Accounting software that links to bank account

The accounting software that links to bank accounts is run by Bill4Time, a company that has a long track record of providing cloud-based accounting solutions to small and medium enterprises globally.

You’re looking for accounting software to use for your business, but you’re not sure which one to go with. You’ve heard about FreshBooks, QuickBooks, and Xero but want a comparison showing the strengths and weaknesses of each option. So you put on your investigative pants (I know they aren’t pants…thanks Grammar Police) and get to work reading reviews and scouring forums until your eyes bleed. But you’re not alone. There are millions of small businesses who need accounting software as well, so why should you decide? This is a comprehensive comparison of FreshBooks, QuickBooks, and Xero.

Linking your accounting software to your bank account is a great way to keep track of your business’s finances.

This will allow you to see exactly where your money is going, and when it comes in, so that you can make informed decisions about how to spend it.

The best part is that this is a very inexpensive service, so there’s no reason not to take advantage of it!

Banks are great. They keep your money safe and sound, so you can use it whenever you need it.

But sometimes, banks can be a little slow. And when you have a business to run, waiting for your bank to process an invoice or deposit is not an option.

Accounting software that links to bank account

From a small-business that may require an off-the-shelf option to a larger enterprise that desires a vast amount of financial management customization, this buyer’s guide will cover everything you should care about during your search when reviewing accounting software.

What Is Accounting Software?

Accounting software at a minimum keeps track of financial transactions to record profit loss and better improve business finances and overall cash flow. Core functionalities include general ledger (GL), accounts payable (AP), and accounts receivable (AR). Common additional functionalities include bank transactions, purchase orders, payment reminders, and payroll service.

Many industries have customized financial management functionalities/requirements like fund accounting for nonprofits, job costing for construction firms, or DCAA compliance for government contractors.

There are also different ways of conducting your accounting process, such as single-entry or double-entry accounting.

In larger organizations, the terms “accounting software” and “ERP” are often used interchangeably. The right software will provide the data management tools you’ll need for accurate account balances and let you be ready at tax time.

Freshbooks Cloud Accounting Software Invoices
Create invoices with your logo in Freshbooks.

Features of Accounting Software

Business accounting software has features and applications that can be broken down into basic categories, such as common (typically found in all accounting software), industry-specific (only found in certain types of accounting software), and advanced features (only used by mid-sized to larger businesses).

While many top accounting software features exist to benefit your business, lets focus on some of the essentials.

  • Core accounting: Includes revenue and expense tracking and creates financial reports for your business. Includes modules such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, and a general ledger.
  • Payroll: Manages employee compensation: wage calculation, direct deposits, check printing, and compensation tax reports.
  • Billing & invoicing: Pay bills and create, send, and manage outbound invoices to customers for client work. Attach sales tax figures. Collect customer payments online via credit card or ACH bank transfers.
  • Bank reconciliation: Imports bank records, often in real time, and attempts to auto-match bank and accounting records.
  • Inventory management: Track inventory as current assets on the balance sheet. Track the cost of goods sold on your income statement.
  • Purchase Orders: Creates the financial document issued to vendors when buying supplies or services. Includes information such as product type, quantity, and pricing.
Most common additional features requested
The top three most requested features from customers are payroll, inventory management, and invoicing.

Our recent accounting software buyer trends report found that payroll, inventory control, and invoicing were the most requested additional accounting features that buyers search for more on top of the “core accounting” of accounts payable, accounts payable, and a general ledger.

Benefits of Accounting Software

Undoubtedly in using any business software solution, you’ll find things you like as well as dislike. The best accounting systems will help alleviate pain points from manual methods, but they may also bring about some technological pain points that you’ll want to be prepared for.

Numerous Integrations Available With Other Business Software

Companies that do not have a complete (all-in-one) software will look to combine more than one software to meet all of their applications needs. A common example is having a bookkeeping software and an inventory tracking option that do not integrate.

An off-the-shelf software that handles core accounting may lack additional applications such as payroll, advanced reporting, or more involved inventory tracking. Once the need for these accounting features arrives, many buyers may lack the means necessary to integrate the programs together.

While a simple and inexpensive program may meet your accounting needs in the short-term, if you desire additional capabilities down the road (such as payroll service, client portals, or an improved user interface), you may be better off choosing a more advanced software from the start.

Integrations, or APIs, allow distinct products to talk with one another. For example, your payroll system could update your HR team with a chat program (such as Slack) of any processing errors. Your payment processor might automatically push new receivable entries to your accounting system. Your accounting software could share available funds with BI systems.

Expect inter-software communication abilities to increase in most products. While some accounting products may try and provide an “all-in-one” tool, others will focus on being the best at a few main areas, and offer integrations to tools that they feel help complete their program.

QuickBooks Online Chart of Accounts
View a chart of accounts in Intuit QuickBooks Online.

Many Industry-Specific Tools and Vendors Available

As consumers demand functionality more in-tune with their industry needs, software developers are doing everything they can to make those dreams a reality.

While a super-niche industry may not have a software option exclusively developed for them, be on the lookout for specialized vendors. These are companies that pride themselves in implementing specific software solutions into certain environments, and will offer customizations or add-ons for a generic-product that will make it more in line with what the business expects on a day to day basis.

Zoho Books Recurring Bills Accounting Software
Manage recurring bills in Zoho Books.

High Level of Customizations Are Available

Many companies will try to make due with a lower-cost solution at the expense of functionality. Options such as Sage 50c, Zoho Books, and Quickbooks Online are great low priced options for new businesses, but they’ll lack ways to customize the software towards your business.

Popular accounting software customizations include:

  • Tailored reports
  • Role-based dashboards
  • Custom data fields

Bottom line, don’t sacrifice functionality for cost if it’s something you may look to add within a year down the road.

