Direct Sales Accounting Software

If you currently use spreadsheets or pen and paper to keep track of your sales, it might be time to replace them with a better system. The right accounting software can help you improve your productivity, so you have more time to focus on getting new clients and growing your business.

In this guide, we review the aspects of Direct Sales Accounting Software, How do you keep track of direct sales business, What is the simplest bookkeeping software, and What is the most used accounting software package?

Direct Sales Accounting Software

If you’re a sales representative, an accountant, or the owner of a small business, having the right accounting software can make your life easier and help your company grow. There are many different types of accounting software available—some for businesses with only one location; others for multi-location businesses operating across states or continents. The best choice for your business depends on factors like how many locations you have, what kind of inventory management system you use (if any), and how much support you want from customer service representatives.

Sales

Sales

Sales tracking is the most basic function of any sales software. It’s also one of the most important, as it helps you keep track of what’s going on with your business and make sure that your sales are going well. If you’re using a manual system right now (i.e., Excel spreadsheets), then you know how much time it can take to manually enter each sale into a spreadsheet—especially if you have multiple locations or online sales channels! Sales accounting software automatically tracks all sales information for your business, so all you have to do is review it at some point down the road when you need an overview of what happened during a certain period.

One way this can be useful is by allowing users to filter data by customer type, product type or territory (location). This allows users to see how each group contributed toward their total revenue for the month/year/quarter etc., which lets them decide where future efforts should go towards improving results and increasing profits

Inventory management

Inventory management is the process of tracking inventory and ensuring that your company has enough materials to make and sell products. By using tools like accounting software, you can make sure you have enough materials on hand to meet demand without overspending or overstocking.

This is important because it will help prevent large losses if a product isn’t in stock when someone orders it. It also means you don’t have to worry about running out of products while they’re still being ordered by customers—which could cost you sales and money.

Here’s how inventory management works: You record the number of units each product has available in your system when they come into the warehouse (this is called “entering inventory”). Then, once those products are sold, you subtract their number from the total supply stored in your warehouse (this is called “removing inventory”). This way, everything stays balanced! Some companies even use sophisticated software systems that automatically track this process for them so they don’t have to do any math themselves!

Inventory management software can also help prevent theft by keeping track of which employees are taking what items out of storage areas at certain times—and recording how many items came back after being checked out.”

Expense tracking

Tracking expenses is a vital part of tax preparation and reporting, but it’s also an important way to spend less money. Expense tracking software can help you save time and money by avoiding the hassle of manually tracking expenses in your daily life.

  • Travel expenses (airfare, hotel room charges)
  • Restaurant meals and entertainment (food, drinks, shows)
  • Office supplies (pens and paperclips)

Tax return preparation

Tax return preparation is one of the most important aspects of being an entrepreneur. Without proper accounting and organization, you may end up paying more than you should in taxes. With the right tax preparation software, you’ll be able to generate and file your own returns with ease.

If you’re not keeping track of your business expenses, it can be hard to know if you’ve reached a deduction threshold or if it’s worth claiming them at all. If the software doesn’t provide a convenient way for users to enter their expenses (or has no way of doing so), this could cause major issues when filing taxes.

Reporting

Reports are an invaluable tool for any business owner. They help you keep track of how your business is performing over time, and can help you make better decisions about how to grow your company.

Here are some examples of the types of reports we offer:

  • Order reports show the number of orders placed by each customer over a certain period. This information can be used to see where there are gaps in customer service or ways to improve your marketing tactics.
  • Product rankings show which products have been selling well and which ones need more promotion – this allows you to allocate resources more effectively as well as ensure that all products are being marketed effectively.

Having the right software can help your business grow and be more organized.

  • Having the right software is crucial to helping your business grow and be more organized, but it can be hard to find the software that’s right for you.
  • There are many different kinds of accounting software out there, so be sure you know what kind of product you need before making a purchase.

