Best Small Business Accounting Software

As a new small business owner, your greatest headache has got to be in the accounting department. Therefore, getting the best small business accounting software is important for your business’ success.

If you do not have a proper accounting software in place then things get really messy and we all know that your business’ money is the last thing you want to mess with. It is what sustains your business.

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There are numerous online accounting software available to you to help you manage all matters accounts. I have compiled a list of a few options and reviewed each one to help you settle on one that works for you.

1. QuickBooks

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QuickBooks has the best most affordable paid packages and services among all the accounting software available for every kind of business.

You can get the lowest package for about $9.99 per month.

It comes with all the necessary accounting features for every kind of business including; freelancers, consultants, online merchants, store/restaurant owners and service providers.

It is ideal for you whether you are just starting out or looking to expand. If you are a new business owner, you will get all the basic features you need. And if you are a little older in the game and want to expand, QuickBooks has the necessary software scaled and tailored to suit the growing requirements of your business.

Though inexpensive, it does not compromise on the quality. It has all the important features namely, financial reporting, income and expense tracking, the ability to download bank and credit card transactions, automatic data back up, quality end of year tax preparation and filing.

Advantages

  • QuickBooks has automated tasks that make accounting way less hectic and less time consuming for you as a small business owner. It automates everything from recurring invoices and bill payments to bank and credit card transactions.
  • It also allows you to automatically reconcile and categorize expenses therefore taking away the tedious and time consuming hustle of doing it manually.
  • Has a wide range of built-in reports hence sparing you the task of creating your financials from scratch
  • QuickBooks also backs up data automatically.
  • Also has email invoices that make it possible for you to get paid faster. These email invoices have tracking and the ability to accept payments online as well as to send out electronic signatures.
  • QuickBooks also integrates with over 150 third party apps such as those built for email marketing, e-comerce, customer relationship management, payment processors, time tracking payroll preparation etc.
  • It also allows for automatic syncing,export and import of data in real time among different services. This saves you so much time.
  • QuickBooks has excellent customer service with both phone and chat support. This customer service is available to you throughout the QuickBooks website.
  • QuickBooks also gives you access to local certified Intuit advisers who can provide you with one-on-one help on how to use the software and solid advice on business running.

Added Advantages

– QuickBooks is accountant approved. This means that it has all must have features for small businesses. What’s more, most accountants use QuickBooks so they are already familiar with how it works thus making the process an easy one for everyone involved.

– Using QuickBooks rules out compatibility issues when you send out or export QuickBooks reports and files in case you are using an outside accountant.

– Your accountant gets to access QuickBooks for free so he’s not counted in the number allowed by your plan of choice.

Disadvantages

The QuickBooks mobile app lacks certain features. It only comes with the very basic features on Iphone, Ipad and Android. This automatically limits what you are able to do on the go.

2. Wave

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Wave is the best small business accounting software for you if you are just getting started or if you plan to keep your business small.

Ideally, it is for entrepreneurs, self employed, consultants small businesses with 10 or less employees.

Advantages

Wave is easy to use and even easier to get started on; You can create an account in a matter of seconds. Once this is done, you customize your Wave accounting software by filling out your company’s name and business type. Wave then uses this info to create a dashboard that’s best suited for you.

Allows you to add contact info such as your phone number and address so that they appear automatically on invoices and payment transactions.

Time Saving: Wave’s automated features eliminate the stress associated with accounting hence saving you loads of time. These automated features include

Automatic billing and invoicing, which allows you to set up recurring bills and invoices and reminders to help you keep track of what’s been paid for and what’s not been paid for.

Automatic data syncing so you don’t have to manually input it. E.g it connects with your bank, PayPal ,credit card and thousands of other financial institutions to automatically download and import expenses, deposits and other financial data in real time.

Automatically backs up data for you so you have no worries about losing any of your info or redoing it in case there’s a power outage or a case of a cyber attack.

Easily and quickly creates accurate financial reports such as balance sheets, sales reports, tax documents etc using templates that are premade hence you don’t waste time starting from scratch especially when you don’t know your way around financial reporting.

Added Advantages

Wave enables you to save money on business services. It does this by partnering with numerous service and product providers to help you into the running of your small business.

Its free program allows you to enjoy discounts and other special perks offered by wave’s partners.

Disadvantages

As excellent as it is, Wave only offers simple basic features. This is because it is free.

Customer Service: Wave’s customer support is poor. While most accounting software come with free live customer support,with Wave you have to pay for it for about losing $9 per month.

Payroll: The Wave software does not have payroll services. You have to pay for a Wave payroll for about $15 per month and an extra $4 per employee per month.

