If you’re just starting your search for an optimal accounting software for your company a sheer variety of options dedicated to different businesses industries, sizes, and work processes can be really overwhelming. Which one should you choose for your company?
The best way to assess all the software solutions is to get the bigger picture, learn how they are marketed and for what needs they are designed. In general there are three main solutions out there (there are cross-overs, mind you): entry-level accounting, small to medium business accounting, and enterprise accounting. In this article we’ll discuss their differences and the more popular brands for each category.
These software products are ideal for micro-enterprises and sole proprietorship with five and fewer employees. Entry-level accounting provides standard accounting functions like accounts payables and accounts receivables and basic financial reporting.
Expectedly, these are one of the cheapest products; some vendors even offer an entry-level package for free for a limited time as a trial phase. Although these products have basic features, some retailers and even manufacturers use this type of accounting software, especially as an add-on to their existing business systems.
Our team of B2B experts ran a thorough test of all popular entry-level accounting software services available on the market. After scrutinizing many services we found FreshBooks to be the best software in this category. In our test FreshBooks got the highest score which places it at the no. 1 spot in our top 10 accounting software list. With this software you’ll also enjoy a very flexible pricing plan and you will be able to easily test their key features with a great free trial plan. You can easily sign up for FreshBooks free trial here.
FreshBooks is a very intuitive app that even non-accountants will find easy to use. It provides a wide range of very straightforward features and automatic upgrades. You will also be able to benefit from their excellent live support. The software also offers support for mobile platforms for Android and iOS devices so it’s possible to use the app basically anywhere.
Other great features include automatic secure backups, tracking time spent working in the field or behind the desk, getting online payments, and importing and capturing expenses effortlessly. FreshBooks offers quite a few customizable features too, including attaching files, setting alerts for late payments, tracking billing, and assigning expenses or different rates for every project. If you want to learn more about the benefits and features of this software you should read detailed review of FreshBooks or take it for a test drive on your own by signing up for the FreshBooks 30-day free trial.
Note that FreshBooks is not only a great entry-level accounting software, but also works excellent for small/medium business accounting and enterprise accounting needs discussed below.
Aside from the basic features in entry-level products, small to medium accounting software features additional modules for the other aspects of business operations. These include inventory, human resources, points-of-sale, and purchases. At this level, the accounting software performs more than just the financials; as such, it is referred to as enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.
Likewise, software products under this category allow for up to twenty-five simultaneous users. This is especially helpful for retail businesses with various locations but in need of coordinating their figures real-time. For a more detailed look at this group of software you may want to check out our article on 4 types of accounting products for small and medium business.
Once again, we really recommend you try out FreshBooks. It has excellent features and offers pricing plans that should be affordable for almost every business. Some other popular products in this category include: QuickBooks Enterprise, NetSuite ERP and FinancialForce ERP.
These software solutions are designed predominantly for large organizations. They share some similarities with small to medium business accounting, but their features are more advanced and robust. The number of simultaneous users can also be unlimited. This, of course, comes at a higher price for the software. Unless you run a big company or have very specific needs that cannot be met by other apps you should avoid investing in such software. There’s no point in paying for advanced features that you won’t use.
Enterprise accounting software products can also feature customer relationship management (often as an add-on). This system allows the company to monitor customer engagement and generate fast response to customer queries, among others.
Likewise, these high-level software products can provide powerful business intelligence and reporting systems (these features may also be available in advanced accounting software for small and medium businesses though). Sets of data can be integrated and processed to generate insights and help the user make an informed decision fast.
The top enterprise accounting software products to look for include Salesforce, Intacct and Xero. Keep in mind that all these types can be deployed either as on-premise or SaaS. For more details on the difference between the two read our SaaS vs. on-premise accounting software article.
The general categories above are by no means set in stone, but they should give you a good starting point. As the market for accounting software and ERP solutions becomes more and more crowded, software companies provide cross-over solutions for greater flexibility for its consumer base. You should definitely look for a software adjusted for your specific needs and avoid paying for extra features addressed to big enterprise. It’s always a good idea to check some free trials first, too. If we could recommend a single accounting software service to try out in the first place it would be FreshBooks which got the highest score of 9.8/10 in our tests. You can easily sign up for a 30-day free trial here.
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