When starting a business, an accounting software is one of the most vital applications that you should get. Yes, you may still do manual accounting throughout your business, but we are already in the digital age where most processes are geared towards convenience and usability. There are benefits that every business owner should try to take advantage of, the most important of which is efficiency.
Any business accounting software should be able to deal with invoices, incoming or outgoing payments, receivables, or reports that allow you to analyze the financial health of your business. Below is the list of the best accounting software available for you to choose from, and to help you weed out the options, we have prepared a buying guide in the following section.
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Table of Contents
Most businesses hire an accounting professional to handle their financial work. However, this will require a bump in the company's budget that can affect the overall cash flow, especially if your business is still small. Here are some advantages that accounting software has over hiring an accounting professional.
With hundreds of accounting software and tools available in the market, keeping your financial records is now easier than before. However, picking the most appropriate for your needs can be tricky. That is why we came up with a guide to assist you all the way. Check it out in the following sections.
The best way to find out about your accounting needs is to take a look at how your business operates. If you're a small to medium-sized enterprise, your requirements might differ from those of a multinational corporation. Most software products are even tailor-made for certain businesses such as services, manufacturing, or restaurants. Below are some of the factors to consider.
Get a software product that lets you easily record both accounts receivable and payable. The accounting tool should assist you in managing your receivables efficiently by creating invoices and payment reminders or using payment gateways for online collection. Likewise, it should also allow you to track payables such as vendor bills, operating expenses, and reminders so you can pay on time.
Small businesses usually record transactions in terms of cash inflows and outflows. This is where cash-based accounting works best. For larger companies that buy and sell using credit, accrual-based accounting should work perfectly for recording accounts receivable and payable. An accounting software that offers both systems should be your best choice so you can easily switch systems.
Online payment is a safe and secure way of fulfilling your financial obligations, so it is common sense to set up a payment gateway for your business. Choose an accounting software that should be able to connect to your payment gateway provider for better monitoring. This will trigger an invoice and automatically update your system.
If your company does projects for clients, pick an accounting software that can handle project-based billing. The accounting tool must be able to record the hours actually spent on the project tasks and be able to convert this data into invoices. Also, the software should allow you to approve those records before invoice generation.
Fetching your bank statements automatically is an awesome feature if your accounting software has it. It should be able to allow you to set customized parameters or criteria that automatically classify and sort out the imported bank transactions. This method allows you to reconcile accounts faster and more efficiently.
Aside from being audit-ready, your business should be tax-ready too. Get a software that should be able to calculate your tax rates or liabilities. It must have the ability to generate tax reports for compliance with local tax rules and product regulations. The accounting tool must also be updatable to be in sync with the latest tax laws of the government.
Decide on an accounting software that can be integrated with third-party services such as project management tools, inventory management systems, or CRM (customer relationship management). This allows a user to work on customer records without leaving the accounting platform. All CRM changes or data manipulation should automatically update all records in the accounting documents.
One of the best uses of an accounting software is its ability to generate reports in a single click. The software should be able to create reports in different accounting departments such as payables, receivables, inventory, taxes, or projects. These reports are accurate and should give you the best insight into how your business is doing and which areas you should focus resources on.
Vendors of accounting software products tend to oversell their products, so the responsibility of choosing which features are actually helpful falls on the end-user. Here are some key features that you might like to have in your own accounting software.
Most people hate dealing with numbers, even business owners. A simpler approach to accounting data presentation is a crucial factor for any user. An uncluttered interface helps in creating a focus on the most important aspects of accounting. If calculations can be done automatically and the navigation is beginner-friendly, this will make your accounting tasks achievable.
An accounting software should have high levels of security and encryption to safeguard any sensitive information from the public's eye. There are apps that provide two-factor authentication and secure communication protocols. However, users must educate themselves about any security mechanisms involved before using the software.
Modern businesses are now using cloud computing to access their business anywhere and anytime with just a strong internet connection. All updates and software patches are done on the server's end, so you don't need to pay an IT professional to deal with it. Also, all your data are safely stashed in a remote server and are safe in case your area experiences any disaster.
Most third-party management software is integrated with an accounting software which is usually cloud-based. If you see this integration to be fit for your business, you can look into cloud-based business applications that offer this setup.
Checking your account on any device is ultra-convenient, especially when you want to monitor your business wherever you may be. Not all software publishers offer mobile apps, but the best ones do. These mobile versions let you run the entire accounting process and accomplish any tasks without using a desktop or laptop.
As a business owner, you have the sole right to grant limited or full access to your employees for the accounting software. For example, all of your employees may have access to timesheets but not on the inventory system if they aren't part of that inventory department. Some accounting systems let you add more users and access rights but may require you to subscribe to a higher pricing plan.
