Best Accounting Software of 2020 – Features Pricing & Buying Guide

Top Accounting Software

Accounting is the language of any business, irrespective of size and scale. It is a vital force for running a business. Accounting software helps you to keep your financial health organized; It saves time, minimizes human errors, automates repetitive processes and presents actionable reports.

Modern accounting software integrates with different systems like payroll, HRMS, Salesforce and even with banking systems, which makes information flow easy within these systems. Such integrations save a ton of time. 

Today’s advanced accounting software is not just bookkeeping tools; you can also reconcile your bank accounts. You can calculate tax and manage your inventory. Some tools even support multiple languages and currencies, which is crucial for an online or multinational firm.
The following article brings to you, dissection, analysis and a comparative study of the best accounting software available.

What is Accounting Software?

The accounting software records and processes financial transactions such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, billing, general ledger and many more. In short- it helps to track and execute all necessary financial functions of the business. 

Accounting software today surpasses the functions of manual accounting. It saves time, costs and eliminates human error for managing business finances, transactions, invoices and more. 

Earlier accounting tools were in-premises based. With advancements in technology and new-age customer needs, these tools are cloud based.

Benefits of accounting tools

Cost Reduction

Accounting systems process complex financial data, minimizing the chances of common errors. This saves a lot of time and reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO).

Improved Productivity

With the help of accounting software, you can perform complicated tax calculations in a jiffy. You can generate detailed or summarized financial reports in minutes. Digitized invoices and documentation are easy with the accounting software. This improves the productivity of the accounts teams, ensuring faster report generation.

 Tax Compliance

No company wants to get penalized for delayed tax filing or errors in the calculations. With accounting software, you can add tax rates & rules in invoices making it tax regulation compatible. This tax information gets saved in the system for future use in creating financial reports and analysis.

Reporting

With data gathered, accounting software creates detailed financial reports. This report makes financial data human-readable. It also brings transparency across the various teams in the company.

Data Analysis

A large amount of stored data and reporting functionalities on the software make data available for analysis. This analysis supports planning future funds injections and managing positive cash flow, which helps businesses to build a robust financial roadmap.

Common features of accounting software

Bank Reconciliation: If your business has multiple bank accounts, this feature will track them all and reconcile them. Accounting software will automatically match financial transactions with the company’s bank account to check discrepancies. 

Payroll Management: It handles all aspects of a payroll from calculating hours, processing wages, paying payroll-related tax to expense reimbursements & deductions.

General Ledger: It records each financial transaction that takes place during the life of an operating company. This data helps in preparing the company’s financial statements.

Expense tracking: It is easy to track expenses reimbursements & deductions with accounting software. These platforms accommodate all expenses and ensure payments are in compliance with tax deadlines.

Financial Reporting: Accounting software generates the customary reports, including the income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flows and all other required summaries as financial reporting. 

Billing and Invoicing: This feature helps in creating different billing & invoices with automated/scheduled email delivery or print. Be it for shipping, inventory or employees; the platform handles all.

How Much Accounting Software Cost?

Accounting SaaS products are billed by usage or charged on a subscription basis. This reduces the total cost of software ownership, but each service provider has a different pricing model that you need to study before making a purchase.

  • Free Trial
  • Freemium
  • Monthly Subscription
  • Annual Subscription
  • One time license

Considerations when purchasing an accounting software

The cost of accounting software is a very important factor while making a purchase, but one needs to consider other factors too. 

Need / Gap Analysis

When you start the research for an accounting software, identify the demands and gaps in your current financial process. Do not find the tool first and then cramp in your needs in it. You should do a thorough need analysis and then search for software that satisfies those needs. If you are already using a different software, then you should perform the gap analysis.

Sometimes small businesses require a complicated accounting software, and on the contrary, a big organization may require a comparatively simpler set of features. Company size does not decide the software, need analysis should.

Data Security

The accounting system deals with sensitive client and financial data, that’s sometimes get hacked. SaaS tools often store their client’s data in cloud-based systems are prone to cyber-attacks. While choosing a cloud-based accounting tool you need to study their network security (SSL, Encryption, 2 Factor Auth), data sharing agreements and technical expertise to deal with such hacking attempts.

