The 3 Best Bookkeeping Software Applications—According to Bookkeepers

Seth David

Seth David

Chief Nerd and President at Nerd Enterprises, Inc.
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.
Seth David

There’s no question in my mind that bookkeepers will agree universally on one thing when it comes to cloud accounting software. The two best bookkeeping software applications are QuickBooks Online and Xero. Within that, you’ll get a lot of arguments about which one is better and why.

So, which one is number three in the best bookkeeping software applications according to bookkeepers?

I took to my “Between Wall and Main Strategy Forum,” which has (as of 1/31/17) over 600 accountants, bookkeepers, and business owners, to see what they thought.

I suppose it depends on what your criteria are for “the best bookkeeping software,” and we’re still left with the question.

If you’re a small business owner, then you might want the one that makes it easiest to get transactions entered. That would be the one with the best bank feeds area.

Ask an accountant like me, and it’s all about the reports. How easy is it to get the information I want formatted like I want it? In order for me to consider which one is the best bookkeeping software application, I want reports. I want to be able to customize reports, and I want to be able to answer to my small business owner clients when they want to know, for example, how profitable their jobs are.

The Best Bookkeeping Software for Both Accountants and Small Business Owners

Let’s look at the three best bookkeeping software applications in terms of bank feeds and reports.

  • Sage One
  • Xero
  • QuickBooks Online

For a small business owner shopping for a good bank fees, know that the bank feeds in each of the above three products are probably about equal. They all work really well, while they all have a fairly different layout.

But when it comes to reporting, Sage One and Xero have a great set of standard reports, but they are both limited in terms of the ability to customize reports.

Xero did add in a very robust module recently that lets you move things around on your reports and create sections. You can even write formulas to calculate things on those reports.

The problem with Xero’s reporting is that even with all of that sophistication, it lacks the ability to give you some very basic, yet very important information. In short, the ability to drill into an account’s details, and quickly total by name, is very glaringly missing.

Sage One has no capabilities for customizing reports. You get what you get. The standard reports that do come with Sage One are great. In fact, they have included one important report that the others haven’t—uncleared transactions. This is so important.

QuickBooks Online is superior in my opinion to each of the other two when it comes to reporting. The main reason, as you’ll see in the video above, is how easy it is to customize reports and get the information I need.

As someone who works in the capacity of an outsourced CFO, I can appreciate how important it is to be able to get valuable information quickly. QuickBooks Online makes that easy to do. If you want to make your accountant happy, use QuickBooks Online.

To find out what the three best bookkeeping software applications according to bookkeepers are, you have to understand the context or the criteria by which this is being decided. I have looked at the above in terms of bank feeds, which are the primary drivers of the inputs, and the reports, which are the ultimate output of these applications.

But in the end, you have to decide what works best for you!

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Seth David

Seth David

Chief Nerd and President at Nerd Enterprises, Inc.
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.
Seth David

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