Back in the early 1980s, some firms believed they do not need computers. With time, computers became relatively cheap and entities slowly moved from green and white line ledgers. However, it was not until 1987 in South Africa that the first accounting software was launched. With this, ledgers were consolidated within minutes as opposed to days.
Fast track to the 21st century, accounting software has been made so easy and flexible to be able to serve both large and small businesses. Some of the software for small businesses are free. Read on for those that go beyond the basics.
· Quickbooks Online
Quickbooks recognizes that not all business owners have an accounting background. Its user interface has forms you can fill to paychecks, bill customers, etc. It then does the accounting for you once you have learned to work out the forms.
Instead of upgrading to other versions, this software grows with your business. Advanced features such as inventory tracking and creating budgets allow you to be in control. You can also accept credit card payments with its Intuit Merchant Service account. Once you begin to hire employees, you can easily add on a payroll to this software.
QuickBooks comes with more than 40 financial reports you can run in minutes. It can also be installed as a mobile app on Android. This software has a limited number of users.
This software is good for existing QuickBooks users who are considering switching to another application. Unlike QuickBooks where you pay to upgrade, Xero has zero upgrade charges. It can easily accommodate payroll processing for up to 10 employees in its premium version. Xero, therefore, grows with you at no extra cost.
Access to the program is unlimited in user numbers. You can easily set up individuals with their own user identities and passwords that allow them to access just the areas that they need. This is essential if you have several people who need to access your data like tax professionals or employees.
It is easy to use and quite moderate to set up enabling you to invoice customers and pay your bills. You can import bank and credit card transactions for easy preparation of your financial statements. It has however been criticized for lack of direct relationship with most banks forcing you to use a third party (Yodlee Company) to connect your bank accounts to this software.
· Wave Free Accounting Software
With a free price tag, it has quite a lot of functionalities that many would not expect. It is easy to set up and use for unlimited users. Wave was designed for businesses with not more than 9 employees. It easily handles day to day activities of any small business.
Invoicing customers, running some financial statements, and importing debit & credit card transactions are some of the basics Wave can handle. You cannot write a check on this platform, but you can manually enter your bills, manage their due dates, and mark them as paid.
Wave can be installed as a mobile application although it is limited to only mobile receipt upload. It only integrates with three apps: Shoeboxed, Etsy, and PayPal.
When installing any accounting software, consider costs against functionality and how easy it is to find local support.