How do you keep track of direct sales business

Whether you sell Scentsy Fragrance, Mary Kay cosmetics, Vera Bradley purses and handbags, are building a business with Monat, or operate another type of direct sales business, you have a number of challenges to overcome if you want to build profitability and create a thriving business. While growing your direct sales business through marketing and networking are both crucial considerations, keeping your direct sales business organized is of the single largest hurdles for you to overcome.

If your business is disorganized, chaos will ensue. It becomes impossible to track even the most basic business information. For instance, do you know how much of a particular shade of lipstick or eyeshadow you have on hand? When did a particular customer last order merchandise? How many handbags did you order last month, as compared to the month before?

Organization is the key to success, and it doesn’t have to be a struggle to achieve it. Below, we’ll discuss nine of the most important tips for better organization for any growing direct sales business, including using top-notch inventory management software.

The typical business person wastes 150 hours a year (almost an entire month), searching for lost information. For someone earning $50,000 a year, this loss is equivalent to $3,842 annually – Forbes

1. Go Paperless for Better Direct Sales Business Organization

One of the most important tips for any direct sales business is to ditch that outdated paper filing system and go paperless” username. You’ll find any number of software solutions available to organize your billing, invoicing and tax paperwork. Cutting out the paper filing system does several things for you.

First, it frees up physical space in your home or office that can be used for something else. Second, the ability to search by keyword, hashtag or topic within a software suite makes it faster to find the document(s) you’re looking for.

Its also better for the environment – It takes 2.6 gallons of water to produce 1 sheet of paper, according to the Orange County Water District.

Lastly, going paperless saves you money – In the U.S., companies spend more than $120 billion a year on printed forms, most of which outdate themselves within three months’ time. – The Paperless Project

We recommend going paperless in your personal life as well. I have personally used these great tips by Natalie from Refined Rooms with great success.

2. Break Big Tasks Up to Simplify

Do you struggle to complete large tasks or projects? You can get around that challenge by breaking big jobs up into smaller tasks. You can make it even simpler by creating an actual list of tasks that need to be completed (and their order) in order to achieve a specific goal or finish a particular project. Breaking things up into smaller chunks makes managing and organizing everything simpler and easier.

As the great Henry Ford puts its – “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs”

3. Use an Inventory Software for Improved Direct Sales Business Organization

Let’s put this as plainly as possible – if you don’t know what you have on hand, you can’t sell it. You cannot achieve success in any type of direct sales business if you’re unable to track your inventory levels, know what is selling, to whom, when, and when you last reordered supplies. Spreadsheet are too time consuming, cumbersome and not intuitive. Use a simple inventory app like Sortly to accurately track your inventory levels at all times, no matter what type of direct sales business you’re running. Simple, elegant and powerful, this solution ensures that you’re able to stay on top of everything.

Inventory management has risen drastically in value, with U.S. retailers having $1.43 invested in inventory for every $1 of their sales- SCDigest

4. Track Your Prospects Accurately

Yes, tracking and managing your inventory is vital. However, you also need to stay on top of your audience. You need to track your prospects. Who is interested in buying what? How many of that particular item did they want to buy? What other related items might you suggest based on that purchase? Who has friends that might be interested in similar items? Running a successful direct sales business requires more than just hosting “parties”. You need to proactively track, organize and segment your audience so you can market to each person’s unique wants, needs and preferences.

Capsule is a great, easy-to use CRM system which is a good tool for small to medium-sized businesses, especially those using Google Apps. It’s not the most feature packed CRM out there, it’s extremely good value for money and perfect fro growing Direct Sales Businesses.

5. Know What’s Out at All Times

Whether we’re talking about perishable items (makeup, foodstuffs, etc.) or outdated styles (we’re looking at you, last season’s handbags), it’s vital that you have the means to stay on top of what’s outdated. Your inventory control app can help here, but you also need a good physical inventory system and to be able to regularly go through, pull out outdated items, and either discount them for a faster sale, or send them back to the company for a refund (if that’s possible with your platform) to ensure better direct sales business organization.

