Future of Accounting

Top 6 Fave Bookkeeping Programs

Alright, you're ready. You're ready to take your business to the next level and upgrade your systems. Maybe you're still wearing all of the hats in your business, not quite ready to hire a bookkeeper, but anxious to get a true money game plan in place.

And you think--well, I should get a bookkeeping system. All the cool kids use it.

But, YIKES. Do they really all look like something your grandmother would use? Seriously, who even uses their CD-ROM anymore? And why isn't there an app for that?

Have no fear, my dear. There are bookkeeping programs made for the modern, and creative, entrepreneur. Programs that are beautifully designed, intuitive and make the whole bookkeeping experience that much more delightful.

Check out my top 6 bookkeeping programs and why I dig them.

Please note- in order to be on this list, each program had to offer a 30-day free trial. And have an online version. So you can be the jetsetter entrepreneur that you were always meant to be. 

 

  • Xero
    • With a tagline that says "beautiful accounting software", how could you go wrong?
    • Stand-out features: Design! It's simply gorgeous. Multi-currency capability, integrates with hundreds of applications (like CRM, time tracking, inventory, etc) and they have a wealth of small business guides
    • Drawbacks: Although intuitive, if you are not working with an accountant it may be difficult to set up correctly. It has a lot of reporting capabilities, but some accountants may find it to not be as robust as other tools.
    • This is perfect if you are a business owner that has started to earn money and have different pieces to your business like inventory, time tracking or payroll. If you appreciate great design, Xero is really easy on the eyes.
  • Wave
    • The only accounting option that is completely free! The only thing you pay for is payroll, but if you're just starting your business you probably don't need to worry about this.
    • Stand-out features: I repeat, it's free. Beautiful and simple invoicing features where your clients can pay you immediately on their phone. Personal finance feature with budgeting. Also, if you co-mingle your business and personal transactions it's really easy to separate. 
    • Drawbacks: The reporting can be a little tricky to understand because they use accrual and not cash basis reporting (it's a silly accounting thing). Basically, if you send an invoice in October, but don't get paid until November, your reports will show that income was earned in October. Technically, this is the proper accounting (read: according to accountants), but isn't helpful when you are keeping a close eye on your bank account. Your accountant will know how to deal to with this, but if you aren't ready to hire one this can be confusing.
    • This is perfect if you are a business owner that has been in business for under 3 years or are a strictly service based business. If you find it hard to separate your business and personal expenses, this is the best product for you.
  • Freshbooks 
    • They totally believe that billing a client should be painless. I happen to agree. And you should too.
    • Stand-out features: One of the best invoicing options and seamless integration with capturing receipts and tracking time. Super straight forward tool that cuts through the unnecessary accounting hoopla.
    • Drawbacks: By cutting out the accounting hoopla, accountants may not be able to run comprehensive reports. Depending on your business, this may be ok or your accountant can export your file to Quickbooks.
    • This is perfect if you are a business owner who sends a lot invoices and needs to track your time and expenses. If you are a consultant or coach, this is a fabulous choice.
  • Quickbooks Online
    • Everyone and their grandma has heard of Quickbooks. They are one of the most established companies in the world and the first to move accounting from awful paper ledgers. Thank you, Intuit.
    • Stand out features: Extremely customizable reports and the most robust accounting capability for small business owners. Also, every accountant knows how to use Quickbooks and will be comfortable working with your file once you're ready to hire her. If they don't know how to use Quickbooks Online or the Desktop version, I would give them the side-eye.
    • Drawbacks: While they are actively building their online application to keep up with competition, there still spend a lot of time and money to promote their desktop version. (Quickbooks, I love you. But, please stop this.) While I've always had a pleasant experience with their customer service, sometimes the reps are not as knowledgeable on the online version. And unfortunately, modern business owners still view them as a tool for their grandma.
    • This is perfect if you are business owner with lots of varying accounting transactions and want to use something that's tried and true. If you think your business is going to grow to include a lot of different pieces, and you want to make sure your accountant knows how to use it, QBO is a great choice.
  • Kashoo
    • One of the most innovative teams I have ever met in an any industry. Let alone the accounting industry. 
    • Stand-out features: You can create different projects within the system and track their related expenses. You can complete bookkeeping tasks off-line (super rad!) and if you happen to mess up the setup of your bookkeeping system- no worries! When you do find an accountant to work with, Kashoo has made it super easy for them to fix. And it's optimized to work on your iPad---probably why they are the top downloaded accounting application on the iPad.They also have weekly Thursday webinars where they share tips on how to grow your business. 
    • Drawbacks: It doesn't support inventory or integrate with POS systems.
    • This is perfect if you are a service based business owner that considers your work to be primarily project based. If you are an iPad lover, travel often or your accountant still uses Quickbooks Desktop (they have created a seamless integration), Kashoo is awesome.
  • Sage
    • This product will grow with your business and has the capability of handling corporate-level or enterprise functions.
    • Stand-out features: You can create different projects within Sage and if you scale your business, it will grow with you. With a monthly price that starts at $9 per month and extensive reporting capabilities/accounting functionality, it is a great tool. On a branding note, Sage is super supportive of lady entrepreneurs. Loooooove this!
    • Drawbacks: Without an accounting background, it may be a little intimidating. And as you begin to scale, Sage has some pretty heavy competition with products that provide enterprise functionality.
    • This is perfect if you are a business owner that deals with inventory in various locations and want an all-inclusive product.