Xero Small Business Accounting Software
The dashboard in Xero.

Access Your Data From Anywhere With Cloud Accounting Software

Also known as software-as-a-service (SaaS), cloud adoption rates have picked up over the past decade. In 2015, 76% of the buyers we spoke to indicated a receptiveness to have their software hosted externally, off-premise. In 2017, this percentage rose to 84%.

With cloud-based software, products are leased, rather than licensed, which becomes more attractive for smaller businesses with limited funds. The software industry has responded by making software more available on a cloud basis.

Wave Accounting Software Products and Services
View a list of products and services in Wave Accounting.

Record Information in the Field With Mobile Apps

In 2016, mobile web browsing surpassed desktop browsing in user counts. Naturally, usage has translated into business demands.

Accounting software developers have responded in kind, especially within fields that require on the site analysis such as construction & field service. This also makes accepting credit card payments in the field easier than ever.

Billy Online Accounting Software
Access your accounting data anywhere in the online accounting software Billy.

Get In-Depth Financial Performance Statistics Via Business Intelligence Features

Over the past five years (2012-2017), we’ve seen a whopping 42% increase in end users looking to evaluate Business intelligence software. Business intelligence software is used in virtually every industry.

Consulting firms need to track employee productivity by project/company. Retailers need to track profitability by SKU. Financial institutions set new account goals for personal bankers.

Kashoo Expenses Accounting Software
Break down your expenses in Kashoo.

Lease Accounting Standards Update

In an effort to improve financial reporting, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued a new standard on lease accounting.

Each asset with a 12+ month lease term needs to be included on a balance sheet. This includes equipment, buildings, vehicles, and other assets your company leases.

The new standard went into effect for public companies for fiscal years & interim periods beginning after Dec 15, 2018, and for private companies for fiscal years beginning after Dec 15, 2019 and interim periods within fiscal years after Dec 15, 2020.

LeaseQuery Lease Accounting Software
Create journal entries in LeaseQuery.

Read more on our lease accounting software guide.

What Accounting Software Does Your Business Need?

Creating financial management reports with your data, using mobile apps, finding a new support vendor, or finding the cheapest cloud-based accounting option; everyone has their main motivation for finding a new solution.

The needs and motivations of many buyers will differ from project to project. While many types of buyers exist, most can fit into these common categories below.

New Buyers and Small Businesses

New buyers will likely desire a basic solution that can easily and automatically manage their finances and help them pay bill. 37% of the companies we surveyed are buying accounting software for the first time. Many small business software buyers were looking for increased functionality over their current methods, which ranged from a manual bookkeeping method (pen and paper) to a popular starter solution such as Zoho Books or Sage 50c (Peachtree).

View the small business accounting software page for a list of options.

Existing Users Desiring Functions Beyond Core Accounting

Over 20% of buyers said they need more software that handles payroll, inventory management, and invoicing. These features are common in enterprise business accounting software. A growing business also has more users in the system, which means vendor support may be needed more frequently if your staff isn’t trained properly.

View the midsize business accounting software page for a list of options.

Growing Companies

Companies that require a healthy amount of users or manage multiple entities are more commonly shopping for small business ERP software that will include a full suite of functionalities to go along with their accounting.

More than 70% of larger businesses surveyed desired software that handles advanced budgeting and forecasting or a business intelligence (BI) package for better analytics and creating financial statements. Larger businesses also expressed a desire for fund accounting capabilities and a way to manage their procurement.

Additional feature importance for large companies
Over 50% of companies with over 50+ employees required budgeting and fixed asset management within their accounting package.

View the enterprise accounting software page for a list of options.

Outsourced Accounting Services vs. Using a Software In-House

Maybe your business feels it doesn’t even need an accounting software system and can get by with outsourced accounting services from a local accountant or CPA. While the service offered by these professionals is usually of a higher quality, owning your own software in-house almost always leads demonstrates a higher ROI.

There are instances where the best option is an outsourcing service, and instances where having software will work better in the long-term. Figuring out which path to take depends on 3 critical angles:

  • Your staff’s skillset: Do you have the technical resources to deploy the software? Can you handle integrating with any other solutions?
  • Your risk tolerance: Are you comfortable managing the financial records of your business, or would you rather use outsourced services to worry about that?
  • The cost: Does the combined cost of software and cost of time spent using the software outweigh the cost of paying for a firm’s services to do the work for you?

Is QuickBooks the Right Choice?

Undoubtedly, QuickBooks is a massively popular product. While a product such as Intuit QuickBooks Online can serve many needs, it’s also the most commonly replaced accounting software on the market.

Our previously mentioned buyer trends survey found that 33% of upgraders are coming from QuickBooks.

Accounting software being replaced
Sage 50c was the 2nd most commonly replaced software for visitors to our website.

QuickBooks Replacement Products

We also conducted a study on over 4,000 previous users for their most popular Quickbooks replacement products. The Quickbooks alternatives will vary by industry, but these options were found to be the most common choices for companies to review:

Most common quickbooks replacements
Dynamics GP was the #1 most reviewed option for companies replacing QuickBooks.

Is There Anything As Inexpensive As QuickBooks?

What is your business isn’t trying to upgrade from QuickBooks? Perhaps you are just looking for an alternative small business accounting software that still provides ease of use and an affordable cost. With the amount of options available today, some businesses may dislike an accounting program simply due to the interface or a lack of a mobile app.

For those businesses, we recommending looking at comparable options that are popular with great sign-up offers, such as:

Zoho Books Invoice
Zoho Books provides a simple interface and easy ways to create invoices.

Leave a Comment