6. Create a Day-to-Day List

It can be impossible to stay organized with a busy personal life and a hectic business schedule. Between dropping the kids off at school, meeting your morning appointments to show off the products they’re interested in, picking the kids back up from school and handling all the extracurricular activities, things can get lost in the shuffle. One way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to create a daily to-do list. You can list what you need to accomplish, and then just mark each item off as you accomplish it.

7. Hire an Assistant, Maybe

It can be very easy for your direct sales business success to grow to the point that you actually need a helping hand without your realizing it. Take a critical look at your business and determine if another pair of eyes (or hands) would be of benefit. Then, consider your options. Would your spouse or significant other be up for the task? Do you have older children that could help? Do you have friends or family members who might be available? In a worst-case scenario, you might need to actually hire an assistant to free up time to help you stay organized.

Hiring the right assistant takes time and effort. If you need someone TODAY you may also want to explore hiring a Virtual Assistant. If you’re open to it, here is a informative post from Sujan Patel on Entrepreneur.com to help you get started.

8. Free Up Time

One of the most common reasons for disorganization is simply not having enough time for it. Don’t fall into that trap. Schedule your day and make sure to build in time every morning or evening for organizational purposes.

“Surprisingly, the most neglected tool in time management is the calendar. I’ve spoken to hundreds of audiences and worked with countless clients in their office space and planning is not a major part of their day. The majority of people who do plan, plan only for meetings and appointments. They do not schedule time for the work to be done in between. They create a to-do list on paper or in their head and never plan to do it. Thus, the to-do list becomes an avoidance list,” – Patty Kreamer (Professional organizer)

9. Keep a Physical Planner

How much of your day is locked up in your head? How much of your week or month hinges on your ability to remember something? Don’t do that. Too many direct sales businesspeople struggle and eventually fail simply because they did not keep a physical planner. Don’t rely solely on your gray matter. Create a planner for your day, your week and your month, and then fill in as necessary to adjust.

Finding success in a direct sales business doesn’t require that you be extraordinarily lucky, and it doesn’t require that you have a massive team supporting your efforts. Really, you just need to be better organized, and the tips we’ve covered above will help you create a thriving business.

Have a favorite method that is not on this list? Tried several and found what works for you? Chime in and let us know what you think. If like your ideas, we’ll add it to the post and continue to grow this list.

What is the simplest bookkeeping software

Tracking accounts payable and accounts receivable, keeping tabs on cash flow, and being ready for tax time are all important for your small business. But let’s be honest. Handling your bookkeeping and accounting using Excel spreadsheets isn’t ideal. At best, it’s time-consuming, and at worst, it’s frustrating and unreliable.

This is where software can save the day, cutting down on time spent on data entry and reducing errors that could negatively impact your financial health. But with so many options to choose from, how can you know which one is best for your business? We’ve compiled a list of the best bookkeeping software to help you decide.

The best bookkeeping software for small businesses

Here are the top eight bookkeeping and accounting software options to look into for your small business.

Choosing the right software for your business

What strengths of each of these eight tools make them the best? Let’s consider where they shine in terms of ease of use, features, and pricing.

Most comprehensive DIY software: QuickBooks

Intuit QuickBooks Online is used by thousands of small businesses, and for good reason. This cloud-based software has a robust set of features that can be easily accessed online or through its mobile app.

QuickBooks’ features include:

Invoicing and payments, receipt capture and expense tracking, mileage tracking, cash flow and inventory management, and more. Features vary depending on which plan you choose.

The ability to add additional users including your employees or your accountant to your account and manage their access.

Forums and online training resources to get you up to speed on the right way to use this tool.

Integrations with QuickBooks Payroll, as well as third-party apps like Square, Stripe, and PayPal.