Third-party integrations

A business comprises multiple departments, each has their processes and tools for the same. The way people from different departments work together to achieve business goals software needs to communicate with each other. In technical terms, it is known as third-party integrations. As per your requirement, you might want your accounting tool to talk with payroll, HRIS, CRM tools. 

You should also check whether the tools work with your legacy systems ensures integration between disconnected systems.

User interface

When you introduce new software to the accounting team, we expect them not just to learn but to become experts on it. Once people become comfortable with a process or tool, they might resist a change. A well designed, UX optimized software will make this process easy. A simple, intuitive software interface needs a flatter learning curve and reduces the change resistance.

Customer Support and SLA

Most of the cloud-based accounting services offer email-based support with basic plans under which it may take one business day for an initial response. Some only offer support in the form of public forums, videos, or knowledgebase. To receive live support over chat or phone, you might need to opt for a premium package. You also need to check the SLA and escalation matrix offered by your service provider.

Top 15 Handpicked accounting software of 2019

Now that you know what to look for, here we are giving you the top 15 accounting software of 2019. Visit the respective tools website or demo pages to learn more about them.

QuickBooks 

It is an award-winning accounting software launched by Intuit. QuickBooks is a compact financial management platform which an apt for small and medium-sized companies. It is one of the most popular go-to solutions for companies that are seeking to shift from Excel spreadsheets to a proficient accounting system. 

Pros: 

  • Makes categorizing, uploading, splitting and balancing money easy 
  • Saves time on taxes and bookkeeping 
  • Built-in dashboard reporting is strong 
  • Training is not required to use the software 
  • Data tracking for better accounting management 
  • Easy mobile payment option 

Cons: 

  • Lack of ability to create custom fields
  • Difficult to get to the right customer service department 
  • Banking function takes days to sync with bank accounts 
  • Can’t handle a large number of transactions 

Bottom line: It is continuing to better with every online version. The offline version is also powerful. Quickbooks is user-friendly and straightforward. It is a right choice towards smaller companies and founder-managed business. 

Product Demo

FreshBooks 

FreshBooks is another one-stop cloud solution for creating and disseminating invoices, which is an otherwise challenging task. It is exclusively designed for self-service. With easy invoicing, expense tracking features, FreshBooks set aside enough time for tax. It is an honor winning money and bookkeeping programming. 

Pros 

  • Free 30 day’s trial is available
  • Rich, simple yet attractive interface for accounting 
  • Secure online payment for credit card 
  • Easy customization for clients, tasks, projects and expenses
  • Consistent and friendly customer services 
  • Flexible in recording entries 

Cons 

  • Financial reporting features could be better 
  • Not useful for companies with stock 
  • Single account for a single organization 
  • Reporting can’t be opened in the portable application 
  • Take time in reflecting the bank deposit result 

Bottom line: FreshBooks is an ideal choice for freelancers and small businesses. However, it comes with a bit of expensive pricing. It is an entry-level accounting software and lacks few basic accounting functions such as inventory management and payroll. 

Accounting by Wave 

If you are looking for accounting software for a small company with only 1-10 employees, then Wave is here to solve your accounting needs. Wave is also a preferred software for freelancers and solo entrepreneurs. 

Pros: 

  • Offers free accounting for small businesses 
  • Allows to work from anywhere and add multiple collaborators 
  • Allows different business accounts access from a single account 
  • Includes receipt tracking and tagging 
  • Notify when a client has viewed the invoices 
  • Responsive customer support 

Cons 

  • Lack of customizable reports 
  • Works well only for small business 
  • No provision to generate balance sheets

Bottom line: The software is entirely free to use. However, you would be only billed for payroll or credit cards. It comes with receipt scanning that makes it different from other software. 

Oracle NetSuite 

Oracle NetSuite is best-suited for any fast-growing business. It is recognized as the World #1 cloud ERP solution. It not only takes care of your accounting needs but also streamlines back-office processes like CRM and e-commerce rates, if any. 

