It can always seem to be a daunting task: the task of accounting for your small business. If you’re able to put in some work inputting information, researching, and more then you can save yourself a lot of money versus paying for an accountant. Hiring an accountant is always a good option, though, and I will even recommend you to a reputable one within this blog post. Let’s take a look at four, major Accounting Softwares for small businesses and entrepreneurs and discuss the features, benefits, and give you an overall review of each.
We’ll be looking at Quickbooks accounting software, Xero, Freshbooks, and Wave. Commonplace among all of these accounting softwares, are the ability to track your expenses, add your receipts or import your bank statements in one way or another, set up payroll for employees, and the ability to track hours. There are many other features that each company adds and includes in their service, some specifically unique to them, that we’ll look at next.
If you have any comments or things you’d like to add, feel free to start a discussion in the comments below this post. Thanks!
QuickBooks by Intuit is one of the more commonly-known softwares. It’s hard to mention accounting softwares without somebody not having heard of QuickBooks. It truly is the classic software, by which most accountants have been trained and familiarized in. They have revolutionized some of their features and offerings, leading the way and setting the bar high for it’s competitors.
Let’s dive right into some of the best features, included in the top pricing tier (there are three tiers), for QuickBooks.
QuickBooks Point of Sale
I am personally very impressed that QuickBooks has taken the step forward in technology and has added a point of sale feature that easily integrates with any tier of their accounting software. There are a lot of mobile point of sale options, such as Square and Paypal, yet none of these integrate so easily with your accounting and bookkeeping that QuickBooks now does. Impressive! If your small business or shop is in need of a p.o.s. system on top of solid accounting software, then this route seems like a no-brainer!
Integrating eCommerce (and other) Apps
Another excellent feature that QuickBooks brings to the table is the ease to integrate third-party services and apps into your accounting and bookkeeping solutions. If you run an online, eCommerce store and are running it on Shopify, BigCommerce, Amazon, eBay, and many more, then you’ll be able to simply integrate QuickBooks into your store’s backend so that you can track and manage sales and expenses. Their lists of applications that easily integrate with QuickBooks is very lengthy, chances are likely that you’ll find one thats beneficial for you to add. Check out that list, here.
Rather than adding another Application to the hard drive space of your computer, QuickBooks now offers a solution and that is QuickBooks online. Managing your accounting from a website, similar to the management of your WordPress or Shopify website is an ideal situation for some entrepreneurs. The pricing structure for their Online services is more affordable than the downloadable application, as well. With what looks to be the exact same functionality and features with the Online platform, QuickBooks Online is a great solution for anyone seeking to save hard drive space and move their accounting on the web. Consider this: you will need an internet connection to do accounting and bookkeeping work, that is a disadvantage to this (in times of travel, etc. when you’re without wifi).
Likely QuickBooks’ most direct competitor and the company that is most on-par with like features and offerings, is Xero. Xero is a newcomer in the accounting software world, yet is much more advanced in technology and software. It’s the new-age accounting software, designed very thoroughly by experience software engineers, and used by the more modern accountants.
This cloud-based accounting software has a lot to offer. Similar to QuickBooks core features, Xero comes with the ability to easily import expenses and different expenditures into the software. As well, you can easily pay your employees (cut a check), get applicable 1099 and other tax forms, and more. Some of the features it boats, that other softwares don’t have are as follows.
Xero offers a whole Marketplace of powerful add-ons that will make your accounting application much more desirable and specifically catered to your business needs. The add-ons include things like estimate or bid-generators, booking add-ons for travel industry companies, inventory managers, eCommerce, and many more. These add-ons are niche or industry specific and you can browse their marketplace and offerings, here.
Something that Xero and QuickBooks both offer are the ability to add users and sessions into your accounting software. You can collaborate with team members, employees, business to business associates, and more. It should be noted that Xero’s collaborative efforts is much better designed and is a more user friendly experience than other softwares. Easy to use, very functional and effective, and a great addition to this accounting software’s offerings.
