Accounting solutions do all the number crunching — so you don't have to.
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Looking for an accounting solution for your small business? Business owners need all the help they can get. Instead of being inundated with crunching numbers, balancing incomes with expenses, and figuring out how much to pay whom and how much to pay Uncle Sam, the right accounting solution can do away with the grunt work.
Spreadsheets, handwritten invoices and sticky notes aren't only ancient by today's tech standards, but are also colossal time wasters compared to the many new tools available. Or maybe you've just had enough with clunky software from the days of digital yore. Instead, here are 10 accounting apps, software and Web-based solutions to help you manage financials online, on the cloud, and on the go.
1. TaxMate — Easy, free tax estimates
TaxMate is a mobile app that aims to minimize surprises come tax season. The app provides quarterly tax estimates for small business owners and the self-employed using a simple, step-by-step questionnaire. As users fill in their information — their state, filing status, number of dependents, income, expenses and payments made — the app automatically calculates the amount owed in federal and state taxes. TaxMate instantly gives users a realistic, up-to-date estimate of how much they currently owe, helping entrepreneurs reduce the risk of underpayment on their annual taxes. [The Best Accounting Software]
TaxMate is a free app available for anyone to use. It is easily accessible and ready to use straight from any smartphone's web browser. No sign up or downloads are required.
2. Hiveage — Online billing for small businesses and freelancers
Hiveage is an online invoicing and billing tool that offers free and low-cost accounting solutions for small businesses and solopreneurs. Specifically designed for companies with 1-20 employees, Hiveage aims to give users more time to grow their businesses by providing them with all the tools they need to automate financial tasks. That includes sending invoices and estimates; accepting payments online; tracking time, expenses and mileage; autobilling and charging subscriptions; and managing multiple teams. Hiveage also lets users bill using multiple currencies, apply discount and shipping options, and use flexible taxes to comply with local regulations. Additional features include collaborative billing and detailed reports that provide monthly summaries, financial health checks, and accounts receivable and accounts payable tables to visualize finances at a glance.
Hiveage pricing starts with a free, unlimited invoicing option. As the lowest-cost accounting solution available, Hiveage offers flexible, a la carte pricing, allowing users to pay only for features they currently require. Users can then add individual tools on an as-needed basis. For example, PayPal payments are free with all accounts, while additional payment gateways — Stripe, Authorize.Net, Braintree, Google Wallet, 2Checkout, WePay, GoCardless and PayPal Pro — each cost $1.95 a month or $19.95 annually.
[Editor’s Note: If you’re looking for information to help you choose the right accounting software, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors.]
3. QuickBooks Online — Anytime, anywhere accounting solution
QuickBooks, the popular desktop accounting software, is available online for anytime, anywhere access via mobile devices. Users on the go can perform all types of accounting tasks, such as custom invoices with the company logo, expense reports with digital receipts, payroll with tax calculations and deductions, and real-time bank and credit card data. Other time-saving features include tax reports, credit card or wire transfer payments, device syncing and accountant or bookkeeper collaboration.
QuickBooks Online starts at $12.95 a month. A free trial is also available.
4. Sage One — All-in-one accounting solution
Sage One is an online accounting, invoicing and task-tracking platform for small businesses. It quickly records and categorizes income and expenses, generates accounting reports, links bank and credit card accounts, and automatically applies payments against invoices. Sage One can also send invoices to customers; track pending, sent and overdue invoices; email payment reminders; and accept credit card payments via Sage Payment Solutions or PayPal. In addition, the Sage One platform can also create and manage tasks and provide cloud-based collaboration for teams and customers.
Sage One costs $24 a month. There are no contracts and users can cancel at any time. A free 15-day trial is currently available with no credit card required.
