Posts Tagged ‘bookkeeping software’

Is Freshbooks Right for Your Business?

| Bookkeeping, Small Business

Is Freshbooks Right for Your Business?

“Client billing first and accounting second.”

That line from the website should give you a good idea of what the Freshbooks software is about.

Beyond being incredibly clear about what they’re best at, they also have a fantastic marketing team, so I’ll bet you heard about them from one of their many sponsors, like Being Boss, or from your favorite life coach.

Personally, I heard about it when I was looking for a recurring billing feature for my clients.

If you’re in the market for software, consider Freshbooks and then check out Xero, WaveApps, Kashoo, and Zoho Books, too.

Overview of Freshbooks

The first thing I want you to know about Freshbooks is that it’s not for everyone, and it’s not trying to be for everyone, which is its strength. Think of it as an add-on to a more powerful accounting and bookkeeping system.

In other words, it fills in the gaps that the big, robust tools don’t address, like automatic recurring billing.

And it’s a product made for service-based businesses, like coaches, copywriters, or designers, that, in the words of Freshbooks, “focuses on slaying the billing beast.”

Like all of the other tools I’ve reviewed, it’s cloud-based, which means that it’s online and all of your information is kept on the Internet as opposed to your computer. Expect to pay a monthly subscription between $15 and $50.

Is it easy to learn?

Since it’s made for people who are service-based (and many who consider themselves solopreneurs), the navigation is intuitive with many people saying that they created their first invoice as soon as they signed up.

Freshbooks is a growing company as well, so expect updates, which always means new features to learn and an updated interface to navigate.

What are the downsides?

There are a few downsides to using Freshbooks as a small business owner, and I’m going to break them down into two categories: light accounting and easy to forget to stop recurring billing,

1) Not standalone accounting software – Since the accounting features are so light with Freshbooks, it can’t be considered a standalone accounting software. That means you’ll have to pair it with something more robust like Wave (free), Xero (paid), Kashoo (paid), or Zoho Books (paid).

2) Easy to forget to stop recurring billing – While it’s very easy to delete a previous client’s profile to take them off auto-billing, it’s even easier to forget to do it if you’re not organized.

Why should I use it?

1) Automatic recurring billing – If you have clients you bill the same amount on a recurring basis, this feature will streamline payment. At whatever interval you choose, your client will be billed for the amount you both agreed on.

2) Can get by on your own without a professional – Since the software is so intuitive and made for service-providers, it’s easy enough to learn and get by on your own without an accountant or bookkeeper guiding the way.

3) Easily accessible library of information – If you’re confused, you have plenty of options for getting an answer with Freshbooks’

4) Contractor collaboration – There is also a light project management system you can use within Freshbooks for communicating with your contractors and tracking the time you spend on client projects. This helps you keep everything organized and ensures that your invoices are accurate.

Quick rundown of Freshbooks

  • Started doing business in: 2003
  • Based in: Toronto
  • Cost: Paid monthly subscription ($15 – $50)
  • Free trial: 30 days
    Credit card processing fees (via Stripe): For VISA/ MC: 2.9% of the transaction total + $0.30. For AMEX: 3.5% of the transaction total + $0.30
  • Automatic billing: Yes
  • Payroll available: No
  • Multicurrency: Yes
  • PayPal payment option: Yes
  • Etsy connection: Yes
  • Shoeboxed connection: No
  • Customized invoices: Yes
  • Mobile app: Yes
  • Option to collaborate with team members: Yes
  • Customer service: Email, chat, and phone

Still have questions about whether or not Freshbooks is right for you? Leave a comment below or send me a message.

 

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Is Kashoo Right for Your Business?

| Bookkeeping, Small Business

Is Kashoo Right for Your Business?

“Easy accounting software without the frustration.”

Kashoo knows that its biggest competitor is Quickbooks, which is why they mention it right on the homepage. You can do all of these things that you need… without using a complicated software like Quickbooks.

Now personally, I don’t use Quickbooks with my clients. I’m not saying that I’m against using the software. It’s just not my favorite.

So what makes Kashoo different, and are they telling the truth? Is it really easier to use?

Overview of Kashoo

Is Kashoo Right for Your Business?

