Even if you have no idea how to manage your books, one thing is a diamond absolute: the use of online accounting solutions is simple and can be learned in a jiffy. Additionally, there is also the possibility of trying out these services for free – albeit for a limited time. However, the free trial is like moving into a flat: it is yours, but it still has to be filled with your own things to become your home.
Simply put, the software can’t demonstrate its capabilities unless you enter data into it, but thankfully some accounting companies have a solution for that.
What Is a Demo and Why It Is Good?
A demo is exactly what you think it is: the fictional accounting of a non-existent business entity. Although accounting companies list the features of their solutions in good detail, a demo is an effective way of showing them in action. And to make things better, you are not forced to open an account and manually enter all your data into the system to see how things work. But the best thing by far is that the default information is fully editable, so you can truly give the accounting software a spin.
However, a trial is not the only option a demo provides; it is also a handy tool for educating purposes. With the help of the demo account students can get a better hold of the materials they learned so far and practice the acquired skills without the fear of making a fatal mistake in the books of an actual working business. In addition, a demo account allows the replacement of the default data by charts created by the teacher, meaning that students can work on something they are already familiar with. To top it all, a demo is the most cost-effective way of putting the knowledge of future accountants to practice, since they are provided to students for free alongside extra learning materials.
Demos Provided by the ‘Big Ones’
A demo is basically an extended business card of the accounting company, therefore it is not surprising that market leaders – namely Xero, QuickBooks and FreshBooks – all have one.
QuickBooks’ demo is the best of the three because it can be accessed without the need to create an account. Furthermore, not only does it contain pre-entered data of a fictional company, but you can also edit that data to your liking, giving you the freedom to try out the most important features of QuickBooks with useful pop-ups to aid you during your ‘exploration’.
An ideal tool for future accountants, this FreshBooks version created for education purposes contains an editable demo account without feature limitations for every participant of the group, as well as learning modules, activities and assignments. Additionally, the FreshBooks demo also comes with expert support available via phone or email.
Unfortunately you must create a Xero account to be able to use the demo of Xero’s accountancy solution. However, the demo works separately from your actual account, meaning that – with the exception of live bank feeds – you can try out every feature of Xero for 28 days and change the pre-entered data to your liking.
Best Online Accounting Software of 2018