No matter what kind of business activities you are engaged in, there is one thing that nobody enjoys dealing with: accounting.
However, those ages where you had to keep your books in lengthy Excel sheets, gather your receipts in dusty shoeboxes and occupy complete bookshelves with tons of folders are long gone thanks to online accounting solutions.
With such software at your side, you can easily manage your accounting from invoicing, receipt processing and time tracking to managing projects, reconciling bank transactions, and even accessing everything on the go from your mobile device. With online accounting solutions all you have to do is set the program up, enter the necessary data, and sit back and focus on your work, while the software does most of the dirty work for you in a faster, cheaper, more automated fashion.
Home Business-Friendly Software
Regardless of the online accounting software you choose, you will be able to perform the most necessary accounting tasks with relative ease. Such a feature is invoicing, with which you can create invoices in a jiffy, send them on a recurring basis, use a different currency/tax, and even turn on online payment options so your clients can pay you immediately with credit/debit card or PayPal. Speaking of payments, whenever there is a change in your bank account, you will see it right away thanks to the automated bank reconciliation option. You can track your expenses by either manually entering them into your accounting or by simply snapping a picture of receipts with your phone’s camera and let the software process everything.
Many online accounting solutions have built-in time trackers, which, if they don’t meet your needs, can be substituted with a third-party solution. In fact, the greatest strength of these accounting solutions is that they work with various other programs, thus you can combine the power of all your preferred solutions. And last but not least, you can share your books with your accountant anytime for further modifications or verification.
Best Online Accounting Software of 2017
Accounting on the Go
Although mobile availability is a feature in itself, it deserves its extra spotlight attention for very good reasons. First of all, the top accounting solutions have their own Android or iOS app versions, which either contain the most essential features of the full-fledged desktop solution or allows the use of all features of its “big brother” without limitations. Second, all functions adapted to mobile devices work like a charm: invoices can be created the same way like you would do from your computer, and you can even track your time outside your “office”. The app also notifies you of any changes in your bank account balance, so you can see when you are paid and when you paid your debts while on the go. Like we said earlier, you can take snapshots of receipts with your phone’s camera and attach said pictures to your expenses like a pro.
However, keep in mind that mobile versions are only complementary, meaning that most of the work must be done from the desktop application.
Recommended Home Business Accounting Software
Although most online accounting solutions, such as the following three we’d like to recommend, are intended for SMBs, they have plenty of features which can be used by home businesses as well.
When it comes to online accounting, Xero is a true powerhouse with which a home business can easily handle its books. It has everything you need: an informative dashboard where you can see your money movement, one-time or recurring, multi-currency invoicing, quoting and expense claiming, all with access from both desktop and mobile devices. Your Xero account also comes with a useful inventory for keeping records of your services and their prices, payroll to pay your employees should you have any, and the option to integrate over 400 third-party apps. Xero is available for as low as $6.30 per month, a reduced price which you can pay for the first 6 months of use. However, you can also enjoy a 30-day trial period on all three pricing plans should you prefer to give Xero a test spin first.
Even before its complete redesign in 2016, FreshBooks was a worthy competitor of big accounting software providers – and it still is. The main reason behind its strength is that it only has the most essential features. The one-time or recurring invoices can be created using multiple currencies, two languages, and various taxes, plus you can attach reminders, late fees and such thanks to the clever, visual tracking feature. The same visual representation applies to expense recording as well, whether you check it in its respective tab or on the brutally simple dashboard. With FreshBooks you can also create projects, track your own time, send your auto-created business reports to your accountant and use the powers of various third-party add-ons. The three pricing plans only limit the number of your clients, but otherwise, you get all features, plus an iOS/Android app and a 30-day free trial option.
If you need to create invoices, organize your expenses, and maximize your tax deductions, you can go with QuickBooks Self-Employed for as low as $5 per month. But if you need features, such as estimating, billing, multi-user management, and time tracking, you’re better off with QuickBooks Online. However, both options come with an iOS/Android app and a continuous bank feed displayed in your account’s dashboard. The only thing you have to keep an eye out for is the pricing policy: if you put your trust in the software right away, you can enjoy an up to 50% discount on your accounting solution. However, if you want to give QuickBooks a spin at first for 30-days (with money back guarantee) you have to pay the full price.