Like the others, Kashoo is an online cloud-based accounting software, which means that it’s online and all of your information is kept on the Internet as opposed to your computer.

It’s one of those companies that make sure they infuse personality into their brand. This alone sets them apart from the competition.

Beyond that, they differ from tools like Xero, Freshbooks, WaveApps, and Zoho Books because their dashboard does not show the most recent financial information. Instead, when you login, you’ll be able to immediately input expenses / income not recorded from your connected bank accounts.

Expect to pay one monthly fee of $19.95, or you can pay annually for a discount.

Is it easy to learn?

Kashoo prides itself on being easy to setup and to learn.

They claim to have removed all accounting jargon, and they focus on the basics, like inputting expenses and income, sending invoices, and keeping track of project costs.

The reports feature is also very light, which may be a relief to some entrepreneurs but a burden to their accountants and bookkeepers. And something technical, but still important, to note. Kashoo only offers accrual accounting and not cash-based. What that means is that if you don’t know how your books are currently organized, ask an accountant to be sure.

Reports included are:

  • Income Statement
  • Unpaid Invoices
  • Unpaid Bills
  • Trial Balance
  • Balance Sheet
  • General Ledger
  • All Transactions
  • History

What are the downsides?

There are a few downsides to using Kashoo as a small business owner, and I’m going to break them down into three categories: no inventory and purchase ordering, inability to make estimates, and limited use of mobile app with multicurrency.

1) No inventory / purchase ordering – Unlike Zoho Books or Xero, you can’t keep track of how much of each item you have or request to purchase an item when its stock is low.

2) Can’t make estimates – Some agencies and freelancers need estimates to complete proposals. If that’s a big part of your business model, I would stay away from Kashoo and consider Zoho Books instead.

3) Can’t use iOs apps with multicurrency enabled – While Kashoo offers multicurrency, you can’t use your iPhone / iPad app when it’s enabled. Who knows why? It’s probably a glitch that will be fixed in the future.

Why should I use it?

1) Easy setup – You’ll be able to navigate the dashboard to set up your account and start sending invoices with Kashoo’s guided tutorial service.

2) Can get by on your own without a professional – Since the software is so intuitive and made for service-providers, it’s easy enough to learn and get by on your own without an accountant or bookkeeper guiding the way.

3) Track project costs and keeps records of clients / suppliers – If you’re a freelancer who needs to track your time along with project costs, this software could be great for keeping you organized. Plus, you can keep record of any clients or suppliers that you have.

4) Great customer service – Support is “forever-free,” and you can get a hold of the team by email, social media, chat, or phone. They also have fantastic resources for learning how to use Kashoo, like Kashoo U and these guides for how to get started.

Quick rundown of Kashoo

Started doing business in: 2008

Based in: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Cost: Paid monthly subscription ($19.95)

Free trial: 14 days
Credit card processing fees (via Stripe, BluePay, and Square): 2.9% + 30 cents

Automatic billing: No

Payroll available: No (but integrates with SurePayroll)

Multicurrency: Yes (but can’t use iOs apps)

PayPal payment option: No

Etsy connection: No

Shoeboxed connection: No

Customized invoices: Yes (but limited fonts and colors)

Mobile app: Yes

Option to collaborate with team members: Yes

Customer service: Email, chat, and phone

Still have questions about whether or not Kashoo is right for you? Leave a comment below or send me a message.

 

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Is Xero Right for Your Business?

| Bookkeeping, Small Business

Is Xero Right for Your Business?

Xero believes in giving you — the small business owner — the power to plan ahead with your finances.

And truth to be told, I’m completely biased. (I liked the software so much I became a Xero-certified bookkeeper!)

If you’re in the market for software, consider Xero and then check out WaveApps, Zoho, Kashoo, and Freshbooks, too.

Overview of Xero

Xero is a robust accounting software that entrepreneurs can use by paying a monthly subscription between $9 and $70. It’s cloud-based, which means that it’s online and all of your information is kept on the Internet as opposed to your computer.

Is it easy to learn?

Since Xero is so robust, it’s not the easiest of software to get up and running. In fact, I recommend that you use it with a professional accountant or bookkeeper. If you’re looking for accounting software that’s free and easier to learn, check out WaveApps.