This is obviously additional cost and it forces you to use the Wave payroll tools therefore limiting your options and making payroll complex for you if you decide to go with a payroll solution of your own.

Advertisements: Wave is free because it uses advertisements. It posts ads while you are in the process of using the software and includes branding on your communications to your customers e.g on invoices and emails.

3. Zoho

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Zoho is recommended as the best accounting software for really small businesses e.g sole proprietorship, freelancers, artists, consultants and e-commerce and home based businesses.

Advantages

Best price: When you own a really small business, you do not require a really complex, expensive accounting software.

Zoho Books is an easy to use, inexpensive online accounting software that contains all the basic tools.
Using Zoho Books you can; generate and send invoices, track expenses, create reports, sync your bank accounts and use your mobile to do all your accounting on the go.

What’s more, Zoho Books has a full set of accounting tools that grow as your business needs grow. I know these features are true of most accounting softwares but the low price offreed by Zoho Books for its capabilities make it unique.

The price of Zoho Books stands at $24 per month for an unlimited number of users. Truth is there are a few other cheaper accounting softwares going for just under $10 per month but those have a catch. See, they are only cheaper on the outside but rarely meet the expectations and requirements of your business.

The main reason they have a lower monthly charge is because they limit features e.g how many users have access to the software, transactions and capabilities.

The $24 per month you Zoho Books allows you access to every one of its features. What’s more, everything is unlimited! This includes invoices, bills, estimates, expenses, merchants, customers, projects and users.

The cheaper accounting softwares will require you to pay for more expensive packages to enjoy these very benefits.

Easy to use: If you are a new business owner, accounting and all matters tech may not be your forte. Don’t fret though because Zoho Books is a simple and easy to use accounting software.

The setting up of the account itself is simple. All you need to do is fill in your business name, contact info and password and you are set to go.

The next step is to fill in your business type and your industry. If you need help with tax prep, you might want to fill out tax information.

Using Zoho Books’ dashboard is also extremely easy. There’s zero clutter and you can easily find your way around the sidebar menu which is neatly separated in a logical way.

This sidebar menu also collapses into icons when you’re not using it thus giving you lots more screen room to view the dashboard. With this system adding new items is simplified.

It has a really clean layout with the dashboard offering you at a glance views of the financial performance of your business.

It has Time- saving Features: It is true that accounting is one of the most time consuming aspects of business running. It is also very hectic. It therefore makes sense for the ideal accounting software to be one that’s great at time conservation and one that eliminates the headache associated with finance management.

Zoho Books takes care of the two problems effectively using its automated and online payment features. Zoho Books endeavours to help businesses save time by working smart, automating the flow of work and making it easier for businesses to get their payments faster.

This service ensures you stay organized by streamlining processes and updating everything automatically e.g financial data, transaction history, customer info etc. This takes away the hustle of doing it manually.

Zoho Books automates work flow by automatically sending out invoices, setting up recurring billing, tracking expenses, notifying you of payments reminders.

Automation of these basic accounting tasks, Zoho Books allows you to spend more time running and growing your business as opposed to potentially spending hours doing the same tasks over and over again, manually.

One more time saving feature on Zoho Books is its online payment which make it possible for you to get paid quicker. What’s more, Zoho Books connects with some of the common payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe, 2Checkout to enable customers to make instant online payments for their invoices.

It also gives you an effective way to receive payments and a hustle- free way of keeping tabs on what’s been paid and what’s yet to be paid for.

Customer Service: Zoho’s customer support is one of the best. It has a 24 hour email and phone support 5 days a week. You can also try searching the Zoho Books knowledge base and customer forums for more help.

Added Advantages

Zoho Books has a mobile app to help you do your accounting on the go. Sure, this is true of most accounting softwares. What makes the Zoho Books’ app special is the fact that its not limited to functionality.

You can manage invoices and quotes, track expenses and payments, upload receipts right from your mobile device as well as get access to your dashboard for at a glance insights, reports and multuser access.

The mobile app is available for Android, iphone, ipad, Windows phone and Windows Surface.

This is so different from other accounting softwares whose mobile apps are only available on Android and iOS and are in most cases limited to basic functions like invoice creation and sending, expense tracking and bank accounts reconciliation.

Disadvantages

Zoho Books is truly brilliant but unfortunately, it has some downsides.

Different from most of the other accounting softwares, Zoho Books doesn’t integrates main third party productivity apps and business solutions such as Google Apps, Square point – of – sale (POS) system and credit card processing app, tax1099.com, tax track1099 and Avalara.

