Top Cloud Accounting Apps: Who You Need to Know and Why

It's finally March, and that means three things: 1) college basketball; 2) staggering decline in dedication to New Year's resolutions; and, 3) tax crunch time. Because I don't know enough about college basketball to trash talk, and I'd hate to judge your resolution attempts via the Internet, let's stick to the third item on my list - taxes (and accounting in general).

Tax season often serves as a time to shove our heads in the ground, avoiding the inevitable barrage of questioning and paperwork from your accountant, and let's not hope, the IRS. But it's also a time for reflection and learning lessons about proper financial management and communication. It's a time for making new goals and implementing new systems. It's a time for you to hand every scrappy piece of paper to your accountant, while hesitantly grinning, "Bonne chance!"

But this time of year doesn’t have to be so dreadful. Actually, accounting and bookkeeping can be rather fun with the right tools. With the latest cloud accounting software, you can easily keep your team and accountant up-to-speed on business numbers throughout the year. You’ll spend less time digging for information, and more time selling, making money, watching basketball, and any other desirable thing that doesn't involve taxes, accounting, etc.

 

Here are a few cloud accounting software options that streamline the books all year-round:

1. Xero
With a quick Google News search, you’ll find New Zealand's golden startup child “Xero” along with “growth” plastered on just about every business and accounting news outlet online. It’s no secret that Xero's powerful accounting platform is quickly luring in global accountants along with small business owners, and with good reason. The sleek, stylish cloud accounting software tool is bringing sexy back when it comes to financial reporting. (Or maybe it’s just bringing it, period.) This is a prime example of how cloud tools are legitimizing themselves among the small business sector through beautiful, intelligent software. The fear of “data in the cloud” is becoming obsolete, along with other clunky desktop services. People find value in numbers and with its recent announcement of its whopping 250,000 customer-base, Xero’s meteoric rise will surely perpetuate more growth. What does this mean for you? Well, it means a more competitive marketplace of accounting options, which will lead to an increase in control over your business. It also means less stress-eating (re: 2014 resolution) and avoiding your accountant’s emails of despair.

 

2. Quickbooks Online (Intuit)
If Xero is scaling the great walls of international accounting software, then Quickbooks Online (QBO) is the one perched upon the highest tower, flying its patriotic, American flag with pride. QBO smashes Xero’s user base with its latest announcement that 561,000 businesses are paying for its services, and of those, 45,000 were added in the last quarter alone. In case you’re not keeping track, that is a lot of users. Quickbooks makes the US seem almost impenetrable to the New Zealand based startup, but don't be fooled, things can move quickly when you're as agile as cloud software applications. QBO is a prime example of an organization that is making strong moves to shift from desktop services to online, so if you're currently using their desktop platform, I highly urge you to check out QBO.

And let's not forget the beast behind QuickBooks. With a powerhouse like Intuit, you're sure to find a credible, intelligent team deeply engrained in the small business sector. They know who you are, what you need, and when you need it.

 

3. Freshbooks
Looking for more options, eh? Freshbooks, the Toronto-based service provider is quite comparable to big names above. Starting out as a billing solution, Freshbooks now boasts features such as simple time tracking, expenses and basic client management. With its 5 million users, I’d say if you’re looking for an option your peers are using, this one is surely it. If you are currently a Quickbooks Desktop user and not ready to make the full jump to QBO, Freshbooks recently launched a new feature that allows you to send Journal Entries straight to your Desktop application. This may be a great way to get your feet wet without fully committing. (Although, with all of these services above, a free trial is offered for such a reason.)

 

As you poke around each of the cloud accounting applications, keep in mind that most are going to be iterating on their product as they grow. Why does this matter? As a small business user, this is crucial. If you’re working with Excel Spreadsheets or stale systems, there is going to be very little headway on future versions carrying a true impact for your business. Think about if you kept using the same system, while your competitors continue to accelerate simply because their operational systems are more optimized. This is not something you want to risk. By leaning on cloud solutions, you’ll be able to see those platforms grow with your business, and often times - take your feedback directly to their development teams.

For more information on any of these cloud accounting tools for small businesses, and how they work with Stitch's inventory management software, feel free to reach out to our team at support@stitchlabs.com or comment below!

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