Revised June 26, 2018
Revised June 21, 2017
The first accounting applications for small business back in the early 90s were mostly repackaged, repriced versions of highly complex suites first designed for large companies. They were generally highly complex, loaded with unneeded features, and difficult to use, even for accountants. New vendors emerged to challenge those market incumbents with simpler, easier-to-use products better designed for small business needs, though they still required management overhead.
Today’s SaaS-based accounting and finance tools are affordable, easy to use, and impressively sophisticated. They enable even the smallest businesses to cost-effectively maintain accurate books while staying tax- and standards-compliant.
The half-dozen tools here enable small to midsized businesses to efficiently manage invoicing, purchase orders, expenses, payroll, reporting, taxes, and more.
Google Review Count: 203
Online accounting software with functionality for invoicing and quoting, inventory tracking, purchase orders, billing and expenses, and payroll, plus integration with more than 500 apps for timesheets, ecommerce, expense management and more.
Sample review: “These top back-office tools will help you grow…(check out) Xero for your accounting needs.” — Marketing Insider Group
Pricing: $9/$30/$70 per month
Showcase reviews: Marketing Insider Group
Google Review Count: 170
Sample review: “FreshBooks makes it remarkably easy to do everything yourself without expensive accounting software. FreshBooks allows you to easily create, send & track professional invoices, and even allows you to accept payments via credit cards.” — AppStorm
Pricing: $15/$25/$50 per month
Showcase reviews: AppStorm, StoreYa Blog
Google Review Count: 166
Online or on-prem accounting software with a range of features including inventory control, payroll and employee records, purchasing and vendor management, reporting, pricing, and more.
Sample review: “Quickbooks is an oldie, but a goodie. This accounting software is now mobile, so you can check balances, send invoices, and receive payments wherever you are. You can also include the option for customers to pay you online.” — B2B PR Sense Blog
Pricing: $15/$30/$40 per month; $200 one-time; enterprise pricing by quote
Showcase reviews: B2B PR Sense Blog, StoreYa Blog
4) Wave Accounting
Google Review Count: 141
Create and send invoices, estimates and receipts; track the status of invoices and payments; process credit cards, scan receipts, manage payroll, and produce financial reports.
Sample review: “Free features and tools with Wave. The free tools include an accounting tool, invoice services, receipt management, and a general financial tracker.” — StoreYa Blog
Pricing: basic accounting app is free; payroll is $15 plus $4 per employee, per month; credit card processing is by transaction
Showcase reviews: StoreYa Blog
Sales Tax Reporting
Google Review Count: 183
TaxJar makes sales tax filing easier for online merchants. Sign up for TaxJar and then connect to the platforms or channels you sell through. Most channels can be connected in seconds with just a few clicks.
Sample review: “(TaxJar) integrates with the platforms you use, such as Square, to generate automated sales tax reports that calculate your totals by city and state. They will even automatically file your forms for you if you wish!” — B2B PR Sense Blog
Pricing: $19/$49/$99 per month; contact vendor for enterprise pricing
Showcase reviews: B2B PR Sense Blog
Google Review Count: 80
Create, manage, and send invoices for free. Enter cash and check payments to keep track of outstanding balances. Accept credit cards on your invoices by connecting your Stripe account.
Sample review: “Create, manage, export, and send unlimited invoices for free.” — StoreYa Blog
Pricing: free; credit card processing is by transaction
Showcase reviews: StoreYa Blog
Google Review Count: 179
A time tracking tool ideal for remote teams with a range of features including the ability to set weekly time limits by team member; project budget tracking; automated payroll through PayPal or other services; GPS location monitoring; activity tracking; team scheduling; and client invoicing.
Pricing: $5 to $499 per month depending on features (basic or premium) and staff size
Google Review Count: 98
Simple accounting software for invoicing & billing, reporting & reconciliation, expense management, and competitive intelligence that helps guide you toward optimal performance in all areas of your business.
Pricing: free or $15/$35/$125 per month
This was the 34th post in the Best Online Business Tools series.
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#23: The 29 Best Web Analytics Tools
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#34: The Six Best Accounting and Finance Tools for Small Business