Hardware and Software 3.8. Bookkeeping, Finance, and Accounting

3.8.1. QuickBooks

http://quickbooks.intuit.com

QuickBooks is an accounting software product developed by Intuit, Inc. There are several different versions of the software tailored to specific industries and business needs. QuickBooks is by far the most widely used bookkeeping and accounting software for small business.

The application enables businesses to tracks expenses, prepare and send invoices, put together financial statements, track inventory, prepare purchase orders, write checks, and other accounting, bookkeeping, and control tasks. You can purchase QuickBooks as desktop software or in a hosted online edition. Although each version of QuickBooks―and there are many―are priced differently, you can get a full enough version for your business for about $180.

You do not need to understand basic accounting principles to use most of the features QuickBooks offers. The interface allows you to record transactions in screens that look more like paper forms, like checks. Even closing your books at the end of a fiscal period is easy and intuitive. Most significantly, however, is how QuickBooks can connect up to your online banking accounts, allowing payment and payroll to be relatively seamless.

Setting up QuickBooks is very fast and easy. The application comes with a simple wizard that quickly allows you to set up your books and get all relevant information and templates set up in the application.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to use QuickBooks is that it is pretty much the industry standard for accounting software. The CPA, bookkeeper, or accountant you hire to help you with your business books will probably be familiar with, if not fluent in, QuickBooks. Other proprietary software, such as Sage Software’s Peachtree Accounting, may not be so easily portable to other users.

On the downside, upgrade costs can run you about $200 a year. On the other hand, most of the application’s features, such as payroll or credit card processing, are turned off until you pay an extra fee. This means that you only pay for what you use. As your business grows, you can pay the extra fees to activate the necessary features.

3.8.2. Microsoft Money & Microsoft Accounting

http://www.microsoft.com/money/default.mspx

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/accounting/default.aspx

Microsoft Money is actually designed for personal finances and small businesses. Like many Microsoft products, it comes in several versions each with more features for more advanced use: Microsoft Money Essentials, Deluxe, Premium, and Home & Business. The least feature-rich, Essentials, can be had for around $20; Home & Business runs around $60. So Money represents one of the most cost-effective software solutions to managing your businesses money.

Unlike QuickBooks or Peachtree, Money will not grow with your business. It really is intended for very small businesses:

  • Home-based businesses
  • Businesses with five or fewer employees
  • Businesses whose records are closely linked to your personal financial records

Money 2007 Home & Business enables you to

  • Manage personal finances
  • Create estimates and invoices
  • Generate business reports
  • Manage payroll online
  • Track Schedule C items
  • Monitor accounts receivable

For those whose businesses have outgrown Microsoft Money—an achievement pretty easy to reach—Microsoft also offers two versions of Microsoft Accounting: Accounting Professional and Accounting Express. The latter is packaged with Microsoft Office Small Business Edition, so you may not choose to purchase any other accounting software.

The great virtue of Microsoft Accounting Express is that it’s free. That’s right. Free. Microsoft, the last company you would associate with “free,” simply gives it away. The application includes a general ledger and standard accounting features (estimates, invoices, write checks, track expenses) as well as a contact management and information system.

Microsoft Accounting Professional, which costs $149, includes additional support for inventory, sales, purchase orders, and so on. Both Express and Professional integrate with the Microsoft suite of Office products, so you can share information from Accounting with Word or Excel without having to recopy data. In other words, you can open Microsoft Accounting files in Excel or Word. Or even PowerPoint. Pretty cool.

3.8.3. Peachtree Accounting

http://www.peachtree.com

Sage Software’s Peachtree is the second most common accounting software used by small businesses, but is a very, very distant second. Like QuickBooks, PeachTree offers standard paper-form interfaces, like checks and purchase orders. You can access ledger interfaces, but outside of the ledger interfaces, you can do your entire business accounting without knowing very much about accounting.

Like QuickBooks, PeachTree offers, for a monthly fee, an online accounting service that lets you store your books on their server and perform all your accounting services through a Web browser.

3.8.4. Free Accounting Software

http://www.freeaccountingsoftware.net

Free Accounting Software is proprietary software that is freeware/shareware. You can use it for free, but they ask for a $30 licensing donation. You download the application to your Windows machine. It is free for thirty days and after that it will nag you for the thirty bucks.

The software has the following features:

  • Sales and customer management
  • Estimates
  • Sales orders
  • Accounts receivables
  • Inventory management (giving you the choice of FIFO, LIFO, or Average Cost Accounting to determine inventory values)
  • Inventory adjustments
  • Inventory reports
  • Reporting

Unlike QuickBooks, Peachtree, Money, or Accounting, Free Accounting requires you know accounting and bookkeeping fairly well. The interfaces are based on double-entry bookkeeping, so “free” means you have to learn accounting to use it.

