If you’re looking for a new accounting software program for your business, or if you just want to upgrade the program that you have, then you’re probably aware that there are a lot of options out there. While small businesses were limited to only one or two “off-the-shelf” accounting programs for years, the recent influx of new programs means that there are now dozens of choices for a small business owner. These are some of the best accounting software programs this year, so far.
The familiar QuickBooks set-up is now available as a cloud-based format that makes it easier to share data with other users and to access your financial information from any location -- convenient if you travel frequently and don’t have a dedicated office staff that can send you files. QuickBooks is also a well-known software program boasting more than 700,000 subscribers to its online version (and 5 million total subscribers), that integrates well with hundreds of apps and other programs, allowing you to transfer data easily. It manages assets, liabilities, income, expenses and equity, handles invoicing and generates basic accounting reports.
The online version of this program is based on a monthly subscription fee, making it easier to control your costs if you’re not ready to make a huge investment in accounting software. Backups are automatic. It also offers free upgrades, so you won’t be stuck with an outdated program several years from now. Support services are well established.
This program is entrenched in New Zealand (where it originated) and Australia and is now making inroads in the US market, with about 400,000 customers worldwide. Their recent purchase of Monchilla will enable Xero to automate US payroll and state tax filings, an important feature for small business. Xero is slightly more expensive than Intuit's QuickoBoks. Fitsmallbusiness.com calls Xero “a high-powered accounting platform comparable to QuickBooks Online.” It features the ability to categorize transactions imported from financial organizations and includes a multi-currency support tool.
Like QuickBooks Online, it manages assets, liabilities, income, expenses and equity, handles invoicing and generates basic accounting reports. Its upgraded version offers business advisory and general business services, popular in their main geographic market, but still to gain a foothold in the US. Support services are more available now that it has become active in the US.
This program is one of the more expensive options, but it is able to process credit cards through your mobile devices and offers unlimited access to many features for which other programs charge. It is ideal if you frequently need to process payments in the field.
This program is a good, basic, choice for business owners with a small number of customers, or for those who tend to process small orders. It can easily track sales and purchases, and it can produce basic reports.
Wave is a free accounting and invoicing platform, and you will see a lot of advertisements while you’re using it. That’s OK if you just want to get a feel for accounting software before making a purchase, but it’s probably not the presentation you’ll want to give to potential investors. Still, if you’re just starting out and don’t need to share your finances with anyone, this program is very user-friendly and recommended for small businesses and sole proprietorships.
The program offers unlimited usage, can track revenue and expenses with links to your financial institutions, and can manage payables and receivables and offers basic accounting reports; once your business grows, though, you'll probably need to transition to a more robust tool.
Freshbooks is an invoicing and time tracking suite of software; it does not offer accrual accounting which makes it appropriate for only smaller businesses.This is a cloud-based program that is designed to be used with mobile devices as well as computers. The mobile version is a good choice for small business owners who are rarely in their office. If you frequently find yourself in the field or on the road when you need to enter receipts or notate a check, then this could be a good software system for you.