An introduction – Online Accounting Software
Online accounting has one goal: to help business owners track expenses and sales and facilitate the running of the business. As companies grow and become more complex, the numbers of transactions grow, and the more difficult it becomes for accountants and managers to keep track of the financial position of a business using a simple spreadsheet. As a consequence a demand has arisen for online accounting software to automate processes, reduce human error, facilitate reporting and enhance business efficiency.
|Zoho books||$36.34/yr||Visit website|
|Bright pearl||$5/mo||Visit website|
|Financial force||–||Visit website|
The 10 most popular Online Accounting Software solutions
1. FreshBooks is a software product aimed at small businesses, and facilitates the management of a number of accounting processes, as well as time-tracking, management of expenses, and subscription management.
FreshBooks is very simple and easy to use and, as the system is cloud-based, there is no software that needs to be installed on local computers, whilst, compared to many other accounting applications, it has a number of fully-functioning mobile apps and add-ons for use on Android and iOS devices.
A major benefit of FreshBooks is the ability for even the most basic of users to generate professional-looking invoices quickly, and they offer very good back-up support for users. There are a variety of pricing plans available for small and medium-sized businesses, and they also offer a free trial which gives users all the features and functionality that they would get with the paid version of the software.
2. Zoho Books allows users to send professional invoices to customers and receive payment from them all from a single platform. This means that customers do not have to abandon a company’s website in order to make a payment. One distinctive feature from an AR perspective is the ability for the system to create personalised messages, reminding customers about invoices which are due and prompting them to pay on time.
3. QuickBooks Online is a web-based accounting solution that caters to individual accountants and small businesses. The program helps with bank reconciliations, tracking expenses, drafting invoices, and monitoring financial reports, among others.
QuickBooks Online enables users to download and reconcile credit card transactions. The solution also allows businesses to organise weekly timesheets and track bank deposits. Users can take photos of bills and submit them as expense proofs or share with the concerned stakeholders.
The solution also offers customisable templates that can be branded with the business logo and desired fields to generate invoices, bills and reports. The solution also helps to generate various financial reports, such as profit and loss, balance sheet, cash flow statements, and more. Businesses can implement setting permission levels for different individuals to ensure accessibility of financial data as per their business role.
The program also allows for the importation of data from integrated applications, such as PayPal, American Express and Square. Other features include creating recurring invoices, sending payment receipts online, configuring rules for payment reminders, and tracking receivables.
4. Tipalti is a cloud-based accounting system which automates the entire billing and payment processing mechanism, from setting up a new vendor to tax compliance. It is aimed specifically at large corporations and companies with multi-national operations. The app aims to streamline the way that payments are made to vendors, partners and affiliates with a base of over 190 countries, whilst ensuring that all tax and regulatory requirements are met with minimal manual intervention. The system is regarded as a leader in payment reconciliation and financial reporting, and normalises data across varied payment gateways.
All operations are conducted through a Supplier Management portal, where vendors themselves input and manage tax information. The data is then validated by means of a Remittance Validation Engine which monitors more than 26,000 national and international standards for compliance. This simplifies supplier control and reporting, and reduces the possibility for human error.
5. Xero is cloud-based accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses. Charts and graphs help manage understanding of cash flow and which bills are due for payment.
With the add-on feature, invoices and payments are automatically assigned to a Xero-created account, and, when a payment is applied, the status of an invoice is automatically updated. Other features that the system offers include the ability to bundle invoices together in one transaction to save time, and the facility to set-up repeated billing for recurrent suppliers and vendors.
Xero is fully web-based so there is no need for any local resources, and is easy to use, and provided that users are happy with the offered functionality, then it is a good software product. However, if customers need customisation, this comes at a cost. One major selling point of the system is that is has an Open API (Application Programming Interface), which means it is possible to integrate over 500 add-ons to automate and systemise processes, a facility that was previously only available with much larger and expensive packages.
6. Sage Intacct is cloud-based accounting software that provides real-time financial and operational insights, as well as the ability to automate critical processes, such as budgeting. The solution is suitable for small and mid-size companies.
The suite provides an array of accounting applications, such General Ledger, Accounts Payable and Receivable, and Cash and Order management. It also comes in with built-in reporting and dashboards, time and expense management, project accounting and multi-entity consolidations.
Sage Intacct has an open API, which offers users the ability to integrate their accounting system with other business applications like CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems or payroll.
