A Modern Guide to Small Business Accounting Software - Page 2

By Pam Baker
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Premium Small Business Accounting Software

Premium accounting software—as in software you have to pay for—generally, but not always, comes with more accounting muscle than the freebies listed above. Some of these options are available only as software-as-a-service (SaaS) or cloud-based, meaning you use them online and pay a monthly fee.  Others are available both as SaaS and as a buy-outright and own-it-forever version. You get to choose which type you want.

Plus, most of these small business accounting software programs let you share your records with your accountant online and include secure mobile apps that let you see your books when you’re away from the office. 

1. Intuit QuickBooks

If you haven’t heard about this one before, you’ve been living in a cave or on a desert island without Wi-Fi. This very mature and stable accounting program comes with all the bells and whistles, although said bells ring and whistles whistle differently depending on the version you select. Online prices vary from $12.95 to $39.95 per month, making it affordable for most businesses, even one-person shops. Desktop version (on-premises, you own it) prices range from $249.95 to $399.95. You can also take QuickBooks for a spin on a free trial to see if you like it before you subscribe.

Intuit QuickBooks small business accounting software

Figure 3: Intuit QuickBooks small business accounting software.

2. Sage

Yet another mature and stable product that offers tons of accounting and business features. The basic online, small business version is called Sage One, and pricing ranges from $9 to $24 per month depending on which package you select. The desktop, on-premise version for small businesses is a beefier, more-advanced version called Sage 50, and it comes in four versions ranging from $299 to upwards of $5,000 for extreme users. Not sure which version—online or on-premises—you want? Test them in a free trial and then decide.

3. Xero

This great, full-featured accounting program offers plenty of add-ons—from CRM and inventory management to invoicing and job systems—for easy customization. You can try it out in the free-trial version first, but after that costs range from $9 a month for a one-user starter package to $180 per month for up to 100 users.

4. Zoho

This software has matured and offers many features standard to accounting along with many extras, too. And all of it is available for a flat monthly fee of $24 no matter how many employees you have working on it. You also have the option of a free-trial period before you subscribe.

5. Freshbooks

This software was one of the first available online, and it's a running favorite for independent contractors and professional service providers. If you haven’t looked at it lately, look again because it packs more features now than in earlier years—but it’s still simple and intuitive to use.  If you need more functionality, boost the system with integration add-ons for more than 70 software and service offerings. Pricing starts at $19.95 a month.

FreshBooks small business aaccounting software

Figure 4: Freshbooks small business accounting software.

6. Outright

This accounting software aims to please sole proprietors who are typically online sellers and freelancers. It offers accounting and related services, many of them conveniently automated. Pricing is $9.99 per month.

Take advantage of the free trials and give several programs a test drive to see which one works best for you. But whatever you do, choose one soon. Every day that you delay is a tax day crunch in the making. After all, you need to know what’s happening to the money in your business—otherwise you're in for some nasty surprises ahead.

Pam Baker has written for numerous leading publications including, Institutional Investor magazine, CIO.com, NetworkWorld, ComputerWorld, IT World, Linux World, Internet News, E-Commerce Times, LinuxInsider, CIO Today Magazine, NPTech News (nonprofits), MedTech Journal, I Six Sigma magazine, Computer Sweden, the NY Times, and Knight-Ridder/McClatchy newspapers.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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This article was originally published on April 30, 2014
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