Running a home business is all about learning to wear multiple hats -- including Chief Financial Officer. Most entreprenuers did NOT major in accounting, so having the responsiblity of making strategic financial decisions, alongside the day-to-day management of the books, is a major challenge. It is important to get your accounting systems started on the right foot, but on a shoestring budget, that may seem impossible. Doubt not! Here are some excellent free or affordable business accounting tools to help you run your back office like a pro.
“Our mission is to deliver fast and simple invoicing and time tracking services that help you manage your business.”
This is a great and FREE accounting tool! PC Magazine voted it as the “best of the free small business accounting applications.” The free version allows unlimited invoicing, reporting, smart phone integration and document sharing, but only allows up to three different clients. The next version is $19 and allows up to 25 clients.
“Zoho Invoice is an easy-to-use online invoicing software with time tracking that helps you send invoices for your projects and customer expenses, receive payments and track the overall health of your business quickly and efficiently.”
The free version is pretty robust in its features. It allows online payments, fulfillment house for paper invoices as well as electronic invoices and a Smartphone application. This tool is mainly for invoicing, not bookkeeping. The free version only allows five invoices per month. The next option up is $15/month and gives you 150 invoices.
“Outright automates your small-business accounting tasks by pulling all of your accounts into one place and organizing them in a smart way.”
This is a simple accounting option that may suit the needs of certain businesses perfectly. It lacks some sales tax tracking and isn't as robust as other tools on the market, but for $10/month it might be worth trying the 30-day free trial. PC Magainze offers a good recommendation for this product, stating: "Outright is a unique accounting solution designed for micro-businesses with no need for payroll or inventory."
"QuickBooks Online streamlines and automates time-consuming accounting tasks like creating invoices, estimates, bills, reports, and checks, so you can focus on your business."
QuickBooks is one of the most well known small business accounting tools. The reason? Very robust and scalable options based off your needs and and free customer service. The Simple Start allows you to do everything up to automated online banking and invoices This starts at around $13/month for one user. Click here to see various QuickBook product comparisons.
“Take control of your small business financial transactions and easily manage your cash flow, bill payments, invoicing and expenses without any accounting know-how.”
There is a free “Express” version which offers limited use, but at least worth looking into for the price. The other alternative is their most basic package which is for a $69 one time fee. This is for one user and is offered in Spanish, French or English. It looks like it is only Windows applicable, so sorry Mac users!