7. Brightpearl is a cloud-based omnichannel retail management platform which delivers automation, reduces cost, and provides superior results, enabling customers to manage their inventory, orders, purchasing, accounting, CRM, POS (Point of Sale), and order fulfilment in one platform.
The solution keeps every retail channel up-to-date in real-time, ensuring that organisations are not overselling or missing sales opportunities. Furthermore, it connects to online ecommerce retailers like Magento, Shopify, Amazon and eBay to help retailers centrally manage their omnichannel business.
Brightpearl enables companies to understand business profitability better through real-time reporting, enabled by the fact that all purchasing, inventory, and sales data is consolidated in one place.
8. FinancialForce Accounting is cloud-based software primarily aimed at sales and service-orientated businesses which are looking to optimise their business processes. It is primarily designed for larger companies.
FinancialForce Accounting is based on Salesforce, which allows departments to share one customer record, common workflows/approval processes and reporting tools, as opposed to having to synchronise transactions across different systems.
The software offers centralised billing capabilities to facilitate accurate invoicing of products, services, subscriptions, contracts and projects, and allows for automated revenue recognition calculations and postings, so that users can analyse revenue impacts in real-time. It also provides built-in intercompany reconciliations and automates elimination entries.
9. Wave is a web-based integrated accounting solution exclusively designed for small organisations. The product features accounting, invoicing, billing, payment tracking, payroll management, finance management, and more.
With the bank reconciliation feature, businesses can link their bank accounts, PayPal accounts and other sources of data for real-time transaction records. Businesses can also generate reports such as balance sheet, sales tax reports and account receivable and payable reports with Wave accounting.
Its accounting system also provides an invoicing tool to collect money, and users can choose the template of their choice as per the organisation’s needs. Invoices can be sent via email, and the system’s payment processing allows users to collect credit card payments.
Wave’s payroll module – which is supported only in the US and Canada – comes with features such as direct deposit and employee self-service. The personal finance tool features a budgeting tool, real-time investment tracking, and a dashboard for personal finance management.
10. Sage Business Cloud Accounting is cloud-based accounting software for small businesses. It is easy to use with a selection of features which includes invoicing, reporting and expense tracking. It has a mobile app for both Android and IOS devices, and has two versions of the pricing plan available, so businesses can pick the alternative which bests suits their needs.
The interface is clearly labelled and it is easy to find features. The dashboard’s summary tables displays getting-started tasks and graphs, with customisable data ranges that helps users monitor sales, expenses and cash flow. The software allows users to customise invoices and other documents with their company logo and choose from several templates, theme colours, fonts and font sizes.
The program allows companies to manage their vendors, track bills and print cheques. Users can monitor inventory levels, set reorder quantities, and manually adjust stock quantities as needed. They can enter items into the system manually, or import in bulk using a spreadsheet.
There are more than a dozen financial reports available, including profit and loss, balance sheet, trial balance, general ledger and ageing reports.
Choosing the best Online Accounting Software
The most important starting point in choosing any solution is to define internal needs and requirements first. For example, are you are personal or corporate customer, an experienced accountant or an owner/manager of a business who needs a simple bookkeeping solution? Geography can also be a factor. Not all software solutions are available or licensed in every market, or there can be different versions of a software program sold in particular countries.
Make sure that there is full vendor support, not only during the initial training and deployment period but post-installation, and that questions can be resolved within 24 hours or less, either by phone, live chat or email.
Licensing costs need to be determined as well, as many solutions impose limits on the number of users or number of operations that is cover in the basic cost, with additional users or capacity costing more. Ensure the software vendor is fully transparent when it comes to their pricing.
Types of Online Accounting Software
Online Accounting Software is primarily defined by the market segment at which it is aimed. One key distinction then are between those solutions designed for personal and home use, and those aimed at the corporate sector. In the latter category, there are further distinctions between those aimed at small to medium-sized businesses, and those designed specifically for larger-scale enterprise organisations.
Online Accounting Systems are used by individuals, accountants, and companies to keep track of their financial transactions and overall business performance. Key features include reporting and payroll modules, accounts payable and receivable, and general ledger. Online Accounting Software can be accessed via the internet which means that it does not have to be loaded on personal or company computers. This minimises IT requirements such as hardware, maintenance and back-up costs, as well as upfront expenses, with monthly or annual subscriptions charged instead.