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Best bookkeeping software of 2021

Best bookkeeping software
(Image credit: Pixabay)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best bookkeeping software can help you manage your business finances with ease and efficiency.

The best bookkeeping software

Click the links below to go to the provider's website:

 

1. Zoho Books

2. QuickBooks

3. FreshBooks

4. SlickPie

5. Kashoo

This is especially as bookkeeping software offers a dedicated platform for working through profit and loss tables, and is much easier than using either paper ledgers or even spreadsheets.

Bookkeeping software makes it easy to call up live cashflow numbers, and provide details of tax liabilities on the fly, along with other useful information.

There's usually a degree of cross over between bookkeeping software and accounting software, and even invoice and billing software, due to the fact that all are based on income and outcome records and the processing of them. However, different platforms offer different degrees of focus.

Here we'll feature the financial accounting software platforms we think are best suited to general bookkeeping, both in terms of general usability and features as well as price.

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(Image credit: Zoho)

1. Zoho Books

Small business bookkeeping software

Reasons to buy
+Cloud-based+Mobile apps+Price competitive+Best for small business
Reasons to avoid
-No fixed assets register

The software giant Zoho has a bookkeeping solution that is perfect for small businesses, especially online retailers or any business that is stock or service-based.

It can generate invoices and reminders, provide current stock numbers, import bank statements into the system and automatically categorize them.

And, once you’ve got all the critical data input into Zoho Books, it can generate profit & loss, balance sheets or one of thirty other important reports easily.

A big plus for this solution is that Zoho has developed mobile apps that allow a business owner away from the office to send quotes, review projects, and have an overview of critical financials.

Another great feature is that, for a small extra fee, Zoho Books can be used with a scanner to capture paper invoices and extract data from them using OCR.

The cost of Zoho Books is very modest, considering how much time it could save a small business owner.

The bottom tier basic plan supports two users, five automated workflows and can handle fifty contracts. Additional users can be added for a fee.

And, Zoho has higher tiers with more users, more workflows and more contracts.

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(Image credit: Intuit)

2. QuickBooks

Popular bookkeeping software

Reasons to buy
+Easy-to-use +Mobile access+Inexpensive
Reasons to avoid
-User numbers limit is low

Intuit first bookkeeping solution was DOS-based Quicken that over time evolved into QuickBooks launched in 1992. Today Intuit boasts more than 29 million customers using a QuickBooks product and 80% of those are small businesses.

As you might expect with such a mature product, QuickBooks has all the features a small business owner might want or need. It can invoice, project cash flow, track mileage, run payroll, and in some regions, it will even complete the financial part of tax returns.

It has no limits on transactions or invoices, can chase later payers automatically, and you can snap and store receipts using an Apple iOS or Android phone or tablet easily.

This is bookkeeping the easy way, and it even interfaces to PayPal.  

The basic package allows you to send invoices, take payments, track income and outcome, as well as manage bills and taxes. More advanced plans introduce additional features such as time management, additional reports, inventory tracking, and more, for a higher monthly fee.

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(Image credit: FreshBooks)

3. FreshBooks

Cloud bookkeeping with collaboration

Reasons to buy
+Supports multiple businesses+Team collaboration baked in
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks stock control

FreshBooks is a web-based accountancy solution that 5 million businesses use regularly. It combines accessibility, flexibility and affordability to provide a solution that many sole proprietors and small businesses can’t easily ignore.

Where is diverges from the likes of QuickBooks and Xero is that FreshBooks has team collaboration as a pivotal part of its design.

This capability allows those in sales to focus on the task at hand while those managing cash flow can be aware of new business as it happens. The collaboration can also be extended to vendors and suppliers, keeping them in the loop.

To keep business moving along smoothly, FreshBooks offers extensive automation to drive early invoices and chase when payments are overdue.

The only significant weakness is a lack of any stock management component, making it unsuitable for those who sell products exclusively, or that bundle them with other services.

Whatever tier you choose, this isn’t an expensive service and represents excellent value for money.

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(Image credit: SlickPie)

4. SlickPie

Feature-packed free bookkeeping software

Reasons to buy
+Free option+Multi-company+Unlimited users
Reasons to avoid
-Needs some accountancy knowledge

SlickPie is aimed at the microbusiness sector, potentially selling through eBay or similar, that needs to send invoices, process payments, reconcile bank transactions, create quotes and estimates and track expenses.

There are lots of small businesses that could use those features, and SlickPie can be accessible from any computer or mobile device, and work with multiple businesses under one roof.

Let’s imagine that you run a catering business with an associated venue and entertainment organizer. SlickPie can manage all three business, allocating costs and expenses to each company, but providing centrally managed accounts.

What attracts many to SlickPie initially is that the Starter version is free, and you can have as many users as you like without restriction.

What’s even more remarkable about the free version is that with a few small exceptions, it offers identical features to the paid Pro tier.

The only differences are that the Free version only supports ten companies, where the paid can handle fifty. And, support is email and telephone for paying customers where only email is available for free.

For many potential customers, these differences aren’t critical, and the free release will be perfectly acceptable. Though, some aspects of this tool do assume some knowledge of accountancy practices.

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(Image credit: Kashoo)

5. Kashoo

The simple bookkeeping solution

Reasons to buy
+Cheap+Computer and mobile platform support+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks stock control

Kashoo is a basic bookkeeping solution that you can access from any computer or mobile device, and is aimed especially at small businesses.

The core features are the ability to track expenses, create invoices, take payments, interface to bank feeds, report on activity and provide financial insights.

These are exactly the features that any small business needs if they are not to stumble at the first cashflow hurdle or be overloaded by accountancy tasks.

Our only reservation about Kashoo is that the features have a strong American slant, as outside that region businesses rarely print checks, for example.

However, there are plenty of globally useful features, like the ability to take credit card payments using Stripe and BluePay. And it offers payroll management.

What it lacks is a stock control component, and it also doesn’t include any fixed asset management.

These facilities are available elsewhere, but probably not at the relatively low cost of Kashoo.

There are no price tiers, however, you are charged extra if you have multiple businesses.