How to Find the Right Accounting Software for Your Small Business
Any business can generate sales, but keeping track of the money on a day-to-day basis can be challenging. We look at some of the software tools you can use to help make sense of the credits, debits, and everything in-between.
General Accounting Software
A cloud-based application, the accounting software starts as low as $25 a month and can scale up as your business grows. It also plays well with various financial apps.
Businesses use it to:
- Generate invoices
- Pay bills
- Create reports
- Log employee hours and handle payroll
- Keep track of inventory
- Manage business taxes
Add the QuickBooks app to your phone and organize your receipts for tax time. Just take a picture and upload it to QuickBooks online, where it's stored in the cloud and ready when you need them.
Mobile Accounting Software
If you're a pop-up business that's on the go or you prefer to use your phone, Nerdwallet recommends FreshBooks.
With four packages to choose from - Lite, Plus, Premium, and Custom - FreshBooks offers all the features you need to track automatically track payment and expenses on either an iOS and Android mobile device. Plus, it offers a 30-day free trial period.
Typical users include:
- Self-Employed Professionals
- Businesses With Contractors
- Businesses With Employees
One feature that FreshBooks doesn't offer is payroll processing. However, you may integrate it with the popular payroll app, Gusto, which you can try for 30 days before deciding whether to purchase.
Low- and No-cost Software
Paying little or nothing for accounting software is possible, thanks to two applications designed to keep more of the money you track in your own pockets.
Wave Accounting, a free app supported by an optional payment processing function you can add for a small percentage and per-transaction fee, offers basic functions most small businesses would find adequate, including:
- Unlimited expense and income tracking
- Unlimited invoicing with a dedicated invoicing app
- Double-entry accounting
- Receipt scanning function
If you choose Wave Accounting, it helps to be a do-it-yourselfer. There's no phone support for the app, and the available live-chat help is only for those who choose the added fee-based payment processing function.
Zoho Books, another app that starts free but offers pricing that scales for businesses with more extensive needs, features an easy-to-use interface and automated workflows. For instance, you can set it up to send email alerts or apply discounts or late fees if you choose.
Zoho's free package is only for one user and one account; however, it scales up as follows:
- Standard Package: Up to three users for $20 per month or $180 annually
- Professional Package: Up to five users for $50 per month or $480 annually
- Premium Package: Up to ten users for $70 per month or $720 annually
Zoho also offers customers free 24-hour support by phone, live chat, and email five days a week.
Choosing the Accounting Software that's Right for Your Business
Whether you're looking for accounting software that does it all, offers the convenience and portability of a phone-based app, or saves you money, assessing what issues it will solve for your business is vital. After all, it's senseless to invest even a small amount of money into something you don't need.
If you generate a lot of invoices and want to automate the process, consider a package that will help you keep up with this end of the business. Some even allow you to customize your invoices so that important terms or boilerplate disclaimers are baked in and not overlooked.
If you rely on up-to-date financial reports and financial statements to gauge your business' financial health, choosing software that provides this will save you time, money, and the anxiety of having to speculate.
If you're prone to making mistakes or fear doing something wrong, automating even a portion of the accounting process with the right accounting software can eliminate human error. Having this added benefit can result in greater peace of mind and allow you to run your business confidently.
Finally, if you like the idea of saving time on financial matters, accounting software can free you and your employees up so you can focus on more of what you love about your business.