Choosing Small Business Accounting Software

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You’re just getting started. You’ve formed your business, have your product, and now you need to manage the business part of your business. What software should you choose?

There’s no shortage of software options available for small businesses. But which one is best for you?

Small business software has come a long way in recent years with the migration of most solutions to the cloud. There are some that still provide desktop options but most services are online.  Double-entry accounting is a complicated system governed by many rules, so a simple, understandable user experience is critical here – especially as SMB owners wear the CFO hat for their business as well.

Here are the features and services most considered when choosing a SMB accounting solution:

  • Ease of Use: How easy is it to navigate? How friendly is the user interface? Investments have been made in recent years to make the software tools much more visually appealing and intuitive to follow. Desktop solutions are less graphically rich as the online versions, and the cloud solutions utilize desktop functionality such as drop-down boxes, icons, and lists to improve the ease of use.
  • License Model: What is the subscription model? Desktop software is the most expensive, likely a few hundred dollars upfront. If yougo this route, make sure you really like the product as “returns” are unlikely. The cloud model is pay as you go just for the license tier you need, which is the least expensive and allows you to scale seats and features as you grow and transactions become more complex.
  • Data Management: If you have high transaction volumes, the ability to import large amounts of data may be of large importance to you. Each solution has their own tool – evaluate the ease of use and how it validates data before it overwrites anything in your system.
  • Add-ons: As your business grows, cloud solutions have thousands of add-ons that integrate with the base package to provide additional services such as payroll, inventory, expense management, and so on. Desktop solutions also have capability for add-ons, but is more difficult due to the need to install on local hardware.
  • Mobile: Cloud solutions have mobile capabilities, allowing SMBs to manage their business when out of the office. Desktop solutions do not allow for these capabilities.
  • Support: You don’t also want to be the IT help desk, so ensuring the software comes with good vendor support is critical. Most cloud solutions offer 24/7 support, and they can easily troubleshoot due to having access to your data and setup as well. Desktop is trickier, as it is local and depends on your local setup and installation.

“Accounting is the language of business” — Warren Buffet

Double-entry accounting is likely the most arduous concept in your business. SMB software providers have developed their software to cut down on the jargon as much as is possible, allowing users to successfully manage their business transactions even if they’re not CPAs. Competition is dense in the world of SMB accounting software, and it can make your decision harder. Top get you started, here is a list of the top 10 SMB accounting softwares, as rated by PC Magazine:

  1. Quickbooks (Intuit)
  2. Freshbooks
  3. Xero
  4. Zoho Books
  5. GoDaddy Bookeeping
  6. Kashoo
  7. Sage
  8. Wave
  9. OneUp
  10. AccountEdge Pro