Depending on the features you need, you’ll want one of QuickBooks’ four monthly plans:

Simple Start – $25 per month for basic features such as income and expense tracking, invoicing, general reports, and sales and sales tax tracking.

Essentials – $50 per month for everything in Simple Start, plus up to three users, time tracking, and bill pay.

Plus – $80 per month for everything in Essentials, plus up to five users, inventory tracking, and project profitability tracking.

Advanced – $180 per month for advanced features, including up to 25 users, automation, a dedicated accounts team, and exclusive premium apps.

QuickBooks Online is a great place to start if you want to streamline your bookkeeping and accounting.

Best free option: Wave Accounting

If you’re a freelancer or a service business that doesn’t need inventory management or payroll-related features, Wave Accounting may be a good option for you. You can access Wave’s free accounting software either online or on the mobile app, and give your accountant easy access to your reports at year-end.

Features of Wave Accounting include:

Income and expense tracking, financial reporting including profit and loss statements, invoicing, and receipt scanning.

Premium add-ons such as payment processing, payroll, and payroll taxes.

The ability to add unlimited partners, collaborators, or accountants.

Unlimited bank account and credit card connections.

Integrations with Stripe, Shopify, HubSpot’s CRM, and more.

Besides the free accounting features, Wave offers additional paid features as follows:

Payment Processing – 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction for Visa, Mastercard, Discover; 3.4% + 30¢ per transaction for American Express; 1% ($1 minimum fee) per ACH bank payment.

Payroll – $20 or $35 monthly base fee (depending on what state your business operates in) + $6 per active employee and $6 per independent contractor paid.

Wave offers a nice balance for those who want to keep accounting costs low while still having access to additional features if needed.

Best for ecommerce businesses: GoDaddy

Did you know that besides web hosting and website creation solutions, GoDaddy also offers accounting software? It’s incredibly user-friendly, with setup taking mere minutes and zero accounting knowledge required.

Estimates, one-time and recurring invoices, payment acceptance through your mobile device, mileage and time tracking, and business reports such as profit and loss statements.

Syncing to Amazon, Etsy, eBay, PayPal, and other ecommerce business accounts.

GoDaddy offers three straightforward monthly plans:

Get Paid – $4.99 per month for invoicing, estimates, payments, time tracking, mileage tracking, and the current year’s business reports.

Essentials – $9.99 per month for everything in Get Paid, plus unlimited business reports, tax worksheets, and automatic sales and transaction imports.

Premium – $14.99 per month for everything in Essential, plus the option to create and send recurring invoices.

While it doesn’t offer features such as payroll management or advanced automation, GoDaddy is a great option if you’re an ecommerce seller.

Best invoicing software: FreshBooks

If you need a simpler way to create and keep up with what seems like a million and one invoices, Freshbooks may be the tool for you. It offers a greater level of customization than most other accounting software, and it requires little to no experience to use.

Freshbooks’s customizable features make it easy to:

Send out estimates, customize unlimited invoices, send payment reminders and add late fees automatically, manage project budgets, and accept deposits and payments.

Bill clients in multiple currencies, languages, and on a subscription or retainer basis.

Integrate tax apps, filing tools, and other tools you use, such as Gusto, GSuite, and even Bench.

In addition to discounted yearly plans, Freshbooks offers a range of monthly plans:

Lite – $15 per month for basic features such as invoicing up to 5 clients, tracking unlimited expenses, and accepting credit card payments and bank transfers.

Plus – $25 per month for automatic expense tracking, invoicing up to 50 clients, recurring billing and retainers, business health reports, and the option to invite your accountant.

Premium – $50 per month for unlimited clients, project profitability tracking, bill payment and tracking, etc.

Freshbooks also offers a Select plan with specialized features, including a dedicated account manager, but you’ll have to request a demo if you’re interested. In any case, one of its other three paid plans should be a fit for your business needs.

