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Keep track of every penny: A guide to online book-keeping

online-bookkeping-toolsOnline book-keeping and accounting tools offer a great solution for small and medium businesses

One of the absolutely crucial things to do when you’re running your own business is keep track of the finances. But book-keeping is not fun for everyone and it can be the reason for someone to put off starting their own business. In the last couple of years a lot of online book-keeping platforms have emerged, which help users to organize their finances, to manage their invoices, and to track their expenses. Some of these platforms are complete accounting software systems and there are a lot of free tools to choose from. Some tools can even help you with estimated taxes (be aware that most of them are available only for the U.S. tax system). Integration with online payment methods is also a feature that these open-source platforms offer. Because these bookkeeping tools are online, you can access them everywhere. Some of the platforms even have mobile applications so you can manage your finances on the go.

The open-source accounting software is a great problem solving choice for small and medium businesses – they offer an easy way to manage accounting and organize finances in one place.  All the bookkeeping tools come with a lot of different features, and you need to take your time to have a look through at least a couple of them. You surely will find one that meets all your needs. You might want to take a look first at some of the most popular accounting tools for small and medium businesses. Following is a short list of popular bookkeeping tools that you can try for free and use for free (depending on the size of your business, of course).

Outright is a perfect bookkeeping tool for small and medium business – it automates all accounting tasks in one place and organizes them. The Outright account can be set up in a few minutes and the navigation is really simple. You can customize your income and expense categories to match your business needs. Outright also offers reports that are easy-to-read and understand. Tax preparation is integrated in the software – it keeps your tax documentation in one place and reminds you what taxes you need to pay, and when. The free package includes all the features of Outright. Outright Plus, for $9.95 per month, has additional annual, quarterly and sales tax tracking and reporting.

This software is not just about issuing and managing invoices. It offers expense tracking, time tracking, online payments and reporting to help you track the overall state of your business. Zoho Invoice has multiple currency and language support. It also has mobile applications for Android and iOS, so you can keep an eye on and manage your expenses and invoices wherever you are. The free version of this bookkeeping tool provides unlimited invoices and estimates, but can handle only 5 customers and 1 user. More customers and users can be handled with paid versions, which start from $15 per month. If you want to use other tools for your business, Zoho offers them too.

Freshbooks is an online platform for invoicing, tracking time and managing expenses. It’s really suitable for freelancers and small businesses. This software offers integration with other tools like PayPal, Google Apps, Salesforce, Basecamp and MailChimp. There are add-ons available and applications for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone and Windows smartphones – so that you can track your time on the go. The free package includes management of up to 3 clients; customer support is also free, but available only during working hours. Paid packages start from $19.95 per month.

This is a simple bookkeeping tool, which is suitable for small businesses with only one manager. This software tracks expenses and makes managing invoices simple and fast. You can integrate it with PayPal so your customers can pay directly through the payment system. It’s really easy to manage this tool and you’ll minimize time spent on your bookkeeping. The negative aspect of LiteAccounting is that the free plan provides only 2 invoices per month and doesn’t include PayPal. Paid plans begin from $10 per month.

Very similar to the platforms already listed, with the same features – invoicing, expense and time tracking, multi-language and currency support, and multiple payment gateways. You can use Invoicera with Google apps. The free plan offers unlimited invoicing for 3 clients. Paid plans start from $9.95 per month.

The features of CurdBee are also the same as the tools already mentioned, but this software is more suitable for freelancers and very small businesses. CurdBee offers an additional feature to issue overdue and thank-you e-mails. The standard account is free; you also have the option to choose Pro or Big account – for $5 and $20, respectively, per month.

Yendo is financial accounting software for small businesses. The additional feature that Yendo has compared with the software listed above is excellent mobile apps for all platforms including an iOS app that is iPad compatible. The free account handles only 5 invoices per month. But if you get the paid plans, which range from $9 to $52 per month, you get extra features like budgeting and forecasting.

Bionic Books is a tool more suitable for contractors and start-ups. It’s really simple and easy to use – you can work perfectly well with it even if you don’t have a clue about accounting. You can track tax liabilities, generate easy-to-understand reports and you can create balance sheets and profit and loss statements. With the free account the only features that you don’t get are invoice printing and multiple users. The premium subscription costs £5.50 per month.

SnapBill is an online billing system that is suitable for businesses that sell online. Invoicing is really easy and credit card transactions and direct debit orders are fully automated. SnapBill also offers client management. But the free plan doesn’t provide all of the available features, so you must pay at least $12 per month to get the really useful things in the billing system, and if you want payment models – the price is $65 per month.

Conclusion

When choosing any of the platforms listed above, you soon realize that free and easy bookkeeping everywhere isn’t a miracle anymore. But you must be very careful with regards to two crucial points. First, most of these accounting tools are cloud based, so if the website goes away, your data goes away with it. Even though they’re safe, secure and backed up regularly, don’t take even a minimal risk: keep your own regular backups. Second,  get professional advice before committing to an accounting platform; an accounting professional can help ensure that your choice is the right choice.


About Lili Petkova

Enthusiastic young online marketing professional. Fully engaged in the way how people communicate and react on different situations – both online, and offline. Living in Bulgaria - a country of contrast, where life is somewhere in the middle of Western countries and Asia. Love to travel, meet new cultures and friends. Blogging about how online tools, social networks and internet advertising can help small businesses to benefit from their online marketing.

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