Bookkeeping – an extremely important but unsexy part of being an entrepreneur. Or so I thought, until I found this:

Mmm hmm.

Now if only there was accounting software that rewarded my reconciled bank accounts with such beautifully encouraging messages….

*Sigh* Until someone creates such a product we will have to make do. But to be honest, there are some pretty decent options out there! Personally, I work with Freshbooks, Quickbooks and Xero most frequently.

Now, I’m assuming you’ve already done a bit of homework and are trying to decide between one or two brands of software. You can make yourself crazy trying to compare all the details to find the perfect match! In my experience, it comes down to three simple questions…

(If you haven’t done the homework yet, check out this summary of the best small biz accounting software)

Three simple questions to help you pick your accounting software

1. Am I incorporated – or going to be any time soon?

If you’re a sole proprietor and have no plans to incorporate …

… then you don’t necessarily need full-blown accounting software. As a sole prop you need something that allows you to invoice clients, track expenses and generate reports for tax time. Basic bookkeeping. Why make things more complicated than they need to be?

Freshbooks does all three of these things simply and beautifully. I know from personal experience as I used it myself in my first few years of business and really loved it!

If you are incorporated…

… then you are required to provide more detailed information at tax time, and Freshbooks likely isn’t going to cut it. In addition to invoicing, expenses and tax reports, you’ll also need to track the assets and liabilities of your company, and the separation of business and personal transactions is even more important. If you have employees then you definitely need some serious software!

The two brands I work with most are Quickbooks and Xero. They are very comparable in terms of pricing and functionality, so if you’re trying to decide between the two of them then read on for the next question.

2. Do I feel excited to use this?

Unless you outsource your bookkeeping to a professional, you’re going to be spending a fair amount of time with your accounting software. Makes sense that you’d want to pick something that you (at least kind of) enjoy using, right?!

I give you permission to judge a book by it’s cover and veto any software that looks ugly or turns you off. Notice how you feel when you click around the brand’s website and watch the demo video. Call up the customer service team and see if you vibe. Download a free trial and test out exactly how your money date is going to look.

If you really couldn’t care less about feeling excited to use it, there’s one more question to get you to The One.

3. What does my accountant recommend?

If you’re still stuck between two options you might as well go with the one that will make for a more seamless transition with your accountant at tax time. While most of the big brand software will be acceptable, it’s possible your accountant prefers to work with one specific brand – and perhaps can get you a discount if you sign up through them! Win – win.

Don’t have an accountant yet? I’d love to meet you and help you find the right accounting software for your biz 🙂 Send me a message here!

Need help getting your accounting software up and running?

Tried calling tech support only to find they can’t help you with the actual bookkeeping part?

Think of me as your accounting coach! I’ve helped lots of small biz owners figure out how to use their software to feel confident and organized – and I can help you too. Get in touch.

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