QuickBooks is a leader in the accounting software industry. Owned by Intuit, QuickBooks offers useful accounting, bookkeeping, and tax preparation software for business use. For many small businesses, a subscription to QuickBooks may serve as an alternative to hiring a bookkeeping service; for others, it simply makes it easier for in-house accountants and bookkeepers to keep things straight. 

There is a variety of software available in the Intuit QuickBooks lineup. QuickBooks Self-Employed, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Advanced, and others offer self-service tools for bookkeeping. A new product, QuickBooks Live, goes a step further, providing live, 1-on-1 support with a real licensed bookkeeper. QuickBooks Live is a relatively new service, launched in 2019. Many business owners have questions about how QB Live fits into their current accounting software and systems. This article will provide a full QuickBooks Live review, covering features, pricing, pros and cons, and much more.

What is QuickBooks Live?

QuickBooks Live is a virtual bookkeeping service. It connects your business with a real, live bookkeeper, who will work one-on-one with your company. You will be assigned a single bookkeeper who will always be the one to work on your records, allowing you to collaborate in real-time and build a relationship. This one-on-one structure allows the QuickBooks bookkeeper to learn the ins and outs of your business. 

QB Live is designed for existing QuickBooks users. It works with other QuickBooks products, such as QuickBooks Online (QBO), to add live support features to an already-impressive lineup of accounting tools. Some input and data entry is still necessary from the business owner, but all expense categorization, reconciliation, etc. are handled by the QuickBooks bookkeeper. 

QuickBooks Live serves as a useful part of your business’ financial picture, but it’s not a complete package. You’ll still need a QuickBooks Online subscription to have full features, and you’ll likely still need to work with a CPA when it comes time to file your taxes. 

With that said, QuickBooks Live is a great way to gain access to an experienced, certified bookkeeper, at an affordable monthly rate. It can help you streamline your bookkeeping process, with personalized help from a trusted professional along the way. 

Check out our roundup of the Best Online Bookkeeping Services

Is QuickBooks Live right for my business?

QuickBooks Live is primarily designed for small businesses that would like to outsource bookkeeping to a trusted third-party. It also typically costs less than hiring an independent bookkeeper. It’s a great option for small to mid-sized businesses that don’t have in-house bookkeeping staff. 

One of the main benefits of QB Live is that it gives you accurate, up-to-date financial information, enabling you to make important business decisions with confidence. Monthly reports are prepared to give you an accurate snapshot of your firm’s financial picture. Many QB Live users report that these monthly reports enable them to make better financial decisions. 

Small business owners appreciate that QuickBooks offers very affordable rates for smaller firms. Pricing scales with the volume of your monthly expenses, so smaller companies can get one-on-one help for as little as $200 per month. 

With that said, QuickBooks Live is not quite the same as having an in-house bookkeeping team. For one, QB Live still requires the business to input data, upload receipts, etc. into the QuickBooks software. Essentially, the roles of a traditional bookkeeper are split between your own staff and your QuickBooks bookkeeper. This hybrid model costs much less than hiring an in-house bookkeeper, but it’s not quite as hands-off.

What features does QuickBooks Live offer?

  • Customized setup of account charts, bank account linking, QuickBooks integration, etc. for new QuickBooks users
  • Ongoing bookkeeping with accurate categorization and reconciliation
  • Monthly essential reports covering all the need-to-know financial data
  • Accurate and timely bookkeeping for small business
  • Live, one-on-one video chat support with your bookkeeper
  • 100% US-based bookkeeping staff, with an average of 15+ years of experience 
  • 100% accurate books guaranteed
  • Friendly customer support team

QuickBooks Live comes with a customized set-up of accounts and linking to bank accounts for new QuickBooks users. This service costs $50 and is intended for new QuickBooks users who want a helping hand. 

Ongoing bookkeeping services are included in the QB Live pricing structure. Bookkeeping tasks are handled with minimal inputs from the business, and every month, you’ll receive a bookkeeping report with all the essential information you need to make informed business decisions. This monthly report gives you an accurate snapshot of your financial health in real-time, and many companies find it much more useful than a simple balance sheet. It’s also a new service, so new features may be added over time.