3.8.5. AdminSoft Accounting Software

http://www.adminsoftware.biz

Adminsoft is free proprietary software (freeware) that runs on Windows. Designed for small businesses exclusively (no personal finances), AdminSoft free version lets you record all your customer details, print sales invoices, keep track of who owes you money, record all your supplier details and keep track of who you owe money to, as well as other general bookkeeping tasks. For a small fee, you can add upgrades to handle inventory, purchase orders, sales orders, multiple currencies, etc.

3.8.6. OneStep Accounting

http://www.enablecomputing.com/ShowPage.ec?page=OneStepAccounting&menu=OneStepAccounting&nofollow=y

OneStep Accounting Standard edition is free proprietary Windows software (freeware) that allows you to perform general ledger, invoicing, inventory management, and bill paying. At an additional cost of $90, you can upgrade to OneStep Accounting Professional Edition that also offers purchase orders, estimates, delivery orders, multiple currencies, and multiple users. Both editions offer up to one hundred different reports.

3.8.7. GnuCash

http://www.gnucash.org

GnuCash is a free open source accounting software package that is currently on version 3.0 and available for Windows and Linux. It is designed for personal and small business financials and uses a checkbook-style register (just like QuickBooks and Peachtree). Unlike QuickBooks, the main interface is a double-entry accounting system, so you need to familiarize yourself with the basics of debiting and crediting transactions. The application also includes a suite of standard and customizable reports, such as Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss, Portfolio Valuation, and others.

For small businesses, GnuCash includes customer and vendor tracking, purchase order generation, sales order generation, accounts receivable, and tax and billing terms. Most importantly, you can import QuickBook files (.qif) easily into GnuCash. It also handles check printing and multiple currencies.

3.8.8. KeepMore

http://www.keepmore.net

Calling their online accounting software, “accounting for the rest of us,” KeepMore is a simple-to-use online application that keeps track of income and expenses; it has tax regulations built into the software to automate tax compliance and deductions. For those of you in the very beginning of your start-up, we believe KeepMore is one of the most cost-effective and operationally effective tools available to you. The software is specifically designed for one-person ventures such as eBay shops and shoestring ventures. However, the tools offered by KeepMore, while ideal for one-person shops and early start-ups, will probably not grow with your business as the financials of your business become more complex.

For $19.95 a month, KeepMore offers the following tools in its Shoebox Records product:

  • a simple interface to enter business transactions and activity
  • invoice tracking
  • account balancing
  • immediate feedback on how your business financials without you having to do any accounting or reporting
  • data backup
  • access to your account from anywhere, anytime and no software to download
  • instant tax reports

Premium services, such as eBay transaction import, opportunity tracker, and document storage, cost extra.

3.8.9. Intacct

http://us.intacct.com

Unlike productivity software, there are no free online accounting software solutions. The most expensive online accounting software is also one of the oldest: Intacct. A totally Web-based solution (your accounting data is saved on their servers), Intacct offers a variety of products based on business size and business type. The most inexpensive products, Intacct Xpress and Intacct Small Business, provide a full set of accounting and bookkeeping tools for very small to small businesses. You pay a monthly subscription based on the number of users who will access the software. Subscription prices are available by phone request only.

3.8.10. Juno Accounting

http://www.junosoftware.com

Juno offers the cheapest online accounting software solution. Like Intacct, your books are stored on their servers. However, you can have a simple general ledger for free with only 1,500 transactions. Adding accounts receivable and accounts payable lifts the monthly fees to $6; inventory lifts the monthly fee to $16. So if you are looking for full-featured accounting practices and you want to use online services, your best bets are to purchase QuickBooks or Peachtree online services.

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2 Responses to “Hardware and Software 3.8. Bookkeeping, Finance, and Accounting”

  1. shilpo123 says:

    Now a days Accounts software is something that is mostly required for solving financial accounting to make the whole process easier and fast. The softwares also are providing a wide range of software such as eTDS,FAS,eTCS. These are adding up to the technology updradation in accounting.

    ERP software

  2. Elodie says:

    Hi,

    I would like to add TioLive to your list. This is an online accounting software based on ERP5 (http://www.erp5.com/demo/try) It is available is 4 languages and it can run all currencies. You don’t pay any subscription fees. You just make a registration for free and then you can login with a username and a password. You can also give accesses to your employees for free. The free version can be used with no limit of time, no limit of the number of users. However, storage is limited and you can pay to have a support assistance more important or others advantages(https://www.tiolive.com/service).

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