Simplest software: Xero

Bookkeeping and accounting can be frustrating enough if you’re not a pro. Learning how to use complicated accounting software on top of that is most likely not your ideal solution.

Thankfully, Xero is a simple, straightforward online accounting software with enough functionality to accommodate a small business at any stage of growth.

Invoice and quote sending, transaction reconciliation, bill and receipt capture, cash flow and business snapshots, project tracking, expense claims, and even analytics.

An optional Gusto payroll add-on to calculate pay and deductions, pay employees, and simplify compliance.

Integrations with apps and tools such as Stripe, PayPal, WooCommerce, Pipedrive, and more.

Pricing For Xero’s three plans is as follows:

Early – $11 per month for the basic plan, which includes up to 20 invoices and quotes, five bills, Hubdoc for capturing bills and receipts, bank transaction reconciliation, and short-term cash flow and business snapshots.

Growing – $32 per month for everything in Early, plus unlimited invoices, quotes, and bills, and bulk transaction reconciliation.

Established – $62 per month for everything in Growing, plus support for multiple currencies, project tracking, expense claims, and in-depth analytics.

Its simplicity and scalability make it one of the best online accounting software options available.

Best for multiple users: Sage Business Cloud Accounting

Sage Business Cloud Accounting, like the others we’ve mentioned, is cloud-based accounting software that doesn’t require any accounting knowledge to use. In fact, it recommends the best accounting solutions based on your industry, company size, and unique business needs.

What Is The Most Used Accounting Software Package

Intuit QuickBooks Online: Best for Small Businesses

We found QuickBooks Online to be the best overall accounting software for small businesses. It provides four plan options for small businesses, as well as a separate option for self-employed users. Each offers features that are suitable for a range of small businesses, from startups to established companies. Between the four options for small businesses, you’ll have access to all the tools and reports you’ll need for accounting purposes, and you can seamlessly upgrade your plans as your business scales. (Note that self-employed users cannot upgrade to the small business tiers.)

The platform is also easy to set up and use, allowing you to do everything by yourself to get your accounting software up and running. However, if you want extra assistance, Intuit offers access to professional bookkeepers who can help you configure the software in a way that makes sense for your business. Additionally, QuickBooks Online allows you to create custom invoices and forms so your company’s branding is always at the forefront of client-facing communications. For the features and services you get, the price is a bargain.

Oracle NetSuite Accounting Software: Best for Advanced Features

We chose Oracle NetSuite as the best accounting software option for midsize and growing businesses that are seeking advanced features. As part of its robust enterprise resource planning (ERP) offering, Oracle NetSuite offers an intuitive cloud-based financial management solution that can track your financial data and automate a variety of essential accounting functions. Like any highly rated accounting software, it offers reporting, planning and billing capabilities. It also easily integrates with other software, including Oracle’s comprehensive suite of business solutions. It can also be used with multiple currencies, so it’s a great option for companies with a global customer base.

If your business needs to expedite its accounts receivable and payable, accelerate deal closings, and keep up with more complex financial compliance obligations while taking advantage of a full suite of powerful business management features, Oracle NetSuite is ideal. Moreover, it doesn’t limit the number of users or rely on third-party apps for customization. However, it may be cost-prohibitive and present a steep learning curve for small businesses that don’t need access to the advanced slate of features it provides.

FreshBooks Accounting Software: Best for Invoicing

We recommend FreshBooks as the best software for invoicing. Not only can you develop professionally looking invoices that match your brand, but the software also allows you to track the status of invoices so you know when customers received their bills and when their balances are due. It also facilitates online invoice payments so customers can pay you directly from the invoice.

The FreshBooks dashboard is simple to navigate and includes time and expense tracking, project management features, and tools to create proposals that you can send to prospective clients. The double-entry accounting system makes sure you are organized and prepared for tax time. If you want accountants to have access to your dashboard, reports, invoices and expenses, you can assign them permission, as well as grant other users access to different features. If you have employees, you can give them access to their projects and track their time and additional expenses. FreshBooks has over 100 partners, so you can add plenty of features and connect with other business programs.

