Transition to online accounting software and simplify your company’s financial system.
What is online accounting software?
Online accounting software works in two ways. You just need to choose which one works best for your small business needs.
One is via hosting, where there is no change to the existing software you use, like Sage or QuickBooks. There would be little change in how you carry out your accounting operations in such a scenario; one difference is you’ll have to start the software using a different icon. Access to printers and Microsoft Excel could be a concern, but just about every other aspect remains the same as when you had standard accounting software loaded onto your computer.
Your other option is to move your entire accounting system to the cloud. In this case you’ll move to a Software as a Service (SaaS) model like Xero, QuickBooks Online, Freshbooks or Wave. These systems tend to offer fewer features and work well for people who need simple accounting systems. Switching from your existing desktop system to a SaaS-based model would, in all likelihood, require setup, conversion and training.
What is cloud accounting software?
Cloud accounting relies on the basic concept of cloud computing, in which multiple users can access data stored on a single server using various devices. Cloud accounting works along the same principles of commonly used accounting software like AccountEdge, and the key difference is that the program and data are not stored on your computer, but on a secure cloud server instead. This gives users the ability to access data from just about any internet enabled device.
Another benefit of cloud accounting is that your data is protected in the event that your computer’s data is erased. There is no need to transfer data if you upgrade devices, because it’s all in the cloud. Users can access online accounting software and data through secure remote connections. Data first travels to the cloud, and the cloud then processes it and returns it to the user(s).
A few online accounting software options are listed below, but there are plenty more out there to suit your individual needs.
|Sage Business Cloud Accounting||Intuit Quickbooks||AccountEdge||Xero||Freshbooks|
|Most popular plan||Start (mid-tier)||Plus (top tier)||AccountEdge Cloud Medium (mid-tier)||Standard (mid-tier)||Plus Plan (mid-tier)|
|Price (per month)||$10.00||$40.00 (special offer – $28.00/month for first 6 months)||$25.00. Requires that you have AccountEdge Pro software, which ranges from $249.00/year + $21.00/user to $$$ for full payroll services||$30.00 (special offer – $21.00/month for first 6 months)||$25 (save 10% if annual plan)|
|Contract type||Month-to-month subscription plan. Your card will be charged each month unless you cancel your plan.||Month-to-month subscription plan. Your card will be charged each month unless you cancel your plan.||Month-to-month subscription plan for AccountEdge Cloud. Yearly plan for AccountEdge Pro + additional monthly fee for each new user.||Month-to-month subscription plan. Your card will be charged each month unless you cancel your plan.||Month-to-month subscription plan. Your card will be charged each month unless you cancel your plan.|
|Free trial||Free 30-day trial gives you basic access (no credit card required).||Free 30-day trial (no credit card required).||Free 30-day trial (no credit card required) gives you unlimited users and 1 admin.||Free 30-day trial||Free 30-day trial (no credit card required). Cancel anytime.|
|Popular Plan Features||Email customized invoices and receive payments online.
Link bank and credit card accounts and visualize on a dashboard.
Multiple currencies supported.
Automate routine tasks.
Live accounting advice.
Simplify tax time.
|Manage and pay vendor bills.
Billable hour tracking.
Integrate with QuickBooks desktop or Excel.
|Web pay and invoices.
Direct sync with AccountEdge Pro (if you have).
Access from anywhere.
Multiple currencies supported.
|Integrations with over 500 business apps.
Secure SSL encryption.
Financial performance reports.
Quotes, invoicing, bank accounts all visible on dashboard.
Easy conversion from QuickBooks.
|Unlimited invoices and estimates.
Track time and expenses.
Easily accept online. Credit card payments.
Automatically import expenses from your bank account.
Automatically send payment reminders.
Charge late fees for overdue invoices.
Schedule recurring invoices.
|Users and Payroll for Featured Plan||Unlimited users. + $49.95 for Payroll Essentials (up to 10 employees). Call for pricing for more than 10 employees.||5 users. + $11.00/month for Enhanced Payroll or + $41.00/month for Full-Service Payroll and then $2/employee up to 150 employees.||5 users and 1 admin. Payroll services are extra with AccountEdge Pro.||You can give other team members and your accountants access. Payroll for up to 5 employees included in Standard and Premium plans in certain US states only.||For $10 per person/mo you can add team members so they can track time, expenses and help manage your projects.|
|Mobile||iPad, iPhone and Android||iPad, iPhone and Android||iPad and iPhone||iPad, iPhone, Android tablets and Android smartphones||iPhone or iPad, Android|
|Support||Live accounting advice includes online help, peer forums, phone support, accounting professionals and training through “Sage University”||Phone support, online support and QuickBooks tutorials. Access to “Pro Advisor” network.||Telephone support costs extra. Email support responds within 24-48 hours. Community Locator helps you find local assistance for setup and other business needs.||24/7 live support. Developer API support, Advice from an advisor, videos and guides and ongoing training. Regular updates.||Phone support, email support, and integrates with different apps for support.|
|Verdict||Additional add-ons and integrations like expense tracking, direct payments and CRM are convenient but pricey. Its currency features make it a great choice for small businesses that operate internationally, but it doesn’t offer as many tax and business reporting features as other systems. Support services are best in class.||Inuit offers loads of support and a trustworthy service for small to large businesses. Its tax and business report features make it a popular choice. However, the monthly cost including add-ons and payroll can add up quickly.||AccountEdge Cloud offers some great features, but the required AccountEdge Pro and monthly cost/user make this online accounting software pricey. Support is not as good as with other plans.||Xero’s tried and true software is unrivaled in terms of support and usability for individuals. It is a great choice if you want to give multiple team members access and you need a secure cloud system.||Freshbooks is an intuitive and easy-to-use invoicing and accounting software. It’s perfect for tracking hours and expenses so you don’t miss any payments or reimbursements. Invoices can be set up to send automatically. You’ll know when the invoice is opened and viewed by clients. Integrates with different apps.|
|Find out more||More info||More info||More info||More info||More info|
Why would I want to store my accounting data on the cloud?
Cloud accounting can provide multiple benefits for on-the-go small business owners. The variety of options available today means that you will be able to find an online accounting software that fits your needs and budget.
- Access from anywhere. Since all your accounting related data is part of the cloud, you can access the information you need anywhere with a computer, tablet or smartphone, as long as you have internet connectivity. This is particularly beneficial for organizations that work from multiple locations or for small business owners who travel extensively or work remotely. Some companies and plans offer you the ability to work offline with automatic uploading to the cloud once you’re online.
- Access for multiple users. Most online accounting software systems come with options for multiple users, as part of your plan or for an additional monthly fee. You get to decide who gets access to your company’s online accounting system. Employees can manage their own time-tracking and some systems even offer payroll options. Working with your accountant at tax time is much easier when you’re able to give them access to your online accounting software with real time updates.
- Automatic updates. You don’t have to worry about software upgrades anymore, because your online accounting software will continue to update its software periodically. Most plans also include support to help with any major updates.
- Data security. Businesses that offer cloud accounting solutions typically store their data in data centers that make use of the latest technology in security controls, which is normally better than what individual small businesses can afford on their own. Most online accounting software companies also offer data backup and disaster recovery as part of their standard plans.
- Options. Online accounting software companies offer a variety of options to fit small business needs, at a variety of price points. If you’re on a budget and operating solo, you can choose a bare bones package for free or for a low monthly fee. If your business is growing and you have a larger budget with multiple employees, there are plans to fit your needs, too.
- Support. Comprehensive support services are offered by most companies. Online and real time support is a breeze when your entire accounting system is located in the cloud.