Being a small business owner can be rewarding in many ways, but tasks like maintaining budgets, ensuring invoices are tracked and get paid, and managing accounts payable can be difficult. And without the proper software to get the job done, it’s entirely possible companies could fall into disarray.
To address that problem, many small business owners turn to accounting software, or programs that usually run in the cloud and have the ability to handle all of the accounting needs of the operation. Indeed, the software outlined below can take on roles like controller, chief financial officer, and accounts payable manager that you’d find in larger organizations.
But before you set out to use just any accounting software for your business, check out the guide below. The following five solutions offer a diverse set of features, reasonable pricing, and could be the solution you need to handle accounting for your small business.
Quickbooks Online is one of the more popular cloud-based accounting platforms for small businesses. And for good reason: It offers one of the longest list of features of any option in this roundup.
When you sign up for Quickbooks Online, you have the option of choosing from three options: Simple Start, Essentials, or Plus. And as you might expect, pricing will vary depending on the version you choose. The same goes for the features you’ll get in each option.
The Simple Start option comes with the ability to track your income and expenses, invoice and accept payments, and run basic reports. You can also track sales and sales tax data. If you jump to the Essentials option, you’ll be able to manage your bills and allow multiple users to access your account, as well as track time. The top-notch Plus version offers project and inventory tracking and the ability to manage 1099 contractors.
You’ll be able to get your hands on Simple Start for $10 per month. Essentials and Plus are available for $17 per month and $30 per month, respectively.
Due in large part to a nice slate of features and some aggressive advertising in podcasts, Freshbooks has come on the scene in a big way. And it offers an outstanding solution.
Like Quickbooks Online, the cloud-based Freshbooks comes in three versions: Lite, Plus, Premium. The Lite version is ideal for small businesses that only need up to five people to access the financials, while Plus is available for up to 50 people. The Premium version is available for to up to 500 people.
The Lite version offers unlimited invoicing and estimating, as well as time-tracking and online credit card payments. If you want to send payment reminders, charge late fees, and get accounting reports like general ledgers and charts of account, you can move up to the Plus version. The highest-end Premium option includes all of the features you’ll get in Plus, while allowing you to add many more people to the account.
ll of the plans are available on a free trial. The Lite version costs $15 per month, Plus goes for $25 per month, and Premium will set you back $50 per month.
Xero is a popular accounting platform that works both in the cloud or on mobile with help from Android and iPhone apps. And at a starting price of $9 per month, it offers one of the best values of any service in this roundup.
Xero comes in three versions — Starter, Standard, and Premium 10. The differences between them center on the number of invoices and quotes you can send each month, how many reconciled bank transactions you have, and whether you need to run payroll.
Before we get into those differences, you should know that all three Xero versions come with a variety of features, including the ability to analyze financial reports, manage invoicing, and connect to bank accounts to integrate all of your latest transactions. Xero integrates with more than 700 apps, including those that track inventory and time, to help you keep your entire business running smoothly.
When you actually choose the version you want, your choice will be determined by the invoices and bills you have each month.
The Starter package, which costs $9 per month, allows you to send five invoices and quotes per month, enter five bills, and reconcile 20 transactions. The Standard plan, which is $30 per month, allows for unlimited invoicing, bills, and bank reconciliations, but only allows payroll for up to five people. Jumping to the Premium 10 plan at $70 per month allows payroll for 10 people.
Zoho has established itself as one of the leading third-party cloud-based solutions providers outside of Google and Microsoft. And the company’s Zoho Books is aimed squarely at the small business owner who wants some accounting help.
Like most other services in the industry, there are three plans in Zoho Books: Basic, Standard, and Professional. The Basic plan costs $9 per month and standard will cost you $19 per month. If you want the Professional option, you’ll pay $29 per month.
The Basic version comes with bank reconciliation support, allowing you to keep your books accurate each month. You can create custom invoices in the plan and track all of your expenses, and if you’re concerned about time sheets and keeping recurring track of transactions, Zoho Books offers a good solution.
Bumping up to the Standard plan includes everything you’ll get with Basic, but adds support for bills and purchasing approval, among other features. The Professional plan gives you purchase order, sales order, and inventory tracking and management. And if you want a custom domain in Zoho Books to quickly access your business, Professional offers it.
If you’re not interested in using cloud-based accounting services and would rather opt for a desktop solution, AccountEdge is worth considering.
AccountEdge is available as a one-time download that lets you create sales and manage your banking. The software, which downloads to your computer, also allows you to track your customers, employees, and vendors in one place. AccountEdge even supports credit card processing.
AccountEdge Pro offers everything you’d get in the Basic version outlined above, but adds important features, including payroll support and control over time, billing, inventory, and purchases. While the AccountEdge Basic version is ideal for a small business that has one user, AccountEdge Pro allows up to 10 people to access the financial information at the same time.
AccountEdge Basic is $149, while AccountEdge Pro costs $399. Either option is a one-time charge.
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