Melio: Best Accounts Payable Tools

We recommend Melio for small businesses seeking user-friendly accounts payable tools that do not need a lot of bells and whistles. It’s an excellent option for cloud-based software that will send invoices and receive payments, as well as manage bills. Melio also integrates with QuickBooks for free. There’s no charge to make payments through a bank transfer, but there is a 2.9% fee to pay by credit or debit card. Two paper checks per month are free; after that, they are $1.50 each.

Melio is very easy to use, offering one of our favorite user experiences. Adding vendors is quick and intuitive. Melio lets you enter a vendor’s information manually, upload a file with that date or snap a photo of an invoice. You can invite both internal users and accountants to use the software and then assign roles and permissions so you know who is accessing your information and what they are doing with it. You can set approval controls for transactions, thus preventing you from overextending yourself or having a cash flow issue because you paid a bill early.

Zoho Books Accounting Software: Best for Microbusinesses

We selected Zoho Books as the best accounting software for people with microbusinesses. Not all accounting software programs are appropriate for freelancers, independent contractors, sole proprietors, consultants, home-based businesses, individuals operating e-commerce sites and companies that employ fewer than 10 people. The software may be too complicated, unnecessarily powerful and overly expensive. Not so with Zoho Books. It works well for businesses with straightforward invoicing and accounting needs, and the low price is attractive for budget-conscious entrepreneurs.

Zoho Books is also scalable. As your small enterprise expands into a larger business, you can make use of the options that allow you to upgrade and integrate with other business applications. It also includes a mobile app to ensure that you can keep up with accounting tasks while you’re on the go.

Xero: Best for Payments

We chose Xero as the best accounting software for making and tracking payments. Xero enables you to maintain excellent relationships with your suppliers and creditors while avoiding costly late fees. With Xero, you can be sure that your cash flow is positive so you don’t come up short when it comes time to pay. On the user-friendly dashboard, you can see when each bill is due, view current and projected expenses, and manage purchase orders. The spare interface gives an immediate picture of your business’s financial position. You can view costs as they happen in real time, then make instant modifications.

Since Xero is cloud-based, you don’t need to download or install any programs. It offers professional double-entry bookkeeping functionality, so your transactions will be entered as a debit as well as a credit. This software also saves you time because you can schedule upcoming payments and batch pay suppliers in advance, automating a process that is typically manual.

ZarMoney: Best for Transparent Pricing

We chose ZarMoney as the best accounting software program for businesses seeking transparent pricing. Organized by “entrepreneur,” “small business” and “enterprise,” the plans reflect each company’s needs. The cost is based on the number of users, from one to more than 30. If you add or remove users, ZarMoney will automatically update your account and charge you accordingly. Each additional user costs $10 per month.

In addition to the transparent pricing, ZarMoney’s powerful cloud-based software makes sure you have everything necessary to organize your businesses financials. You can create and send invoices, manage your company’s cash flow, track business expenses, run financial reports, and stay on top of inventory. It’s easy to use and is adaptable for small and larger businesses. It integrates with thousands of apps, including Shopify, Stripe, PayPal, Zapier, Gusto, Authorize.Net, Mailchimp, AutoEntry and WePay. The software also offers a 30-day free trial so you can test it out before you buy.

Plooto: Best for Automation

Plooto is our software choice for automating key accounting processes. With it, you can manage your payments in one central location, providing you with a clear picture of your finances. Payments, approvals, reconciliation and reporting are unified under one dashboard. The software includes smart approval workflows and secure electronic payments, which reduce errors and speed up the accounts payable process. Most notably, Plooto offers business accounts payable and accounts receivable automation, which helps you collect on past-due bills.