It is common for software providers to provide customer services or technical support to their customers. Most companies do this for free, yet others go the extra mile by providing it 24/7. Some software providers bundle their technical support into their subscription plans to assist their clients on the know-hows of the platform.
As previously mentioned, solution providers offer pricing plans based on the features that may be included. The more customization and add-ons the package has, the higher its price may go. Take a look at your business and assess the complexity of the requirements that you need. Also, it is important to keep a budget in mind as you're sifting through the choices.
Many software or apps providers offer a limited free trial so users can experience their product. Free trials give users a basic idea of how the software works and ensures that all their expectations are met. A money-back guarantee clause is a good indicator that the software is legitimate and not a fly-by-night company.
The higher the customer satisfaction is, the wider their customer base will be and the better the pricing is. Customer testimonials provide proof that their software works, and businesses put their trust in the product. Also, potential customers can evaluate the vendor's online reputation and see how they treat their old customers.
Click to purchase
QuickBooks Online Accounting
The Best Cloud-Based Accounting Software for Small Businesses
The Right Solution for Service-Based Businesses
A Powerful Software for Growing Businesses
Wave Financial Inc.
Wave Accounting Software
A Freemium yet Comprehensive Accounting Tool
Sage Global Services Ltd
Freelancers and the Self-Employed Will Love This Software
The Best Tool for Microbusinesses
Kashoo Cloud Accounting
An Accounting Software for Startups
Acclivity Group LLC
The Best Software for Experienced Accountants
Get the Basic Features of a Premium Software for Free
An Inventory Specialty Software for Online Sellers
QuickBooks Online is one of the most popular accounting software for small businesses that is accessible through a web browser or via a mobile app. They offer a 30-day free trial that can be translated into four different subscription plans with a discount on the first few months to suit your business's needs.
Quickbooks also has several variants that deal specifically with payroll, inventory management, time tracking, budgeting, and more. Their online app store has categorized all their apps by function, with detailed examples of the benefits of every app. However, if you need customizations for your accounting system, you can talk to the QuickBooks team to make it happen.
Different businesses require several accounting requirements. To accommodate a wide range of needs, Quickbooks offers different forms such as Self-Employed, Online Advanced, Live Bookkeeping, Desktop for Mac, Desktop Pro, Quickbooks Premier, and QuickBooks Enterprise.
FreshBooks is a well-designed and easy-to-follow platform that keeps track of your small business's expenses, payments, and receivables. Startups will benefit from its automated tools for management that can handle tons of accounting activities.
The package has plenty of features such as invoicing, tracking time and expenses, a host of business reports, and even taking credit card payments. The non-accountant in you will like the straightforward interface that ensures your business will be up and running right away. Save precious time by automating invoice reminders and switching the business on autopilot process.
You can also customize its dashboard, keep all client conversations private, sync with your team, and manage everyone's work schedules. Integrations are available too for third-party apps such as Shopify, Gusto, or G Suite. If you're running a service-based business, FreshBooks is your top choice.
If you're looking for an accounting software that can accommodate unlimited users, Xero's subscription plan is the best option. As your business grows, you can freely add new employees at no extra cost. Xero also has pricing plans for several stages of the company's expansion. There are also specific plans intended for freelancers, traders, small business owners, or enterprises.
All plans are inclusive of features such as estimates, inventory tracking, or recurrent invoicing. If you're into project management, there are tools available where you can track tasks, expenses, budgets, billable time, and payments. You can also collaborate with other users for specific projects and create an invoice for customers through the software.
Accounting reports can be generated in 50 different types to monitor your business and make crucial decisions. The tons of extras bundled in each plan make this a powerful software for growing businesses.
Do you want an accounting software that doesn't let you worry about monthly or annual fees? You can try out Wave Accounting, a completely free cloud-based accounting software that lets you send invoices, run reports, and connect with popular third-party business apps. You can do unlimited transactions, invoices, and add multiple user accounts.
Wave Accounting profits from its users who receive invoice payments. Just like any popular accounting tool, its system allows you to create and schedule recurring payments and invoices, with the option for automatic payment reminders and syncing with your bank, Paypal, or credit card accounts.
You might be amazed at the level of reporting features that Wave has as free software. You can easily generate reports on your cash flow, profits, losses, expenses, or upload receipt images. The platform is easy to use and very much at par with paid accounting programs in terms of quality. In the freemium apps category, Wave Accounting is the hands-down winner.
Affordable accounting programs are a huge help to freelancers and the self-employed, that is why Sage Business Cloud Accounting can be their best alternative. Its entry-level plan lets you create and send invoices while tracking payments and automatically do bank reconciliations. One of the reasons that many choose Sage is because it is easy to set up and navigate.
