What Accounting Software Is Right for Your Small Business?

Toni Bowers
Slide Show

The Evolution of Business Software: Focus on the Consumer

If you have a small business, you want to focus your time and effort on your core competency. Unfortunately, the very nature of smaller businesses means that you may not have the personnel to handle your back-office functions while your attention is elsewhere. This is why small businesses should focus their software resources on the parts of the business that draw them away from their core competency.

If, for example, you’re the owner of a tee-shirt designing business, you don’t want to use up most of your days by doing your accounting by hand. Accounting, invoicing, payroll and other time-consuming back-office tasks are some of the best to go after early in the game. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re shopping around for accounting software and some recommendations to look at.

Small Business Accounting Software

In accounting software, look for time-saving features like automated entries, bill payments, invoicing, expense and financial reports and reconciliations. If you need to perform advanced tasks like data syncing with point of sale (POS) systems and bank accounts, you want to find accounting software that makes those actions simpler. To get your money’s worth, you should also look for software that will scale as your business grows.

Some examples of accounting software include:

Intuit QuickBooks Online

Whether you’re a freelancer or a restaurant owner, Intuit QuickBooks Online has just about everything you need. It has a very intuitive user interface, and features include financial reporting, tracking of income and expenses, the ability to download bank and credit card transactions, automatic data backups, and quarterly and year-end tax preparation and filing; it also integrates with over 150 other business apps.

QuickBooks offers both phone and chat support, which is important for the small business owner who may not be comfortable with accounting.

The QuickBooks dashboard gives you a snapshot of your financial status, with information such as income, overdue and paid invoices, expenses, profits and losses, and even a to-do widget. Pricing starts at $9.99, a plan that is limited to one user, and scales up from there. You get a mobile version of the app free with your QuickBooks Online subscription.


Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting is a free, cloud-based accounting software specifically designed for businesses that are just starting out or plan to remain small. While Wave offers mostly core accounting functions, it does have some time-saving features that small business owners will find attractive. These include automatic billing and invoicing, and the ability to set up reminders to help keep track of paid and unpaid items. The software also offers a simple, step-by-step guide to year-end and tax prep.

Wave also automatically syncs data, so you don't have to manually input transactions yourself. It automatically backs up data so you don’t have to worry about redoing everything in the event of an outage or cyber attack. One drawback is customer service. Although Wave offers a FAQ page, community forums and a knowledge base, you don’t get live customer support unless you purchase the Premium Services, which starts at $9 per month. Mobile apps are also available for iOS and Android.


Zoho Books

If your business is growing, Wave Accounting may not be the best solution for you. A paid option like Zoho Books is a good accounting option for microbusinesses (those employing nine people or fewer).

Zoho costs $24 per month, is easy to use, and offers additional features to help businesses make the most out of accounting software. That monthly fee gives you unlimited access to all of its features, which include invoices, estimates, bills, expenses, customers, vendors, currencies, projects and even users. It also offers automated billable hours via a built-in time-tracking tool, advanced reporting and API and third-party integrations (e.g., Google Apps, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc.).

With the Zoho service, you get email and 24-hour phone support five days a week in the U.S., the UK, Australia and India. It includes an accounting app for iPhone, which allows you to manage your business accounts anywhere.

If you want to concentrate on your business’ core competency and less on the back-office stuff like accounting, take a look at the options. Many of the software programs offer free 30-day trials, which is a good way to get a peek at a program before you make a commitment to buying.

