What is the best accounting software for small businesses?

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As a freelancer, I need a good invoicing software for billing my clients. I’m a very picky person when it comes to buying a long-term service so I usually do an in depth research on all of choices I have before making the decision.

There are quite a few cloud software out there, designed to fit various needs of freelancers and small business owners.

Most of them focus on saving time, but depending on your situation, certain billing software will benefit you more than any other. Most of them offer a trial period to see how the service fits you, if you have the patience. Here’s an overview of the most common ones.

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FreshBooks billing software

(My favorite and highly recommended)

Pros –FreshBooks is a very recognizable service, which is usually on top of the food chain when it comes to billing software. It’s continuously improving to fit as many customers as possible.

It’s a highly customizable service, especially with the Add-on store which is fairly exciting if I may say so myself. FreshBooks is also very advanced when it comes to security, protecting your data with intrusion detection systems and regular scans for example.

As far as the automated billing and invoicing is concerned, it’s one of the main features of the service. It saves a lot of time on invoices because you don’t have to go through each one individually. This is a huge plus and time saver if you have a large number of clients.

FreshBooks is very user friendly not only for you as a business owner, but also for your clients. The payments are extremely easy and can be set up in a minute. The delivery is also excellent, allowing your clients to receive services and invoices via e-mail or through other conventional means like mail. Speaking of delivery, it tracks everything, from the moment you send the invoice to the moment it’s read by your client. There are also various reports you can enable if you choose to, like billing support, timesheet financed and invoice reports.

Cons – It’s not easy to find a con with FreshBooks. For one it’s more expensive than other billing services but with good reason. I for one don’t mind paying an extra few dollars for a service which grants a lot more than others. FreshBooks is designed for smaller businesses which have a fair flow of clients and will be a lot more useful in that case than in a business that is just starting.

Xero billing software
Pros – Designed to fit the needs of small businesses, Xero holds a variety of useful advantages for their clients. Their main features are simple smart and easy access and usage. A huge plus is it’s compatibility with any Operating System, the only thing required is an internet access, and supports most browsers. Xero also has apps for smart mobile devices such as the iPhone.

Xero is made for small businesses, allowing an unlimited number of users, inside and outside of your company. It’s very easy to set up, and there are several videos which help you out to learn the ropes in the beginning. Navigation is really comfortable, allowing you an easy overview of everything including items, bills, accounts etc.

Cons – On the downside, Xero has a lack of time tracking. You can check time tracking for employees however it doesn’t provide timesheets for contractors which could definitely be a good information to have. It also doesn’t offer automated reminders for invoices, notices, receipts or payments. It’s something you can live without but would definitely be a handy tool.

I did some research before trying it out and there’s a decent amount of complains about the mobile apps. They had several gaps in service even after the updates on the apps. It all depends what kind of a user you are because some people are more than satisfied with the services the app provides while others feel there should be more features added. Another basic feature missing is the inability to send a receipt to a customer after a paid invoice.

Harvest Solo billing software
Pros – Harvest helps you manage expenses of multiple projects, and offers a high customization of your invoices. It manages your projects easily saving you a lot of time as well as creating reports for project managers.

You can create profiles for your customers allowing them to make payments easily. The number of contacts is unlimited, unlike most other services which is a huge plus. Security is also very advanced as the service processes credit cards through payment gateways, providing additional security. The service is very helpful, its blog is frequently updated, and can be easily reached through other means.

Cons – Harvest solo can bill your inventory items but it does not excel if you’re carrying an inventory as it doesn’t have an inventory tracking module. The software is mostly focused on time billing and invoicing services but not so much on the product. It doesn’t have an automated way of filling information on items and service information. Although for the client, e-mail they receive looks very simple.

Quickbooks billing software
Pros – Quickbooks is a fairly recognizable service for smaller starting businesses. By now it’s safe to say that this software is perfect for people who are just starting. Its primary focus is bookkeeping and it does that job very well. The reason why it’s so good for beginners is because there is not that much invoicing going on at the start. Users of your business can customize and print checks. QuickBooks offers a basic set of payroll tools for time tracking, wages, deposits, tax information, profiles and more.

Quickbooks places a huge focus on tracking and inventory management. You can track inventory levels, costs, basic item information and more.

Cons- Quickbooks has quite a few features but many of them are gained by paying extra. And some of them are included with other services without having to pay. There is no Recurring Billing which saves tons of time, on the other hand it’s not an issue if you’re business is small. It can be accessed remotely from other devices but it costs extra so its not as user friendly as other services on that aspect.

Final Summation
I tried many billing services out there and they all do the job so you won’t be disappointed with any of them, at least not too much. In my personal opinion FreshBooks comes on top as it’s a growing service which adapts constantly. While certain others struggle with covering the basics, FreshBooks adapts to your business, giving you best options you can find.