Keep in mind that QuickBooks Live is designed to work with QuickBooks Online and other QuickBooks software. You need to actively use QuickBooks, and QuickBooks Live pricing does not include a subscription to QuickBooks Online

This is important to keep in mind. QuickBooks Live is just an add-on to the existing QuickBooks platform. It offers one-on-one interaction with a professional bookkeeper, but it still requires you to subscribe to, and actively use, the QuickBooks software.

How much does QuickBooks Live bookkeeping cost?

Low-Volume Bookkeeping

For businesses with up to $25,000 in monthly expenses

Medium-Volume Bookkeeping

For businesses with up to $150,000 in expenses

High-Volume Bookkeeping

For businesses with over $150,000 in expenses

$200/mo $400/mo $600/mo

The price point for QuickBooks Live scales with the volume of expense tracking needed. Pricing is nonetheless approachable for most firms, and QuickBooks Live is often more affordable than hiring independent professional bookkeepers. 

A subscription to QuickBooks Live does not include a subscription to QuickBooks Online, which is necessary to use QuickBooks Live. QuickBooks Online costs anywhere from $12.50 to $150 per month, depending on the features you need and whether or not you pre-pay.

There is a $50 initial fee for a one-time QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping Setup session. This is for new QuickBooks users, who may need help with setting up their chart of accounts, invoicing, connecting bank accounts, etc. 

Is QuickBooks Live a complete accounting solution?

QuickBooks Live is intended to be just a part of your overall accounting system. It’s an add-on service to QuickBooks Online. With both QB Live and QuickBooks Online combined, you’ll be able to:

  • Track income and expenses
  • Capture and organize receipts
  • Manage contractors and issue 1099’s
  • Manage bills and expenses
  • Track billable time
  • Track and analyze expenses
  • Collect and allocate sales tax
  • Prepare balance sheets and other financial reports
  • Prepare bank reconciliations and internal audits
  • Setup and manage payroll (costs extra in most plans)
  • Setup credit card processing (costs extra in most plans)
  • Customize and use powerful time tracking and expense tracking tools
  • And more

The specific features of QuickBooks Online (or QuickBooks Desktop) depend on which version you choose (QuickBooks Online Plus, QuickBooks Online Advanced, etc.) Some features cost extra in certain plans. 

QuickBooks Live is an add-on to the QuickBooks platform, so it’s not a complete accounting solution on its own. And even with a QuickBooks Online subscription, most firms still choose to work with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or tax preparers to help prepare tax returns come tax time. In other words, QuickBooks can be an alternative to a bookkeeping team, but it’s unlikely to replace the need to contract with an accounting firm each year. 

Also, keep in mind that QuickBooks Live is not a completely hands-off accounting service. The business owner will still need to input some data, manage physical receipts, connect expense accounts, etc. The QuickBooks Live Bookkeeper will help to organize and reconcile data, but some of the basic bookkeeping tasks will still need to be handled in-house. 

Advantages of QuickBooks Live

  • Affordable access to an expert QuickBooks Live bookkeeper
  • Pricing is accessible to small businesses who lack in-house bookkeepers 
  • Live, one-on-one support with a real human bookkeeper
  • Build a relationship with your bookkeeper as they learn the details of your business
  • When paired with QuickBooks Online (separate cost), offers a full suite of bookkeeping and accounting features
  • Includes simple and accurate monthly reports for a financial snapshot of your business
  • Works seamlessly with QuickBooks Online and other QuickBooks products
  • Accurate bookkeeping and categorization makes things easier come tax time
  • You can request a free audit of your bookkeeper’s work at any time

Disadvantages of QuickBooks Live

  • Requires subscription to QuickBooks Online, which costs extra
  • Does not include payroll or tax filing
  • Does not include invoicing, bill pay, inventory management, accounts receivable or accounts payable
  • Pricing scales with the monthly expenses of your business; costs are higher for firms with higher expenses