QuickBooks Online Takes on a Whole New Look, Open Architecture

Revamp of interface improves usability, while new open platform streamlines integration with related solutions.


Since it was launched over a decade ago, QuickBooks Online has been easy to use. It’s been quicker and “lighter” than the desktop versions, thanks to its cloud-based platform and a feature set that was more limited than the software at the top of Intuit’s food chain.

Still, Intuit recently did a major overhaul of its online offering, and the results will be startling to anyone who has visited the site even once. Beyond being cleaner, leaner and more intuitive, this totally-rebuilt application sits on an open platform that readies it for users who want a state-of-the-art accounting solution that integrates seamlessly with the other web-based tools they use to run their businesses.

Those companies can access QuickBooks Online and its other business management systems from anywhere via a PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet.


Figure 1: This is part of QuickBooks Online’s new dashboard, which draws your attention to the most pressing financial matters and provides a real-time overview of your finances.

A Good Start

You’ll most likely start your day on QuickBooks Online’s dashboard, its home page. Earlier versions of the application had a starting page, but it was overly busy and not as comprehensive as the new one. And it just didn’t incorporate today’s best web design.

As you move on to other elements of QuickBooks Online by clicking on the navigational tabs in the left pane, you’ll see this new emphasis on usability continued. Every screen has been rebuilt so that you’re not hunting around the page, looking for the rather small links to the tasks you want to do.


Figure 2: The new version of QuickBooks Online displays critical data clearly by using color and space skillfully.


If you just want to get in and create a quick transaction, you can click on the X at the top of the page, which opens a list of links to the most commonly-used ones. Two other links here take you to tools that you’re likely to use regularly. A small icon opens a window containing your most recent transactions. And the magnifying glass gives you access to QuickBooks Online’s Search function.


The new QuickBooks Online also pulls together links that used to be scattered throughout the site. You can easily get to these by clicking the small wheel icon in the upper right corner. From here, you can work with:

  • Settings (Company Settings, Chart of Accounts)
  • Lists (Products and Services, Recurring Transactions, etc.)
  • Tools (Import Desktop Data, Reconcile, Activity Log, etc.)
  • Your Company (Your Account, Manage Users, etc.)

This consolidation of important site functions will accelerate your workflow greatly. You use the tabs on the left side of the screen to do your actual accounting work, while all of your other “background” tasks are accessible through one icon.


Everything Under One Roof


Intuit calls QuickBooks Online a “global small business operating system” because of its new digital architecture. Services that were formerly add-ons, like Payroll and Payment Services, are now a part of the site itself. And because it’s built on an “open platform,” it will be easier for third-party developers to create applications that integrate smoothly with QuickBooks Online. Hundreds of these are already available in the Intuit App Center.

Nov2013QBO3Figure 3: Need tools not offered by QuickBooks Online? It’s easy to add an integrated application.


This is what cloud computing is all about. Rather than using individual desktop applications that may or may not be able to connect with related products, QuickBooks Online can serve as your core small business accounting solution. As you need more functionality, you don’t have to upgrade to a new version or move to a different software family altogether. You simply add an integrated application that can use the data you’re already storing in QuickBooks Online.


Do you have questions about whether QuickBooks Online can manage your company’s business functions? Worried about security or just want more information? Contact us.