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Accounting can be a very boring, time-consuming activity which no business can escape from. Regardless of the focus area of the business, accounting is one of the core factors which keep it running. It is important that startups should focus more on accounting tools in order to ensure that their company is headed for the right direction. This will  help them change some ways which prove not to be working for them.

Why does accounting really matter?

Every successful business owner will tell you that having to know and keeping track of your accounting will definitely improve your income. In the long run, having a strong financial plan will help you avoid and maneuver the tougher aspects involved in running a business. There are a number of reasons why you should have an accounting program up and running as soon as your business is started. Some of the reasons include;

  • Establish a baseline

With accounting, it is easy to budget for your business. It gives you a clear picture of how well your business is doing and what finances are required to upgrade it to the next level. This will  help you to set realistic and achievable goals for your business.

  • Save on time

Manually performing accounting tasks takes time, not to mention it might be a boring repetitive task. You need the right tools to help you take care of the said tasks in time. As a result, it will aid  you focus your time on other projects. Your working speed is also going to be accelerated.

  • Perfection at work

Humans are prone to making errors. In accounting, it is very easy for one to go wrong while doing some calculations. One mistake  with a simple figure can have devastating impacts on the business. Using accounting tools will help you avoid such worries and increase perfection in your work.

  • Securing your data

Accounting tools cannot be accessed by just anyone as you must have the right login credentials in order to be allowed access to the data. This ensures that your data is well protected unlike during the case of too much paperwork which can accidentally fall into the wrong hands.

  • Make smart decisions

We always may not make the right decisions regarding how businesses should be run but all these changes with accounting in place. By analyzing financial reports on a regular basis, one is able to identify the aspects of the business which generate more ROI hence doubling the resources and time on such. For the aspects which do not bring in any profit, you will be able to cut down on that spending.

  • Expense tracking

With accounting, it is very easy to track down your spending and expenses which comes in handy when required to pay taxes. This ensures that you can have every write-off and deduction you are entitled to when paying taxes stretching your investment to a great extent.  

  • Forecasting

Having the right accounting tools not only helps in making the right financial decisions but also helps in forecasting how the future of the company will be.

  • Helps to minimize personal liability

In case of a lawsuit, your personal assets will be risked if at all there is no accurate account of all business income and expenses.

  • Getting funding

When you have all your business financial data on your fingertips, attracting investors or getting loan approvals becomes easier. This shows that the level of seriousness and commitment is high.

Today’s ideal accountant should have access to four main things; A computer, mobile phone, software, and of course, the internet. All these factors greatly contribute to how a business is run and ensure the smooth running on different levels.

Web-based Accounting Tools

When one opts to use online or web-based(also known as cloud- based) accounting tools the data of the business and everything associated with it is hosted by the vendor’s servers. Data is stored in secure servers and backed up. The flexibility of these  systems attracts small and medium businesses, especially due to their capital investment requirements.

With over a hundred online accounting tools to choose from, one can be confused about where to start and what to get. Below are the best and very vital web-based tools your business ought to have.

Types of online accounting tools

Accounting tools track typical financial data of businesses. The features include;

  • General ledgers
  • Payable and receivable accounts
  • Payrolls
  • Reporting modules, etc.

Web-based accounting tools are, as the name implies, web-based. They do not require to be installed locally into company computers and are designed to be used over the internet. This puts less pressure on the Information Technology (IT) department of the organization as needs such as server hardware, maintenance, backups, etc. will no longer be needed.

This fact shifts the initial capital investment to a much less costly amount. However, to continue using the services or tools, a subscription is required and is paid weekly, monthly, annually or according to how the terms of agreement of that particular tool are.

There are two types of online accounting tools namely;

1.browser-based software-as-a-service (SaaS)

2.application service providers (ASPs).

SaaS solutions can be accessed from an internet browser such as Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer. The information can be accessed from anywhere using any computer and the information remains the same. Changes can also be made remotely, away from the office. ASPs are examples of client-server systems where the business installs some small software into the computers. This enables them to access the data they require but with an internet connection.

Most ASPs can be accessed from the browser but will come with a number of drawbacks as they are not specifically built for that purpose. All in all, both SaaS and ASPs tools are hosted by the vendor’s remote servers.

Top 7 best web-based accounting tools

* FreshBooks

Whenever you search for the best financial management tools online, FreshBooks will always appear on the list, if not on top. This is because of its effectiveness, usability, and user-friendliness which is backed up by thousands of positive reviews all over.

This tool can be well integrated with other business applications such as MailChimp, Basecamp, Gusto, PayPal, Zendesk, WordPress, and more, enabling a streamlined process of accounts management. FreshBooks is a complete suite and there is no need for additional software to make it work.

To make work even easier, you can access it from your desktop or from the free iOS and Android mobile apps. Since the software is cloud-based, you do not need to worry about backups.

