If you are looking to take your business to the next level, having accurate accounting numbers is incredibly important. There are lots of challenges when growing a business, such as hiring the right people and creating a clear marketing message. But in this article, we’ll cover another challenge as you grow your business: finding the right accounting tools.
These days, the field only continues to get more and more competitive, with seemingly dozens of accounting tools available. Don’t worry though, because we’re only going to give you the best of the best in this article.
What Do You Need to Track In Business Accounting?
The things you’ll need to track your business’s finances can vary widely depending on the business itself. For example, if you are a freelancer or solopreneur, you won’t need to do much in the way of business accounting.
Needless to say, things get a lot more complicated when you start to look at medium and large-sized businesses. Those larger organizations will likely have many departments and teams, and they may even have separate accounting for different departments.
That being said, for many businesses, you won’t necessarily need many different pieces of software to track your accounting. Many of the software suites mention below will do everything you need them to do – though some may suit your needs better than others.
What you need is a software that will track things such as:
Again, every business’s needs vary, so it may be best to review the features of each application, and perhaps even try some of them to see which works best for your business.
With that said, let’s take a look at some of the best accounting software suites.
Wave is great accounting software for the budding entrepreneur looking to grow their business. This application is mentioned first because it’s the one we use to track our own business expenses.
Let’s cut to the chase here: one of the best things about Wave is it’s absolutely free to use. Of course, there are some features that aren’t free, but you can do all of your basic accounting tasks without spending a dime.
These features include:
In a nutshell, you’ll be able to track all of your payments and expenses in the application without needing access to premium features. You do have to do all of that manually, but it’s nice being able to stay organized and keep your business finances tidy without having to pay.
Paid features include:
As you can see, the difference is basically tracking your income/expenses versus actually processing those items.
Intuit QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks is a popular accounting software suite used by thousands of businesses. QuickBooks isn’t free, but it currently starts at $7.50/month, which is still quite affordable, especially if your business isn’t brand new.
There is also a freelancer plan for $4/month, which is a nice touch. There are also several other plans that go up to $45/month.
Despite the lack of a free plan, there is certainly the argument that you get what you pay for, and that argument could be made for QuickBooks. This software is easy to use, helps you make sense of complex business accounting, and integrates with a variety of payment vendors.
If you’ve spent any time in the world of personal finance bloggers and podcasters, you may have heard of FreshBooks. This accounting software is very popular among its ranks.
FreshBooks has plans that range from $7.50 to $25.00 per month, or custom pricing for larger businesses.
You may notice the “cloud accounting” in the banner – everything you do in FreshBooks is stored in the cloud and accessible within a single dashboard. Those who send recurring invoices to customers are especially happy with FreshBooks.
That’s because FreshBooks allows you to create incredibly customizable invoices and even see where customers opened them. If you’re looking for an easy, yet all-in-one solution to invoicing, FreshBooks is worth a look.
Sage 50cloud has an excellent feature set and is highly customizable. It is specifically intended for small and medium-sized businesses, making it perfect for our typical reader.
However, one thing you should know is that Sage 50cloud is more expensive than other products on this list, so it’s probably not for brand-new entrepreneurs. Pricing currently starts at $50.58 per month and goes up to $197.55 per month.
Still, those who can afford it won’t be disappointed. It has excellent tools for taxes, sending invoices, keeping track of expenses, and more.
Xero gives puts a ton of functionality at your fingertips without also costing an arm and a leg. Its aptly-named plan called “Early” is just $9 per month. It also has plans called “Growing” and “Established will set you back $30 and $60 per month, respectively.
While its Early plan will obviously not give you access to the full suite of features, you’ll still be able to do quite a bit in the – well – early stages of your business. You will be able to:
- Add five bills
- Send five invoices and quotes
- Reconcile 20 bank transactions
So if you have about five regular clients, you can probably get away with only paying $9/month. Sure, you may quickly outgrow the plan, but it’s always nice to start with something that meets your needs and being able to scale up.
You may find it relieving to find out that FreeAgent only has one pricing tier. While it can be nice to have a plan that is tailored to your specific needs, sometimes all the different plans can feel a bit overwhelming.
Specifically, FreeAgent will cost $12 per month for the first six months; after that, the cost is $24 per month. There is also a 30-day free trial so you can try it out and see if you like it. Given that every accounting suite is different and probably only a few will do everything you need them to, a free trial is nice to have.
The other thing that is nice about FreeAgent is that, because there is only one pricing tier, you’ll never be limited to a certain number of invoices or clients. You can create as many of everything as you need and it will always be unlimited.
Thus, if you have a small, but fast-growing business, this accounting software could be right for you.
Zoho Books is another piece of budget-friendly accounting software that could be perfect for your growing business. Starting at just $9 per month, it definitely won’t break the bank.
At $9 per month, you’ll be able to have up to 50 contacts and up to 2 users – perfect as you are working to grow your business. You’ll also have access to plenty of other helpful features, such as:
- Bank Reconciliation
- Custom Invoices
- Expense Tracking
- Projects and Timesheets
- Recurring Transactions
- Sales Approval
Plans are also available at $19 and $29 per month and include additional features such as bills, inventory, and budgeting. Of course, you’ll be able to have more contacts and users as well.
With great support and a lot to offer for your money, Zoho Books could be a great tool to help you as you grow your business.
Which Accounting Software is Right For Your Business?
There is no accounting software that will be right for every business. Each one is at a different stage, with a different mission, a different size, and a different rate of growth.
You may not even be able to find one that is 100% perfect for your business, so researching and trying several of them is probably the only way to find the best match possible.
At the end of the day, it’s important to get your numbers right. You could run into a whole slew of issues if you don’t, so make sure you find the right accounting software as you work to grow your business.