If you’ve ever done a Google search for “Bookkeeping software”, you already understand just how saturated the market is with options. In fact, there are so many options that it can be hard to tell which best fits your business and personal needs. Some software is great for contractors or really small businesses, other bookkeeping software scales up with growing small businesses. We know your business is unique, so we want to show you the different options available so you can make the most informed decision for your business!
Never fear! This blog is going to show you the best of the best out there, and why it is just so good that we think you should consider them first!
We’ve picked out the four best options on the market below: Quickbooks, Quicken, Xero, and Wave Financial. Only the last of the four (Wave) is free, but each program can be extremely useful to you as a small business owner.
We know that time is money, and that you want software that saves you time, not something that will take more effort and work on your part. We’ve picked these programs out because they’re going to save time, make your life easier, and help you on the path to bullet-proof accounting!
Below, we’ll break down why each software is one of our top picks and what kind of business the software fits best!
One of, if not the most, well-known accounting software developers, Intuit, has made a plethora of financial software and is also one of the most widely used in the field.
Quickbooks comes in two distinct flavors, Quickbooks Online (QBO), and Quickbooks Desktop.
One of the great things about Quickbooks is that they offer multiple levels of features, allowing you to choose the payment option that suits your business needs. Quickbooks also offers added payroll processing, credit card payments, and bank transfers.
Quickbooks will save you time with the ability to make recurring payments, invoices, and reminders for tax payments (and many other things). It also helps speed up bookkeeping by directly connecting to your bank to download your financial transactions for specific accounts, including your credit cards. You can even set up electronic payments, commonly referred to as electronic invoicing, or e-invoices.
All versions of Quickbooks offer a set of automatic reports, meaning that you all you have to do is press choose the report, enter your date ranges, and press go. This removes a lot of the hassle of having to generate reports from elsewhere and can give you great insight into your business.
Last, but certainly not least, is the hundreds of intuit-approved apps that quickbooks integrates with. These apps range from mobile tracking and gps, to mileage counters, receipt documentation, and even specialized timesheets! There’s a ton of spice you can add to your Quickbooks flavor of choice!
Not only is Quickbooks one of the best software options on the market, it’s our personal favorite. With option ranging from a basic self-employed package to a full suite of financial reports and lots of customization, Quickbooks should have everything you need. We’ll be covering QBO and Desktop in-depth soon, so if you want to learn more, we’ll have more delicious coverage of the Quickbooks pie in our next blog.
We said Intuit made a lot of software, and we meant it! Quicken is an entirely separate program from QBO or Desktop and offers a somewhat different approach to bookkeeping than the above.
Quicken is really meant to be a personal finance manager, so it’s geared towards preparing you for taxes as well as some added financial planning features. This doesn’t mean that it cannot be used for business, in fact, it can be a great way to manage both your business finances as well as keeping your personal finances in line. It’s added abilities to help you with financial planning can also be very useful to the savvy business owner.
Since the base Quicken program is focused on personal finances, you’re only option with full bookkeeping features is Quicken Home & Business. It’s under $100 dollars for the yearly subscription, and adds a lot of security and time saving for any business owner that already feels comfortable managing finances. It comes with full intuit support as well as thousands of built in invoices for known vendors.
Quicken is a great option if you’re happy managing your finances and feel that you have a good understanding of how your small business needs to work. It gives you the added bonus of preparing you for tax season for both your personal finances as well as your business.
Mac users rejoice, Xero is made for you! Yes, it’s available to windows users too, but unlike many software programs that run on both, the mac program is just as robust as the windows version. It’s also compatible with apple products like the iphone, ipad, and watch.
Another plus of Xero is it’s tiered pricing includes payroll at the two higher tiers, as opposed to most companies that require an additional fee. Xero also offers unlimited users per subscription, and is a pay as you go service.
Xero provides many time saving features like automated bank connections to download your transactions, customizable and recurring invoices, and automated inventory tracking. It also includes a sizeable set of reports and time tracking. Much like Quickbooks, Xero is also compatible with hundreds of third-party apps that can add more useful features.
The largest drawback to Xero is probably that it isn’t as widely used by accountants, so if you’re thinking about hiring an outside accountant/bookkeeper, you’ll have to make sure they are familiar with the program. To help with this, Xero offers listings of accountants that use Xero.
Sometimes, freedom really is free, and Wave gives you more freedom than you could imagine. It’s perfect for the self-employed or any small business that plans on staying small (and we mean less than 10 people small, in this case). If you’re the one-man (or woman) band, a contractor, freelancer, or consultant, Wave is ready for you to grab a board and hop on!
And yes, Wave is free! They now offer full customer support to their entire non-paying customer base too, so it’s a wonderful resource to use, especially if you’re just starting out and want to keep your finances in great shape but don’t have the capital to invest in a costly program. Like the above software, if you want to add credit card processing or payroll, you’ll have to pay for the added features, but that doesn’t detract from their free options.
Wave has pretty robust invoicing feature with a large amount of customization available, including recurring invoices, payment reminders, as well as the use of estimates that can be converted into invoices with a few clicks. It also automatically syncs with your bank to download your transaction history, just like the above software! For peace of mind, Wave also provides you with automatic cloud backups to help prevent data loss.
Wave has two mobile apps (compatible with android and iOS), one for receipts and one for invoicing. The receipt option is a personal favorite, as it allows you to take a picture of your receipt, and then automatically converts it into an expense transaction without you having to enter anything. Invoicing allows you to create, customize, send, and track invoices.
Wave is a truly great option for truly small businesses, and is absolutely incredible for any one-person show. What Wave really lacks is the ability to track inventory and billable time. This means that Wave is an amazing free option for any service-based small business, but we don’t think it’s a great option for those of you that need to manage an inventory, as you’d have to find an entirely separate way to track your inventory outside of the program.
Next week we’ll be serving up a Quickbook themed feast! Since we have chosen Quickbooks Online as our software of choice, we’ll be giving you an in depth look at the differences between QBO and Quickbooks Desktop, and why we think QBO is the best pick. We’ll spend the rest of September breaking down how to set up your small business with best practices in mind, so you’re prepared to be a super star business owner!
Disclaimer This article presents general information and is not intended to be tax or legal advice. Refer to IRS publications and discuss possible tax deductions with your tax preparer.
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