If you are a retailer you have to do multiple things at once to keep your business running: monitoring your cashflow, manage your inventory and your customers, keep up with marketing, and dealing with taxes and payroll. Your books is where all this information needs to come together, and your accounting is the number one tool in keeping your business in check. Traditional accounting software typically doesn’t play nicely with your inventory management and other data that gets imported, often resulting in manual entry work and mistakes here and there.
Online accounting software contains smart inventory management tools or lets you import data from external inventory software. It lets you see your cashflow and the auto-created reports at a glance, create invoices, bills etc. with a few clicks either in your office or on the go. Furthermore, you don’t have to say goodbye to the other software you used so far: just integrate them to the accounting solution and you will not have a software, but a companion who helps you make your business streamlined.
Online accounting solutions have a lot of features that are useful for every type of business. However, if you are working in the retail business, you won’t need all of them.
So, without further ado, here is a non-exhaustive list of features you need for your business:
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Cashflow at a Glance
Accounting solutions display your cashflow in your main dashboard, which you just have to take a quick look at in order to see how your business is doing. Furthermore, as data syncing happens in real time, your dashboard will always be up-to-date.
With this software you can customize your invoices, create recurring ones, set different due dates, and automated reminders with just a few clicks. Furthermore, thanks to handy mobile applications developed by online accounting companies, you can create invoices on-the-go as well.
An accounting solution lets you record your expenses very easily: just capture a receipt with your mobile device and you don’t have to bother with shoeboxes anymore. Furthermore, you can create batch payments for different suppliers and even reclaim costs incurring on behalf of your clients by adding them to an upcoming invoice.
This feature allows you to record the quantity and price of the items you are selling, and even track said items. Moreover, an inventory accelerates the process of creating an invoice: just select the item, type in the quantity you are selling and let the rest be done by the software.
Don’t let those pesky reports ever bother you again; accounting software automatically prepares reports like profit and loss, balance sheets etc. for you. Just give access to your accountant to view these reports and consider your job done.
If the software has built-in payroll, you can calculate and file taxes with a few clicks, instantly pay your employees who can record their own time using a mobile app.
Integrating Other Software and Services
Do not worry if a feature you need is missing from an online accounting solution. If the company supports and offers an API, you can be sure that many third-party applications can be integrated to your software. From e-commerce software to those that track inventory and manage POS transactions; you have a variety of integrations to choose from. All you have to do is give access to the online accounting software to sync the data of the other software or services and let the accounting solution do the rest for you.
For instance almost all accounting software integrates with PayPal: once connected your PayPal transactions are imported to your software. The PayPal integration is especially handy if you also subscribed to a pay-as-you-go fast payment service which allows your client to pay with credit/debit cards and e-wallets by being directed to a client portal.
There is other software that could be integrated too: Square which allows you to accept credit/debit cards from a mobile device; BigCommerce, online store software with automatic payments and automatic credit notes; Insightly CRM, which captures relevant details about each of your customers, suppliers etc.; and even eBay.
Online Accounting Solutions Recommended for You
There are so many different online accounting solutions on the market, it is almost impossible to choose therefrom. However, let us recommend you two strong competitors anyway: Xero and QuickBooks Online.
Xero has all the major features a decent accounting solution should have; from (recurring) invoicing, billing, expenses, quoting, estimating and filing your 1099s, most of which you can also do on the iOS and Android app as well. You can categorize your incomes and expenses, and you have a nice inventory as well. Furthermore, the top plans of the company have payroll, multi-currency invoices, and, if you subscribe to a pay-as-you-go payment service you can allow your customers to pay with payment methods other than wire transfer. Xero integrates with over 400 different software, including PayPal, eBay and many more. The company has a 24/7 customer service, a 30-day long trial period and three packages, all for rather affordable prices.
QuickBooks Online is another good choice for not only smaller businesses, but for bigger ones and sole proprietors as well. This software is available in 6 languages and has all major features: invoicing, managing your expenses and an unlimited amount of clients, automatically built reports etc. But if you subscribe to the top product of the company you can track your inventory, create and send purchase orders, give your employees limited access to your account, and track sales and profitability for each of your locations. Furthermore you also have the pay-as-you-go fast payment option and the payroll feature for which you have to pay a per capita monthly fee. The software comes with an iOS or Android app, integration with over 300 third-party software, a 30-day free trial, and a 60-day money back guarantee.