Small Business Accounting Software: What You Need to Know
As a small business owner, one of your biggest challenges is handling the day-to-day finances of your company. You know that accounting is important, but you may feel like a fish out of water when it comes to choosing the best software to suit your needs. Because this is such an important decision that will affect your business in numerous ways, here's a guide to help you navigate the ins and outs of the most popular software options for small businesses.
FreshBooks has been ranked highly by PC Magazine and other publications for years. It includes an easy-to-use interface and all the basic features you'd expect from any accounting software, such as invoicing, time tracking, expense tracking, etc. However, FreshBooks recently removed several other features that may be useful for your business. These include inventory tracking, service records and an array of reports. Still, it's a great option for any small business owner who simply wants to manage the daily finances and generate simple financial statements. As a bonus, the mobile interface for FreshBooks is one of the most responsive options available. FreshBooks is $25/month for the mid-tier option (up to 50 clients - the most popular choice for business owners). They also offer a Lite version for $15/month (up to 5 clients) and a Premium version for $50/month (up to 500 clients). They also offer a variety of add-ons for different tasks such as payroll and tax guidance. You can try FreshBooks free for 30 days.
Rated the best online accounting application for small businesses by PC Magazine, QuickBooks Online is a superb accounting software with a robust array of features. The interface is easy to navigate, with colorful prompts that guide users to the next action. QuickBooks Online includes nearly everything a business needs to manage day-to-day finances as well as more than 40 reports and tax guidance. However, it lacks in a couple of areas. For one, many users find the support sub-par. (This is easily remedied by finding your own third-party support option. QuickBooks is popular, so this shouldn't be hard to do.) It also lacks project-tracking, which can be difficult for contractors and some other business models. Still, QuickBooks is arguably the most popular accounting option because it is quite scalable, working efficiently for the smallest of businesses and even medium enterprises. QuickBooks Simple Start is $15/month, Essentials is $35/month and Plus is $50/month. Payroll is an additional expense. All three packages offer a 30-day free trial.
If you're on a strict budget, Wave Accounting may be the option you need. It's a free online software that includes all the most important accounting features alongside more customized tasks. These features include merchant payment options, invoicing, reports, mobile access, payroll, and live support. It's worth noting that Wave does charge for payment processing and payroll, but the cost is only $19/month. In addition, Wave's interface is one of the easiest to use and navigate, and it's incredibly responsive. For the price (free!), it's definitely worth a look.
Most accounting software is quite similar, offering all the same basic features that your company may need. However, the differences lie in the use of the software - How responsive is it? Is it easy to use? Is it scalable as your business grows? If you'd like to spend a bit more time choosing the best option for your business, it's worth noting that each of these software options include a free trial. You or your bookkeeper may wish to give each one a trial run before making a final decision. It's a bit more work now, but you'll need this software for years to come. It's best to spend a little more time now so you can come out ahead later.
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