That being said, it can be easily navigated once your accountant or bookkeeper is keeping everything organized. You’ll be able to see your cashflow in real time, which allows you to make smart financial decisions, check reports to see if you’re on track with your revenue goals and send beautiful quotes to potential clients.

What are the downsides?

There are a few downsides to using Xero as a small business owner, and I’m going to break them down into three categories: limited multicurrency options, no recurring billing, and accounting jargon.

1) Limited multicurrency option – Unless you choose the most expensive subscription ($70/month), you won’t be able to receive or invoice using foreign currency, which makes doing business with people outside of your country really difficult. So if you’re a solopreneur who needs under 5 invoices but needs multicurrency, you still have to choose the most expensive option.

2) No recurring billing – If you’re invoicing many different clients the same amount each month, you don’t have the option to charge their cards automatically. While Xero will duplicate the previous month’s invoice and send it, the client will still have to enter their credit card information to pay it.

3) Accountant jargon – This software, like many of the others on the market, is made with accountants and bookkeepers in mind. That means that a lot of the feature I love about it (old-school style, journal-based bookkeeping) are things that won’t matter much to you. It also means that you’ll have a more difficult time navigating the software and being able to make the most of its features. It’s best used with a professional.

Why should I use it?

1) Better than a spreadsheet – While Xero isn’t perfect, it’s also a major step up from spreadsheet-style bookkeeping. That means tax time will be easier to manage because everything has already been captured and recorded.

2) Easily accessible and useful reports – The reports are one of my favorite features of Xero.

3) Constant updates and great customer service – Xero knows the value of listening to its customers. As a result, they’re always rolling out new features, fixing technical bugs, and generally making the software more beautiful and easier to use. Plus, if you do encounter problems, the customer service is fast and at your disposal 24/7 for free. They’ll get back to you almost immediately and explain how to solve whatever problem you’re facing with patience.

4) Openly available information – While this software is made for accountants and bookkeepers, Xero still offers a lot of information for the DIY entrepreneur. You can find tutorials in dedicated training, articles, videos, and their handy-dandy accounting glossary.

5) Able to track inventory – This is a built-in feature that’s great for business owners who sell physical products, like t-shirts.

Quick rundown of Xero

  • Started doing business in: 2006
  • Based in: New Zealand
  • Cost: Paid monthly subscription ($9 – $70)
  • Free trial: 30 days
    Credit card processing fees (via Stripe): %2.9 + 30 cents
  • Automatic billing: No
  • Payroll available: Yes (includes features like built-in timesheets, employee leave, and reimbursement of expenses)
  • Multicurrency: Yes
  • PayPal payment option: Yes
  • Etsy connection: No (only through 3rd party applications)
  • Shoeboxed connection: Yes
  • Freshbooks connection: No
  • Customized invoices: Yes
  • Mobile app: Yes (There are separate apps for Invoices / Receipts / Payroll)
  • Option to collaborate with team members: Yes

Still have questions about whether or not Xero is right for you? Leave a comment below or send me a message.

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Is WaveApps Right for Your Business?

| Bookkeeping, Finances, Small Business

Is WaveApps Right for Your Business?

So you’ve heard of WaveApps, the accounting software, and now you’re wondering what all of the fuss is about. Is it really comparable to other software like Xero, Freshbooks, or Zoho?

And, as a small business owner, how is it going to make your life easier, if at all?

Before I tell you about WaveApps, I want to remind you that no software is perfect and that many of the suggestions I give are going to be made for accountants and bookkeepers. So they take time to learn.

What’s most important is that you choose one that fits for the size of your business and the type of work you do.

Also, any cloud-based software you choose is going to be a step up from the standard spreadsheet-style bookkeeping.

Overview of WaveApps

WaveApps is free accounting software. It’s cloud-based, which means that it’s online and all of your information is kept on the Internet as opposed to your computer.

It’s free (no, really) and was made primarily for small business owners, consultants, and freelancers. While that price tag can be very kind to your bank account, it also means that you give up features that other software, like Xero or Freshbooks, provide. You’ll see these in the section below about the downsides.

Is it easy to learn?