You can use the same system to pay all vendors, even those located outside the U.S., as well as add payees in seconds, either by searching Plooto’s network of 120,000 suppliers and vendors or by adding them manually. Once a customer pays, the payment is automatically reconciled. You can pay electronically or via check with the integrations, as well as make batch payments, search records and set payment approvals.

Wave Financial: Best Free Accounting Software

If you’re looking for an effective, free accounting software, check out Wave Financial. It offers many important, high-quality accounting features at no cost to you. There are no monthly or annual fees, nor do you have to license software. Through the cloud-based accounting program, you can create and schedule recurring invoices and payments, as well as set up automatic payment reminders and automatic syncing with your bank, credit card and PayPal accounts. It also gives you the ability to run financial reports, and it provides you with unlimited accountant connections and transactions. If you want to integrate popular business apps, you can do so at no extra charge.

The only fees you’ll experience with Wave will come from selecting optional add-ons – for example, payroll features – or accepting invoice payments. Wave charges a flat rate of 2.9% plus $0.60 per credit card transaction. Bank payments are 1% per transaction, with a $1 minimum fee. The company also has additional payroll and bookkeeping services that business owners can access for a fee.

Sage: Best for Freelancers and Self-Employed

It is essential for self-employed entrepreneurs and freelancers to quickly and easily send invoices and track payments. For this reason, Sage Business Cloud Accounting is our top choice for these types of small businesses. With Sage, you will have an affordable way to keep the cash flowing into your business without unnecessary delays. This accounting software offers well-priced tiered plans with which to create and send invoices and track payments. With its many integrations and apps, such as AutoEntry, Draycir, Avalara and Credit Hound, Sage can adapt to your growing and changing business.

The program is fast and easy to set up, and the system is simple to navigate. Sage’s software automates a lot of the accounting processes that are typically manual, such as posting expenses and payments and sending invoices and reminders about past-due bills. The software also automatically reconciles bank entries, saving you time and energy. If you need extra assistance, Sage’s customer service is very accessible, which is good news for freelancers and self-employed people who don’t have accounting expertise. If you have questions or need help, you can access customer support 24/7 by chat and live Q&A sessions. Sage also offers one-on-one help through online sessions with Sage accounting experts.

Neat: Best for Receipt and Expense Tracking

As a small business owner, all you may want your accounting software to do is help you manage your receipts and expenses. If so, Neat may be your best bet. This cloud-based tool enables you to upload all of your business receipts with the mobile app and starts at $200 per year, which equates to $16.66 per month. Once done, you can categorize each, keeping you well organized and on top of your costs.

With Neat, you’ll have a good understanding of your cash flow and the ability to access interactive charts and run accounting reports that will analyze the financial health of your business. All this can reduce errors often associated with handwritten recording. It also takes the stress out of making sure that you get the right deductions come tax time.

Accounting Software Costs

Accounting software helps business owners streamline billing and accounting, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Most programs offer several plans to accommodate your needs and budget.

There are typically two types of pricing models for accounting software: perpetual licensing or a recurring subscription. With a perpetual licensing model, you make a one-time payment for unlimited access to the software. With a subscription pricing model, you pay a monthly or annual fee for access to the software.

For subscription pricing, expect to pay anywhere from $4.99 per month for a basic starter plan to as much as $60 per month for a more advanced service plan. Other factors, like the included features and number of users, will affect the monthly cost as well.

Regardless of the pricing model you select, watch out for hidden fees, which can include charges for customization options, installation or setup services, integrations, and maintenance or support services.

If your business is on a really tight budget, you might want to consider free accounting software. Wave, for instance, offers many of the accounting and invoicing features you would find in paid programs.

When you’re choosing accounting and billing software for your business, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of any free trials to test out the solutions and see which one offers the features and tools you need. Plus, spending time with the software beforehand will help you feel more confident in your decision.

