Small businesses make up the majority of businesses in the United States. In fact, the number of small businesses is so large, it almost looks made up. But the numbers don’t lie. There are 33.2 million small businesses in America, all of which need a reliable means of managing their books.
The bigger companies can hire accountants to take care of the grunt work, but that’s not always an option for the little guys. Tracking things manually with a spreadsheet or worse, a pen and a pencil, is prone to error and a real time sink. Thankfully the internet is loaded with small-business and small-budget friendly accounting software options.
You don’t need an accounting background to fire up and start using FreshBooks, which is why it remains one of the best options available to small-business owners. Track expenses, create and send invoices, view reports, and process credit card payments in a matter of a few clicks. The intuitive app is made even more convenient with easy to use iOS and Android apps.
FreshBooks offers a few different membership tiers. The Lite tier is $19 a month and is perfect for those with five or fewer billable clients. Larger businesses can upgrade to the Plus and Premium tiers, which serve more clients and cost $32 per month and $60 per month respectively. FreshBooks also offers custom accounting solutions with custom prices that scale with your business.
There’s a reason Quickbooks is a household name. The popular accounting software company is trusted by millions of small and medium businesses all over the world, and likely has a plan designed to serve your business too. It’s beginner friendly, and a favorite among professional accountants. It’s cloud-based, scalable, and offers seamless integration with a wide range of third-part applications.
You can try it for free for 30-days, and the lowest tier starts at just $15 a month for the first three months and $30 a month after that. You will need to upgrade to allow for more users or add payroll features, but its simplistic UI and comprehensive suite of features make it an attractive choice for most small businesses.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to benefit from a top-tier accounting software. In fact, you don’t have to spend any money at all. Wave lets small businesses create and send invoices, get unlimited income and expense tracking, and more for absolutely free online or through their free mobile app.
It’s not all free though. Processing payments are charged per transaction and Wave charges a monthly fee for payroll services that’s based on the number of payees. It’s a great option for those that can’t afford the monthly asking price of some of the other programs mentioned here, and there’s no risk in giving it a try.
If Wave isn’t your style then Zoho Books might be worth a try. They offer a free version for businesses that generate less than $50,000 per year in revenue. It includes invoicing, expense and mileage tracking, and more. The free plan is limited to 1,000 invoices a year, which could be enough depending on your company’s size.
Zoho Books integrates with countless popular apps and the company offers phone, e-mail, and chat support to members. Paid plans start as low as $15 a month, with advanced enterprise services available in their Premium, Elite, and Ultimate tiers. Test out the free version or enjoy a 14-day trial of a paid tier via the Zoho Books website.
Xero is a popular choice for small businesses across the country. Use it to generate reports and create invoices automatically. The platform encourages collaboration with the ability to leave comments and invite third party advisors. It can be customized with optional add-ons and over 1,000 third-party apps.
Xero is available in three plans they call Early, Growing, and Established, which start at $13 a month and climb as high as $70 a month. Those looking for something built to handle payroll can do so using the integrated Gusto software for an additional $40.
It All Adds Up
Investing the time and money into learning and using accounting software is always a good idea. Keeping your accounts receivable and payable organized and ready come tax time gives you peace of mind now, and may save you from a headache in the future.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money or invest a lot of learning time either. Accounting software is affordable and surprisingly easy to use. As you grow, you may need to switch programs, hire an accountant, or invest in an enterprise solution. But until then, the 5 best accounting software options noted above should be able to handle the needs of your small business.