You’re starting a business or working on the operations side of your startup need an accounting solution. What’s out there besides the all-popular Quickbooks and perhaps more affordable? I recently wondered the same thing and went on a hunt to explore alternatives. I searched high and low on Google, Quora, startup forums, and asked fellow entrepreneurs. Most of the services below offer a free trial, mobile app, invoice templates, and payroll services – so what separates them exactly? Here’s a list that includes comparisons of unique features, pricing, and more. I hope you find it useful.
Xero – Possibly the easiest service to transition away from Quickbooks, Xero offers a similar feel with comparable products and services that a business owner may have become accustomed to with QuickBooks. It even provides the ability to convert your current Quickbooks data right into Xero dashboards (it is one of the few services on this list to offer such a feature). Xero is currently offering a 30-day free trial and a special 6-month introductory offer which equates to about thirty percent off. Their basic plan starts at $9 a month with limited features, but spend an extra $10 per month ($30 total) and get unlimited users, bills, invoices, and bank transactions to reconcile. They offer standard accounting reports with advanced financial reports available such as foreign currency gains and losses (if you’re doing business abroad). Some of Xero's features also include employee time tracking for payroll, the ability to snap pictures of your receipts for better expense tracking and automatic late payment reminders which are similar to FreshBooks (see below for more details). Xero seems to have the largest 3rd-party app integration of the list, including all of the big players, such as Stripe, Square, and Paypal. Finally, their videos, guides, webinars, and online courses are extensive to provide an accessible and easy way to get acquainted with their platform. The site boasts they have nearly nine hundred thousand users.
Freshbooks – Frustrated with managing invoices and expense tracking? Freshbooks allows you to see when customers open invoices, send automatic late payment reminders, and even lets you send paper invoices without having to visit the post office. Freshbooks offers a free service with limited features but the next level starts at $20/month and allows you to manage up to 25 clients. This basic plan only includes access to 1 user but purchase one of the higher tiered plans and receive access for up to 5 users. Some of their cool features include employee time tracking for payroll and the ability to snap pictures of your receipts for better expense tracking. Freshbooks also has a large number of 3rd-party apps integrated with their service to help you better manage your business and finances.
LessAccounting – If you're a small business owner with no employees or a freelancer that is trying to better manage your revenue, LessAccounting may be a viable answer. LessAccounting, which considers itself the underdog compared to some of the companies on this list, provides standard core accounting reports with invoice templates available. One of the few services on this list to offer a money-back guarantee, their ‘freelancer’ plan starts at $20/monthly and is for companies with less than $70k in annual revenue. Once you break the $70k annual revenue threshold, you can upgrade your plan and won’t have to do so again until you break $500k in annual revenue. The freelancer plan only includes 10 invoices/month but every plan priced higher includes unlimited monthly invoices. The drawbacks include no mobile app or payroll capabilities, if that’s important to you. However, if you fall into the category of early entrepreneur discussed earlier, they provide a free e-book to help guide you through the burden of interpreting your financial reports.
Saasu – Small businesses on the rise, which expect to scale and want their accounting services to do so with them, might consider looking into Saasu. Their monthly pricing is a little different than the traditional pay model since its based on expected annual transactions…so what do ‘transactions’ entail? According to their site, transactions include: a sale, purchase, bank transfer, payment, or journal entry. Their starter plan begins at $15/monthly and includes all of their core features, up to 1,000 annual transactions, and 3 bank feeds. If you become an overnight success, you can switch to their ‘X-Large’ plan which includes up to 100k annual transactions and 20 bank feeds. If that’s still not enough, you can reach out about their ‘Enterprise’ plan which is priced on application. Some of their best features include detailed sales reports, a KPI report builder, and cash flow forecasting that is simple and easy to digest.
Wave – Free accounting reports, invoices, and receipt scanning – Wave doesn’t charge you unless you want specific features. For instance, payroll service will cost your business $9/month or the ability to accept credit cards costs 2.9% + $0.30 per invoice. Wave also has a portfolio of mobile apps for each of its products and a network of professional accountants to help you find one if necessary. Similar to LessAccounting, it could be a perfect fit for a freelancer, contractor, or small business owner with few employees. However, unlike LessAccounting, it offers payroll services and a mobile app. I’ve read reviews and heard friends dream of a better user workflow but remember….it’s free! Depending on your business needs and budget, it may provide the best value which should be something to keep in mind.
Kashoo – Another affordable option for freelancers and entrepreneurs alike, Kashoo provides standard accounting reports, bank reconciliation, and payroll services at a low cost. One of the few services on this list to offer a money-back guarantee and the ability to directly convert data from Quickbooks, it also prides itself on providing a secure platform that backs-up data daily. Service plans are broken down by solo ($5/month or $50/year) and business ($20/month or $200/year) which evidently include a 20% discount if you plan to use them long-term. Unfortunately, they have a limited number of 3rd-party app integrations so be sure to check their selection if you’re hoping to pair them with a different service that you currently use.
Shoeboxed – Unlike all of the other services on this list, Shoeboxed doesn’t provide may accounting features such as financial reports, invoicing, or payroll. However, it’s one of the ultimate services for tracking expenses, regardless of business size. Use it for free with limited features, or purchase the starter plan for $10/month and track 50 docs monthly with 1 user account. The next tiered plan costs $30/month but lets you track 150 docs monthly with 2 user accounts and includes Quickbooks integration. It has cool features such as mileage tracking that uses your phone’s GPS to help track your travel expenses or “magic envelopes” that lets you send Shoeboxed paper receipts to have them logged digitally. It has a highly reviewed mobile app and provides a money-back guarantee. Despite not offering necessary accounting features, it has 3rd-party app integration with Xero and Wave which allows Shoeboxed to provide a nice assist for your financial reporting.
Are you an entrepreneur or do you manage a small business? Which services do you use?