Accounting Software Features

There are many aspects of accounting software that help make it a useful tool. As a small business owner, it’s important to know which features to look for. Most online accounting software offers accounts receivable, accounts payable, banking and reporting features. Some programs include inventory management, project management, time tracking and payroll tools.

Here are some of the core features to look for in accounting software:

Bank Feed

This feature connects the software to your business bank and credit card accounts to receive a daily update of your transactions. This saves you time, as you will not have to upload transactions manually. It also gives you a daily, rather than monthly, overview of your accounts. A real-time bank-feed feature can assist with reconciliation, allowing you to make it a small daily task rather than a monthly ordeal.

Dashboard

When you log in to your account, you’ll be greeted by a dashboard that shows you an overview of your account activity and key metrics, such as cash flow, profit and loss, account balances, expenses, accounts payable and receivable, and sales. Some accounting programs allow you to customize what you see first by rearranging the information.

Online Invoicing

If your business sends invoices, the ability to email them and accept online payments helps you get paid faster. Some accounting programs integrate with third-party payment processors; others require you to use their in-house processing services. It’s a plus for accounting software to serve as an invoice generator also.

Recurring Invoices

With this feature, you can schedule the system to automatically generate and send invoices for recurring charges, such as subscriptions. You can choose how frequently invoices are sent – daily, weekly, monthly or annually – and indicate whether there’s an end date to the billing.

Automatic Payment Reminders

This feature helps you remind customers about upcoming and past-due payments. Some have sample email text that you can use as is or customize. You can then choose when you want the reminders to be sent. Some programs give you the option to send thank-you emails to customers after you receive their payments.

Bank Reconciliation

Smart reconciliation tools identify potential matches between your bank transactions and the bills and invoices you’ve entered into the accounting software, saving you the hours it would otherwise take to sift through your bank account for this information. You can then approve or deny the suggested matches. The best applications suggest potential matches as you reconcile your accounts, and a few include a reconciliation tool in their mobile apps.

Financial Reporting

Every accounting program can generate financial reports. But some are more basic than others, and some require you to subscribe to a pricier plan for advanced reporting. If you need specific types of financial reports, you’ll want to make sure they’re included in the software application and plan you choose. Detailed reports can help you interpret your financial data to make informed business decisions.

Mobile Apps

Not all accounting and invoicing programs have mobile apps, but the best ones do. There is, however, quite a range in the capabilities of mobile apps. Some can only capture receipts for expense tracking, some allow you to create and send invoices, and others have almost every feature the web-based software does. It’s worth checking if the software you’re considering offers a mobile app and, if so, what features are included in the app that will help you manage your business while you’re away from the office.

Integrations

The ability to connect your accounting software to other business programs you use saves you valuable time because you don’t have to manually transfer data from one system to another. Payroll, payment processing, point-of-sale (POS) systems and customer relationship management (CRM) software are just a few of the popular types of integrations that are available with accounting software. Integration with systems you already use also cuts down on training time for employees who will use the software.

Tracking for Billable Hours

If you’re a consultant or your business bills clients by the hour, you need software that allows you to track and bill your time or that integrates with the time-tracking program you already use. This is an important feature for freelancers.

Inventory Management

If you have a retail, e-commerce or distribution business, you need an application that helps with inventory tracking and purchase orders. You may need to subscribe to a top-tier plan to get this feature. If you need more advanced inventory features, look for software that integrates with a dedicated inventory management system.

Project-Based Billing

Firms, freelancers and consultants who work with clients on projects or jobs should look for accounting software that helps them track their projects’ tasks and budgets. The software should allow you to invoice customers for tracked time and bill them for project expenses.

Support for Multiple Businesses

Several programs we evaluated let you add more than one business to your account, though some companies charge extra for this convenience. Also, the types of accounting tools that are important to you will depend on the specific needs of your business. For example, if you run a small freelance business, project-based billing might be the most important feature on your list. Or, if you plan to do some work on your mobile device, a full-featured mobile app might be at the top of your list.

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