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Top 5 Easy-to-Use Accounting Software for Small Businesses

Top 5 Easy-to-Use Accounting Software for Small Businesses

Finding the right accounting software for your business can be a tough decision. Software that works for one company, might not work for the other. A great deal of finding the right fit depends on the size of the company, the income flow, level of experience of the individual completing the accounting duties, and company budget. If you have a new business, you might want to try a few programs before you find the right one for you. Below are 5 of the more popular easy-to-use programs in the small business realm, and each offer their own special features for various needs.

1. SlickPie

SlickPie is an online accounting software program that is tailored for smaller businesses. The software is completely online, making it accessible from almost anywhere. It offers online invoices, allowing the user to either use one of the pre-set themes or offering a program that allows users to customize the look of their invoices. Along with online invoicing, the program offers online billing and document management. Through SlickPie, users can produce financial reports to monitor business growth. The software also offers tax management services. Another plus is cost, as it is completely free.

SlickPie relies on automation, offering features that allow companies to send out automatic payment reminders and auto-invoices. SlickPie is also the only no-cost accounting program to offer automated data entry, through its tool, MagicBot.

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2. QuickBooks Online

A product of Intuit, QuickBooks has long been heralded as the go-to accounting software for small businesses. Two different versions of QuickBooks exist, including an online format, as well as a licensed version. The program offers easy, online access to all of your customers, vendors, and employee records.

Any user who purchases the online version of QuickBooks has access to free customer service as well. You can test out the program through a 30-day free trial and, after the trial expires, at a minimal monthly cost.

QuickBooks offers accounts payable and accounts receivable services. Users can also send out billing and invoicing to customers online. Unlike other accounting software programs, collections and fixed asset management are also offered. Additionally, QuickBooks also provides cash management.

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3. Sage 50

Formally known as Sage Peachtree, Sage 50 is an accounting program commonly used by small to mid-sized businesses. The program offers accounts payable and accounts receivable services, bank reconciliation, and cash management. Users can also bill and invoice directly to customers through online services. Payroll and employee management is another feature of the program and is widely used by smaller and mid-sized businesses.

The program also allows the users to create and maintain a general business ledger. Sage comes at a monthly cost of $29.95 per month, with customer service being a part of this cost.

4. Kashoo

Kashoo is an accounting software program offered through the Apple App Store for iPad, iPhone, and web use. The format of this program is through the cloud and is widely used by smaller businesses already using any Apple product. The program allows small business owners to send invoices, manage finances, enter in expenses, and generate reports from the comfort of their own mobile device.

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Accounts receivable and accounts payable are available through Kashoo, as well as cash management, CPA firms, and bank reconciliation. Users will be able to track expenses and income, and they will also be able to bill and invoice customers directly online. Payroll services are available, as well as spend and tax management services. One especially unique feature is Kashoo’s ability to enter handle multi-currency expenses.

Apple does offer a free trial for this program, with the starting monthly cost of $12.95 per month. Training is offered live online as well as through webinar format. Support is available online during business hours.

5. Xero

Xero is a program that both small business owners and accountants utilize. This online program can be utilized through mobile devices, like Kashoo, as well as via computer.

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Users can process invoices and send out billing statements directly online. These can be done through pre-set templates or custom creation. You can handle payroll, including payroll taxes through the program. Xero does also have the capability to convert data directly from QuickBooks. Over 500 tools are available to allow the user to customize the program to their company’s specific needs.

Users can also reconcile multiple bank or credit accounts. Data is offered through a single ledger, which is a feature that makes it easy for users and accountants to collaborate and work together. Xero also supports multiple currencies.

Conclusion

It is not a “one size fits all” concept. Research your options, test what works for you, and you will find the right fit for your company. Take advantage of the free trials and demos out there, as well as reviews found all over the Web. Connect with other business owners in your line of work and see what works for them. However, most importantly, look at what features you need and what features you do not need. Line up those needs with one of the programs above, and you will find the right one for you.

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

Are you on track for retirement?

If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

Saving for retirement is tricky.

Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

20’s – $16,000

During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

30’s – $45,000

At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

40’s – $63,000

This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

50’s – $115,000

During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

60’s – $172,000

By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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How to Save Money Each Month

By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

How?

By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

Why?

You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

By starting a side-business.

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This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

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