Again, other accounting companies do offer mobile functionality and services as well, yet Xero seems to be more on the up-and-up in keeping up with their mobile applications and software engineering. Everything that you see in the backend of Xero is so clean, so easy to understand, and so manageable. Xero offers truly amazing and unmatched mobile accounting solutions!
Another competitor to QuickBooks and Xero, is FreshBooks. FreshBooks seems to offer a lot of the same features as the other accounting software companies, yet sets itself apart by offering a truly amazing user interface that is easy to use, understand, and learn. FreshBooks is quite possibly the best accounting software for those solo entrepreneurs that do not have tons of time to spend on learning new software’s ins and outs. This software is a great solution for entrepreneurs and small business owner who’re looking for an affordable accounting solution.
You can tell by the photos and screenshots of the program, that the interface is understandable, clean, and easy to use. Check out those photos below. Beyond offering the basics and similar solutions as the other aforementioned accounting softwares, Freshbooks has a few other features that we thought we’d share with you.
Fully Customizable Invoicing
So the other accounting softwares that we have gone over do offer invoicing on certain tiers of their service plans as well, yes, yet Freshbooks gives you the most options as far as customization and appearance of these invoices go. You can turn out an invoice that looks truly amazing to your clients.
Wave is the ultimate accounting software for smaller businesses (9 employees or less). To help those smaller businesses get off the ground, considering they’re likely bootstrapping it, Wave Apps Accounting Software offers their software for free. It’s more of a freemium service, given the fact that there are certain paid features like $15/month all-in-one payroll services. These guys are the new kids on the block, yet they stand up there right there with the big dogs.
Their services offer the standard features that the other ones do. It seems there isn’t too much beyond that, they’re a standard accounting and invoicing software for smaller businesses and entrepreneurs. Don’t take it the wrong way though, they’re a great service to consider! You can start for free!
As entrepreneurs, we lead busy lives and the daily tasks of our businesses can be more than enough for us to handle. Let along to find time to do the accounting, payroll, and tax work! A great solution to this is to hire a reputable accountant that is going to be able to help you in the world of taxes, accounting, and more. Since I’ve hired my accountant, life has been much easier and I’ve been able to dedicate my time to other areas of the business instead of having to input time for accounting, payroll, and tax work.
I’d highly recommend a Bozeman, MT native who runs the company CPA Your Way. Austin is a great accountant who is leading the edge and breaking free of most QuickBooks accountant norms, by running Xero Accounting Software. He’s a small business owner himself, so he understands what you are looking for and needing in accounting services. His rates are very affordable and competitive and I challenge you to find a better guy! Check out his website here to learn more about what he offers.
Most accounting softwares are similar in their core offerings and allowing you to easily input expenses, conduct payroll, and invoice to customers. Certain functions and features between the four different softwares that we’ve looked at are more advanced in different programs than others. If you’re seeking awesome looking invoicing then check out Freshbooks, if you’re looking for tried-and-true accounting and adding a point of sale to your business, then check out QuickBooks. If what you’re seeking is a newer, more modern approach and user interface than check out Xero and if you’re on a budget and needing some very basic accounting software, be sure to check out Wave Apps.
All of these accounting softwares are created equal, yet aren’t all at the same time. It’s worth your time in reading through articles like this, checking out the various features that each company offers, and making an educated decision for yourself and your business. Another route to go (and this could be on top of you doing some accounting work and getting one of these softwares) is in hiring an accountant to help you out. Whatever your choice is, make sure that you’ve taken the time to understand what will be best for your business in the long-run.
Thank you for taking the time to read through our blog post here and in considering what we have to say and point out about these varying accounting softwares and accounting solutions. I know that a lot of us feel there are better things to accomplish in running our business, than in endless hours and time being spent in tracking expenses and doing accounting work. Best of luck to you in your decision making and we hope that this article has help guide you and answer any questions/point out a few features and advantages to the varying softwares.
Again, if you have any comments or things you’d like to add, feel free to start a discussion in the comments below this post. Thanks!
*Photos courtesy of GetApp
**Photo courtesy of Xero
*** Photo courtesy of Lumaxart on Flickr