Some of the key features include;

  • Impeccable invoicing management with invoice to payment capabilities. It has the ability to pinpoint exactly where and when a recipient opens the invoice.
  • Billing history management as it pulls previous and current bills. Unpaid bills can be pulled out of the system.
  • Online payment abilities which allows businesses to receive money through a number of ways.
  • User-friendly and sleek interface.
  • Time tracking
  • Expense tracking

Pricing

A 30-day free trial is available if you decide to get the software. After that, there are 3 options you can choose from; lite, plus, and premium.

  • Lite  

Pricing is $15 per month and $13.5 billed annually. Only covers for 5 clients.

Services include;

  • Invoices
  • Estimates
  • Time tracking
  • Expenses
  • The ability to accept online credit card payments
  • The ability to import expenses from your bank account.

 

  • Plus

Pricing is $25 per month and $22.5 billed annually. Supports up to 50 clients.

Services include;

  • All lite services
  • The ability to send proposals
  • Provides recurring invoices
  • Automatically send payment reminders.

 

  • Premium

Pricing is $50 per month and $45 billed annually. Supports up to 500 clients.

All lite and plus services are available.

  • FreshBooks Select  

Customizable pricing to users with more than 500 clients.

* Intuit QuickBooks

With instant access to employee, client, and vendor information, Intuit QuickBooks is one of the best accounting tools the market has had. Just like in the case of FreshBooks, there are many other apps which help add more features to the tool such as inventory management, job scheduling, Shopify integration, Customer Relationship Management and more. The software has proved to be useful to small business owners, accountants, auditors, finance officers, and freelance bookkeepers in Dubai.

Popular integrations supported by the software include; the Intuit GoPayment and QuickBooks Online Payroll.

One of the most notable features of this software is its ability to synch business profiles automatically into a single dashboard. A number of users can therein access the reports and view those corporate accounts. The tool has the capability of generating profit & loss trade sheets, invoicing, and billing. All these can also be accessed via mobile device apps.

One is able to also create custom feeds and reports from the dashboard.

Pricing

There is a 30-day free trial offer when you sign up for the services. For paid versions, there are 4 different categories which all have more advanced services as you go up the ladder.

  • Simple Start

Pricing is $10 a month

Services include;

  • Tracking income and expenses
  • Capturing and organizing receipts
  • Maximizing tax deductions
  • Send estimates
  • Invoice and accept payments
  • Run basic reports
  • Track sales and tax

 

  • Essentials

Pricing is $20 a month

Services include;

  • All services offered by a Simple Start subscription
  • Manage bills
  • Track time
  • Self Service Payroll
  • Multiple users (up to 3)

 

  • Plus

Pricing is $35 per month

Services offered;

  • All the above services
  • Track project profitability
  • Track inventory
  • Manage 1099 contractors
  • Multiple users (up to 5)

 

  • Advanced

Pricing is $60 per month

Services include;

  • All the above services
  • Smart reporting
  • Accelerated invoicing
  • Custom user permissions
  • Premium care with Priority Circle
  • Multiple users (up to 25)

* Sage Business Cloud Accounting

With a 30-day free trial for you, the premium offers are so much tempting that you will just end up subscribing to a plan in the long run. Sage Business Cloud Accounting is one of the best accounting tools every business should have in order to ease all their accounting workloads.

With a subscription which has a starting value of a decent amount, there are plenty of features one can take advantage of such as;

  • Modules which help manage quotes
  • Invoices
  • Handle and submit VAT online
  • Smart bank feeds & reconciliation
  • Cash flow forecasting
  • Detailed reports
  • Multiple currency support
  • Project tracking etc.

All these services can be accessed via a desktop or through their user-friendly mobile phones apps. All these features are easy to use but should one ever hit a roadblock, a 24/7 mobile and email support services are available.

Pricing

There are two pricing options namely Accounting Start and Accounting.

  • Accounting Start

Pricing starts at £6 per month. You will be able to save 40% for the first 3 months before paying £10 + VAT per month

Services offered include;

  • Create sales invoices
  • Track what you are owed
  • Connect to your bank
  • Act on real-time reports
  • Submit VAT returns
  • Use advanced mobile apps

 

  • Accounting

Pricing starts at £6.60 per month. You will be able to save 70% for the first 3 months before paying £22 + VAT per month.

Services include;

  • All the above services
  • Generate quotes and estimates
  • Record Purchase invoices
  • Review cash flow statements
  • Prepare cash flow forecasts
  • Managing inventory
  • Manage more than one company
  • Create invoices in multiple currencies
  • Use different analysis types
  • Create proforma invoices
  • Generate statements
  • Send remittance advice
  • Create credit notes
  • Generate delivery notes

* Tipalti

This is one of the best cloud-based accounting software perfect for those who are worried about meeting deadlines. The software helps businesses deal with common issues such as late payments, non-compliance, administrative overload and other problems which might occur due to human error. With Tipalti, you are assured that the time you would have spent on financial management is significantly reduced, error-free.

Providing a myriad of financial controls, the tool supports an automated payment facilitation. It supports over 120 currencies with over 5 payment methods. It also collects W-9 and W-8 tax forms and withholds payment to non-compliant illegal parties.

