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Choosing the Best Accounting Software for your Small Business

By: Ronda Payne

Published On: October 4, 2018

Unless they provide bookkeeping services or are an accountant, most small business owners struggle with managing their books and accounting. Of course, some bookkeepers still struggle with getting their own bookkeeping done! It is a common issue because, working on the finance side of things often falls by the wayside while small business owners and their non-accounting staff spend their time working on the business, not the books.

Sound familiar? You likely already have someone doing your bookkeeping for you, either on staff or on contract, and that will help a great deal, especially when it comes time for tax preparation. However, what will really keep you in line with your small business accounting is having great software you can use on a daily basis.

We did some research on this subject to see if we could find the best software for small business bookkeeping. The results? There are a lot of options out there! We narrowed our choices down to the top four business accounting software options or bookkeeping apps.

Top Four Small Business Accounting Software Tools

1. QuickBooks. Yes, everyone’s heard of QuickBooks and that’s because the software is popular and well-liked. Intuit’s QuickBooks was developed in Canada and is ideal for small businesses like freelancers, executive assistants and other service providers. Plus, there is a range of features for all types of small businesses, including online merchants, restaurants and shop owners.

One of the best things about QuickBooks is that it is an online tool (QuickBooks Online) that allows for both basic and advanced features within the software to give you greater control based on the level of comfort you have with your bookkeeping. While you may want to take accounting courses or even a QuickBooks course online to get the most out of the software, it is not mandatory. Due to the popularity of the software among bookkeepers and accountants, you can share your information easily with those who keep your books in line which saves time and money.

Because it is an online tool, users can access accounting information through any device with internet access. Plus, QuickBooks Online users receive support, regular updates and upgrades as part of their subscription. There is a free trial of QuickBooks Online available so you can try it out before you commit.

2. Zoho. This is perhaps one of the simplest accounting and bookkeeping software tools. Zoho Books is great for small businesses that need a quick, easy, simple solution – thus it is ideal for micro-sized businesses (solopreneurs and up to 5 employees). Don’t mistake quick, easy and simple as basic. While Zoho Books does provide all the fundamentals you need, there are also some advanced tools built into the software so you can keep using it as your business grows – which is important because changing accounting software can be a nightmare for most business people.

Pricing is reasonable with a range of plans and Zoho Books offers a free trial to check it out. During the trial, you can see how it helps small businesses better manage their cash flow and overall finances. From Zoho Books, you can send invoices and accept payments, create cash flow statements and balance sheets.

3. FreshBooks. How do you get paid? You send an invoice most of the time. If simple-to-use invoicing is your primary goal, FreshBooks may well be your choice for bookkeeping and accounting software. Sure, pretty much every accounting software tool for small businesses offers invoicing, but the “what you see is what you get” format makes everything so much simpler than you’d expect.

Invoices are customizable with clicks and drags and allow you to create the fields that you need in your customized invoices. Plus recurring invoices and subscriptions are easily managed within the software making it popular for businesses offering monthly services. You can even track time and manage projects within FreshBooks as well as connect to your banking and generate the usual necessary reports.

FreshBooks allows you to collect online payments through credit cards, Google Checkout and PayPal and integrates with other popular business tools (including running on Android and iOS) making it seamless in its integration into your business. Plus the dashboard is attractive and intuitive allowing for all the customization you need. There is a range of flexible pricing options and you can take a spin with the software through a free trial.

4. Wave. Wave is ideal for micro-sized small businesses (10 people or less) for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most appealing reason small business owners and people involved in a start-up would choose Wave is the fact that this accounting software tool is both functional and FREE. Yes, free, as in, there is no charge for the software. That being said, there is a pay-as-you-go plan for credit card payment processing as well as payroll accounting services in a number of the countries the solution is available in.

Wave delivers an easy set-up, easy-use solution through a basic dashboard that is intuitive and includes everything small business owners need to get their accounting and bookkeeping under control. You’ll find receipt scanning, invoicing, income/expense tracking and more within this software. You can also create and send estimates and receipts as well along with the semi-customizable invoices.

As an online tool, you can use Wave to pay employees and service providers using the online pay stub function or even make use of direct deposit tools within the system.

What’s the key to keeping your accounting and bookkeeping in order? First and foremost, find a professional you can trust to tackle the big issues like preparing your taxes and helping with system setup. Secondly, help make their job easier by finding the right accounting software tool for your small business. With the majority of tools offering free trials, it is easy to check them out before committing to a subscription or purchase. That way you can see if the software will give you the reports, tracking and other functions you need while offering the type of invoicing and payment receipt abilities you want that will free up your time and make you more productive in your business. If you want to really feel confident about the tools you are using and prioritize your continuing education, consider taking a professional accounting program to really familiarize yourself.


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