Best Accounting & Budgeting Software66Software for tracking revenues and expenses and forecasting future revenue.Foundation Software1https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/cc/2G/1ZVJ6XC50VNK.JPEGFiserv Prologue Financials2https://media.trustradius.com/vendor-logos/vn/NC/GX0XQ8WDVXF1-180x180.PNGFiserv Vantage3https://media.trustradius.com/vendor-logos/vn/NC/GX0XQ8WDVXF1-180x180.PNG

Accounting & Budgeting Software

Best Accounting & Budgeting Software

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Accounting & Budgeting Software Overview

What is Business Accounting Software?

Accounting Software records and processes accounting transactions and serves as an accounting information system from which decision makers or company accountants can monitor business processes and generate financial reports.

Their essential feature is an interactive financial dashboard with a general ledger for handling double-entry bookkeeping. Common features to this class of software are as follows:

  • Means of tracking company inventory and purchase orders
  • Sales tracking
  • Automated invoicing
  • Receipt capture via document or image processing
  • Timekeeping
  • Analytics for budgeting and revenue tracking
  • Financial reporting
  • Accounts payable/accounts receivable functions.
These features are either contained intrinsically (within the accounting software) or managed via integration with third-party software that performs these functions in a modular fashion (e.g. dedicated AR or AP software, Expense Management Software, Image Capture Software, etc.).

An automated ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system contains all of these functions (or supports integration with the requisite modules), thus these products appear in this category as well. However ERPs are often industry specific or scaled to the needs of larger companies and may represent overkill for seekers of pure and simplified accounting solutions for their business.

Some vendors offer specialized accounting software dedicated to handling the regulatory and reporting needs specific to some industries, like construction or manufacturing. Either an all-in-one solution or a package bundled with smaller, dedicated integratable modules could be the best approach, depending on business needs.

Small Business Accounting Software

Accounting & Budgeting Software offerings vary a great deal in complexity. Simple, inexpensive or free platforms are available for entrepreneurs and smaller companies, while medium-sized or larger companies may find use for more complex software possessing a greater breadth of features or deeper processing capacity and higher usage limit caps (like unlimited invoicing or the ability of a larger number of users to access the system).

QuickBooks, FreshBooks, and Wave Accounting are some of the leading products suited to small business. QuickBooks requires training for new users, but it is convenient to use with an accountant and other financial services, because most providers in the space are already familiar with it. FreshBooks is a bit simpler and requires less training; Wave Accounting is free and aimed at businesses with fewer than 10 employees. When evaluating accounting tools, small businesses may want to pay particular attention to these areas:
  • Cost
  • Usability and training requirements
  • Efficiency
  • Scalability and limitations, including number of customers/invoices/users/transactions per month
  • Customer support
  • Reporting
  • Mobile functionality
  • CPA access (unless you manage your own finances)
  • Credit card processing, tax preparation, and payroll services
  • Integrations to third-party tools

Cloud Accounting Software

Traditionally, accounting software products were installed locally on servers located in the firm's location (on-premises or desktop software), and this kind of accounting software is still widely used today. Following the dominant trend in the broader software market though, many newer products are offered as cloud products, delivered over the Internet and accessed with a web browser.

Older, on-premise-based installed products are sometimes offered in “hosted” deployments, but this is not the same thing. “Cloud” usually means Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) where the vendor manages the software application and the entire hosting infrastructure on behalf of all customers. The product is designed to be deployed in this one-to-many model and customers access the product through a simple web browser.

Xero, Wave, Intacct (acquired by Sage), and NetSuite are examples of cloud accounting vendors. On-premise vendors such as QuickBooks and Sage now offer cloud products as well. Read more about cloud vs. on-premise trend in Accounting software.

Accounting & Budgeting Features & Capabilities

General ledger features make up the core of most accounting & budgeting platforms. Inventory, order, and payroll management features may be included as modules within the platform, or may be handled by third-party plug-ins; some of these features are industry specific.

Accounting & Budgeting tools also include reporting and customization/integration features (like dashboards and an API for custom integrations) that are common across many software categories. Additional capabilities are relevant for accounting firms who manage finances for multiple businesses.

General Ledger Features

The general ledger is a record of transactions and balances. These features comprise the basic bookkeeping functionality of the software:
  • Accounts payable and receivable
  • Cash management
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Expense management
  • Time tracking
  • Fixed asset management
  • Multi-currency and multi-division support
  • Regulations compliance
  • Electronic tax filing
  • Self-service portal

Inventory Management Features

These features give businesses the ability to track and manage the flow of goods or materials into and out of an inventory. They are relevant to industries with physical inventories, like retailers and suppliers. Inventory management functionality addresses:
  • Inventory tracking
  • Automatic reordering
  • Location management
  • Manufacturing module

Order Management Features

This feature set gives businesses the ability to process orders and track them from quote to cash. Order management is relevant to businesses that deal in services or goods and materials. For example, eCommerce retail vendors need to manage product orders and pool maintenance companies need to manage work orders. Basic order management features are:
  • Pricing
  • Order entry
  • Credit card processing
  • Calculating cost of goods sold

Payroll Management Features

Payroll management features are relevant for handling the costs and money flow associated with a company's workforce. These may be more or less sophisticated depending on the scale of the business and the type of employees (e.g. full time, part time, contractors, etc). Payroll management features include:
  • Pay calculation
  • Benefit plan administration
  • Direct deposit files
  • Salary revision and increment management
  • Reimbursement management

Accounting Firm BPO Features

BPO stands for Business Process Outsourcing. These features are relevant to accounting firms using the product on behalf of clients:
  • Branded dashboards, with a unique view for each client with the accounting form name and logo displayed
  • Client roll-up capabilities that allow users to aggregate data for multiple entities within one client (e.g. data for all convenience stores within a certain zip code)
  • Data consolidation across clients within a vertical market to provide a benchmark for performance measurement/comparison
  • Configurable alerts for overdue forms and materials
  • Billing bypass options (software vendor bills firm; firm bills clients)
  • Client template cloning for setup, report format, and dashboards
  • Single sign-on for access to all customer accounts
  • Configurable client onboarding questions
  • Cross-client workflow management
  • Industry-specific versioning
  • Legacy system data migration

Pricing Information

Accounting software is most frequently offered on a subscription or perpetual license basis. For very small use cases, some software is offered on a 1-purchase basis. For small businesses, subscriptions are available for less than $100/month. however, pricing can increase and vary more as buyers' accounting needs scale in size and complexity. Products for larger organizations may be priced by the modules selected within the product, required integrations, or number of transactions or users.

For large businesses and enterprises, accounting capabilities are frequently included with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) products. These platforms can be much more expensive than standalone accounting software. ERPs can also provide additional capabilities that may be more efficient to bundle with accounting processes if a businesses needs both products.

Accounting & Budgeting Products

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Foundation Software headquartered in Strongsville, Ohio offers their construction accounting and payroll software. The vendor states that their job costing construction accounting software is designed to be easy to use and provides the accounting and management tools needed to run a successful co...

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Prologue Financials from Fiserv, a fully integrated accounting solution, features enhanced, built-in automation and controls and a newly designed user interface, enabling users to increase the efficiency of financial accounting processes.

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Vantage from Fiserv helps the user achieve planning, budgeting and reporting objectives by providing accurate data and a flexible tool set from which to work. Its easy-to-use features are designed to improve productivity and decision making.