In the accounting world there are tons of options for your business in terms of software. Sage, QuickBooks, and WaveApp are some of the big ones that come to mind. Alternatively, there are options such as creating your own ledger system in Excel, Google Sheets, or Numbers, based on your needs. But which is the best for you?
Account Software versus Spreadsheets
When you are looking to create solutions to manage the finances of your business (or even your personal life) there are a large number of options to go with, but let’s start first by narrowing down the two big “camps” that exist - spreadsheets or accounting software?
In the first camp are spreadsheets, programs like Excel, Google Sheets, or macOS’s Numbers. This software, at its core, is intended to put numbers into boxes, combine those numbers with formulas, and make it do whatever you need it to. Some people even use it to create art, though that’s not the scope of this blog. This is a great tool that is often included in your office software of choice, and is regularly used by businesses just starting out. They may have month-to-month records manually entered into a system. They may be exporting files from their POS software, and then adding them into a document from there.
In the other camp, you have dedicated accounting software. QuickBooks (and its Online variant), , Sage, WaveApp, all of these are tools that have been built for the express purpose of managing accounting functions. This can be bookkeeping, invoicing, or payroll. They may be more complicated (which is why we offer training in the software) but it is far more common in larger businesses for use. Most people have a single solution, and a lot of POS and CRM solutions offer options to integrate into different software. In fact, when looking into setting up a new retail business, we often recommend looking into these options first before making a decision with either.
These may also not be exclusive to one another. Many businesses will use a combination of the two, with spreadsheets used to keep day-to-day or even month-to-month records of easily tracked numbers, such as revenue, profit, costs and expenses, or even purchases. This information may later be put into their accounting software for bookkeeping purposes.
Accounting Software Solutions
Quickbooks has become synonymous with small business accounting. It is subscription based, and offers both an “in-house” version where you store your files and information on an internal server, and a cloud based version, referred to as Quickbooks Online. Either way you pay $5/month, per user. It offers a wide array of functions from invoicing and Billing, Purchase Order Issuing, payroll, to expense tracking, and much, much, much more. With the option to export files from here (or give access to your online cloud storage) to your accountant, you have the ability to send it out easily. Quickbooks is also pretty universally included as part of external tools as an option to integrate with. Most point of sale systems, most invoicing apps and even some banking apps offer connectivity to Quickbooks for quick record keeping.
It is well regarded for its easy of use, integration and wide array of utilities available to it. Counterly, some people find it to be a little resource intensive on older systems, and a few accountants have even lauded it for the long development time of its cloud functionality. Overall, it is a software we are very familiar with in the office, and still see new businesses picking it up, as well as older businesses switching over to it.
While pricing isn’t easily available, Sage is often regarded as the little brother to QuickBooks. It lacks many of the features that make QuickBooks as powerful as it is, it is also a little easier to navigate as well as fine tuned if you are mostly using it as a bookkeeping tool. There are addons you can add to the tool to make it more powerful if you need, making it a lot more modular than some of the other offerings on this list.
For small and medium businesses Sage offers great sales tracking, a simple invoicing interface, and payment tracker to make it the great tool it is. Depending on your needs as a user, Sage might be the perfect tool for your business, allowing you to expand and grow as you need.
You may formerly know this as Simply Accounting.
WaveApp is the newest option on the table, and is entirely cloud based. You can get it on your phone, track expenses, add recipes, send invoices and even (with a paid version) manage your payroll. It’s the most simple, but if you are an independent contractor who might work with some people, it is a great tool to have in your belt. You may outgrow it, but for getting you started and acclimatized to using a tool like this, it’s a great starting point.
At the end of the day, the best account software will be the software that works with you. Most of these offer options to trial the software, and if that isn’t the right choice for you, we offer training in a wide array of accounting software. Take some time to sit down with us, and we’ll be happy to go over what your business might need.