In any dynamic industry, it is especially important that accounting software for small businesses is as efficient as possible – easy to use, intuitive, and powerful. Startups and small companies have to take rapid action to pick up on the latest lines of the market and grow, so technology has to be on point.
However, with the abundance of different software available today, making a choice may be confusing. How do you know exactly which one is the best for your project, which features you need, and what ones are suitable for your business size? Let’s have a deeper look at these questions.
What does it take to succeed in the competitive world of start-ups? Even the most brilliant ideas often waste their potential and fail before getting through the first few years in the industry. According to statistics, the second biggest reasons startups fail is lack of cash — something good financial management can help to avoid.
This is what accounting solution for small businesses is about; essentially creating a simple way for you to track your revenue, identify sources of profit and weaknesses that might cause financial losses, find ways to cut expenses and manage taxes.
Reasons to Use Accounting Software
Even if you personally feel like you’d rather employ an accountant, there are a number of ways any entrepreneur will benefit from online accounting software for small businesses:
- Universal access at any time, from any device due to a cloud-based approach;
- Automated bank transactions;
- Easy tax management;
- Automatic updates;
- Time-efficient – cut down on repeated data entry and make faster transactions.
Accounting Software Must Have a Number of Features
Apart from accounting, there are things that good accounting software should be able to do. Of course, depending on your business’s needs, you will choose software with the appropriate features – read our tips on making the right choice. Here are a few useful points you should look out for:
- Billing and Invoicing Features;
- Constructing Budgets and Making Forecasts;
- Managing Financial Data and Asset;
- Managing Payments to Employees;
- Managing Inventory and Stock.
A startup business owner often won’t be familiar with advanced accounting language and software requirements. Don’t know what to expect? Keep in mind that good software should correspond to a number of standards:
- Invoicing should be built-in;
- It should be flexible and customizable to be adjusted according to your specific needs;
- It’s intuitive and easy to use. Good accounting software should make the complex mathematical algorithms manageable in minutes;
- It must give protection and security for your business’s sensitive data;
- It should be easily integrated with other programs;
- It must be available on mobile and cross-platform;
- Cost-efficiency is crucial for startups – make sure you only pay for what you can afford and that it’s worth every penny;
- Test customer support service in advance and make sure they’re responsive and helpful.
Which Small Business Accounting Software Is the Best?
In order to be sure, you will have to look through a million websites with small business accounting software reviews. We saved you the trouble and compiled the top picks out of hundreds of apps available in stores and online.
Money Manager Ex
Cross-platform, and suitable for personal finances as well as small business accounting, free accounting software? Money Manager Ex is all of those things and is perfect for forward-looking startups.
Money Manager Ex easily outperforms expensive premium software in ease of operation, an abundance of features, swiftness, and agility. It’s designed to keep track of money movement and your business’s value on the market.
Money Manager Ex has plenty of features, such as:
- clear view and manipulation of transactions;
- possibility to create several accounts;
- multiple currencies available;
- repeated transaction setup;
- payee management;
- tracking of assets;
- creating reports, etc.
Pros and Cons
Money Manager Ex has excellent interface and UX, very intuitive and easy to navigate – suitable for users with a minimum prior accounting background. The app is portable and available cross-platform for free with no need to install any software. On the downside, however, its unavailability for online banking.
Money Manager Ex is available for download online for free with optimal donations to the developer.
Money Manager Ex is ideal for personal finances and small entrepreneurs that don’t mind spending a bit of extra time on manual data entry. It’ll be handy in fast-paced, dynamic environments due to its portability and ease of use.
Freshbooks has gained a solid reputation for the best simple invoicing software for personal use and small businesses. We wrote out the most essential things you should know about it.
Freshbooks focuses on invoicing and customer payments. It encompasses a straightforward billing system that allows to track the status of the invoices and make them recurrent, saving your time and money. The app is easy to integrate and available cross-platform on mobile.
