January 12, 2021

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Comparing BooksTime vs. QuickBooks Live


Comparing BooksTime vs. QuickBooks Live

What is QuickBooks Live? 

QuickBooks is best known as accounting software makers. Recently, they started offering something new: a bookkeeping service called QuickBooks Live. The service is simple: they give you a bookkeeper who uses the QuickBooks app to keep track of your business’s finances. 

The QuickBooks app is very popular. However, most businesses — even those that use the QuickBooks app — have not chosen to sign up with the QuickBooks Live service. Instead, they mostly use separate bookkeeping services, such as BooksTime

There are several reasons why QuickBooks Live isn’t so popular. One of them is that QuickBooks Live bookkeepers often don’t have much experience, and having a bookkeeper who’s not knowledgeable can pose big risks. Additionally, QuickBooks Live is a very limited, standardized service, which can’t adapt to many companies’ unique needs and preferences. 

What is BooksTime? 

BooksTime is a highly rated bookkeeping service for small businesses and nonprofits. BooksTime is a partner of QuickBooks, with many certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors on their team. What’s unique about BooksTime is their flexible approach: a BooksTime bookkeeper does things your way, adapting to meet your unique needs. 

What do BooksTime and QuickBooks Live have in common? 

Both companies:

  • Use the QuickBooks app to serve their clients (the difference is in who does the accounting work in the app).
  • Provide the following services:
    • QuickBooks setup
    • Recording transactions and reconciling accounts on a monthly basis
    • Catch-up bookkeeping
  • Offer similar flat rate pricing

What is the main difference between BooksTime and QuickBooks Live? 

The biggest difference between BooksTime and QuickBooks Live is the level of qualification among the bookkeepers:

  • BooksTime’s team tends to have 10-30 years of experience, relevant degrees and certifications. All work is supervised by CPA-level accountants.
  • QuickBooks Live is a standardized bookkeeping service whose bookkeepers are mostly very junior: they are only required to have 1 year of experience. 

The difference in knowledge level matters a lot. Without real bookkeeping qualifications, it’s easy to make mistakes. Accounting mistakes can lead to misleading financial reports. It can also lead to incorrect tax payments. Plus, if the books aren’t prepared by a qualified professional, it may turn off potential investors and lenders. 

What are other differences between BooksTime and QuickBooks Live?

What QuickBooks Live includes only a few basic services, which are provided in a very standardized way:

  • Basic QuickBooks setup
  • A bookkeeper categorizes your transactions and reconciles your accounts each month
  • At the end of each month, your bookkeeper closes your books and confirms they’re accurate by preparing a trial balance. They then send you PDF copies of key financial reports, including your profit and loss statement and balance sheet.

BooksTime also provides these services. However, BooksTime can also provide the following services, which QuickBooks Live does not handle:

  • Financial reports that are customized to show the specific metrics you want to track for your business (instead of just the standard reports)
  • Paying bills
  • Sending invoices & following up
  • Management of inventory
  • Advisory services
  • Cash flow forecasting
  • Sales tax returns
  • Creating and sending 1099s
  • Running payroll
  • Specialized services for nonprofits, including restricted funds tracking, grant reporting, and donor acknowledgement letters
  • Specialized services for specific industries, such as real estate, law, e-commerce, and others.

Additionally, QuickBooks Live won’t do any of the following:

  • Use any software but QuickBooks
  • Close books on frequencies other than monthly (e.g. quarterly, annually)
  • Offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Promise 1 Business Day response times

In contrast, BooksTime does all of these. 


QuickBooks Live can be a good option for the smallest businesses (especially those with only 1 employee) who need help with basic recordkeeping in QuickBooks Online. 

For all other businesses, it would be worth upgrading to BooksTime. That way, you get a more reliable bookkeeper with much better qualifications. Plus, with BooksTime, your bookkeeper can take care of any bookkeeping need you may have. 

This is especially true since BooksTime and QuickBooks Live cost almost exactly the same amount for most businesses. (In some cases, BooksTime may even cost less.)

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Author: Charles Lutwidge

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