There are so many accounting software options for small business owners it can be overwhelming. Your hands are starting to sweat and your brain is spinning just thinking about it. I completely understand and want to help you make a more informed decision by using these questions:
Do you want to pay a small monthly fee or a larger one time cost? Cloud-based systems charge a monthly fee, while desktop-based systems are a large upfront cost. However, cloud-based provide automatic updates, while most desktop options will charge for that. Bottom Line: Monthly fee or one-time cost?
Do you prefer a cloud-based system with access available from literally anywhere or desktop software? If you plan to hire an accountant or bookkeeper in the future it may be best to go with a cloud-based system. This will enable them to access your books remotely, saving you the hassle of dropping off your records at their office (or the cost of them coming to you). Plus, you get to choose a bookkeeper you connect with not a random person who happens to live nearby. Bottom Line: Cloud-based or desktop?
Are you looking for a basic accounting software or one that is more expensive but has additional features? The more bells and whistles you need, the more expense will be added. Bottom Line: Basic or Complex?
How many people do you need to have access to it? The more users (employee, accountant, bookkeeper), the more expense. Bottom Line: Number of users needed?
What financial reports do you need it to provide? Some accounting software options do not offer a full range of financial reports. At the very least you need a profit and loss (income) statement and balance sheet. Without these reports your software will be useless. Bottom Line: Be sure the software will supply you the reports you need.
Do you need to track inventory? If your business is product-based, you may also need an inventory tracker and purchase order assistance. Bottom Line: Inventory tracking or no?
Now you probably thinking, "Just tell me exactly which software should I choose! I still don't know which one!!!" Well, I love and use QuickBooks Online. The Simple Start plan has the features most small businesses need and allows you to upgrade when your business grows.
*This post contains affiliate links, but I only promote products I actually use and love.