The small business accounting challenge
Large companies or conglomerates, publicly listed companies and businesses with millions in turnover or more would either have a large team of in-house accountants or they would hire firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers. Small businesses don’t have such a luxury. Owing to limited cash and the scope of small business accounting, most small to medium businesses don’t have any professional accountant on staff. They certainly don’t hire large accounting firms like PwC. Large firms or companies will have complicated accounting but small business accounting should not be considered to be a cakewalk. Keeping records of daily expenses and revenue, managing the payroll, developing a financial profile so loans could be obtained in the future and managing capital while creating a financial backup, all these objectives of small business accounting are extremely significant and quite demanding.
Small business accounting options
There are two ways small businesses can manage their accounting needs. One way is to use some accounting software. The other way is to hire a certified public accountant. Hiring a certified public accountant or CPA on payroll may not be feasible for all companies but hiring one at the end of the year for review and filing is certainly the best option. Accounting software might help you with all kinds of bookkeeping but when human intervention is needed and that too deft assessment of financial statements, profit and loss, calculation of taxes and filing returns, then it is best to hire a CPA. There are small firms of certified public accountants that don’t charge a fortune for their specialized service.
Top accounting software in 2015
If you are thinking of using some accounting software, then that would save you a lot of money. You can get accustomed with the software and attend to small business accounting yourself. You may also train one of your staff to do this job. The top applications today are all web based and store your data in the cloud. These SAAS (software as a service) programs have the advantage of always be up to date, securely storing your data and providing easy role based access from any device. Here are a few of the best that can meet the needs of small business accounting.
Intuit QuickBooks Online is widely considered to be the most holistic small business accounting software. The software is being used by restaurants, online merchants, freelancers, storeowners, service providers and consultants.
If you are looking for some free accounting software that would be advanced enough then Wave Accounting is a good choice. The best accounting software for small businesses don’t come for free. This one does. Wave Accounting is a cloud-based software that offers more features than other free accounting software available today.
Zoho Books is an ideal accounting software for micro-businesses. The added advantage of this software is that it doesn’t limit its features to micro-businesses. While things would be really simple to begin with, you would need more features as your business grows and those are provided by Zoho Books.
At a time when mobile apps are ruling the roost, it would be unwise to exclude the best accounting software in the form of app. FreshBooks has an amazing interface, good customer service and it is loaded with features despite being light and easy to use on the go. If you are a business owner who is savvy with apps and would want to attend to small business accounting while you are on the move, then FreshBooks is something you should definitely consider using.
Small business accounting conclusions
All these accounting software have their strengths and you can automate most of your small business accounting needs. However, as is the case with all software unless it is hardwired with artificial intelligence, you would have to intervene. Simple or normal bookkeeping and financial records can be easily managed with such accounting software but you would need someone specialized in taxes and financial planning if you wish to have a complete financial profile. To do this, you would either need someone skilled on your payroll or you would have to hire a certified public accountant. It isn’t very feasible to do it on your own, unless you are trained in accounting or at least have a bachelor’s degree in accounts. Many small business owners perceive accounting as just plain math but there is much more to it. You will save money while doing it yourself but you would have to let go off the advantage of having professional small business accounting.
There are many accounting software out there and we have only talked about four in this article. You are free to check out any of the dozens of small business accounting software available today but compare them on various attributes and then arrive at an inference. Check the cost, how easy it is to use the software in consideration, how much time it takes to use it and to get some small business accounting done, the reports generated and how detailed or precise they are, mobility, the range of services including managing a database of customers, allowing multiple users, the ability to generate invoices and other packages. You should also look for services such as tax preparation, credit card processing and payroll services.