Do you use any of these programs?  Leave a comment and tell me about it.

Danetha Doe is the author of a Simple Guide to Accounting and Financial Strategy for New Entrepreneurs. She is the founder of Danetha Doe Consulting, a business development agency based in San Francisco. Connect with her on Twitter, @danethadoe.

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Cloud Accounting: My Love Story

Cloud accounting is the most fabulous thing to ever happen to small business owners and financial professionals. As it becomes more mainstream and the novelty wears off, cloud accounting companies need to find creative ways to carve out their unique niche in the market to continue to stay relevant. Read below to hear why, as a girl who loves celebrity gossip, I'm obsessed with this new industry and my advice to them as they grow their businesses.

I remember the first time I heard of "cloud" accounting. I was at my desk, buried under a million spreadsheets and trying to make sense of a thousand invoices and contracts and systems that didn't talk to each other. At the time I was at a ski resort and in charge of making sure our group visitors paid "accurate" invoices. Accurate is the operative word when I had to reconcile lodging, restaurant, ski and Food/Beverage systems that did NOT integrate. At all.

It was during one of those days that I wanted to throw my desktop out onto the ski hill, that I came across a company that had an interesting name. 

Before cloud accounting, my days were dark and lonely.

Before cloud accounting, my days were dark and lonely.

I looked up their website and it was love at first sight. Beautiful accounting software with Tiffany blue all over their marketing material. I literally heard the angels singing and realized this was the only way to get me, or any other accountant who actually liked having a social life, to begin to enjoy their job.

Their name was Xero.

I immediately became a fanatic about cloud accounting and researched all of the other companies within the space. I literally stalked Xero on social media, frantically researched the online version of Quickbooks, Sage,  Wave... Kashoo...Freshbooks (btw, why is Canada so obsessed with accounting? ...hmmm...a peaceful global takeover is brewing. You heard it here first).

All of these companies were popping up and I wanted to tell them all how much I loved them.

Strange coming from a girl who loves watching Keeping up with the Kardashians. But, I've always wanted to work with numbers since I realized at the age of 5 that money could buy me all the Barbies in the entire world and by the age of 8, I was creating budgets and projections for the fun of it.

If you've never been an accountant that knows that they love what they do, but HATES how they have to do it, it would be hard to understand my seemingly manic obsession with these companies. I literally wake up in awe, every single day, about the powerful way these tools are integrating data from various sources and doing it in such an aesthetically pleasing way.

Tissue, please.

Now everyday's my birthday with cloud accounting.

Now everyday's my birthday with cloud accounting.

When I wrote my first post about the future of  accounting a little over a year ago my poor little site crashed and I was contacted by Thompson Reuters because "for an accountant, you write really well."

I knew I was onto something. Because for me, cloud accounting is not just a means to make a TON of money (read here how I scored my first 6-figure client), it's about a lifestyle.

Cloud accounting is a lifestyle that allows someone, who in the past had been forced to be in the background and hide behind computer screens and tax returns, a life of luxury and freedom.