Freshbooks is narrowly specialized in invoicing, so the features are designed to make it the perfect platform for the task, with nothing extra:
- conversion of estimates to invoices;
- automatic tracking;
- multilingualism, etc.
Pros and Cons
The software is really simple to use, putting freelancers and small companies in advantage and allowing them to receive and give out payments faster. It can be used by teams of multiple individuals and allows invoice tracking. On the downside, it’s not very efficient with reports and isn’t suitable for inventory-handling businesses due to the lack of inventory management features.
Freshbooks is very scalable and can easily adjust to the size of your business as it grows, which is reflected by the software’s pricing policy. The “Light” plan only costs $15/month and allows to have five clients, whereas the “Select” plans are individually priced for companies with large income and hundreds of clients.
Freshbooks is perfect for small businesses and freelancers as a tracking and invoicing tool. It’s easily navigable and straightforward, scalable, and decently priced, but has limited estimation and reports functionality.
Xero is another prominent accounting management solution that is perfect for small, up-and-coming establishments due to accessibility and affordable price.
The system operates online, meaning that all updates take place in real-time, which is very convenient for organizations that need to manage several distributed offices. Due to the utterly accessible, intuitive interface, you won’t have any issues with manipulating this one, no matter your level of user skills.
You can even select the ‘express configuration’ feature if you don’t have time or desire to configure the system initially yourself. All in all, this is an especially great option for users that don’t have any previous experience of working with such systems.
Major Xero features include:
- Synchronization with the banking data;
- Contacts list;
- Articles of expenditure;
- Data import/export;
- Reporting tools;
- Account builder;
- Mobile availability;
- Currency converter;
- Access through browser;
- Electronic accounts;
- Contacts list sorting, etc.
Pros and Cons
Xero boasts the lowest learning curve possible, costs cheap, can be accessed from any device that is connected to the web – a perfect choice for a small business, as we’ve already mentioned.
We cannot highlight any significant cons here, except for certain functionality limitations that only big companies with extensive lists of contacts may feel.
The most budget version of Xero costs $9 per month and allows for 20 banking operations. From there on out, you can employ a starter version for $30 per month, which supports up to five pay sheets, or a Premium version for $70 per month, which supports ten pay sheets.
We can confidently recommend Xero for small businesses. Just take a look at its rating – 97% of users are completely satisfied with the solution.
Accounting Seed is a highly accessible and very flexible accounting management system.
Accounting Seed is a much pricier solution as compared to the previous one and it provides users with much more capabilities for that. The software fits small and medium businesses perfectly, allowing to scale without significant reconfigurations. Moreover, it conveniently syncs up with databases without the need for any duplicating or conducting numerous user manipulations.
Major capabilities this software provides include:
- Cloud, SaaS, & web versions;
- Banking check-up tools;
- Calculation of receivables;
- Billing tools;
- Expenditure monitoring;
- Assets management tool;
- Pay sheets builder;
- An extensive set of accounting tools;
- Tax calculation, etc.
Pros and Cons
Account Seeds can boast great accessibility. This can be a decisive benefit alone for organizations that have to manage to account remotely. Functionality doesn’t suffer from that in a bit, providing extensive capabilities and advanced features at the reach of a few clicks.
As for downsides, according to some user feedback, you may come across insufficient flexibility of reporting templates and delays in the performance of tech support.
The AS pricing is as follows:
- $50 minimum payment per year plus $250 for the purchase of the software license activated for one month.
As you can see, this quite an optimal solution for small and medium business that will be a great choice for those who don’t wish to waste time integrating with third-party solutions and databases.
This solution fits small-scale businesses (companies with more than humble accounting departments) and serves as quite a fully-featured and affordable solution for those who aren’t looking for ‘everything at once’.
The system will be a great fit for restaurants, pubs, small-scale manufactures, wholesale organizations, web design agencies, and other kinds of business involved with customer service. SlickAccount features an intuitive interface, which guarantees the optimal learning curve.