5. FreshBooks — Cloud-based accounting solution
FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting solution that is accessible on desktop and mobile devices. It combines all the tools small business owners need to manage expenses, send invoices and track time — anytime, anywhere. Users can easily import expenses from a bank account or credit card, or by taking a snapshot of the receipt. It also lets small businesses get paid faster by enabling them to accept credit cards, PayPal or via 12 other payment gateways. FreshBooks also features an easy-to-use and intuitive interface, data encryption and automatic data backups to multiple datacenters to keep information safe and secure.
FreshBooks accounts start at $19.95 a month. Try the service with a 30-day free trial.
6. Zoho Books — Simple online accounting software
Zoho Books is an online accounting software that provides small businesses with all the tools they need to stay on top of their finances. Zoho Books tracks money coming in by creating and sending invoices and money going out by tracking expenses and vendor balances. Users can also connect their bank and credit card accounts, which automatically fetches and categorizes transactions. Additionally, account holders can invite other users — such as their accountant or adviser — and integrate the software with Google Apps, Google Checkout, PayPal, Authorize.Net, and other Zoho business tools, such as Zoho Projects and Zoho CRM.
Zoho starts at $24 a month or at a discounted $240 yearly subscription. A 30-day free trial is also available.
7. Xero — Online accounting for small businesses
Xero is an online accounting system that lets small business owners spend more time running their business and less time managing their books. Designed with small businesses in mind, Xero can handle everything from invoices and customer payments to expense management, purchase orders, payroll, inventory tracking, bank account reconciliation, financial reporting and more. Xero can integrate with a wide range of eCommerce, point-of-sale (POS), customer relationship management (CRM) and other business applications.
Try Xero for free at xero.com.
8. GoDaddy Bookkeeping — Taxes made easy
GoDaddy Bookkeeping, formerly Outright, is a Web-based accounting platform that helps users with tax preparation. It simplifies bookkeeping by automatically organizing sales and expense data into IRS tax categories, which is then used to automatically fill out your Schedule C. GoDaddy Bookkeeping also keeps track of collected sales tax, calculates owed taxes — such as your Quarterly Estimated and Annual Taxes — and sends alerts for upcoming tax deadlines. Other features include customizable invoices that thank customers when payment is received; financial reports that give you insights into profits, losses and expenditures; data backup; and 256-bit data encryption that meet TRUSTe standards to keep your information secure.
GoDaddy Bookkeeping offers a free, limited account that lets users import bank and merchant accounts, use IRS categorization and generate reports. A paid account of $9.99 a month is required to create, send and track invoices and generate tax worksheets and reports.
9. Snap Payroll — Calculate paychecks in a snap
Snap Payroll, by Intuit, is an iOS app that makes it easy to pay employees. All users have to do is enter the hours worked and pay rate and the app calculates the paycheck amount and how much to deduct for taxes. The app is automatically updated with the latest tax changes, so users don't have to spend time keeping up with new regulations and tax rates. Other features include the ability to save employee and payroll information; paycheck history that includes payee name, date and paycheck amount; and offers anytime, anywhere access using an iOS 7 mobile device.
Snap Payroll can be downloaded for free at the Apple App Store.
10. Harvest — Tracking and more
Harvest is a time-tracking app that integrates billing and invoicing tools. Users enter start and stop times to create timesheets, which can be translated to billable hours and generated to invoices. Users can also log expenses, digitally store receipts, create reports and connect to more than 50 business apps, such as Salesforce, Basecamp and Google Apps. The app is conveniently accessible online via desktop or mobile devices.
Harvest plans start at $12 a month with a 30-day free trial.
11. Simple Invoices — Free invoicing
Simple Invoices is an open-source invoice system that gives small businesses everything they need to create, send and track invoices. It offers customizable invoice templates that can be exported to multiple formats, including PDF, Microsoft Word, Excel or plain text. The app can also send invoices via email, set up recurring invoices, and accept payments via PayPal or Eway Merchant Hosted payment gateways. Users can also create estimates, quotes, reports and other types of financial documents.
Simple Invoices can be downloaded for free at simpleinvoices.org. The software can be installed on a Windows device or as a Web-app on a server, or it can be hosted by one of Simple Invoice's service providers.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.