You can however get past this barrier by using Zoho’s business suite apps.

Another drawback of using Zoho Books is the lack of payroll services. Although this may not be crucial if your business is small, but it matters if you plan to expand in future.

Right now the only payroll task available to you on Zoho Books is preparation and printing of 1099s.

4. Xero

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Xero is the best small business accounting software for Mac. This is because with Xero you, being a Mac user get the best price for a whole lot of features.

What’s more, its really easy to use. Most Mac accounting software have a common problem. They are stripped down versions of their windows counterparts.

Xero is different because Xero it offers all the best parts of its accounting software to Mac with zero compromises.

Advantages

a) Affordability

Xero offers you the best value for your money. While other accounting software determine their pricing on the number of features, your subscription from Xero comes packed with all the standard functionalities.

You get to pick from three plans i.e Starter, Standard and Premium.

Starter; costs $9 per month and has a limit of 5 bills and 5 invoices per month.

Standard; costs $30 per month and comes packed with payroll features for up to 5 employees.

Premium; costs $70 per month and comes with payroll features for up to 10 employees.

All the above Xero plans allow for unlimited users for free unlike in the case of most accounting software that cost you more for additional users. With Xero, there are no set up fees or hidden charges.

Also, there are no contracts meaning you can cancel, upgrade or downgrade your plan to suit your business needs at no extra cost.

b) Easy to Use

Xero is the absolute easiest accounting software to use. It has a simple though extensive user interface allowing you to get started immediately.

It is very intuitive meaning you are able to teach yourself how to navigate the it and its key features.

There isn’t a lot of learning involved meaning you get to save both time and money when training other users who may not be very tech savvy.

It has an informative dashboard with simple tabbbed navigation making it easy for you to add data, connect accounts, create reports and find exactly what you want when you want it easy

Xero’s dashboard is clean and clutter free. Key information id presented to you using at-a-glance widgets as soon as you log in. This includes bank balances, total cash in and out, outstanding bills, invoices owed, tasks, etc.

c) Time Saving

The ideal accounting software is one that saves you, the business owner time and reduces the headache that is part of small business accounting.

Xero meets this need by automating key tasks for you hence simplifying the accounting process for you.

Xero has lots other time-saving features in addition to the standard accounting abilities. Here’s a list;

Invoicing; Xero enables you to set up and send out automatic invoices online so clients can pay online. This means you get instantaneous payments with balances getting automatically reflected in your books. You are also able to set up overdue reminders so you don’t waste time running after payments.

Bill payments; you can schedule payments as well as set up batch payments to save you time from paying bills manually and avoid having bills that are past due.

Bank reconciliations; You can easily connect bank accounts and automate reconciliations. Xero automatically imports bank and credit card transactions and syncs them with your bills, invoices, purchases and other data.

Xero also enables you to reconcile bulk transactions hence ruling out the need to categorize transactions individually.

Expense claims; Xero allows you to quickly record, manage, claim and reimburse expenses. It automatically enters all amounts in your books including expenses billed to customers.

– Inventory and quotes; you can easily manage your inventory and determine the items that bring in the most profit and give customers the most accurate quotes based on data from your inventory.

It is also possible for you to track quotes and change them into invoices for quick, streamlined sales.

Purchase orders; Xero allows you to create purchase orders and email them direct from the software and then copy that data to produce bills for payments.

Payroll; Xero’s payroll features include ; automatic tax calculations, filings and payments. You can as track hours worked by your employees, pay them, approve leave requests with self-managed payroll services.

Contact lists; Xero allows you to add contact lists to integrate emails and track correspondence, invoices, quotes and payments with customers automatically.

Reporting; Xero has various reporting options, custom formulas, and budgeting tools that make financial reporting easier for you.

Mobile access; you get to manage all your accounting, access your dashboard and view live cash flow right from your mobile device.

d) Xero also provides a comprehensive and extensive range of third party intergrations.

Xero’s platform connects to hundreds of apps that are commonly used by small businesses to import and streamline data in real time automatically.

Some of these apps include; payroll, time trackers, CRM software, inventory management, e-commerce and other tools, and custom intergrations too.

e) Customer service

Dependable and high level customer service is extremely important for all kinds of business solutions. Xero has excellent customer service. It is the most reliable.

Some accounting software have very limited customer support and others even charge for it. With Xero you get 24/7, one-on-one support by phone,email or live chat all for free.

Xero has support teams all round the world so you can always get help regardless of your time zone.

Xero also very quick responses hence you are not put on hold for too long and you can solve your business’ issues as quickly as possible.

