
    Trish Toovey
    Senior Content Manager

    Trish Toovey works across the UK and US markets to craft content at Payhawk. Covering anything from ad copy to video scripting, Trish leans on a super varied background in copy and content creation for the finance, fashion, and travel industries.

    See all articles by Trish →
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