It’s no secret that accounting software is the most efficient way of handling your bookkeeping and until recently, desktop software had been the most reliable software to do so. Now small business owners, like you, are opting for cloud accounting software vs. traditional desktop software and it’s easy to see why! From the outlay to the usability of the features, the truth is, that these accounting cloud platforms were designed with you in mind.
If you’re interested in cloud accounting software but don’t know where to start, we’ve compiled a list of the top 3 cloud accounting programs and their features so that you can decide what platform works best for you and your business.
Cost: Free! Extra Payroll Service: Base price $5. First 10 employees: $4 per employee. 11+ employees: $1 per employee. Premium coaching services are available for a one-time fee of $99
Perfect For: Start-ups and small business owners on a budget, with little to no accounting experience.
• You can upload receipts right onto their free program
• You have mobile access
• You will experience an easy set up process
• You have a basic invoicing tool
• You can manage expenses
• You can easily generate reports
• You can calculate multiple tax rates
• You can work with multiple currencies
• You can connect to bank and credit card companies to download recent transactions
• You can allow a trusted collaborator to have access to your information
• You can collect payment online
• You can reconcile accounts
• You can integrate with Etsy for Shop Owners, Shoeboxed and Paypal
Pros: This is a great cloud accounting tool for any small business owner who is just starting to build their business or the small business owner transitioning to doing their own bookkeeping. For beginning expense management it is ideal that you have the ability to directly connect to your financial institution so that you can have the most current information rather than just downloading statements or using CSV import methods. It’s a very attractive website that doesn’t make the tedious task of handling finances as unbearable. Each section has small directions or tips to guide you in performing your tasks. It’s a great “training wheels” program because it has all the basic level options you need to run your business without you needing much of a learning curve to use it.
Cons: Although pretty much everything in this program is as free as they promise, where they get you is in support fees. In order to get live chat support you need to pay $9 per month. To have live phone and chat support you need to pay $19 per month.
Where it wins: Technically if you are the kind of person that needs peace of mind and opt for the most expensive monthly support package, it’s still cheaper than other cloud accounting services out there. If you are just starting out organization is key, and they do a great job in making sure you don’t need to have a million different apps in addition to their service in order to do your day-to-day bookkeeping.
Cost: Free for up to three clients. Packages range from $19.95-39.95 per month
Perfect For: Small business with large amounts of invoices and those who need an efficient way to track billable time and expense.
• Create customized invoices that can be e-mailed or even mailed straight from Freshbooks
• You can manage your income and expenses
• You can set up reoccurring expenses
• You can track time
• You can generate reports of you company’s financial standing
• You can calculate multiple tax rates
• You can get paid faster with online payment remind options and credit card processing
• You have full mobile access
• You have free support via phone and e-mail
• You can generate support tickets
• You have automatic data storage available
• You have more than 70 Add—on capabilities including mail chimp and salesforce
Freshbooks is king in collaboration. Clients and independent contractors can access areas of your site that you designate in a way no other cloud accounting software can do. You can easily import clients via CSV formats if you already have a list and you can import expenses in the same fashion. We mentioned in the list of top features that you have automatic data storage. What does that mean exactly? It means that you can store company documents in folders right on the site! Convenient for keeping client contracts online for example. Accepting payments online with Freshbooks is a total breeze. Not to mention that the collections process is simplified by allowing you to customize when you would like it to follow up with customers and clients when a bill is past due.
In order to have more than one person access the system, you have to purchase the highest level at $39.95 per month and that allows you just one more employee access. In order to add more, you have to pay $10 per month. However, if it’s just you or your personal assistant handling the bookkeeping, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Freshbooks also does not have a balance sheet or ledger.
Where it wins: Freshbooks’ invoicing features and collaboration capabilities takes the hassle out of communicating with contractors and clients. Its task automation capabilities is also one of the best we’ve seen and their add-ons options leave little to be desired.
1. Quickbooks Online Simple Start/Essentials/ Plus
Cost: Simple Start (1 user): $12.95 per user. Essentials (3 users): $39.95 per month. Plus (5 users) $39.95 per month. Payroll service add-on: $31.20 a month
Perfect For: Established and growing businesses with some experience in bookkeeping
• You can connect to banks or other financial institutions to download transactions
• You can create purchase orders
• You can easily reconcile accounts
• You have mobile access
• You can customize your menu views
• You have extensive invoice customization
• You can calculate multiple tax rates including some international tax rates
• You have access to an activity log to track all activity within your account
• You can print checks straight from the program
• You can print tax forms straight from the program
• You can pay tax fees straight from the program
• You can manage bill payment
• You can accept online payments
• You have free support via chat, phone or e-mail
• You can set different user access permissions
• You can manage 1099 vendors
• You have access to over 32 application integrations such as for shipping and CRM
• You can import data from a desktop quickbooks program, spreadsheet, or comma delimited file
Pros: You can’t discuss accounting software without discussing Quickbooks. They have not only mastered the desktop software, but they offer the same professional and functional service in their cloud platforms. This is the number one cloud accounting software for a reason. Your accountant will most likely love you because you have an extensive amount of reports that you can generate and your books can be reconciled monthly to eliminate errors. The chart of accounts is very flexible and easy to manage. You are most likely going to keep track of quarterly tax forms within the platform, taking the guessing game out of remaining compliant with the IRS in that area. One of my favorite features is the activity log which does an amazing job of tracking your absolute every move within your account. The activity log does everything from detailing when an invoicing was deleted to tracking when a user logs in or out. This is a perfect feature if you appointed a separate individual to be in charge of your bookkeeping.
Cons: It has a bit of a learning curve even if you are familiar with the desktop program because the design outlay is completely different. This program does not yet support multiple currencies if that is something you need. If you don’t have at least some understanding of accounting it can be easy to classify incorrectly because of the many options under which you can classify expenses.
Where it wins: Quickbooks is number one not only in functionality but in support as well! They have a great team that can answer any of your questions via phone, e-mail, or chat if you are handling payroll with them also. If you absolutely cannot fix the problem you are experiencing on your own, they can remotely access your account, with your permission of course, and fix the problem for you. It’s very difficult to feel lost for more than 5 minutes when you can count on their support. If your business can make use of all of the features then the price is well worth it. You can always trust that your information is more than secure and it is a program that can meet all of your current needs and has the capacity to support any of your future needs as your business grows.
So let’s recap!
1.Quickbooks Online Simple Start/Essentials/Plus: Best overall cloud accounting for established and growing businesses to oversee their finances.
2.Freshbooks: Perfect for invoicing, tracking billable time and expense, and collaboration.
3.Wave: Perfect for start-ups and bookkeeping beginners on a budget.
Cloud accounting is the future and these three programs are leading it. To get started all you have to do is evaluate which one fits your business size, which one fits your bookkeeping needs, and then sign up! If the service is not free it will come with a free 30 day trial so in any case, you can always try them all and stick with the one that met your experience level and expectations best.
At Ledger Aid we work with a variety of not only cloud but desktop accounting programs. Feel free to contact us if you need set-up help or a if you need to hire a bookkeeper.