Yes. Obviously, this is a modern era of accounting and business management. Everything is digitalized so, accounting software hosting in the cloud is an obvious idea to maintain the flexibility of your accounting information.
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QuickBooks is a great business accounting software for small to mid-sized business owners. We are going to cover 10 reasons to use QuickBooks.
1. It helps save time on bookkeeping and paperwork. It automatically handles some of the easy bookkeeping tasks, saving you time and making your day easier.
2. Reports are very easy to generate and customize. You will always be able to see where you are business-wise. No need to worry about the health of your business, it’s readily accessible.
3. The price. QuickBooks is affordable no matter the size of your business. Accounting software can be costly and cumbersome, QuickBooks is neither.
4. Room to grow. Are you looking to expand your business? QuickBooks can help you provide all necessary documentation when trying to establish a business loan or line of credit. QuickBooks can generate a projected balance sheet, profit and loss statement and statement of cash flow in the format recommended by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
5. Customizable. If you can imagine it, QuickBooks can do it. They are always expanding the product to cater to different industries such as health care, contractors and non-profit organizations. An affordable accounting software that can be tailored to your needs!
6. Peace of mind. QuickBooks is a very stable, reliable and proven product. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses use QuickBooks as their accounting software. Their support is top-notch as well!
7. Communication. QuickBooks shares information with over 100 other business applications. This not only saves you time, it also reduces the possibility of mistakes being made.
8. Online Payments. Who wouldn’t like to receive their money faster? With QuickBooks, you can receive online payments by sending an e-mail an invoice or statement. With QuickBooks Online Billing, your customer can quickly pay you with a credit card or bank account transfer. Easier for both parties!
9. Accept credit cards. With QuickBooks Merchant Account Service, you can accept credit cards easily. QuickBooks Merchant Account Service is the only credit card acceptance service integrated with QuickBooks software, which means no need to re-key information. Your customers can choose between Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.
10. Pay your own bills online. Your current bank account can be set up through QuickBooks, then you can begin paying your bills online! No envelopes, stamps or paper checks! You will also be able to download your monthly statement from a participating bank for easier reconciliation!
It depends on whether you know what you are doing in Excel as regards how to book keep. Understanding debits and credits makes the difference, again to most this is a black art. Most do not.
It also depends on the nature of your business transactions. For example high volume receivables are better controlled within a formal system. Whereas a few thousand transactions per year across cash, credit cards, bank and paypal are easily managed in Excel.. where the post input inflexibility of formal systems can be crippling to detailed analysis, re-analysis and sub analysis and sub sub analysis and so on.
I have found that splitting data between formal systems and Excel works very well, using the summary output of formal systems as input to Excel is effective. Can be automated if the effort is worth it (time saving wise).
In both cases, Excel and formal systems, the old adage that if you want a REAL mess then you just need a computer. Where that leads is the advice to engage a professional bookkeeper. By "professional" I mean one that knows what they are doing, because if you do not, you should not really be doing it yourself - any more than you should be doing your home electrics if you are not a certified electrician. It makes the tax much harder to do because first we have to sort out the pickle before we can begin the work we have been engaged to do.
I think the most dangerous comment I hear is "here you are Mr Accountant, I have done all your work for you"; the implication being a very low fee is expected. This doubles the problem, because while the job takes substantially longer, the fee is expected to be a fraction of "normal". Go figure.
So, find an accountant who will be your guide. We LIKE being your guide. Clients want to make our job easier, we want to help our client. It's symbiotic. The more we can help you to help us, the more value you will perceive for the fee you paid, and the better we will be placed to give you that value.
Excel or Quickbooks etc? Neither are "intelligent" systems (though some have a good crack at auto coding (e.g. xero and others) and Quick books online has a coding system that almost approaches a spreadsheet, although only one dimensional.
However, imagine any system being operated by a professional. Now imagine it being operated by an amateur. Same with anything. Which would you prefer, the professional bus driver or the untrained (if enthusiastic) amateur?
Excel CAN be useful as a tool to answer your question. Run it for a while and it will give you a clear understanding of what you need, really rather like what used to be called prototyping (probably still is).
If you do try Excel, use (or learn!!) pivot tables. These are the secret weapon.
for power users:
If you get that far, then explore the use of SQL in Excel (and Powerpivot) .