Yep, Wave is one of the easiest cloud-based software to learn. When you sign up for an account, you’ll be prompted to connect your bank accounts (including PayPal) and credit cards. It works even if you have international bank connections or use a foreign currency.

After connecting your accounts, you’ll be able to track your income and expenses, send invoices, and read reports to see a bigger picture of your money.

You can access reports for:

  • Financial – Balance Sheet and Income Statement
  • Taxes – Sales Tax and Payroll Wage (paid feature) and Tax Report
  • Customer – Income by Customer and Aged Receivables (how much money is coming in and how long you’ve been waiting for it)
  • Vendors – Expense by Vendor and Aged Payables (which expenses you haven’t paid yet and how long overdue they are)
  • Other – General Ledger (similar to a general overview all of your accounts), Account Transactions, Trial Balance (can see all account balances), Gain / Loss on Foreign Currency Exchange

You can customize all of the reports by date.

What are the downsides?

There are a few downsides to using WaveApps as a small business owner, and I’m going to break them down into three categories: accountant jargon, technical bugs, and Etsy sales.

1) Accountant jargon – To be fair, Wave does a great job of always trying to make things easier for small business owners who aren’t accountants. That being said, there is still a lot of jargon that an entrepreneur would have to learn to be able to make the most of the software. What’s more, if you’re not familiar with how your books should be kept, you often won’t know if there’s a bug or if something isn’t being properly recorded. Mishaps like that could lead to you paying more than you owe in taxes or making decisions based on false information.

2) Technical Bugs – Since it’s a free software, identifying and fixing technical bugs takes a bit longer (2+ days). What do I mean by technical bugs? One I encounter regularly goes like this. Let’s say your balance sheet says there is $100 in your bank account. But when you go to the Transactions screen, you have $90. You then go check the balance of your account, and it’s also $90. That means that somewhere in all your transactions, there’s a mystery $10 difference. In other words, you have a “ghost transaction” that you now have to sift through and find. Even as a trained bookkeeper, transactions like these can take me 1-2 hours to find. Not the best way to spend your Wednesday, right?  

3) Etsy Sales – If you sell on Etsy, you’re able to collect sales through Wave, which is great. However, since you’re also connected to PayPal, those sales will be recorded twice. That means your sales numbers will be misleading unless you go through and manually merge the two transactions. That’s also a time suck.

Why should I use it?

1) Better than a spreadsheet – While Wave isn’t perfect, it’s also a major step up from spreadsheet-style bookkeeping. That means tax time will be easier to manage because everything has already been captured and recorded.

2) Free and easy to set up – It’s free and setup is painless, which is great for any entrepreneur who is bootstrapping her business. That being said, it also allows room for growth by giving you the option to invite your accountant, bookkeeper, or team member into the software.

3) Responsive customer service – The customer service is really responsive and attentive. If you’re confused about why your numbers are wrong or how to get rid of duplicate transactions, you can open up a chat box from directly within the software and be connected to someone.

4) Easy to learn – Much of the software, like looking at transactions and invoicing, is going to feel intuitive if you’re tech savvy. If you encounter something tricky or want to learn how to use the software to its fullest potential, there is plenty of information available. You can start with a free series of articles called Wave University.

5) Multicurrency option – With most accounting software, multicurrency is either unavailable or an add-on for a higher-priced subscription. WIth Wave, though, you can invoice and receive funds in any currency, which makes it a lot easier to do business with clients abroad without worrying about the exchange rate.

6) Can save credit card information of clients – Clients can choose to save their credit card information so that each time you invoice them, all they have to do is click “Pay Invoice.”

Quick rundown of WaveApps

  • Started doing business in: 2010
  • Based in: Toronto, Canada
  • Cost: Free
  • Credit card processing fees: %2.9 + 30 cents (varies for non-Canadian / non-US countries)
  • Automatic billing: No
  • Payroll available: Yes ($15 + $4 per employee in the US)
  • Multicurrency: Yes
  • PayPal payment option: No
  • Etsy connection: Yes
  • Shoeboxed connection: Yes
  • Freshbooks connection: No
  • Customized invoices: Yes
  • Mobile app: Yes
  • Option to collaborate with team members: Yes

Still have questions about whether or not Wave is right for you? Leave a comment below or send me a message.

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