Best Bookkeeping Apps for Small Business Owners
- QuickBooks Online: Best for Reporting
- Wave: Best Free Bookkeeping App
- Bill.com: Best for Automating Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable
- QuickBooks Self-Employed: Best for Freelancers and Contractors
- Bench: Best for Full-Service Bookkeeping
- Expensify: Best for Handling Expense Reports
- Finagraph: Best for Financial Planning
- Hubdoc: Best for Document Storage
In the world of small business accounting, bookkeeping apps can change how you do business. As a small business, you don’t have a big accounting or bookkeeping department to balance your books and help with financial planning. This is where bookkeeping apps can help.
Bookkeeping apps can make you or your bookkeeper a lot more efficient by organizing and presenting your financial information in a way that’s accessible and easy to understand. This also makes it easier to plan for your business’s future and understand the impact of different financial decisions. There are several different bookkeeping apps designed for small business.
Here, we’ll cover the the eight best bookkeeping apps for small business owners. These apps have the potential to save you lots of time and can elevate your business to the next level.
The 8 Best Bookkeeping Apps for Small Business
Here are the eight best bookkeeping apps for small business:
1. QuickBooks Online: Best for Reporting
Out of all cloud-based bookkeeping apps, QuickBooks Online is one of the best overall. You can do all of the basics, such as tracking revenue and expenses, reconciling your accounts, and preparing financial statements. It takes the pain out of manual record keeping because you can simply connect QuickBooks to your bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial accounts.
Compared to other bookkeeping apps. QuickBooks Online also has the best reporting functionality, with over 50 pre-built reports and the ability to create custom reports. You can also schedule reports to run on a periodic basis and be emailed to other individuals on your team. Reports are important, because it is the ultimate output of your books. Reports are how you get the information you need, in order to determine how well your company is doing.
QuickBooks Online also has a great mobile app and a powerful ecosystem at apps.com that lets you complete a solution for just about any industry and any business model.
The video below highlights what you need to know about QuickBooks Online.
2. Wave: Best Free Bookkeeping App
Wave is a powerful bookkeeping app that also happens to be free at at the entry-level pricing tier. The free pricing plan actually comes packed with quite a few time-saving bookkeeping features. You can sync up an unlimited number of bank accounts and credit cards, and track income and expenses from various streams.
On the invoicing end, you can set up and send custom invoices with a choice of professional invoice templates. Capturing receipts is as easy as taking a picture with your mobile phone, and this feature works even when you’re offline. To accept online payments or add on payroll functions, there are extra fees.
Photo credit: Waveapps.com
3. Bill.com: Best for Automating Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable
Bill.com is a bookkeeping app that will save you a ton of time and allow you to almost completely automate your accounts payable process. Accounts payable is one of many tasks that a bookkeeper does. Bill.com works with your existing accounting software, whether that is QuickBooks, Xero, Sage, or Oracle.
With Bill.com, every invoice that a vendor sends you, and eventually the payment that you make, syncs to your accounting software, so you only enter the data once. Vendors can send you a digital invoice to a secure ‘@bill.com’ email address, or you can drag and drop invoices into your Bill.com dashboard. Since Bill.com updates your accounting software for each transaction, transactions reconcile faster, and you have a better real-time view into your business’s expenses.
You can also use Bill.com to manage your accounts receivable. When you have it handling both sides, you also wind up with a powerful cash flow management tool. Bill.com ultimately lets you spend less time entering and paying bills, which is a big part of bookkeeping.
The video below highlights what you need to know about Bill.com.
4. QuickBooks Self-Employed
QuickBooks Self-Employed is a basic bookkeeping app that supports one user (plus an optional login for an accountant or bookkeeper). This QuickBooks app gives you the ability to send and track invoices, track mileage, calculate your Schedule C deductions, and see quarterly estimated taxes. It also makes it easy to separate business from personal expenses, which can catch contractors and freelancers off guard and make it much more difficult to file business taxes.
Although you can access QuickBooks Self-Employed on a desktop or laptop, their mobile app lets you do a lot as well. With one swipe, you can easily sort business from personal spending, import expenses from your bank account, and track expenses. You can even set up custom categories for expenses so you know what your business is spending the most money on.
Photo credit: QuickBooks.Intuit.com
5. Bench: Best for Full-Service Bookkeeping
Bench Accounting is a full-fledged bookkeeping service and app. Bench Accounting is a little different from the other apps on the list because a team of professional bookkeepers will do your bookkeeping for you. To get started, you link your bank accounts, credit cards, and financial accounts to Bench. Every month, your bookkeeping team, made up of one senior bookkeeper and two junior bookkeepers, reconcile your accounts, balance your books, and prepare financial statements.