One-on-one help handled by Sage's team of accounting experts is available, so newbies aren't too intimidated when using the program. Once you subscribe, you will have modules to handle and submit VAT and manage invoices, quotes, bank feeds and reconciliation, cash flow forecasting, various currency support, project tracking, or detailed reports.
One of the best services that Sage has is its 24/7 customer service chat and Q&A sessions for users who are not so accounting-savvy. The company also operates an app marketplace and incorporates several apps to expand the system as your business grows.
Simplicity and easy navigation are what Zoho Books provide to microbusinesses for free. This software makes it easier for business owners to use basic features, as well as advanced tools, to send invoices and manage their books of accounts. Easily automate recurring invoices, payment reminders, or reports to save time and energy.
The software can create and send invoices from an Android, iOS, or Windows mobile device as soon as a job is finished instead of waiting to get back to the office. Zoho Books has a client portal for their users where the customers can visit to view invoices, leave a comment, and pay online.
One of the main selling points of this software is its own suite of integrated business apps such as CRM software, email and social media marketing solutions, spreadsheet editor, and tons of productivity tools. With all the features and services, Zoho Books is the go-to accounting software for microbusinesses this 2021.
One of Kashoo's strengths that will benefit startups or home-based businesses is its ease of use. Its multi-currency and credit card transaction support is a major plus to cope with today's global economy. Looking at its interface, it is devoid of confusing clutter and presents a summary of your financial position in a single glance.
Get to generate automated reports on your businesses' updates, create professional-looking invoices, receive payments, or automate tracking expenses to make everything easy-peasy. Whether email, phone, live chat, or social media, Kashoo covers all of these platforms to deliver customer support - even snail mail!
Unfortunately, Kashoo is not available on the Android platform, but you can always use the web-based version or the iOS app for Apple products. If you need a totally free invoicing template for PDF, MS Excel, or MS Word, Kashoo also offers it on their "Truly Small" accounting section, available on iOS and Google Workspace.
For business owners with a bit of accounting experience, the AccountEdge Pro is the best option for premium accounting software. It is easy to use and is an integrable solution that works on a double-entry system. This helps your accountant in cross-checking every entry faster and more efficiently.
The software has a Mac or Windows-friendly program and supports multi-currency, depending on the country you work from. AccountEdge Pro allows any user to create their own budget chart and plan expenses accordingly. It also manages banking, credit cards, debit cards, and tracks profit.
If you plan on working on multiple devices, you can use the AccountEdge Connect web browser application. Explore the software of its features and usability with its 30-day trial period. Your growing business will need all the help it could get, that is why AccountEdge Pro will give it the edge it needs.
With ZipBooks, you can work faster and smarter, not harder. The software lets you create professional-level customized invoices in a few seconds. You can connect your bank accounts and credit cards for easy payments and collections. Track your transactions, maintain a list of your creditors, and analyze your cash flow through immaculate record-keeping.
A slew of features lets you balance the work and analysis of your day-to-day financial activities to make wise decisions and cut down unwanted expenses. Organize your work into projects or tasks so you can track the time spent and record them straight in the software. That way, you can pull the invoice with just a single click.
Creating a ZipBooks account will grant you access to unlimited invoice creation, manage unlimited vendors and customers while still being able to accept digital payments from Square or Paypal. You can also connect a single bank account into the system and generate basic reports, all of these services can be yours for free!
Revolutionize your bookkeeping tasks by using OneUp, a smart and simplified accounting software that does all the hard work for you. The program sets up a connection to your bank and synchronizes your accounts. It retrieves daily bank transactions and matches them with your choices as it understands your financial behavior and validates suggestions respectively.
The software also matches any transactions with overdue invoices, vendor bills, transfers, or creates new data if needed. If you need a daily update of your financial status, OneUp delivers cash flow and profit info on a daily basis. The software also has a built-in tax calculator and a year-end report for third-party auditing and taxation purposes.
One strong suit of this accounting program is its inventory and customer data management. You can easily access the software on mobile devices through their mobile app available on the Android platform.
Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you need a bit of medical advice from time to time? Keep a healthy body and mind with some apps available for download on your mobile devices. Check out the links provided below.
Not all business owners are adept in bookkeeping or inventory management; that is why an accounting software is essential to make every financial transaction go smoothly. We hope you've already found your best bet from the list we've provided. And if you're still looking around, you can always refer to the buying guide included here.
Author: C. Lacson
Editor: R. Umlas
No. 1: Intuit Inc.｜QuickBooks Online Accounting
No. 2: FreshBooks｜FreshBooks Accounting
No. 3: Xero Ltd｜Xero Accounting
No. 4: Wave Financial Inc.｜Wave Accounting Software
No. 5: Sage Global Services Ltd｜Sage Accounting
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