Among the main SlickAccount capabilities are:
- POS billing;
- Scheduled billing;
- Email integration;
- Counterfoil payments;
- Data about storages;
- Production processes’ tracking, etc.
Pros and Cons
This is a good solution in that it’s quite affordable while providing all the major features out-of-the-box (i.e., you don’t need to configure practically anything).
And there are no critical downsides – all that we should mention is that this software is only Windows OS-compatible and comes only in English.
It costs pretty democratic 50 bucks per year.
Definitely try this solution out if your business is related to any field mentioned in the ‘About’ paragraph above.
ZipBooks is a simple yet powerful tool for managing bills and company accounting routines.
If you’re looking to improve your accounting department’s performance with something up-to-date, accessible in terms of the interface, and capable of automating in-house routine work – ZipBooks is certainly the thing you need.
Main features of ZipBooks including the following:
- Forms for calculation of receivables;
- Tools for banking check-ups;
- Billing features;
- Expenditure monitoring;
- Pay sheets management;
- Order processing;
- Tax calculation, etc.
Pros and Cons
Users prefer ZipBooks for automatic bill generation capacities, affordable pricing, and great susceptibility to scaling.
There are two major downsides, again, according to the users:
- The system is oriented mostly at the US audience;
- Certain tasks can still be solved faster (i.e., some excessive necessary actions could be simplified in this software.
- There is an absolutely free version of ZipBooks;
- Smarter version – $15 per month;
- Sophisticated version – $35 per month;
- Accountant version – the end price varies.
You should try this solution at least because it has a free version to test out without sacrificing any budget initially. If you still have doubts, take a look at the reviews – they are prevalently positive.
FreeAgent is a cloud-based accounting software created especially to fit small business needs.
This is a prominent system among entrepreneurs from the UK, which takes up responsibilities for optimizing and synchronizing all the processes related to in-house accounting.
Among the major FreeAgent features are:
- Tool for sending & tracking estimates & invoices;
- Expense tracking;
- Time tracking;
- Self-assessment tax return;
- Automatic generation of VAT returns;
- Corporation tax billing;
- Tool of importing transactions, etc.
Pros and Cons
If you take a look at real user feedback, you’ll see for yourself that FreeAgent is among the best solutions for growing companies. It helps to conveniently, efficiently organize workflow according to the gradually growing volumes of bills.
As for the cons, the system doesn’t support money transfers and there may appear some issues during data export.
FreeAgent starts at 9.5 UK pounds per month, with the most expensive version priced at 14.50 UK pounds per month.
This is an affordable yet convenient and accessible solution that is a great option for small business owners based in Great Britain.
Invoice Meister is yet another accounting solution worth giving a try which features a powerful set of features for scalable business and startups.
The tool allows to create and send out reports in several clicks, automatically calculating bills and taxes. A built-in currency converter will help you autonomously generate a correct amount in the required currency. You can also customize templates up to being able to add company logos. Last but not least, you can save a lot of your and your employees’ time by selecting several billing templates and launching them into the regular operation.
The software has such features as:
- Billing tool;
- Contacts list;
- Contingency billing;
- Customizable invoices;
- Multi-currency support & currency converter;
- Composition of invoices online;
- Payment processing;
- Tax calculations, etc.
Pros and Cons
This is a simple, convenient in work tool with a budget price, which won’t oblige you to handle any excessive configuration issues.
As for the cons, we can mention an absence of certain important features like online payments and project billing.
Invoice Meister starts at $7,50 per month of use and costs $15 per month if you want an extended version.
There is a trial version which you can test for 30 days in order to initially assess the Invoice Master functionality for absolutely free.
This is a cloud-based software product that fits organizations in need of the extensive accessibility of web services.
