If there’s one aspect of your business you’d rather skip, what would it be?
In my case, it’s accounting.
I know that the numbers game has to be played, and consistently at that, but while I did enjoy learning basic accounting in school, the fascination was short-lived.
Fast forward to several years later, and I had to rewire my brain to rekindle that long-lost interest for the subject. Still, it remains one of my least favorite business tasks.
For most small business owners, accounting can be particularly stressful, especially when done manually.
If you’re no accountant yourself, tracking income and expenses, keeping your books of accounts updated, and doing payroll can be enough to push you to the wall, more so if you lack the patience and skills of an office administrator.
Without expert help to back you up, you’ll likely spend more time than you can afford to keep things in working order – time better spent focusing on what you’re good at.
This is where accounting solutions can be a huge benefit. Used properly, they help you track business expenses and monitor labor costs, among other things.
Here are a few of them:
For freelancers, consultants, and small business owners with simple finances, Wave is an option worth considering. It’s free and supports double-entry bookkeeping, unlimited invoicing, expense tracking, and customizable reports.
Functionalities like payments and payroll are add-ons you can implement for a fee.
When you sign up for an account, you’re offered three ways to input your numbers:
- Connect your bank and credit card accounts
- Upload your bank statements
- Enter them individually
The free account is ad-supported (they have to make money, you know) and covers accounting and reports, receipt scanning, creating and sending invoices, and email support.
QuickBooks Online is built for freelancers and small businesses. Great for billing, invoicing, and tracking your spending, the app’s dashboard also presents a quick summary of your finances, emphasizing open, overdue, and paid invoices, expenses, and profits and losses.
Depending on your chosen subscription plan, QuickBooks Online also offers inventory, financial reporting, estimates, bank or credit card reconciliation, quarterly and year-end tax preparation and filing, and automatic data backups.
With the availability of a mobile app for iOS and Android devices, users can create invoices and track their expenses even when on the go.
Some accounting applications charge you per integration or add-on, but ZipBooks allows full-feature access for free. It’s an accounting, invoice financing, online invoicing, and time tracking software in one. You can add unlimited clients, team members, and recurring invoice profiles.
Other nifty features include project and team management, and integration with Stripe and WePay to process credit card payments.
ZipBooks’ clean and straightforward interface allows for easy navigation, letting users create estimates and convert them into invoices in a few clicks. The iOS app enables viewing of financial reports, invoice management, time tracking, creation of estimates, team management, and invoice financing.
Kashoo supports double-entry bookkeeping and includes a chart of accounts, transaction forms for invoices, pre-formatted reports, record templates for customers, vendors, and items, and even lets you take photos of your receipts.
It also allows automated bank data imports, including credit card transactions, and provides integrated payroll functionalities in partnership with services like FreshBooks, Square, Paychex, SurePayroll, and PaymentEvolution. However, the app lacks in the area of project tracking, inventory management, and payment processing.
Kashoo offers a 14-day free trial. A mobile app can be downloaded on the App Store.
Directed towards service-based small businesses and freelancers, FreshBooks has personalized invoicing at its core, helping your business look professional through invoices and other financial documents that proudly carry your company logo and colors.
FreshBooks also has the ability to attach files, assign expenses or different rates for each project, set alerts for late payments, and many more.
It has auto-billing capabilities where you can collect recurring payments online via payment gateways that support auto-billing, such as FreshBooks Payments, PayPal Payflow Pro, Stripe, Authorize.net, eWay, and Braintree.
With the FreshBooks mobile app for iOS and Android devices in addition to its mobile web app, you can access your records whenever, wherever, track your work time while in the field, and convert your timesheet into an invoice and send it to clients for payments.
FreshBooks offers a 30-day free trial.
A versatile small business accounting software, Xero is used to create and issue invoices, track inventory, schedule payments, reconcile multiple transactions, and get paid in 160+ currencies. It also has a time-tracking feature to help small business owners manage timesheets and calculate actual billable hours.
To expand its capabilities, Xero readily integrates with 500+ third-party business solutions.
Xero offers a 30-day trial where you can test drive all its features. A mobile app is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android users.
Now used in 17 countries, Yendo provides a whole spectrum of functionalities that include accounting, invoicing, purchase order management, fully functional CRM, sales tax calculation, cash flow projections, bulk emailing, credit card payments, personal backups, and even VPN access.
The app’s introductory package can support up to 1,000 emails a month and an unlimited number of invoices. It includes bookkeeping tools and allows payment processing, data backup, and credit card processing. Other subscription options offer features like two-factor authentication, dedicated infrastructure, and developer APIs.
A free access to the premium version is available for 30 days.
GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping
Formerly known as Outright, GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping supports basic invoicing and tax processes. It integrates with eBay, Amazon, and Etsy, which makes it especially useful for online sellers, and can estimate taxes you need to pay based on actual profit.
GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping presents a snapshot of your business, with charts showing profit and loss data, expenses, and open invoices. It also tracks billable and unbillable hours, and allows users to quickly create various reports, including sales by state, top customers and vendors, and fast-selling items.
Automation and the cloud can help your business, but some accounting processes still need to run through an expert’s eye. An accountant can provide invaluable advice when it comes to loan contracts, tax estimates, and audit. Hiring one on as-needed basis can complement the efficiency of the above accounting applications.
*Jasmin Kabigting also contributed to this article. Image courtesy of Pixabay.