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Top 4 Tools to Save Time on Accounting for Your Small Business

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As a small business owner, you’re likely your business’s bookkeeper and thus, aware of accounting best practices. But with everything that you have on your plate, accounting may slip through the cracks. The good news is that there are a variety of accounting tools developed to address these small business challenges specifically.  

Accounting software is designed to make accounting easier, and can help small business owners stay on track of accounting best practices. Many of these tools are affordable and easy to use. They often include time saving features that help small business owners track income and expenses, be ready for tax time, and understand their business.

We’ve identified various accounting solutions and outlined their top features to help you determine which is best for your small business.

1. FreshBooks

What it is?

FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting software that makes running your small business easy, fast and secure. Its main goal is to make invoicing and billing simple. Freshbooks is the leader in accounting software category, and was awarded the Best Accounting Software for 2016, and the Supreme Software Award for 2016.

Who is it for?

It’s designed for owners of small client-service businesses that send invoices to clients and get paid for their time and expertise.  

Features

FreshBooks main features include:

  • Online invoicing
  • Time tracking
  • Recurring invoicing and auto-payment
  • Team timesheets
  • Late payment reminders
  • Expense tracking
  • Accounting reports and taxes
  • Automatic expense report

Pricing

FreshBooks offers a free 30 day trial with no credit card required, that you can cancel anytime. After the 30 day trial, users can chose three different options depending on your client size:

  • Lite - $15 per month, 5 active clients
  • Plus - $25 per month, 50 active clients
  • Premium - $50 per month, 500 active clients

2. QuickBooks

What it is?

QuickBooks was launched by Intuit Inc. over 20 years ago, and holds more than 80 percent of the small-business accounting software market share. It is a set of software solutions, designed to manage payroll, inventory, sales and the other major bookkeeping needs of small businesses. QuickBooks is one of the most recognized names in small business accounting, and is considered the standard when it comes to small business bookkeeping software. As an added benefit, most accounting firms are experienced with QuickBooks, which will be valuable if you plan to seek outside support for your business’s finances. 

Who is it for?

QuickBooks was developed for small and medium-sized businesses.

Features

QuickBooks features include:

  • Everyday financial organization
  • Cash flow and automated spending
  • Create custom invoices
  • One-click reporting
  • Taxes
  • Full-service payroll

Pricing

QuickBooks also offers a free 30-day trial where no credit card is needed. Additionally, the company offers a Buy Now 50% discount for up to 6 months. Their paid plans are based on features, and include the following:

  • Self-Employed - $5 per month
  • Simple Start - $10 per month
  • Essentials - $21 per month
  • Plus (Most Popular) - $28 per month

3. Zoho Books

What it is?

Zoho Books is an online, cloud-based accounting software to help users manage their finances and stay on top of their cash flow. The software is highly flexible and is unparalleled in terms of customizability. However, unlike it’s competitors, it does not have the integrated payroll or third party add-on applications.

Who is it for?

Zoho Books is mainly used by small businesses, but also offers plans for larger companies with unlimited users and contacts.

Features

Zoho Books features include:

  • Real time reporting
  • Profit and loss
  • Recurring invoices
  • Send quotes or estimates
  • Chart of accounts
  • Log hours and invoicing projects
  • Record transactions for expense and deposit
  • Automatic bank feeds
  • Reconcile bank and credit card accounts

Pricing

Zoho Books offers a free 14-day trial where no credit card is needed. Their paid plans are based on number of users and features, and include the following:

  • Basic - $9 per month
  • Standard - $19 per month
  • Professional - $29 per month  

4. Xero

What it is?

Xero develops cloud-based accounting software based on the software that describes itself as “the QuickBooks alternative!” It helps businesses manage invoicing, bank reconciliation, bookkeeping and more. The app was developed in New Zealand, and dominates the New Zealand, Australian and UK’s markets. Xero was developed specifically to work online in “the cloud”, and Xero has an exceptional mobile app.

Who is it for?

Xero is for small to medium businesses, but unlike its competitors, it was built specifically with the growing business in mind.

Features

Xero features include:

  • Online invoicing
  • Inventory management
  • Payroll
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Mobile app
  • Pay bills
  • Expense claims
  • Reporting
  • Accept payments
  • Purchase orders

Pricing

Xero offers a free 30-day trial where no credit card is needed. Their paid plans are based on number of users and features, and include the following:

  • Starter - $9 per month
  • Standard - $21 per month
  • Premium 10 - $70 per month

With the wide range of options available, you can choose the accounting software that is best fit for your specific financial needs. The first step to choosing an accounting software is making sure that you have a proficient understanding of these needs, including what data your business uses to make decisions, what types of reports that you need to generate and the accounting standards within your industry.

A recent article on Inc.com, “How to Choose Business Accounting Software”, is a great resource to give you more information on how to make this decision.

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