It seems that nobody asked the two most important questions. 1) Do you intend to carry inventory and/or use an inventory function and 2) Do you intend to run your own payroll? I would recommend (in order of complexity/power) and cost 1) QuickBooks Premier, 2) QuickBooks Online 3) Wave Accounting. If you intend to use inventory, and/or do payroll, I would suggest QuickBooks.
another vote for Quickbooks, it works nicely with bank accounts and with Turbotax ...truly seamless.
I have been using Handdy Jotbook, instead of Quickbooks, as Jotbook holds the features of Quickbooks and even more advanced, and easier options too.
Handdy seems to be quite convenient and it lets us to manage our accounting easier from wherever we are. Also the additional feature would be that, it can be used in MAC, PC and other upgrades.
I feel its quite flexible to handle my accounts in minutes rather scratching the head or on hiring an accountant, to whom we want to go behind to know the financial status.
You'd have a better try with Handdy Jotbook and I'm sure you can make up your business management effective, as I do.
I have found that Quickbooks works well for most of my clients. It's actually fairly easy to use, particularly if you do not have much accounting expertise. Some CPAs prefer Peachtree because it is more difficult to reverse entries and better fro an internal control standpoint. However for early stage companies your main focus should be creating a basic accounting system and you can do that with Quickbooks.
Depending on your industry you might look into one of the industry-specific versions or you can go with the basic Quickbooks Pro or the online version.
The best solution is one that the small business can and will actually use. There are a number of cloud based accounting solutions, but each tends to be popular with certain types of small business owner.
Some of the more popular ones are:
http://www.xero.com Very popular in Europe and Australia markets, but definitely gaining ground in the US market now that they integrate with more US banks. A very good product that is relatively easy to use.
http://www.waveaccounting.com True double entry accounting and it's free. I think it is easy to use, but I am a CPA and not everyone agrees with me on that. It is free so all it costs is some time to check it out.
http://www.quickbooks.com In my opinion one of the more complicated applications, but they have HUGE market share and obviously work for a lot of small businesses, plus there is a whole secondary market built around supporting small business owners on Quickbooks.
http://www.indinero.com Not true double entry accounting, but their hook is it is very simple for the non-accountant to use.
http://www.outright.com Also not true double entry accounting, but again it is very easy to use and to set up. Works great for sole proprietors/freelance workers who want to spend minimal time on bookkeeping. That is definitely their niche.
There are numerous others, but these are the ones I run into most often. Most of them have a free trial option, and are pretty easy to set up and test out. I usually suggest my clients narrow the list to two that look appealing and play around with them to see which works best for their unique situation or talk to your CPA and see which one he recommends.
Here is a fairly comprehensive list of current cloud based SMB accounting software
With out a doubt it's Outright.com. I've used QB online for year but that still requires you do do most of the work. Outright syncs your financial accounts-banking, credit cares, expense and paypal- and puts then on one page with a simple green or ed graphic. It doesn't get easier. Tax time, forgetabout it! So easy. Nope, I'm not associated with them. Just returning the love.
I am using Freshbooks with the Kashoo add on which gives a full accounting package and it's working for me. I guess it all depends on what your needs are.
I agree with Joe Faris. QB is the best solution for small businesses.
Completely agree with Joe Faris. QuickBooks is the best in my eyes. Like Joe, I do not like the Online or Industry versions of the software. But would suggest you look into some of the new QuickBooks hosting sites that allow you to purchase or lease your QB software and host it in the Cloud (like RightNetworks or Cloud9). My clients who have had issues with QuickBooks are generally the ones who forget to make backups and then suffer a hardware failure. So I am a fan of full versions of QB software in the Cloud.
Am a CPA and have consulted to hundreds of small businesses. QB is the best for a small business. Do not buy QB Online or any of the QB industry applications - buy QB Pro. As good as QB Pro is, the Online and Industry Applications are the opposite.
In Canada, Simply Accounting is widely used and is worth investigating as a potential alternative to QuickBooks.
You might also want to evaluate cloud based solutions - taking into consideration options like web access, databack-ups, security and support, etc. Quickbooks offers a cloud solution. Other clould alternatives to evaluate include Xero (www.xero.com) and Wave Accounting (www.waveaccounting.com)
Freshbooks is a good solution for time tracking and invoicing and it integrates with many thrid party solutions. You can check it out at www.freshbooks.com