Pros 

  • Easy to integrate with significant company program 
  • Highly customizable and easy to assign function options for employees
  • Can work remotely from anywhere 
  • Retail management system, logistics, enterprise resource planning, vendor management all are there 
  • Easy implementation 

Cons 

  • Not easily deployed, it takes time 
  • Little complicated UI as compared to other software 
  • Expensive additional support 
  • Customization is tricky 

Bottom line: Being a unified platform, NetSuite helps any business across all industries. It’s an essential choice for a company selling wholesale, retail, or e-commerce. You can take a free demo before finalizing it. 

Deltek Vision 

This accounting software is a project-based solution for services like engineering, management & IT consulting and market research. It is available for both cloud and on-premises deployment. It is well-known among users for its measurable benefits. 

Pros 

  • Easy creation of up-to-date project reports 
  • Easy to use tools for all operators 
  • Allows open multiple databases for work
  • Can integrate project management reports with accounting reports
  • Detailed timesheet and expense entering 

Cons 

  • Slow learning curve for some 
  • UI is a little complicated for beginners 
  • All accounting modules are not available.
  • Not intuitive 

Bottom line: For smaller companies, it may not require all modules. Deltek vision requires training to work on it. A little costly software as per the offerings.

Zoho Books 

The software offers all the essential features that micro businesses need and advanced tools like project billing and time tracking. It also has an innate capability to grow with an expanding enterprise. The smallest businesses, freelancers, home-based businesses can avail dynamic accounting competence from this software, which has been designed to suit their specific needs. 

Pros 

  • Free trial version is available 
  • High level of customization is possible 
  • Accessible from smartphone 
  • Integrates well with other Zoho products 
  • Top-class security for data protection 
  • Excellent and fast customer support 

Cons: 

  • Essential functions like deposit slip printing are missing.
  • Lack of API integration with system 
  • Payroll functionality is not integrated. 
  • Learning curve is a little steep 

Bottom line: 

There are many features and functionalities that you can slowly explore according to business needs. It is a popular software and its feature set is expanding. It is a price worthy software. 

Dear Systems 

Dear Systems is suitable for any size company that requires management inventory levels. The smooth integration with QuickBooks Online, Xero makes Dear Systems the right choice for the businesses. It provides you with information to manage costs and enhance profitability. 

Pros: 

  • Easy to use software 
  • Integrates with finance packages 
  • Bug-free and flexible options 
  • Detailed dashboard showing inventories 
  • Free trial available 
  • Easy to learn 

Cons: 

  • Report functionality needs improvement 
  • Setting up the software takes time

Bottom line: Dear systems lacks the traditional bookkeeping and general ledger features. It is best suited for food traceability, supply and inventory management. Check the features before considering it. 

Sage Business Cloud Accounting. 

This software is designed for small businesses that are seeking the accounting and bookkeeping features. It is accessible from anywhere and it supports both iOS and Android. Accounts payable, accounts receivable, billing & invoicing can be efficiently completed with Sage software. 

Pros: 

  • Easy linking with bank accounts 
  • Easy VAT filling and reports 
  • On the go invoicing and quotes 
  • Download option for all transactions 
  • Fully secured database 
  • 30-day free trial 

Cons: 

  • Servers frequently get overloaded
  • Lacks customization features 
  • Longer adaptation phase 

Bottom line: Sage comes with a multi-language and multi-currency option. It offers real-time savings of work. Technicians are available on the call. 

SAP S/4HANA for finance 

SAP financial software is a complete finance management choice for any large company. It is rightly termed as a cloud-based finance ERP for the modern age. Its ERP software runs on the in-memory platform of SAP. 

Pros 

  • Different modules provide an in-depth business solution 
  • Strong data analysis 
  • Easily integrate with other systems 
  • Allows for future expansion of varying company’s operations
  • Flexible reporting option 

Cons 

  • Best-suited for large enterprises
  • Implementation and maintenance cost is high 
  • Slow loading speed 
  • Cluttered GUI 

Bottom line: Many Fortune 500 companies are already suing SAP for their business solutions. The platform is costly, but it fulfills the need for a large organization. It provides excellent attention to data analysis and security. 

Vyapar 

Vyapar is best suited for the Indian market. It helps small and mid-size businesses with GST filing, inventory management and other accounting solutions. Being one of the popular GST apps in India, Vyapar works well in offline mode, too. 