ChargeOver is an autonomously-operating software product that features both standard and customizable bill templates, client self-service portal, and allows to add third-party visuals and documentation. Moreover, you can use analytical tools in real-time here.
This software features:
- Scheduled billing tool;
- Repeated billing;
- Self-service portal;
- Multi-currency support;
- Integration with QuickBooks, Xero, & other tools you may already use;
- Support for credit cards, ACH/eCheck, PayPal, & many more types of payment systems, etc.
Pros and Cons
This is one of the not many software solutions of such kind that accepts payments. On top of that, it can be integrated with some other accounting software solutions from other vendors for maximum performance. The standard set of features is pretty advanced here, however, and you may not feel the need in adding something third-party at all.
As for downsides, there aren’t any significant ones really, except that some users complain about insufficient mobile optimization and certain configuration difficulties.
- Minimum monthly price starts at $65;
- It can grow up to $549 & higher if you need it to work for a staff of 501-2500 people.
All in all, it is an advanced, fully-automated solution, with which you won’t have any significant configuration/customization issues.
This is a free-of-charge solution to help you unload the accounting department, taking many routine tasks out of its workflow.
Invoicely is a solution used by over 100 thousand small business entrepreneurs. Indeed, it is an excellent option for business owners and managers with a limited budget as well as hardware capacities (the product operate from the cloud and doesn’t require a physical server to work). It has an utterly intuitive tool panel, loads of customizable elements, and a number of automation tools (auto-notifications, auto-billing, analytics, etc.).
The major set of Invoicely features includes:
- Bill creation tool;
- Payment monitoring;
- Online payments;
- Bill management tools;
- Client cards;
- Multicurrency support;
- Import/export of data, etc.
Pros and Cons
This is, basically, a wonderful tool for handling all the needs related to monitoring and implementing in-house financial operations.
Nonetheless, there are some users that complain about product usability and bugs (the system is regularly being updated, however).
There are both free (with limited capacities) and paid versions, with the full package priced at $29,99 per month.
Start with a free version, evaluate all the advantages it brings, and get a paid version with extended functionality if you like everything you see.
Tips for Choosing the Right Software for You
How do you pick the right option depending on your individual circumstances? We’ve constructed a checklist of the things you should do to find your ideal bookkeeping software.
Identify Your Needs
Why are you looking for software? Is it to help you with tax matters, or with revenue and payroll, or tracking your inventory? Give it a thought and write down your key objectives. This way you’ll be able to easily identify whether the software you’re looking at has the required functionality.
Startups often have limited funding, so make your investments smart. You have to do some maths and calculate how much you can afford to spend on accounting software, and then pick the best one out of the options available for your budget.
Research Features That Meet Your Needs
Don’t get carried away when looking through different software options! They will all have their own special features and advantages and it’s incredibly easy to get lost in the gloss of the front display. In the end, you might just end up wasting your money on something you don’t really need. Instead, pinpoint which features correspond to your specific needs and look for software that has the exact characteristics you’re looking for.
Ask the Right Questions
Ask the right questions not only to yourself but to the middleman advertising you the software. Focus on the evaluation criteria we spoke about earlier:
- Are there any hidden costs?
- How do their customer support work?
- What is their expertise with their previous clients from my industry?
- Is the system data safely backed up and stored?
- What are their APIs?
Pick a Solution That Will Grow With You
Be forward-looking. If you’re serious about your startup, make a realistic estimate of your growth curve and think about how much flexibility your software solution will need in order to adjust to any changes. You want to avoid having to buy new software as your size and revenue increase, so value scalability.
Nimble CRM for Small Businesses
Interested, but not sure what to pick? Why not give a try to Nimble – easy accounting software for startups and small businesses that will help you to grow. Nimble has a number of useful features, such as convenient interface with everything available in just a few clicks, integration with multiple platforms, easy access to extended view on all customers and leads, and many others starting at $19/user/month. Try it for free or contact us to find out about our expertise and how we can help you develop your project.