We also researched popular accounting software that frequently appears on reputable review websites, top lists and business websites. We then created an extensive list of accounting software that included software from our research, applications we were already familiar with and vendors that have previously pitched their software to us. We narrowed down this list based on different use cases and a wide range of criteria, including cost, features and limitations. As part of our research, we studied user reviews, watched tutorial videos, and checked out customer resources offered by each vendor, such as knowledgebases, blogs and guides.
Next, we evaluated each program by signing up for a trial or demo account and testing the software ourselves.
How to Choose the Best Personal Finance Software - NerdWallet
This firsthand experience helped us understand how the features work and whether the programs are worth their price tags. It also helped us assess whether the software is as easy to use as each vendor claims. To further inform our decisions, we contacted each vendor to measure the quality of its customer support. Although we started with more than accounting software products on our list, only 11 of those made it to our short list: Accounting software companies, recognizing that many of their users are small business owners who don't have an accounting background, continue to make their products easier to use.
They're using technology like AI and machine learning to automate repetitive tasks and reduce the need for manual data entry. When you're categorizing transactions, for example, the software learns to recognize how you categorize things so it can do it for you automatically and if it gets something wrong, you can easily fix it by categorizing it manually. Also in , more accounting software companies will offer cloud-based solutions for a monthly subscription.
Researchers at Gartner Inc. The advantages of cloud-based accounting software are better security, regular updates and web-based accounts that you can access anywhere using any device with a browser. Integration continues to be an important consideration for small business owners, and the best accounting software applications offer add-ons or integrations with multiple third-party business programs and services.
Being able to sync sales data from your POS system to your accounting software, or your customer list from your accounting software to your email marketing service, for instance, eliminates time-consuming data entry or the frustration of downloading and uploading files from one application to another. Here's a full list of accounting software vendors and a summary of what each company says it offers.
This alphabetical list also includes our best picks. AccountEdge Basic helps sole proprietors automate their bookkeeping, while AccountEdge Pro is full-featured accounting software for small businesses. Both are desktop-based with a one-time fee. If you want remote access, a cloud collaboration tool is available for the Pro plan as an add-on.
And Co — And Co from Fiverr is free business software for freelancers that provides many of the standard services associated with accounting software, including invoicing, subscription billing, expense and time tracking, and reporting.
Get Your Financial House in Order
Bench — Bench is an online platform that provides bookkeeping software and services to small businesses. The company estimates that its AI-enabled platform can automate 75 percent of a bookkeeper's typical tasks.
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It syncs with your business bank and credit card accounts, provides monthly financial statements with visual reports, and offers support to your CPA at tax season. When you have questions about your finances, you can contact your dedicated bookkeeper and receive a response within one business day. Billy — Billy is attractive, basic accounting software for small service-oriented businesses. It connects to your business bank and credit card accounts to automatically download transaction data and has a proactive reconciliation process that predicts matches. It has an iPhone app and a Chrome extension for capturing receipts.
Botkeeper — Botkeeper is an accounting service that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate bookkeeping, and a dedicated human accountant to oversee your account and handle urgent or complex issues. Businesses in any industry can use this service, and it integrates with top banks and accounting, POS, and e-commerce software.
Pricing is based on the number of transactions you record each month, and there's no lengthy contract. The software is module-based, allowing you to customize it to suit your business's needs. The basic kit has general ledger, bank reconciliation and financial utilities modules. You can also add modules for accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory and point of sale, purchase order, and payroll. CenterPoint Accounting — CenterPoint Accounting from Red Wing Software has multiple editions of its accounting software for different types of organizations, including businesses, farms, nonprofits and municipal government.
It supports an unlimited number of transactions, customers, suppliers and products, and there's no limit to the years of historical accounting data you can store. Payroll services are also available. The company offers a cloud backup add-on for a monthly fee. Crunched — Crunched is cloud-based accounting software designed for both new and established small businesses.
How to Choose and Use Financial Software
With it, you can track your finances, send quotes and invoices to customers, track bills and expenses, reconcile transactions, and generate reports. The software is modular, allowing you to customize it with just the features you need. Modules include payroll, inventory and POS.
POS hardware and e-commerce websites are also available from this company. FreeAgent — FreeAgent is cloud-based accounting software for small businesses, freelancers and consultants. It supports unlimited users, clients and invoices for one monthly price. Features include automatic bank feeds, recurring invoices, automated payment reminders and time tracking.
It makes it easy to bill clients, set up recurring invoices and automatic payment reminders, and accept online payments. Its mobile app allows you to accomplish many accounting tasks on the go, such as invoicing, time tracking and managing expenses. Read our full review here. GnuCash — GnuCash is free accounting software for small businesses that has a useful selection of features to help you manage your finances, such as income and expense tracking, double-entry accounting, financial reports and calculations, scheduled transactions, and statement reconciliation.
It can also track bank accounts, stocks, bonds and mutual funds. It categorizes your sales and expenses, then uses this data to prepare your Schedule C taxes. Harvest — Harvest makes it easy to bill clients and get paid. You can have the software pull in your bank and credit card information to analyze your spending and pinpoint areas that you can cut back on spending to improve your finances. For more accountability, Mint allows you to set up alerts for things like due dates and low balance to keep you on track.
These features help you avoid expensive fees for late payments and overdrafting your bank account. As you create your budget and manage your daily finances, the software provides you with tutorials that will help you tackle some of the tougher financial topics. The software automatically links to your bank account, bringing in your spending information for analysis and budgeting tracking. The traditional envelope budgeting system helps you stick to a budget by using envelopes to manage your budget. Choose the financial goals that are most important to you, then add your bank accounts and set your income.
There are several different versions to choose from one of the versions is free with some of the higher-priced options providing additional features and coaching options. Entering your tax information is fairly simple — you can import your W-2 information from your employer or take a picture of the form and the software will transfer the information into the form. Paid versions of TurboTax include a feature to help you maximize your deductions by uncovering deductions you may not have known were available to you.
The investment software provides free personalized recommendations to help you diversify your portfolio, which you can follow or not follow as you see fit. Personal Capital allows you to manage all your financial accounts in a single platform. These financial programs can be purchased online or in stores—or downloaded for a fee and then installed on your computer. They are ideal for anyone who wants to ensure privacy, since the information will be only on your computer. Just remember to back up your computer regularly to an external hard drive to ensure your data is protected should your computer be damaged or crash.
Popular programs include: Free web-based money-management sites. These sites host your data online. You open a free account and type your financial data onto money-management screens in a secure, privacy-protected space. The sites make money through advertising and other marketing strategies. The good news is that your data is available from any computer by using your password.
The Best Personal Finance Software Programs
And if your computer fails, your data will be unaffected. The potential drawbacks: Popular sites include:. Tax-preparation programs. These computer-based programs guide you through the preparation of your tax returns and help you file the results electronically with the IRS and state tax departments. These programs are ideal if you have relatively simple returns and want to save on the annual cost of using a tax-preparation service.