It is time to update my summary of online/cloud/SaasS bookkeeping apps. This was originally an answer to a question on Quora about what is the best cloud accounting solution for a small business. The answer is that the best solution is one that the small business can and will actually use. There are a number of cloud based accounting solutions, but each tends to be popular with certain types of small business owner. I am not a fan of one size fits all when it comes to bookkeeping, but I am a fan of doing something.
I have published this list before, but like everything that happens in the world of the internet things evolve rapidly. I do expect we will soon see some serious fallout among the cloud based accounting apps because user count is the key to success and ability to monetize your product or at least have the financial backing to keep it updated and operating correctly are important to survival.
Some of the more popular cloud based apps (the ones I see in my firm on a regular basis) are:
- XERO: http://www.xero.com Started out being very popular in Europe and Australia markets, but now widely used in the US. A very good product that is relatively easy to use. The monthly subscription makes it one of the more expensive entry level options, but you do get a lot of functionality for the price.
- Waveaccounting: http://www.waveaccounting
.com True double entry accounting and it’s free. I think it is easy to use, but I am a CPA and not everyone agrees with me on that. It is free so all it costs is some time to check it out. They have had some problems with their app in the past and closed their API with Freshbooks, but still a widely used app for SMB bookkeeping mostly due to the price.
- Quickbooks: http://www.quickbooks.com They have HUGE market share and obviously work for a lot of small businesses, plus there is a whole secondary market built around supporting small business owners on Quickbooks. The online version of Quickbooks did not make a good first impression, but Intuit has made significant improvements in the product and it is now in my opinion one of the better values in online bookkeeping and offers a lot of functionality for a reasonable price. (and I can get an additional discount off that already reasonable price)
- Outright now Godaddy Bookkeeping Not true double entry accounting, but it is very easy to use and to set up. Works great for sole proprietors/freelance workers who want to spend minimal time on bookkeeping. That is definitely their niche. They are very popular with small ecommerce sellers. Outright was acquired by GoDaddy in 2012, so the product has backing now, but it also is monetized so that you pretty much have to buy the monthly subscription now to have much functionality.
- Freshbooks: Online Invoicing, Accounting & Billing Software Freshbooks started out as an invoicing and billing platform, but they have now added checkbook integration and basic general ledger ability to categorize balance sheet, income and expense transactions. The GL functionality is not as good as some of the other apps mentioned, but the invoicing and billing are so great that if those functions are critical to your business it deserves a look.
There are numerous others, but these are the ones I run into most often. Most of them have a free trial option, and are pretty easy to set up and test out. I usually suggest my clients narrow the list to two that look appealing and play around with them to see which works best for their unique situation or make an appointment to talk to me and see what I recommend for your particular business.