Xero also goes the extra mile by offering scheduled help times through email or calling customers at a time that suits them best.

Disadvantages

The only drawback I can pin point in regards to Xero is the fact that not all accountants use it.

This may not be a big deal for you if you have your own accountant but if you are using an outside accounting firm then it is a big deal. E.g your choices may be limited when it comes to managing your books or taking care of your taxes.

Xero combats this problem by providing accountant access to business accounts and provides users with access to partner accountants and accounting firms the use the software.

The deal is even sweeter for QuickBooks users because Xero offers resources to make export of Xero data easier for accountants and businesses.

5. FreshBooks

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FreshBooks for iOS and Android is the best mobile accounting app for small businesses.

Here are some of the reasons why FreshBooks is so ideal.

Advantages

a) Best Value

Although almost all other accounting software have mobile apps, FreshBooks is unique in that it comes with a comprehensive set of time-saving tools and charges you very little.

FreshBooks is the most affordable option for small businesses as it offers some ofof the most competitive pricing models for accounting software.

Downloading the mobile app is absolutely free of charge. However, you will be required to pay for a FreshBooks subscription to use.

There is only one plan. The mobile accounting one. Charges for using the app are incorporated in the monthly subscription which allows you to access both the software and mobile app for one monthly charge.

b) Easy to Use

FreshBooks is a simple and intuitive cloud-based accounting software that is easily accessible on all your devices.
Downloading and installing the FreshBooks app is super easy and you will be able to set up your account in a matter of minutes.

You do not require your credit card info when signing up. Just fill in your company name, first name, last name, your email address and password.

FreshBooks has an impressive home screen with a clean layout free of clutter with everything you require on one screen. This includes ; easily accessible buttons for main functions e.g invoices, expenses, client records, time-tracking, project management etc

FreshBooks also has a ‘create new’ button that allows you to create new invoices, enter new expenses and start the time-tracking feature as soon as you launch the app.

You Will also be pleased to find that the tool bar highlights your outstanding balance so you don’t have to spend time fishing for it.

FreshBooks offers a really user-friendly interface hence its many functions will help you save time because of both its capabilities and the ease with which you navigate the app.

c) Time saving

The ideal accounting software according to most small business owners is definitely one that saves time and eliminates the headaches associated with managing finances. FreshBooks passes this test with its cloud-based software whose principle is applied to its mobile app.

FreshBooks saves you time by enabling you to do your accounting anywhere, anytime. Other ways FreshBooks saves you time and makes accounting hassle-free for in the following other ways:

Invoicing; you can create, send and manage your invoices easily and on the go right from your mobile device.
You simply add your client’s name, items and other notes and terms.

You can also set up additional options and information e.g discount rates,invoice date, issue date, etc

Get payments faster; FreshBooks makes it possible for you to receive payments from your customers. When you create an invoice you can put down an option to accept credit card payments allowing clients to pay online directly from the invoice. You can also set up PayPal under the settings menu as an additional payment option.
With each invoice, you can easily track how much has been paid and how much is yet to be pai, so you don’t waste time keeping track manually.

Expense logging; the app allows you to payeasily track expenses from anywhere anytime as well as allows you categorize expenses and link them to the clients or vendors they are associated with.

You Will especially love the little feature that lets you take a picture of receipts and attach it to the corresponding expense. This is convenient and keeps you organized.

Seamless intergration with your phone and across functions; the FreshBooks mobile app works together with your device and streamlining the various functions. Eg when you want to view or edit information such as a recent invoice or client expense, you don’t need to open every function. Simply click on ‘Recent Activity ‘ at the upper left corner and voila! You find what you are looking for.

Customer Service; need help using FreshBooks mobile app? Customer service is easily available to you. Just click on the ‘Help’ link on the upper right corner to get all the customer service info.

FreshBooks gives you both phone and email support and their customer support team is excellent. However, it is only available to you Monday through Friday. 8am to 8pm. EST.

Disadvantages

Like all great accounting software, FreshBooks has some limitations mainly connected with app availability and reporting abilities.

You have to leave the app to view reports. The software can generate more than 20 different reports including expense reports and tax summary but it also informs you that these reports would look much better on your computer. And so you have to either opt to receive them via email or launch Safari to access them on the mobile web version of the software.

Availability; FreshBooks is only available on iOS and Android. This locks out Windows phone and BlackBerry users.

Conclusion on the Best Small Business Accounting Software

Your choice of an accounting software is dependent on many factors such as your business type and the size of your establishment. Now that you have a comprehensive list of the best small business accounting software, I hope the task of choosing one that suits your business needs is now easier.