Finally, financial professionals can be jet setters and the trusted go-to experts for small businesses and corporations everywhere.

And it allows young finance professionals to immediately make their mark without waiting for some thirty years to pass before someone finally realizes that they have something fabulous to offer. 

As small business owners and accountants become more comfortable using cloud accounting, and the novelty wears off, it's important that these companies find ways to differentiate themselves.

Cloud accounting is a lifestyle. Rockin my Tieks and drinking champagne while doing my books. HEYYY! #MoneyandMimosas

Cloud accounting is a lifestyle. Rockin my Tieks and drinking champagne while doing my books. HEYYY! #MoneyandMimosas

You can't be everything to everyone. And as soon as you try to be, you'll lose the loyalty of your die-hard fans.

I get questions daily about which accounting program is best for such and such business; and if I wasn't so obsessed with these programs it would be hard for me to share which one is best for each unique business.

As an accountant, I started off by marketing only to beauty and fashion professionals. Why? Simply because I liked fashion shows and was the only financial professional attending these events. A clear brand identity was key for me to make a name for myself as a young professional.

Accounting programs need to do the same thing. There is plenty of room for Kashoo, Wave, Freshbooks, Quickbooks, Sage, Xero and others to all have a piece of the pie.

Having a strong brand identity is essential to making sure any company stays relevant. Especially accounting tools that, on the surface, seem to do the exact same thing.

How should they create a solid brand? Check out my 7 tips:

  1. Get clear on what makes your product different- if you need an example, check out my post on Kashoo. Their partnerships with Paychex and Liberty Tax are fabulous. And they allow an accountant to "copy" a business file just in case a new small business client didn't create theirs correctly.  
  2. Get clear on what you're not- Wave is a free solution and an excellent introduction for business owners. I've recommended them to entrepreneurs who are not quite ready to hire my services or feel that they can handle it themselves. However, Wave does not, and should not, include an eco-system of integrations and sophisticated accounting functions. It's clean and easy, not full of fancy accounting options.
  3. Get clear on who you're speaking to- Freshbooks is a fab example. They are known for invoicing and clearly state that they are for companies with under 9 employees. Genius.
  4. Develop a unique online presence- Xero's website is absolutely gorgeous and speaks to those that are design minded. They also offer a TON of free content supporting small business owners and accountants looking for ways to grow their business.
  5. Capitalize on your established community- Quickbooks clearly has the upper hand and rightfully so. Continue to build with those that already love you. Whether it's sponsoring events put on by your accountants or spotlighting them on your site or social, show them that you LOVE them. 
  6. Have a social mission- Sage is a huge supporter of businesses owned by women. They make this very clear on their social media and events they choose to sponsor. Your users want to know you're human and care about what's going on in the world.
  7. Find unique ways to engage your accountants- Sorry, but a free accounting profile is boring and everyone does it. Get creative.
  8. BONUS: Contact me!-  HA. But for real. This isn't even a shameless plug. Just a plug. Have you seen my portfolio? Click here. If you want to have longevity, start tapping into the 20-something accountant generation.  Just sayin.

Danetha Doe is a product launch strategist and total geek about cloud accounting. She likes giggling, champagne and playing with money. She has worked with brands such as Google and Neutrogena.

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Rockstar Profile: Kashoo's innovative approach to accounting

What does a mountain biker and a world-class singer/songwriter have in common?

An accounting system for their businesses that they love to brag about.

Not something you'd expect when the mere thought of accounting induces heavy sighs and strikes fear in the hearts of most small business owners.

At least until technology took a firm hold of the industry. And companies like Kashoo, based in Vancouver, came on the scene to offer business owners a new way to handle their finances and work with their accountants.

Money and Mimosas™, a daily podcast, covering everything you need to know about accounting & technology is launching this month.   Click here to be the first to know about it!   *Muah*

Money and Mimosas™, a daily podcast, covering everything you need to know about accounting & technology is launching this month. Click here to be the first to know about it! *Muah*

With Kashoo, data entry is virtually eliminated. Allowing business owners to see where they stand in the present moment and removing the burden previously placed on accountants to track down receipts and other mundane tasks.

