Small businesses come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, some ventures aren’t exactly that small either, but no matter because they all share common characteristics. If you’re running a small business then you’ll need to take care of your bookkeeping, do the accounts and also get everything ready for when tax filing time comes around.
While there is the option to let someone else do a lot of this for you, in the shape of a CPA or accountancy practice, there are actually plenty of tools on the market that make light work of doing business admin yourself.
You can even get free small business accounting tools, although best results are definitely achieved more easily if you’re prepared to pay something to get all of the benefits of a professional-level accounts package.
We’ve spent a good deal of time picking over the many different software packages that are on the market, so here’s an insight into what to go for, depending on the type of business you run.
- We've put together a list of the best accounting software
- Get your finances in order with the best personal finance software
- Also check out the best bookkeeping software on the market
It goes without saying that the basis of running a small business is to keep things as well organized as possible. This requires a little bit of self-discipline, which if you’re not the world’s most organized person could possibly prove to be a little bit of a challenge.
Thanks to many different software solutions though the task is way simpler than it used to be.
Of course, you’ll need to get yourself a business bank account, which will form the basis of keeping your small business on the straight and narrow.
On top of that though you’ll want to make a point of recording all your expenses, get into a regular bookkeeping rhythm and generally keeping track of everything that comes in and goes out of your small business accounts system.
Thankfully, there are many different software solutions for handling not only small business accounts, but also taxation, billing and invoicing plus countless other tasks that fall under the remit of running a successful venture.
We’ve got comprehensive guides on all of these aspects of small business ownership, and more besides.
To get a better idea of how each of these component parts can help your business stay in great shape and be better prepared for the future, including paying those taxes, we’ll have a pick through the various options.
We’ll help you to drill down into some of the specific packages designed to make light of everyday small business activities.
At the root of any decent small business is a rock-solid accountancy package. Frequently, these are now cloud-based, meaning that you invariably don't have to worry about downloading any software (though options to do that do exist).
On top of that, the real bonus is that just as long as you have an internet connection you can keep your accounts up to date anytime and from just about any location too.
The main thing to remember when selecting an online accounting package is to ensure that it fulfils all of your expectations. It's far better to get the right package early on than try to backtrack and start again halfway through a tax year.
Keeping on top of your bookkeeping is vital, and many of the current cloud-based accountancy tools make light work of that very task.
You don't even need any experience in bookkeeping or accountancy to operate most of them, which is a definite bonus.
- Check out the best expense tracker apps and software
While many accounts software packages will enable you to cover most bases when it comes to keeping track of small business activity, there are other supplementary software options too.
Expense tracking is a big part of the picture for many small business owners who travel, run vehicles or have employees that do the same.
There are numerous software options on the market that do a great job of letting you manage expenses, keep track of the costs involved and also reimburse any employees with costs where needed.
You might also want to consider standalone budgeting software too, which is often aimed at individuals or freelancers, but can also be employed to get a better picture of how a bigger businesses need to plan for the future.
- We've also highlighted the best invoicing software
Meanwhile, staying on top of everyday accounts and doing the bookkeeping is a necessary task, the key aspect of running a small business is being in good shape come tax filing time.
If you run any kind of venture, and that includes everything from being a sole proprietor, or being self-employed through to a larger concern that employs lots of people, the main thing to consider is tax.
Paying taxes is something we all have to do, so you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got a software package that can handle that side of things too. Some cloud-based software applications can handle both accountancy chores and tax duties too.
As you’ll see from our guides on small business accountancy, taxation and more besides, there are lots of different options available. If you have relatively basic requirements you may even find that some of the free packages will do the job just fine.
However, it isn’t really worth skimping when it comes to the software you'll need for tackling bookkeeping, accountancy and tax.
The great thing about many of the software packages we feature in our guides is the way that there’s often a version to suit individual needs and requirements. In fact, many applications can be fine-tuned so that you only end up paying for the features that you need.
After all, there’s little point in paying for a super-advanced package if you’re a sole trader or freelancer who only really requires a ‘lite’ edition of an accountancy package. At the same time, it's good to know you can find plenty of really beefy accountancy and tax packages on the market that let you do it all, including getting stuck into your tax returns.
It’s all out there at your disposal; you just need to spend a little bit of time going through our guides to find out which of the cloud-based software solutions are best suited to your size and type of business.
- Take a look at our roundup of the best tax software for small businesses