5 best small businesses accounting apps

It is tax season, and for most businesses, formally closing the books on the last financial year. Here are five accounting applications geared towards micro and small enterprises.

In many countries, the deadline for filing taxes is just around the corner – usually by the end of March or early April. For small and micro-businesses, bookkeeping and accounting duties is not only time consuming, it can also be problematic when inadequate systems have been established to record and track transactions. Further, many of the popular software applications have been designed for considerably larger enterprises that have dedicated accounting staff, and not necessarily the single business owner or small team for which the bookkeeping occurs after the substantive work of the business has been addressed.

Having said this, keeping track of income and expenses is critical to any organisation. However, for smaller businesses, the tools ought to be user-friendly, yet flexible enough, to accommodate a broad range of needs and business environments, in order to correctly represent the state of a business’ finances at any given point in time. Hence although the accounts for the past financial year either have been, or are in the process of being, wrapped up, below are five accounting software applications that micro- and small businesses, in particular, could consider using to manage their finances in the current financial year.

FreshBooks logo (FreshBooks)FreshBooks

Launched in 2004, FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting platform geared towards helping small businesses capture their expenses, generate invoices, produce estimates and facilitate payment, in addition to other basic accounting tasks. It can also manage projects, along with tracking time and expenses, which can be especially useful for those who could benefit from such features, and reduce the need to use another application for such activities.

Platforms: not applicable – cloud based

Cost: ranges from USD 19.95 to USD 39.95 per month depending on plan selected


QuickBooks logo (Google Play)QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks is one of the most widely known accounting software packages, and has been around for at least the last 30 years. Over the years it has evolved, and currently, QuickBooks Online has been designed for the small business user. In addition to general bookkeeping, the platform can track sales, expenses and inventory, create budgets and compare actual performance, and track income and expenses by job or project. It also includes access for accountants, for whom special features would be available.

Platforms: not applicable – cloud based

Cost: ranges from USD 15.00 to USD 31.00 per month depending on plan selected


Zoho Books (Google.com)Zoho Books

Zoho Books is another cloud-based programme, but interestingly, it is part of a the Zoho Office Suite, which includes word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, customer relationship management (CRM), project management applications, to name a few. Similar to the previous applications, it includes a range of basic bookkeeping and accounting functions, but it also has project time tracking, inventory management and contact management capabilities.

Platforms: not applicable – cloud based

Cost: USD 24.00 per month for one organisation


Sage One logo (techreporter.co.uk)Sage One

Ever wondered what happened to the software, Peachtree Accounting? It is now being marketed under the brand Sage. SageOne facilitates online invoicing and accounting in two products: Sage One Invoicing; and Sage One Accounting Standard. With the former, users can generate and track invoices; with the latter, it includes all Sage One Invoicing offers, plus being able to track projects, tasks, and billable hours.

Platforms: not applicable – cloud based

Cost: USD 9.00 per month for Sage One Invoicing product only; USD 14.00 for Sage One Accounting Standard


Xero logo (Xero.com)Xero

Xero offers a broad range of bookkeeping and accounting features, similar to all of the other popular applications, including invoice generation, bank reconciliation, cash flow management, and simple pay runs (e.g. for payroll). In addition to being a cloud-based product, Zero has a mobile application, thus allowing users to interface with the platform whilst on the move.

Platforms: not applicable – cloud based

Cost: ranges from USD 20.00 to USD 40.00 per month depending on plan selected


Image credits:  Pong (FreeDigitalPhotos.net);  FreshBooks; Google Play; Google; Tech Reporter; Xero