Small Business Accounting Software
Features: Different software for small business accounting offers different sets of features that can vary widely. As you might expect, most of them can help you categorize transactions and issue payment reminders, but other features include things like the ability to e-file taxes, integrate with third-party software, and more. Usually, free options don’t offer all of these advanced capabilities, so if you need access to them you may need to get a paid product. Make a list of the features you need from accounting software before you subscribe or buy it, so you can make sure your accounting solution meets your needs.
Integration with other business software or applications: If you use a range of software solutions for different aspects of your business, you may want software that can integrate with them. For example, you might want software that works with your company’s expensing service the payments platform you use to sell your goods. Not all accounting software offers a wide range of third-party integrations, so if that’s important to you, make sure that you find a platform that does. “Small businesses should look for an open platform that allows third-party integrations, so they can select from an ecosystem of third-party applications the tools they need to create best-of-breed technology,” says Ben Richmond, County Manager at Xero.
Reporting and analytics capabilities: In-depth reports can be very helpful for small business accounting. Most accounting software offers some level of reporting, but different software offers different kinds of reports. You’ll likely want reporting for the various types of income and spending in your business, but you may also want deeper analytics tools that are easy to access. “Great accounting software should be easy to use, optimized so small business users can spend less time inputting data and more time looking at the data and insights to help inform real-time decisions,” Richmond says.
Mobile accessibility and remote access options: Not every accounting platform works with a mobile app, so if that’s something you need, be sure the software you’re considering offers it. A mobile app can allow you to manage expenses and income wherever you are. Even if particular accounting software doesn’t have an app, you probably can still access your software through a web portal; most small business accounting software is web-based, rather than being a dedicated app on your computer.
Pricing structure: Accounting software can range from around $10 per month to hundreds of dollars per month, though the more expensive options are often targeted towards large corporations rather than small businesses. Subscription-based pricing structures are common, and all of the paid platforms on our list are available as part of a subscription rather than at a flat rate. There are some free options, as well as free versions of paid software, that might meet your needs. However, if you want to do anything beyond basic accounting, you’ll likely be stuck paying a monthly fee.