I think the greatest misunderstanding is the idea that any system will give you knowledge you don't have: there is one online system claims you no longer will need your accountant (Kashflow I think .. nice system though, or maybe it was Free agent, my memory fails me. All the online systems I have looked at are impressive and have their leanings in different directions. Xero is trying to automate bank transaction automation. Brave stuff and can work.
The machines have not yet become self aware, and that includes software.
One problem with formal systems is they obscure the core understanding which is accounting, i.e. debits and credits. Any book keeper who does not understand these... needs to engage is further study. By this I mean to "understand" as opposed to "know".
All my above assumes you do not need multi user access or audit trail or multi currency (QB online doesn't do multi currency). Actually multi currency in Excel is easy enough.
Me? Been working on all the above (bookkeeping and accounting) for forty years; since before computers. Love it.... and if you don't, please find someone who does.
My Excel hours? One project was 18,000 hours and that was in 1989. Present day must be over 500,000 hours. Whatever that means.
Most people consider me an Excel expert. I have nearly 20,000 hours of experience in Excel modeling and programming. I can unequivocally answer that you should use accounting software, and not Excel, for generating invoices and basic accounting. Many companies have nearly perfected invoicing software, and a pre-programmed solution will save you an immense amount of time compared to Excel.
Actually the question should be, can I use Excel or do I have to pick an accounting and bookkeeping system. The answer is yes to the latter and you will find it easier to use at tax time. Excel is pretty limited. Many of the other answers have dealt with the advantages of having financial management software.
You can choose from QuickBooks desktop for PC or Mac, Peachtree, and a few others. I do have a few clients using Quicken Home and Business as it allows you to create basic invoices and handle your personal and business bookkeeping.
If you like the idea of being able to acess your data anytime and anywhere, you can go with QuickBooks Online (you can get SimpleStart for free at Fry's this week) Xero, Wave, Outright, Freshbooks, and others.
The important thing is you are going to be the one creating those invoices and doing the books so choose something that works for you.
Just so you know, I am an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and Quicken user with additional certification in their Online, Point of Sale, and Enterprise software, ranked #1 on the Find a ProAdvisor website for Seattle, have been certified in Xero, and listed on the Wave Accounting websites. I have accounts with most of the online providers as I like to be aware of options for my clients as I don't always take the party line.
Another free web-based solution I have been looking in to is Wave Accounting. Check it out and not a bad alternative in the very early stages of the business if the transaction volume and complexity is simple.
Best of luck,
QB once had limited capabilities, but now it is very robust. And you will have no trouble recruiting for this since just about every accounting pro knows this program. Do, however, make sure that pro sets this up for you. By guessing at things you will get about 80% right, and 20% wrong, yielding useless reports. Also rem that not all info must go into the accounting system; many newer firms make this mistake.
Well Quickbooks is the best option in your case. If you don't want to grow more then excel is enough. Because the more functionality makes more importance in the segment. Other than Quickbooks if you look out for something then you can go ahead with the cloud based expense reporting software from Replicon. Check it out here - http://www.replicon.com/olp/expense-reports.aspx
I bank with Wells Fargo and have used Quicken Home and Business successfully. A comparison of it with other Quicken products is available here. https://www.wellsfargo.com/biz/financial_software/quickbooks/quicken_comparison. I appreciate the advantage of using the tools we are already familiar with. I once knew someone who used Excel as their word processor. I learned the value of picking the right tools the first time I built an outdoor swing set for my kids. A drill bit that was too small made drilling a hole through a beam of wood almost impossible. The right sized bit made all the difference. :-)
Quickbooks is a database while Excel is a Speadsheet. Databases are designed with special data structures to build relationships between data such as the amount of a sale and the person you are selling to. While you can create formulas in Excel to link cells it is easy to delete cells, rows or columns and thus interfere with the cell relationships. This becomes important over time as you create more and more invoices and may want to query to information in your database such as what are the total sales to this customer or what is the tax I have accumulated on my Sales. A database such as Quickbooks is written to accommodate this while an Excel spreadsheet is like a blank electronic whiteboard requiring you to build the system.
QuickBooks is a great tool for capturing your business activity all in one place. While other database and spreadsheets systems may be sufficient to run your day to day operations, it can get messy quick.
Most entrepreneurs utilize QuickBooks to generate invoices as well as capture cash flows activity. QuickBooks also allows user to "memorize reports" which provides business owners with customized reports that provides meaningful and comparable information (ie cash flows, payroll, gross margins etc). Regardless of the software you intend to use, you will likely need to customize reports in order to provide you with information that is most useful for your business/industry.
