best very small business accounting software? - cloud or not.
September 1, 2017 4:49 PM   Subscribe

I hate accounting. I always have. It's part of what's made me avoid running my own business. "Sure," you say, "that's what accountants are for." Nevertheless, I want to do as much of it on my own as I can, mainly because given all the cool software tools these days it seems like it ought to be (relatively) easy. More on the insides.

I say it ought to be relatively simple because I plan to mostly sell some photos online from a website, where the site(s) they are hosted on do all the generation of physical product and shipping and what not. I also plan to sell some physical prints in a few local places as well, but not a large volume. Compared to a lot of other businesses, I imagine the variety of expenses I will need to keep track of will be fairly low; I'm only planning to do this as a hobby for now, as well as being the only employee.

I have been thinking I would use Wave, but keep hearing a mix of things on their customer service (mainly that if you don't pay for the extra fancy tier, it's become crazy slow to get answers). Setting it up sure was easy, and it's free for all unless you need the fanciest features.

I notice that a product like Square for taking in-person credit cards also lets you do some accounting, which I may also use. Basically I want to consolidate as much of the stuff in one place as possible.


Thanks mefiters. : )
posted by bitterkitten to Work & Money (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm happy with Freshbooks. It's EXTREMELY simple, but it meets my needs. However, I don't do any in-person sales, so I'm not sure if that would make things more of a pain. Anyway, there is a free trial, so you can sign up and play with it to see if it does what you want.
posted by primethyme at 6:05 PM on September 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

I use xero and I'm very accounting-averse. I do have an accountant (if you use xero you need a xero certified accountant - although the fees seem to be lower than non-xero accountants) though as they're much cheaper than me doing it all myself.

Xero (at least in New Zealand) can make your business nearly paperless. It's not free tho', for me NZ$50.00 month

Service is prompt and when I've suggested things on the forum they've just gone and done them (like scanning receipts via your laptop's camera).

I believe they're expanding through the US - if that's where you are. My only criticism is that the app lacks a number of items which are then offered by third parties, sometimes it seems this is some kind of 'business model'. It certainly should help you get everying in one place
posted by unearthed at 8:38 PM on September 1, 2017

I'm going to second Freshbooks. I adore the iOS app, and it handles the invoicing and expenses beautifully.
posted by Alensin at 9:54 PM on September 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

One of the reasons you keep books is so you can prepare your business tax return, even to just determine that it is a hobby and you don't need to file. Accounting software will give you many categories to post your income and expenses to, but the bottom line is that the categories must give your tax preparer the data they need to do your taxes correctly. So, either check with your personal tax preparer about business software, or if you do your own taxes, get familiar with the small business tax particulars and see which of the suggested systems work best for you. Good luck!
posted by Vermillion at 4:58 AM on September 2, 2017

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