“Here’s the deal. We’re a small business looking to grow. Right now, it’s just me and my husband trying to sell our handcrafted products on Etsy, but we both know we won’t be satisfied with that. Our dream is to manufacture accessories for the biggest fashion houses but right now that’s just what it is. A dream. We know we need to have a solid accounting system in place this early while our enterprise is still small. We want to start right. But we also don’t have the money to pay for expensive accounting software. We want free online bookkeeping software as much as possible. What options do we have?”
If you are a small business owner, there is nothing more important than knowing whether you’re making more than you’re spending. Unless you have that information, you won’t be in you won’t be in business for long. Most businesses, even the tiniest ones, use some kind of computerized accounting software to keep their financial records in order.
The range of accounting software runs from the very simple to the extremely complex. for large corporations. You definitely don’t want more features than you need but you do want everything that you need to be there. You need to know exactly what features you need from an accounting system. Do you sell products? If you do, you will need inventory tracking in your accounting software package. Do you have employees? If so, you will need a payroll system in your software.
But, if like Roberta, you’re not in a position to shell out cash, worry not. There really are free online bookkeeping software, they exist, and they’re good – easy to use, simple, and free or cheap if you choose to upgrade.
Before you decide it’s free software that you really want, however, you need to know how how the best commercial accounting software stack up against each other. Knowing how cheap some of these are might change your mind. You definitely will want to take a quick look at information on which criteria to use for evaluating accounting software. Online articles, such as this one by US Small Business Authority offers these pointers for selecting the right software accounting system.
If, after reading up on all of these resources you decide that it’s free software you really want here are a few examples of what’s available out there.
FreshBooks is your most cost-effective choice if you run a small business. It allows small business owners to be up and running with invoices and estimates in just a few hours. You can set up late payment reminders so that your delinquent clients are reminded by email automatically. You can build tasks around projects and use this to log the time you’ve worked. This is very handy if you want to organize your activities around projects, and assign a cost to the time you’re spending on this project. And yes, FreshBooks is has a free trial period of 30 days, which is enough to let your explore all its functions. And it remains free forever for up to three clients. You only need to pay if your business grows and you need to add more clients.
Outright helps you tracks income and expenses, create reports, and it uses that data to give you an estimate of what you might owe in taxes. Outright does things for free, with a clean and uncluttered user interface that’s a joy to navigate.
GNUCash is an absolutely free program that’s great if you don’t mind importing some numbers into MS Excel to get the proper reports. Of course you will need some knowledge of spreadsheets to do this.
P.S. For further reading I recommend the following posts about: what’s small business bookkeeping software online? personal bookkeeping software tools that increase your efficiency, and best simple bookkeeping software.
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