While there are other pieces of accounting software that may be more cost effective right now, QuickBooks provides users with extensive user support which in turn makes learning and growing with the software much more practical.
The answer is yes, you need accounting software. Whether or not it's QuickBooks, Fresh Books or something else is another question.
Consider that, if your business grows in any real way, you'll want the information structured from the beginning so it is easier to manage things as the business requirements change. Spreadsheets may help you get the job done now, but they're not very useful for getting to or using that data later.
You can get simple start for around 6-10 dollars a month (QuickBooks Online)., and upgrade from there. The issue with Excel is that you don't have a "check" in place to make sure figures are accurate, but for the occasional invoice, etc, it should be ok. I'm an Intuit/QuickBooks Trainer/Writer and would be happy to discuss more of the pros and cons and answer any questions.
Unless this is a minor hobby, I'd go with quickbooks.
Not only do you learn good accounting / business practices, but if you set it up properly, your taxes at year end will be a breeze.
QuickBooks is a very user friendly program and it is great for generating invoices, bookkeeping and reports that will help you see how your business is doing. There are many options to choose from according to your business needs. You can choose desktop or online to experience the Cloud which will help you to do all processings faster. Please let me know if I could be of assistance.
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor
RSJ Accounting Professionals
I believe that all but the VERY small should have a bookkeeping system. QuickBooks is user friendly and if in the future you plan on hiring a bookkeeper, most know the program.
I would not recommend anyone start a business without at least the basics of bookkeeping, or hiring a bookkeeper right away. I have cleaned up too many messes of business owners who believe they can do it themselves.
In my opinion, you're better off starting with Quickbooks as doing your accounting on an excel spreadsheet can easily become quite cumbersome and reporting will have to be created, in most cases. Quickbooks has many useful built-in features, allows you to easily create professional looking forms and reports, and will grow with your business. Standardized charts of accounts can be quickly customized to suit your needs.
Hi Mike - There's lots of great answers here already as to why a cloud accounting solution will be more likely the better way to go. Here's a great comparison document to review many of the options mentioned: http://blakeoliver.com/small-business-cloud-accounting-software-comparison/
As for Xero, we are the global leader in online accounting software http://www.xero.com/us/accounting-software/ You can get a free trial of Xero and decide for yourself. An advantage over Excel is that by being able to access your data from anywhere - be it a PC, a Mac, a tablet, Android, iPhone, etc., you'll be able to connect all your banking, credit card and PayPal data to your accounting info, so that you can quickly reconcile your books which keeps everything up to date, for real time decision making about your cash flow, as well as generate invoices from client sites and get paid faster via our online payment options. Over 300 cloud providers integrate with Xero, including Harvest to further enable you to move your operation off desktop solutions and in to the cloud.
Lastly, if you're not already working with an accountant or bookkeeper, we highly recommend you do so as we know small businesses that do so are on average, substantially more successful when they utilize the skills and expertise of a financial professional. Here's a list of Xero advisors you might wish to consider: http://www.xero.com/us/advisors/?country=us&service=accountant.
A very good question...and you will receive many answers with may reasons. As a small business owner, professional accountant and an accounting software consultant, I cannot stress how important it is.
Having an accounting software is important on many levels...it assists in keeping your receivables and payable in order, creates financial reports AND if implemented correctly, captures business metrics that will provide you with information that will assist you in growing your company. To me, the business metrics are key in establishing your bench marks and your Key Performance Indicators. It is this information that you will look to, to assist you in growing your business.
Please be aware that accounting software is great to have and I highly recommend that you get yourself a bookkeeper, contract one if necessary...make sure they are good or you will pay for it in other ways.
A good bookkeeper will keep your year end fees down greatly. If you go to an accounting firm, they will charge you roughly 100/hour, maybe a little less and they generally do not care about small clients. Sorry, just being honest.
A good bookkeeper should run you between 40-65/hour. Since you are a small business, there may not be that much work, but at least it will be done correctly.
If you are knowledgeable in accounting, you could do it yourself. That being said, I am sure you would rather focus on growing your business then the admin. side.
Now...Quick books, and other software, is easy to setup and use but make sure that you use the software to setup some business metrics. Drop me a line and I can assist you in this if you would like.
You need QuickBooks or something like it. If you are not comfortable enough to use it, a bookkeeper or accountant in your area would be more than happy to help you with your books, and teach you for free how to create simple invoices to be mailed/emailed out.