Considering that small business owners run their firms with a limited number of employees, they do not enjoy the benefits of being able to maintain a large accounting department. Therefore, it becomes imperative for them to buy state-of-the-art accounting software that can make paying the bills and maintaining other financial records considerably easy. Secure in the knowledge that their financial data is being maintained by a sound accounting application, the owners can focus their attention on the core operations of the business.
There are many accounting systems in the market, but the top ones have some common features. They are low on cost with many of them even offering subscription facilities, offer a wide variety of functions, and provide ease of learning especially for non-accountants. Ideally, small business owners should buy customizable software that saves them time and stress and contains features that are suitable for their operations, rather than purchase a mainstream system that is complex, expensive, and packed with functions they do not need.
The software given below is among the best in the market and has been designed especially for small businesses.
Intuit’s QuickBooks has a vast array of features that make it the favorite of freelancers, consultants, online retailers, and small store owners. The accounting software provides all essential facilities such as bookkeeping, invoicing, billing, payments, point-of-sale support, and payroll. Customers can choose from a variety of versions that include QuickBooks Self-Employed, Pro, Premier, Enterprise, and the cloud-based QuickBooks Online.
QuickBooks Online is rapidly gaining in popularity. Users pay an affordable periodical subscription fee and access the application through secure login credentials. The cloud solution enables the user to access the software from virtually anywhere; iPad, iPhone, Android, and home computer. It can be used across all browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Explorer. The software even has different versions to suit different markets.
The Sage 50 Accounting package has been specifically designed for small businesses and is sold primarily in the North American market. Along with offering basic accounting tools, the Premium version allows users to access and customize close to 150 built-in reports, and work on advanced activities like complex budgeting and department-wise financial reporting. Other functions include customer management, job costing, vendor management, and multi-company support. Non-accountants also find it easy to learn this software.
Toronto-based Wave Accounting’s software is targeted at companies that have no more than 10 employees. Its cloud-based tools are free and creating an account and getting started is easy. Despite allowing free access, the software does not compromise on the functionalities that it offers and users can perform all the activities that they do on other accounting systems, such as generating accurate reports and syncing transactions from the bank account or PayPal. On logging in, users are greeted with a simple dashboard that they can customize according to their needs later. For entrepreneurs, who are just starting out or freelancers and consultants who are working on a limited budget, this software is a great option.
Another Toronto-based company, FreshBooks offers accounting tools that not only work seamlessly on mobile applications but also deliver many of the same functions that one would get on desktop suites. Its tools are ideal for businessmen who are constantly on the move and do not always have access to a desktop or even laptop computer. The interface is user-friendly and creating an invoice and billing clients is simple. The software also allows the user to add new clients and calculate account aging, time to pay, profit & loss reports, and more.
New Zealand-based Xero's products are based on the Software-as-a-Service or SaaS model and sold by subscription. Xero can be used for cash flow management, invoicing, payments, payroll management, financial reporting, fixed asset depreciation, and to connect to more than 300 third-party apps.
Among the other options in the market is Cougar Mountain Software’s Denali product line. This module-based solution offers customers pre-configured reports, unlimited inventory items, and the ability to add modules as and when required. Small business owners can also opt for Account Edge Pro from Acclivity Software. The package contains features that are good for most small businesses and includes basic accounting functions, Macintosh support, and data migration from QuickBooks to Mac.
In conclusion, as a business grows, the volume of financial data that accountants have to manage increases exponentially. The use of Excel spreadsheets and paper-based documents not only increases the risk of errors but also causes delays in data processing and stretches the time and work that the accountants have to put in. Automating accounting operations ensures data accuracy, speed, and reliability.
Additionally, several small businesses and start-ups around the world have benefited by outsourcing Finance and Accounting processes to a specialist service provider that offers well-trained resources and best-fit accounting technology solutions. This enables the small business to save on the cost of investing in a software solution and training talent in-house, and instead focus energies on achieving mission-critical targets.