At the end of the year, Bench will even provide tax help too. They offer a year-end financial package that makes it easy to file small business taxes. If you add BenchTax experts from Taxfyle will consult with Bench to do your business taxes for you including filing them and making sure you get all of the deductions you should for your business.
Along with the personalized services of Bench comes a financial app that lets you track your income and expenses and review your financial statements on the go. It’s also easy to message your bookkeeping team from the app, and they will respond within one business day. Bench will save you a ton of time because they completely take bookkeeping off your plate.
Photo credit: Bench.co
6. Expensify: Best for Handling Expense Reports
The Expensify app makes it a snap—literally with your mobile device’s camera—to capture receipts. Then you can throw the physical receipts away and forget about them. Expensify’s SmartScan will figure out the payee, amount, and other critical info from the receipt. Then you can submit the receipts to be synced to QuickBooks Online, and, if necessary, reimbursed.
Since travel comes along naturally with expense reports, it makes sense that Expensify has an amazing travel concierge and trip planner as well. Just forward your itinerary to Expensify and it will track your trip for you. You’ll even get updates about your flights where applicable, and the concierge will tell you if you’re over-budget on travel.
Expensify has another use not many people think of. It has to do with the business expenses you charge on a personal credit card. Many small businesses co-mingle funds this way, which can be harmful from a financial and legal standpoint. With Expensify you can avoid that by linking up your personal card’s feed but submit only the business-related expenses to be synced to QuickBooks Online.
The video below highlights what you need to know about Expensify.
7. Finagraph: Best for Financial Planning
Finagraph gives you powerful financial information about your business that you can use to make predictions. This app essentially takes your QuickBooks Online data and explains it.
Finagraph is a powerful analytical tool that makes it easy to analyze the financial health of your company and then form a plan of action for how to improve it. Finagraph keeps a history of your “finagraphs” so that you can get comparative info and make sure you’re always improving.
The visual interface of Finagraph makes it a powerful tool for small business owners to use together with their accountant or CPA. You can download almost any component in PDF or an image format. Some modules are interactive, giving you a “Large View”—for example, a close-up look at working capital or accounts receivable.
The video below highlights what you need to know about Finagraph.
8. Hubdoc: Best for Document Storage
Hubdoc is a central way to organize all of a small business’s receipts and documents. You can automatically sync up your financial accounts with Hubdoc, forward invoices from your email, or upload paperwork. Once Hubdoc receives your docs, it will archive them and convert the data into digital-ready files. You can then configure any bills from any account to push to your favorite cloud accounting software, such as QuickBooks Online.
The video below highlights what you need to know about Hubdoc.
What to Look for in Small Business Bookkeeping Apps
There are several unavoidable accounting and bookkeeping tasks that businesses have to do on a regular basis. The bookkeeping apps listed above make it easier and faster to complete these tasks.
Here’s what to look for when shopping for a bookkeeping app:
- Core Features – Most small businesses use bookkeeping apps for a combination of the following tasks: invoicing, reconciliation, tracking income and expenses, financial statement preparation, and forecasting. Optionally, you might want to add on forecasting or payroll processing.
- Cost – You shouldn’t have to spend an arm and a leg for a good bookkeeping. Even QuickBooks Online, the gold standard in business bookkeeping, costs just $20 per month and offers a 30-day free trial. Wave is a free option for businesses on a tight budget.
- User-Friendliness – The whole point of using bookkeeping apps is to free up your time and give you better insight into your business’s finances. There might be an initial learning curve, but it shouldn’t take more than a few weeks to get the hang of your bookkeeping software.
- Number of Users – Think about whether you’ll be using this bookkeeping app just for yourself or whether you’ll need to share the info with a tax preparer, accountant, or business partner. If you need to share the information, make sure the app is set up for multiple logins and secure sharing of financial information.
- Automation – A good bookkeeping app frees up your time by automating tasks. For example, instead of manually uploading information from a receipt, the app should be able to “read” and automatically fill in certain information such as the amount and date of the purchase.
As long as you keep these five tenets in mind, you should be able to find a bookkeeping app that’s perfect for your small business’s needs.
The Bottom Line
These eight bookkeeping apps for small businesses are designed to save you time and help you get a better handle on your finances. They’re all easy to use, reasonably priced, and have the powerful features that small business owners are looking for. With these bookkeeping apps, there’s no longer a need to manually track transactions, type information from receipts, or input income and expenses. Your newly organized financial information will help you make better business decisions, while giving you back more time to run your company.
Seth David is the chief nerd and president of Nerd Enterprises, Inc. which provides consulting and training services in accounting and productivity based software. Consulting services range from basic bookkeeping to CFO-level services such as financial modeling.