Software

OneUp – One Up

OneUp stands out from other cloud-based accounting software for several reasons, both positive and negative. On the plus side, it was designed for mobile first, and because of recent user interface changes in the browser-based version, that approach works well for both. OneUp also offers exceptional support for transaction types, sophisticated inventory management and product pricing tools, basic CRM, and smart categorization of transactions. Unfortunately, user access levels are not very detailed, reports should be more robust, and there’s no payroll add-ons or time tracking of any kind. Overall, OneUp is a good, but flawed, accounting solution.

The Basics

One Up is simultaneously one of the least expensive (starting at $9 per month for solo use with no support) and one of the most expensive ($169 per month for unlimited everything) in its category. All features are included in each of its five levels; the price differences are related to the number of users.

The first time you log in to OneUp, you are walked through the new setup wizard. It asks whether you’re planning to use specific features, provides screens for your contact information and logo, and lets you set up sales tax, fiscal year, and accountant access. If you have existing data—customers, vendors, products, and services—you can import it in CSV format. You’ll link to your financial institutions in the same way you do in any other online accounting site: By entering the sign-in credentials that you use when you visit their sites.

OneUp doesn’t include as many options, such as customer record entry, in settings as a few sites do, but some of these are found elsewhere on the site. However, you can customize forms, well beyond adding a logo. Other settings include date and number format, export format preference (CSV or Excel), and email notifications of upcoming actions.

User settings are easy to administer—too easy. You enter a name, an email address, and a password for each user. Unless an individual is the administrator, you can only select which apps”they can access (Sales, Purchasing, Inventory, etc.). OneUp doesn’t allow the kind of detailed, activity-based permissions that a site with such considerable financial processing capabilities should offer—especially one that is available for unlimited users. You can’t restrict users from specific activities throughout the site, such as creating invoices, paying bills, or viewing reports. Xero handles this much better.

Getting Around

OneUp’s user interface and navigation tools have changed a lot since I last reviewed the software. It employs a common convention for site-wide navigation, a vertical pane on the left that contains links to the site’s primary work areas: Opportunities (leads), Sales, Purchasing, Inventory, Accounting, Reports, and Apps. There’s no central dashboard, which is common in competing software, though the Sales and Accounting modules open to a series of related charts and graphs. Those section dividers are duplicated on the site’s home page; they appear in large, colorful rectangles.

Clicking Sales, for example, opens charts that track invoices, payments, and top products/services and customers. A new horizontal toolbar at the top lets you switch quickly to Customers, Quotes, and Invoices. Additional tools like Projects, Customer Payments, and Sales Receipts are tucked away under the More heading.

Other areas of the site are similarly laid out. Links in the upper-right corner take you to help and settings pages. When you click the Help icon, a small box opens in the lower left portion of the screen that contains context-sensitive help files that change as you move from screen to screen. This is a very effective way to make guidance constantly available, and no one else does it. Xero is the strongest of these applications at online help.

There’s nothing overly difficult about navigating OneUp or entering and finding information. It uses standard Windows conventions for data entry: blank fields, drop-down lists, pop-out windows for details, and icons. Overall, the user experience is much better than it was the last time I reviewed it, but it’s not as polished as Intuit’s QuickBooks Online Plus.

Exceptional Features

OneUp is very capable in terms of what it allows small businesses to do. Customer and vendor records are thorough enough, though not as comprehensive as those of Zoho Books. The site supports as many transaction forms as anyone else does, and more than most (including sales orders). You can attach documents to transactions, but there’s no automated tool for recurring invoices, which QuickBooks Online offers. OneUp does have exceptional conversion capabilities (sales order to invoice, for example), which speeds up workflow and reduces the chances of data-entry errors. You can track expenses, and as in WorkingPoint (stay tuned for the full review), track and pay your bills.

The site’s online financial connections work well. You can import transactions from banks and credit cards, as you can using competing sites. But OneUp has implemented a more intelligent, automatic categorization tool for downloaded transactions; it got about 80 percent right in my testing.

OneUp’s inventory management tools are superior to anything offered by most competitors. It goes above and beyond what Xero and QuickBooks Online do, offering support for units of measure, two costing methods, stock location, and item weight and dimension. When stock goes below the minimum you require, you can automatically generate a purchase order, and you can authorize negative stock or not. Pricing options are more flexible than that of anyone else, too. You can create multiple sales price lists for customers or price families, or based on quantity.

Reports are another story. Since OneUp is built on a double-entry accounting framework, it includes the standard financial report templates needed. But for most other reports, you have to go to specific screens and set up the drop-down menus to display the data you want (though you can find aged payable and receivable reports in their respective areas of the site). On the other hand, Sage One Accounting has built-in frameworks for such information, all in one central place. This alternate approach is part of OneUp’s efforts to move less-often-used content off the screen and provide links to related tools where they’re needed.

Sites like Xero and Kashoo offer ways to implement an integrated payroll solution. You can pay employees using OneUp’s accounting features, but the average non-accountant would need a lot of direction. There’s no pre-built application.

OneUp does have one feature that no one else in this group does: simple Customer Relationship Management (CRM), referred to on the site as “Opportunities.” It’s really more of a lead tracker, but it does let you document related tasks and calls, as well as some of the opportunity’s details. It’s a nice addition, but anyone with a serious sales bent would probably want a full-blown CRM solution. Both Xero and QuickBooks Online integrate nicely with some of a full-blown CRM solution’s tools.

Master of Some

As a cloud-based accounting solution, OneUp is very capable. Its standout features are its smartphone apps, inventory management and pricing options, smart categorization, and unique CRM tools. It’s easy enough to use, too. But OneUp’s deficits in areas such as reporting and payroll, time tracking, and user-access permissions keep it from landing at the top of the pack where our Editors’ Choice, QuickBooks Online, resides.

While you’re thinking about getting your finances in order, you might also read our roundups of the best payroll services and best tax services.


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