Zoho Books

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Mar 28, 2016 12:17 PM RobM_Wave RobM_Wave  says:
Hi Toni. Thanks very much for including Wave in your roundup. We're committed to making life easier for small business owners and entrepreneurs. One detail I wanted clarify, if I may: All Wave customers get free email support from our super-helpful Customer Success team, based right here at Wave HQ (just fill in the form at questions.waveapps.com). Support queries are usually answered within 48 hours, and often much less. The Premium Support services are for people who need questions answered by phone or live chat. If you have any other questions, I'd be happy to help! Reply
Mar 28, 2016 9:56 PM Varun Varun  says:
Hello Toni, This is Varun from Zoho Books and thank you for covering us in your article. I would just like to elaborate on couple of points. 1. Pricing: Zoho Books had 3 different pricing plans(Basic, Standard and Professional) to suit different needs of a business. The Basic plan is for £6, Standard for £12 and Professional for £18. You can see more details about our pricing here. https://www.zoho.com/uk/books/pricing/ 2. Along with phone and email support, we have live chat support for our customers. So, our customers can expect better and instant assistance every time. Reply
Mar 28, 2016 10:04 PM lipika lipika  says:
Using https://topnotepad.com/ from some time for invoicing and accounting , I would say its the best one to workout with . Simple to use and creating invoices is just a click away!! It has many features : manages accounts , manages expenses , manages Leads and so on... Reply
Mar 30, 2016 1:27 PM ZipBooks ZipBooks  says:
ZipBooks should be a strong contender to be on this list. :) Invoicing, time tracking, bank integration and it's free! Reply
Mar 31, 2016 11:28 AM Acuity Acuity  says:
Toni - Great recap of the top accounting tools! Our company, Acuity, just evaluated the top 6 accounting tools for small businesses and startups and we included Wave and Quickbooks too. For the full post and the other 4 tools, go here: http://acuity.co/6-best-accounting-tools-for-your-small-business/. We specialize in helping entrepreneurs and startups manage their books and scale for success. Thanks again for sharing these resources and wonderful article! Reply
Apr 6, 2016 9:40 AM Cedrick Cedrick  says:
SlickPie is another new and great accounting software. I've been using it for the past few months and I have to say it was really easy to learn the ins and outs of the software. I'm currently using the free version and it's more than enough for my needs. Reply
Apr 25, 2016 11:45 PM online accounting software for small business online accounting software for small business  says:
Great post.thank you so much Reply
Jul 19, 2016 11:30 PM Scarlet Scarlet  says:
Today's small business technology trend is the cloud. So most of them looking for cloud technology. I have been using Apptivo accounting software. My business accounts managed perfectly through this software and keep track of all activity. Reply
Jul 21, 2016 4:51 AM barack obama barack obama  says:
Very useful content. I also suggest you Quickbooks Pos Software for small businesses.. Reply
Jul 26, 2016 5:17 AM joneandrew joneandrew  says:
I have been using Slickpie free accounting software for over a year now. After comparing the various accounting software I decided to go with it. The invoices are super easy to create. All My customers, vendors and products, items also stay in perfect sync between platforms. Whenever I have had questions the support staff have been brilliant. No only do they respond quickly, but they also offer remote support to train. Excellent Business applications. Reply
Sep 12, 2016 8:58 PM Sabi Ahmed Sabi Ahmed  says:
Very informative post! you have provided here information abut very useful software for small business. Some software like Wave Accounting, Zoho Books, have seemed very useful according to my business. I have never used these but now I can’t wait to using these. Thanks for sharing this amazing information about accounting software. Reply
Sep 13, 2016 5:01 AM christine Rawson christine Rawson  says:
This is really nice blog about the free accounting softwares small business owners can use.Thanks for sharing this useful information. Reply
Oct 4, 2016 10:09 PM Deebak Utpal Deebak Utpal  says:
Hi Tony, Very useful article for SMBs. Thank you for your informative article. Reply
Oct 18, 2016 5:30 AM Maurice Maurice  says:
Xero is awesome. Need to integrate with cloud EPoS when its have customers online ordering systems. Reply
Nov 8, 2016 2:57 AM Jack faye Jack faye  says:
Slickpie is the easy to use accounting software for me. It's 100% free online accounting software. The part I like the most is their free customer support. I recommend all of small business that I work with use it as well as all my customers who are looking for a simple and easy to use solution for time tracking, billing and proposal creation. Reply
Dec 13, 2016 2:50 AM stuartcrawford stuartcrawford  says: in response to RobM_Wave
I have been using the Slickpie free online accounting software for a year now. It's 100% free accounting software. It only takes a couple of minutes to set up a company and send an invoice. It's a good program if you are looking for a simpler solution for your business accounting. Reply
Dec 28, 2016 7:38 PM Jasper Walkom Jasper Walkom  says:
Nice post..... thank for sharing it. I love to read accounting blogs. Reply
Mar 22, 2017 10:31 PM Jacklincy Jacklincy  says:
Informative post ! Provided information are very useful for small business. Hashmicro also providing best account software, school system software for business. Reply
Apr 5, 2017 9:02 PM hdpos hdpos  says:
For a small business owners its always a challenging task to maintain their accounting stuff, but due to these accounting softwares all problems get solved very easily just by installing the software. You just need to enter the data and analyze the results on daily, weekly or monthly basis. Reply

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