Key features of the software include;

  • Invoice Management
  • Payment Reconciliation
  • Global Supplier Payments
  • Multi-Entity Support
  • AP Reporting
  • ERP Integration
  • Tax Compliance
  • Supplier Management
  • PO Matching
  • Early Payments
  • Fraud Detection

Pricing

There are 3 basic payment options and packages. However, you can contact customer support to have the payment tailored to meet your needs.

  • Tipalti Express

Pricing is $299 a month

  • Tipalti Pro

Pricing is $699 a month

  • Tipalti Elite

Pricing is $1,599 a month

Before subscribing to any plans, it would be wise to contact support in order to know how a plan can be tailor-made to suit all your needs.

* Zoho Books

Zoho Books is one of the best and often overlooked cloud-based accounting tools which matches or even offers better services than more popular tools such as FreshBooks and QuickBooks. One of the most enchanting aspects of this tool is the pricing as it is almost half the quotation for major tools.

The software comes with unbeatable services such as;

  • Invoices
  • Project time tracking
  • Contact management
  • Expenses
  • Sales & purchase orders
  • Inventory management
  • Automatic bank feeds
  • Collaborative client portal
  • Accounting and taxing
  • Online payments
  • Invoice templates  
  • Analytical reports

Furthermore, businesses can automate recurring activities such as payment reminders, billing, and payment thank you notes.

Pricing

Zoho Books has a 14-day trial for any of their paid plans. There are 3 plans which are generously charged and you can l the subscription at any time.

  • Basic

Pricing is $9 a month and is available to 1 user.

Services offered include;

  • Unlimited invoicing
  • Unlimited estimates
  • 50 contacts
  • Expense tracking
  • Project management
  • Time tracking
  • Reports
  • Tax support
  • 5 automated workflows

 

  • Standard

Pricing starts at $19 a month and supports 2 users.

Services include;

  • Unlimited invoicing
  • Unlimited estimates
  • 500 contacts
  • Expense tracking
  • Project management
  • Time tracking
  • Reports
  • Tax support
  • Accounts payable
  • 10 automated workflows

 

  • Professional

Pricing is $29 a month and can accommodate up to 10 users.

Services offered include;

  • Unlimited invoicing
  • Unlimited estimates
  • Unlimited contacts
  • Expense tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Reports
  • Tax support
  • Accounts payable
  • Sales orders
  • Purchase orders
  • Inventory
  • Custom domain
  • 10 automated workflows

* Xero

Having been in the business since 2006, Xero has given other established accounting tools a run for their money. Coming through for small and medium-sized organizations, the software has helped many companies perform complex accounting functions.

Its mobility plans have greatly contributed to the growth of many businesses due to the no limit set on the number of users. It also has an improved UI for its cloud-based system unlike the traditional ones for other web-based accounting software.

The key features include;

  • Bank reconciliation
  • Integration with 700+ apps
  • Keep track of suppliers and customers
  • Expense claims
  • Attach documents to your financial data
  • Financial reporting
  • Free and unlimited email support
  • Advanced inventory
  • Create & send invoices automatically
  • Cloud-based meaning you can access it from anywhere
  • User-friendly mobile apps
  • Supports multiple currencies
  • Payroll
  • Purchase orders
  • Receive bills electronically
  • Ability to segment contacts based on purchase history

Pricing

Xero provides a 30-day free trial and 3 other pricing plans one can choose from.

  • Starter

Pricing is $9 a month.

Services include;

  • 5 invoices and quotes
  • You can enter 5 bills
  • Ability to reconcile 20 bank transactions

 

  • Standard

Pricing is $30 a month.

Services include;

  • Unlimited invoices and quotes
  • Unlimited bills
  • Reconcile multiple bank transactions

 

  • Premium

Pricing is $60 a month.

Services offered include;

  • All standard features
  • Handle multiple currencies

* Kashoo

Ever since it burst into the accounting scene in 2008, Kashoo has been able to competitively offer cloud-based accounting services to all their clients globally. Designed to fit small businesses perfectly, the software has impeccable features which every company or freelancer should take great advantage of.

Some of the key features include;

  • Collecting online credit card payments
  • Track expenses and sales tax
  • Import bank transactions
  • Supports unlimited users
  • Secure access
  • Supporting many different currencies
  • Billing and invoicing
  • Payroll management
  • Accounts payable and accounts receivable

Pricing

Kashoo has a single payment plan with a 14-day free trial. The payment is paid monthly but if you pay annually you stand to get a discount of a month or two. The subscription can be canceled at any time.

Price is $19.95 a month.

Services offered include all the above-mentioned services. Extra charges will be incurred if you wish to register multiple companies or for Payroll services. Payroll plans for up to 10 users start at $54.99 a month.

Final Word

If searching for the best accounting tools, cloud-based software are always the best as you do not need to worry much about their security or accessing them remotely. Use our list above to get the accounting software which will cater to your needs. If you are a freelance accountant in Dubai, UAE, then sign-up on Bawabba to get freelance accounting jobs.

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