A Checklist Of Best Accounting Software For Contractors Features To Keep In Mind

I’m a a freelancer and I’m paid paid on contract, and I have very specific accounting requirements that are quite different from businesses handling employees on a regular salary. I need to conform to a specific set of tax laws. How do you I go about choosing the best accounting software for contractors— Jeannie

qnaBefore you even think answer that question, you need to ask yourself whether you really want to do it yourself or whether hiring an online accounting service would be the better option. Online accountants offer services on a fixed fee, no commitment basis with unlimited support and a dedicated accountant point of contact. But if you want a more hands-on approach or you simply do not have the resources to hire an accountant, here are some tips to help choose the best accounting software for contractors and freelancers.

These tips are excerpted from a very helpful page that provides pointers on what to look for in accounting software and how to find one that best suits your needs. The same site also provides a side-by-side comparison of the best accounting software for small businesses available today.

You’ll have to decide if you want to buy a desktop package that usually comes with a license to install on a single machine. This usually requires a sizeable investment up front and if you’re just starting out, you might want to consider an online software solution.

Price is always the primary concern of small businesses. When looking at the price, always take note of these points:

  • Is the price fixed? Is your recurring monthly subscription safe from price increase?
  • Are the add-ons priced reasonably? You might want to do more than just basic bookkeeping.
  • Does it have a free trial period? This is important if you want to check whether the systems is simple and easy to use.

You will then want to make a quick check of the features.

  • Does it have all the basic bookkeeping functions and reports? Can you create journals, general ledgers and profit-loss statements with just a few clicks?
  • Does it allow quick and easy creation of estimates and invoices?
  • Can you track payments of due customer invoices?
  • How easy is expense tracking and mileage claims?

You will also want to check for compatibility and integration.

  • Does the online accounting software support mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets?
  • Will it work with the software that you currently use? You might want to make sure you can do extra work on your data in spreadsheets.
  • Can you import your banking transactions into the system?
  • Is it possible to back up your online data into a device that you own (your laptop, for example)?
  • Should you decided to cancel your subscription, is it possible download your data from the online servers?
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There are many accounting systems available online and some of the more popular ones include FreshBooks, Free Agent, and Liberty Accounts. Before you make the choice, however, make sure you tick off the list above to help you arrive at the best decision. Also read this short article published by the US Small Business Authority that offers these pointers forselecting the right software accounting system.

P.S. For further reading I recommend the following posts about: small business accounting software, free accounting software for small business, and accounting software for small business.

Category: Accounting Software, Questions & Answers

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