Pros: 

  • Invoice sharing option over WhatsApp 
  • Software is mobile-friendly 
  • Pricing is suitable for small and medium businesses 
  • Available in Hindi and English 
  • Easy to use

Cons: 

  • Complex user interface 
  • Many banking integrations are lacking. 
  • Difficulty in printing quotations 
  • No multi-use or screen sharing option 

Bottom line: Vyapar targets Indian businessman. Though it is handy and reliable accounting app, but it still requires more features. 

ART 

ART is a robust accounting solution software by SkyStem. It is designed for mid-size organisations seeking to automate the balance sheet account. It comes with its own internal server environment. 

Pros: 

  • Best for accounting and workflow management 
  • Easy to use 
  • Excellent reporting capabilities 
  • Customizable quality control features 
  • Great customer support 
  • Stores reconciliations online 

Cons: 

  • Ad hoc reporting capability is naive.
  • Slow data uploading after a long hour of work 
  • Sometimes the server slows down.

Bottom line: This software is useful for sharing reconciliations among different departments, both internally and externally. It brings clarity to any close process. You can download all the reports in Excel for easy use whenever needed. 

WinTeam 

WinTeam is an ERP solution for different professionals like security and janitorial contractors. It handles people and task scheduling, ensuring better-aligned resources. It measures performances and automates daily financial operations. 

Pros: 

  • It has over 100 standard reports and a dashboard. 
  • Simplify Attendance management 
  • Reduce operations costs 
  • Good customer service 
  • Cloud-based allows working from anywhere at anytime 

Cons: 

  • Lack of ability to attach files 
  • Little challenging to design custom reports 
  • New features take time to perform 

Bottom line: This software holds all that janitorial and security contractors require for accounting. The add-on custom business intelligence tool achieves unparalleled insights. 

LedgerLite 

For an organization that needs a general ledger or cashbook, LedgerLite is the right choice. It comes in a free trial for small, and medium-sized businesses to work & check the features. 

Pros: 

  • Easy to set up and customize according to the need
  • Simple to record a journal entry 
  • Flexibility in financial reporting 
  • Reasonable price 
  • Very responsive customer support 

Cons: 

  • Lacks few features 
  • Minor trouble while formatting reports 
  • Available for Windows 

Bottom line: LedgerLite is appropriate software for businesses like clubs, trusts, associations, solicitors, accountants, nonprofits and bookkeepers. It is very much responsive, easy to use and offers excellent customer support for all the users. 

Manager 

Manager by NGSoftware is free accounting software for small businesses. It comes in 70+ languages, which makes it accessible across all industries. Manager is available for Windows, Mac and Linux too. 

Pros: 

  • Big community forum of users 
  • Free desktop version 
  • Flexible on setting up the charts of accounts 
  • Lots of customization features 
  • Regular improvements and updates to fix issues 

Cons: 

  • Contain only accounting features 
  • Importing of transactions from banks is fragile 
  • Lack of few essential integrations 

Bottom Line: The software works for free and comes with all the vital features for accounting. It also works offline and on different operating systems. 

SlickPie 

Another good option for small business accounting is SlickPie. Exclusively designed for small businesses, SlickPie comes with an in-built automated data entry tool, MagicBot. It is a free cloud-based accounting tool. 

Pros: 

  • Slick, simple and intuitive design 
  • Unlimited users for free 
  • Comes with Google Chrome extension 
  • Integrated with payment gateway- Paypal and Stripe 
  • Good online support 

Cons: 

  • Get slow over the time 
  • Lack of inventory management feature
  • Lacks few reporting capabilities 

Bottom line: MagicBot, the automated data entry tool, is a unique feature for businesses. Many users said it’s a time-saving tool with a sound customer support system. 

Summarizing the need for accounting software in the present business ecosystem

All the software listed above are customer-oriented platforms. These tools help in streamlining accounting by polishing and perfecting the overall process. Be it handling bookkeeping or calculating appropriate taxation; accounting software are here to cover a varied of accounting works across different industries. 

These software undergoes continuous upgradation; thus, it keeps on fixing the existing bugs. The experience of users varies on what size of company they are using. You can customize your package according to your business needs. For accurate prices and other feature details, we recommend you to check the respective tool’s website.

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