Software for Small Business Bookkeeping

By Pam Baker | Published on: 11-Nov-10

Small Business Accounting Software or Invoicing and Expense Software

Updated on 5/01/2012

Editor's Note: Back in 2010 when we first posted this article, it offered great information on small business accounting software. But if you’re looking for the best picks and the latest information for 2012, be sure to read The Ultimate Small Business Accounting Software Guide.

The impulse to buy small business accounting software and just run with it can be tempting. Leading brands such as QuickBooks and Peachtree leap to mind followed by a quick price evaluation. Pick, click and done, right? While this approach is very common it is also commonly wrong. Why? Because you end up buying the tool before you properly define the job.

The choice is really more about the details you want to see in your daily operations. Want to know how your business and your investments are doing? Go for the full accounting programs. Want to know who owes you money, who is in arrears and whether you’re on budget? Then go for one of the lighter programs. This guide includes both types of accounting software to fit a variety of needs.

There are the obvious needs common to all small businesses: payables, receivables, expenses, and tax reporting. You may also need inventory, CRM, business intelligence, and sales projections, for example, depending on what type of business you run. Whatever it is you need, put it on the list. If you are unsure what you need, ask your accountant or consult with a business expert at a local university or with a reputable organization such as SCORE.

Now that you know what features you need, all you have to do is compare the products to your list. This will allow you to narrow product choices to those that can do what you actually need. Next, compare those software choices based on their security features, ease-of-use and price. The descriptions and chart (at the bottom of page 2) will help you sort your choices.

GNUCash; small business accounting software GNUCash is a free, open-source accounting program with a Plain Jane interface, but it's chock-full of in-depth accounting functions and features.
(Click for larger image).


2012-01-13 05:36:09 by robbie_do_little

Small business/bookkeeping software????

I have a small start-up business. I currently have the starter version of Simply Accounting and it kinda sucks. Until I grow my business to sustain itself I don't want to fork out major $$$ for software. What is a good, reasonably priced program for doing invoicing, estimates, inventory, keeping track of expenses, sales tax paid and collected etc? Any input appreciated.
rob in toronto

2005-12-22 09:30:21 by TinyLittleFeat

Small Business Bookkeeping Question

I own a very small business in auto repair. I was recently approached by a small bookkeeping company to "outsource" this work. Currently, I use Quickbooks and spend about eight-ten hours each month with the software. Frankly, I get confused sometimes with the credits and debits, and it isn't perfect but it basically works.
My hourly rate for repair is $65.00, so in theory, I could make $520 during the time I spend bookkeeping. Most decent bookkeepers want $20-25/hr. (yes, I know I can get them for $8/hr. but I've found you get what you pay for).
A decent bookkeeper is going to run me $100-150 per month

2010-11-09 21:27:15 by edugirl

Resources for starting your business.

Check out the Small Business Administration website. That is a federal program, I think through the Department of Commerce.
Check out your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which gets funding from the SBA. They will have a lot of local resources and info pertinent to the laws of your state and locality.
For the books, you can probably get yourself up and running for AR and AP using software, but you should learn as much as you can about how bookkeeping is done.
My local SBDC holds seminars on starting a business, and they recommend very strongly relying on a CPA to manage the accounting (financial statements, reports, taxes, etc.).

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