And while innovation isn't something that accountants are accustomed to seeing, and some may feel that their livelihood is being threatened, the opportunities that Kashoo and other cloud accounting tools are providing is game changing. And accountants stand the chance make a fortune if they are willing to embrace these tools and require their clients switch to mobile applications. For tips on how to hit it big as an financial professional, click here to read how I landed a 6-figure project as an accountant.

This past Wednesday, Greg Fandrick, CMO of Kashoo, led a presentation in Oakland, CA. Just one of the many stops on their tour in the United States to chat with accountants and business owners.

Btw, when was the last time you heard of an accounting company doing a tour? Sounds like rockstar status to me. Yay! #moneyandmimosas

The Oakland presentation was hosted by the Quickbooks and Business Coaches organization and faciliated by its founder, Doug Skinner CEO of Honest Intentions.

Hanging out with Doug Skinner of Honest Intentions and Gary Fandrick, CMO of Kashoo.

Hanging out with Doug Skinner of Honest Intentions and Gary Fandrick, CMO of Kashoo.

Immediately, Fandrick displayed the creativity and innovative flavor that Kashoo embodies with an opening slide that shared the main differences between him and the CEO, Jim Secord. Pointing out the fact that Fandrick has hair. Secord does not. A few laughs from those in attendance, Fandrick went on describe where Kashoo has carved out its niche market and its plans for the future.

Read below for Kashoo's three main competitive advantages:

  1. Offline bookkeeping: their iPad app, which is the #1 accounting app on the iPad with over 150,000 downloads, allows you to perform full accounting tasks without an internet connection.
  2. Integration with Quickbooks: genius move to create a seamless integration with Quickbooks desktop which still, unfortunately, holds 92% of the market. People, puh-lease move to the cloud already.
  3. Whiteboxing: Not a common practice within accounting. Kashoo is allowing more established brands like Paychex and Liberty Tax use their functionality under the guise of their more recognizable name. I believe this is a gorgeous strategic move.

I am so stoked to see how Kashoo's innovative approach to technology will play out and affect how accountants position their services.

Now, I would love to hear from you! As an accountant, how do you think these technological advances are affecting your practice? Or if you work with an accountant, how does this change your relationship? 

Feel free to leave a comment below!

*Muah*

Danetha

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Danetha Doe is a business strategist and product launch expert. Her consulting practice helps businesses launch new apps, services and products and has worked with companies like Google and Audi. You can view her services, here.

 

What your CPA isn't telling you

This past Thursday, I hosted a mixer for my professional community called the Future of Accounting. We have close to 250 members and are sponsored by some of the biggest companies within the Accounting industry.

Our group is full of accountants and fun tech people who are passionate about helping small/medium sized business owners grow.

Since my passion is to help deepen the relationship between you and your CPA, I always like to ask the CPAs who attend, how business is going and how often they hang out with their clients.

Maybe not "hang out" at happy hour, though that would be really cool. But at least get together more than once a year. And it always shocks me when I chat with a CPA, or someone from the firm, that says that they only talk to their clients once a year.

What? You wait until tax time to touch base with your client? What about the rest of the year when they are thinking about hiring a Virtual Assistant, or rolling out a new product or are nervous about the dwindling cash in their bank account? Or want to buy a home? Or or or...

Crickets.

The beauty about working with a CPA is that they see the financials for lots and lots of businesses and can help you grow your business faster than you can do on your own.

Let me phrase this.

If you only talk to your accountant during tax time, you are doing your business a HUGE disservice. And potentially losing out on lots and lots of money.

So often should you meet with your accountant? And what should you go over?

  • I suggest meeting at least once a quarter. Preferably, once a month.
  • You should create and review your monthly and quarterly goals.
  • You should share any changes within your life or business that you're anticipating may affect your company. For example, are you thinking about hiring someone? Or you planning on having a baby which will decrease the amount of time you can spend working on the business for a period of time? Do you want to expand locations? Do you want to purchase a home?

Letting your CPA know about your plans for the future and your income goals, will help them figure out the best course of action for you to take in order to grow your business and save on taxes. Your CPA is also probably well connected within the financial industry and can probably recommend someone who can help with things like budgeting for a baby or purchasing a home.

How often do you meet with your CPA? Let me know in the comments below!

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Danetha Doe is a cloud accounting expert. A business coach and former NFL Cheerleader, she is on a mission to bring sexy back to the world of accounting.

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