Accounting is one of the most important tasks businesses handle on a daily basis. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs, during the initial stages of the business, don't analyze what their accounting needs are. If you're not watching your business cash flow, it'll be difficult to reach your business goals.
Some small business owners are overwhelmed and confused by all the accounting systems available. There are a number of online tools for small businesses that can simplify accounting and improve your project management. If you haven't been keeping track of your cash flow or are still using spreadsheets, it’s time to consider an online solution. I cover three of the leaders in online SMB accounting here:
Freshbooks is a simple online invoicing service with a variety of robust features that are important for small businesses. The tool has an intuitive user interface and is simple, even for non-accountants, to understand and use for your financial books.
With Freshbooks, you can generate invoices for your clients and accept payment via check or electronically. The invoices can be customized to include tax rate for items that are taxable.
You can also use Freshbooks to track time spent on various projects. You can create simple project records with the name of your project, client, billing method and the estimated number of hours required. Team members can also be assigned to the project.
Freshbooks performs quite well when it comes to tracking and managing expenses. Every expense record can contain the name of the vendor, date, amount and sales tax. You can also create recurring expenses and attach an image.
Freshbooks is available in three-tier pricing, ranging from $9.95/month to 39.95/month
QuickBooks Online is tailored for small businesses and is a bit more robust than Freshbooks. Similar to its software counterpart, the advantage of the online version is the 24/7 access from any computer, as well as the smartphone apps to view financial information and manage items on the go. The application has a quality user interface and a host of features that make it easy to track cash flow. Getting started with QBO is easy; simply follow the online prompts to set up your account.
Sidebar navigation lets you go between Home, Reports, Transactions, Employees, Vendors and Taxes. You can save your most common tasks by clicking a “quick create” button that is on top of the screen.
QuickBooks uses best accounting practices of dual entry and maintains an audit trail. The software helps keep your finances organized and save time. You can also setup QBO to accept credit card payments and be sure to use the recurring billing option for monthly ongoing regular invoicing needs.
QuickBooks online is available in three-tier pricing of $12.95/month, 26.95/month, and 39.95/month.
WaveApp is another cloud-based accounting service that is specifically geared towards small businesses with less than 10 employees. Unlike the two apps above, WaveApp is free for the standard version! There is a paid option if you would want to receive payments through the app. WaveApps uses an ad model with sidebar ads from relevant companies to make their income.
Getting started with Wave Accounting is easy. The app uses a payment network to automatically import credit card and deposit transactions from a wide range of financial institutions, making your job easier with less manual inputs. After importing the transactions, you can assign them to accounts, attach documentation, insert notes and mark them as “verified”.
WaveApp is a double entry ledger and can track both payables and receivables. You can customize invoices, create and email them to customers right from inside Wave Accounting. You can manually check the invoices received or use a supported merchant service like PayPal and Wave Payments to pay online.
Wave Accounting features a simple dashboard that has a list of essential reports that can be saved, printed and exported as PDF or Microsoft Excel.
These accounting software programs are all secure and cloud-based, giving you access from any Internet-connected computer. It’s time to move from desktop and spreadsheets to online accounting!
Do you use one of these? Share your likes and dislikes about the software in the comments below.
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Click this link for a full review of 7 Freshbooks alternatives.
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