Best small-business accounting software?
September 3, 2006 5:27 PM   Subscribe

Number-crunchingFilter: What's the best small-business accounting software for a non-accountant?

I recently started accepting donations for my podcast, and they're amounting to enough money that it seems like I should be accounting for them, both for tax purposes and... well... accounting purposes.

I also have some income from the sale of show t-shirts, and I've been tracking my expenses related to the show (capital investments, marketing costs, etc), and saving receipts.

All the income comes in through PayPal, and I use one bank account, set aside for this purpose, for everything.

What software should I be using to track all of this? I use a PC, and have strong "computer skills" and a decent head for numbers, but no accounting background. I'm looking for something that costs no more than a couple hundred bucks, and is easy to use.
posted by YoungAmerican to Work & Money (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
GnuCash is free.
posted by flabdablet at 6:30 PM on September 3, 2006

Quickbooks or set up a ledger in Excel.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:33 PM on September 3, 2006

Best answer: Every business I have worked with that is small (<1 00 employees) and under 5 years old seems to either run quickbooks, or something specific to their industry (ie, manufacturing that requires inventory tracking, assembly tracking, etc).br>
Quickbooks can do everything you need it to do for cheap. It also might be worth your time to pay a Quickbooks consultant in your area for a couple hours of their time once you have your basic process setup to make sure you are accounting for things correctly.

Many small businesses I have worked with have no real accounting grasp, and when it comes tax time (or any other need for financial reporting) you can get into a bit of a pinch if you didnt do your books right.
posted by SirStan at 7:03 PM on September 3, 2006

I use Studiometry for my small business designing web sites and doing other computer work. I has an accounting section, tracks outstanding invoices and generates nice reports.
posted by jxpx777 at 7:49 PM on September 3, 2006

I use and like Gnucash, but the current version barely works on Windows, if at all - you will need a Linux desktop to run it.

A ledger in a spreadsheet seems like the right level of thing for your simple needs.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:25 PM on September 3, 2006

I like Quickbooks. I worked for a business that did work in both Excel and in Quickbooks - we found that come tax time, Quickbooks made things a lot easier (in fact, the accountant we hired ended up putting everything from Excel into Quickbooks to make it easier to process). It takes a little time to set it up but it was well worth it.
posted by jengineer at 11:31 PM on September 3, 2006

Response by poster: Can anyone help me distinguish between the various editions of quickbooks? Do I need Pro? Simple Start? Premier?
posted by YoungAmerican at 9:37 AM on September 4, 2006

Be careful with Intuit and their QuickBooks product.

It requires activation, and you can be "locked out" of the software should you need to reinstall it more than just a couple of times. Keep the original receipt and QuickBooks case; otherwise, Intuit's only method of support will require a VISA with a limit exceeding the QuickBooks MSRP.

Also, if you don't like junk mail, never give them your mailing address. You will be assaulted with all forms of sales material regarding QuickBooks. (This is also true about Sage Software, makers of Peachtree.)

Studiometry looks interesting. Personally, I'm going to check it out. Thanks, jxpx777!
posted by scoria at 6:09 AM on September 6, 2006

Lazy 8 Ledger is free and cross-platform.
posted by flabdablet at 7:12 AM on September 6, 2006

« Older Simple tax question (?) on backup withholding   |   How to seal up a noisy downdraft vent when not in... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.