Managing finances can be tedious, not to mention complicated if you don’t have the right tools. I know using a good old pen and pencil may seem easier while you’re balancing your books – but what if a program could just do it all for you? If you haven’t made the switch to electronic financing now is the time to do it (I hope most of you reading this already have and just want alternative software to use).
When Quickbooks came out it was a pioneer in the field of computer run financial management software. Quickbooks is used mostly for small business accounting but it also delves into the world of personal financing. It has (and still does) a bit of a learning curve but once you breech the point of understanding it’s a great bookkeeping aid. However, just like some of us prefer iTunes and some of us prefer Windows Media Player; there are those who swear by Quickbooks and those that want nothing to do with it. If you’re just having an issue understanding the full scope of Quickbooks, try this Quickbooks Small Business training for step-by-step lectures on what it offers. If you know you don’t want Quickbooks, skip that and peruse the options below.
There are a plethora of alternative financial management programs you can buy or even use for free that are a little more user friendly, have more tools and have less of a learning curve. So what are they, where do you get them and why should you consider them? Find out in the top six Quickbooks alternatives.
Sage 50 Complete Accounting is just that – a complete accounting software that will take the confusion out of your business finances. There is Sage Pro Account, which is used for basic financing duties and then there is Sage Premium and Sage Quantum which are the hefty duty programs. Sage Premium gives you the tools you need to expand your business with reliable software that you have full control over. You can track jobs, automate purchasing and shipping and manage all of your customers and sales. Sage 50 is a multi-user program so you can give access to those that need it. Micromanage your inventory to prevent erroneous stock supply figures, track costs by phase and gain access to over 100 financial statements, reports and graphic charts that make analyzing your finances super simple. What of the cool features of Sage Premium is you can adjust your numbers and run what if scenarios. You also can use the business status center, customer management center and vendor management center to see all aspects of your business at a quick glance. This software has an easy to use interface and extensive reports which gives you the data similar to Quicken but with a less claustrophobic feel. Downside: it runs about $400 for the Premium program.
There are two versions of Xero one for small business and one for accountants and bookkeepers. The small business version is designed to help business owners manage their entire financial life, offering inventory management tools, payroll accounting, accounts receivable and accounts payable functions, and a very intuitive user functionality including a clean dashboard showing bank balances, recent sales and upcoming bills. It also provides instant financial reporting, the ability to update and examine fixed asset depreciation schedules and a tool to attach source documents to make organizing financial data easier.
For more intensive accounting measures, the accounting and bookkeeping option is preferable. This version was developed for accountants, in-house or outsourced, to examine and control the finer details of a business’ finances. In this version, all data being inputted to the system is stored in a Cloud which allows accountants and business owners to login and view updated information simultaneously. They call this the single ledger. Not too sure about Cloud Accounting? Learn more about what it is and if it’s for you in a course on Cloud Accounting. It’s incredibly handy and the clean interface makes it simple for a user of any level to use without issue. You can try Xero for free and then choose from one of their monthly plans starting at just $9 a month!
This online small business accounting management solution is as seen on Forbes, The New York Times and PC World. The software is sleek and intuitive which offers business owners ease of use. This software includes accounting, invoicing, financial reporting, tax reporting and an at-a-glance business dashboard that summarizes latest transactions, upcoming bills and bank balances. With online backing, WorkingPoint connects to your back account so you don’t have to manually enter receipts or worry about data entry errors. A nice feature of WorkingPoint, although optional, is time-tracking. This allows you to see how much time a day, a week, or a month you spend working on projects for customers to ensure your invoices are down to the minute and you don’t end up losing out on time, which is money. On the accounting side of things, you can categorize business transactions, adjust and close transactions, analyze all of your finances through easy-to-read reports and know that your all of your transactions are properly recorded through WorkingPoint’s double-entry accounting system. Learn more about double-entry accounting and other fundamentals of money management in an Introduction to Bookkeeping tutorial. This program also includes expense management (track vendors, purchase inventory, track bills received and bills payable and insight into debt financing. Additionally, WorkingPoint has contact management and inventory management features that add even more functionality to this truly all-in-on accounting program.
Not an accountant? That’s okay. FreshBooks is made for those who aren’t too accounting savvy yet run a business and need some extra guidance. Finance and Accounting for Startups is a great refresher course for small business owners – should you want to brush up on your financing skills. Freshbooks is mobile friendly which makes using this program super easy for the business owner on-the-go. The developers of this software wanted to ensure ease of use through their user friendly interface, just another reason you don’t have to be a know-it-all to enjoy the tools being offered. And just in case you do have a question you can speak with a live representative any time you get stuck. As for the finance side of things? Enjoy online payments with over twelve payment gateways, auto-payment, late payment reminders, expense tracking, time tracking for more accurate invoices, track aging accounts, examine balance sheets and other financial reports and do your taxes – all in one place. And, if you have teams scattered all over the world you can turn on project collaboration to track progress and keep time-sheets in order. Plus, FreshBooks backs up all of your data so you don’t have to worry about ever losing all of your records. You can try this software for 30-days free and then sign up for one of their packages starting at $19.95 per month.
AccountEdge is good for use on Mac or Windows and is also mobile friendly. The advantage of this software is its Cloud storage system, departmental accounting, job management and payroll services. Not every accounting program offers payroll services, some are add-ons but in AccountEdge they are included. For more Payroll software suggestions read Payroll Software Reviews. AccountEdge also has specialists available to help current Quickbooks users make a seamless transition to using their product. With the banking manager you can choose from over 100 account chart templates, track and assess your liabilities, equities, income, expenses and assets, set up reoccurring payments and auto-payments, create journal entries with their double-entry accounting system and even track company mileage for reimbursements to company employees. AccountEdge is secure and uses the company data auditor to ensure all of your business data is balanced and safe. It runs frequent reviews of the data entered to make sure you’re all set if the IRS decides to audit. With the new job reporting feature you can span fiscal years to examine financial information. Another great feature AccountEdge added in 2014 is the product variation inventory feature set. Now you can add sizes, colors, models etc. to sell your products with more precision. AccountEdge will cost $399.99 for a new customer but you can try it for free.
PostBooks is an open source business management program. This is good news for you because you can get a version of it for free! This fully integrated software gives you all of the features you need for business accounting. Additionally, PostBooks is equipped with a content relations management system (CRM) that helps you keep track of your contacts, contact customers, manage projects and opportunities and create to-do lists. You can control inventory distribution at multiple locations, make purchases, create vendor reports and manage everything to do with the sales department. PostBooks has the standard accounting features expected of a small business management program including accounts receivable and payable, bank reconciliation and financial reporting. PostBooks is mobile friendly and can run in the Cloud or on a local server – depending on your style of content management. There is also a great support community for this product so if you ever need help you can communicate with experts and developers to get answers quick. If you want to purchase a commercial license to use this product you are looking at around $1,200 a user for a perpetual license, and about $400 a user for an annual license. Remember, you can also download it free but you won’t have as much direct technical support or quite as many services.
So there is hope. Just because you want to manage your own finances doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with heavy software like Quickbooks. There are more modern and feature-full alternative that will leave you wondering why you didn’t look into switching a while ago. Take some time to browse the websites of these six programs to gain a better understanding of how they will suit your needs. If you’re a new entrepreneur and need a little guidance on small business financial accounting – check out this course on Introductory Financial Accounting. It will teach you the basics and test your knowledge so you’ll be ready to go when you install your new accounting software.