October 28, 2022
How To Enter Credit Card Charges in QuickBooks Desktop
If you’re using credit cards to purchase items or pay bills in QuickBooks Desktop, then you need to know how to enter the charges correctly so that you have accurate financial statements. Today, we’ll teach you how to enter credit card charges in QuickBooks Desktop Pro and Premier. We’ll cover the regular method and a shortcut to consider. If you don’t have QuickBooks Desktop, our best small business accounting software, there are several QuickBooks Desktop products to choose from. All of them, including Premier, come with a 60-day money-back guarantee. How To Enter Credit Card Charges Using the Shortcut Method Why Enter Credit Card Charges in QuickBooks Desktop Recording credit card charges in QuickBooks Desktop helps you: Reconcile your credit card account easily Catch billing errors in your credit card account Take better control of your finances with a detailed analysis of your spending Make life easier during tax time Wrap Up You now know how to enter credit card charges in using the regular and shortcut methods. Again, be cautious when using the shortcut because while it’s faster, the information you can record in QuickBooks Desktop is limited. If you’re considering switching to QuickBooks Online, be sure to check out our tutorial on how to convert QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online.
October 28, 2022
Drake Tax Software Review: Features & Pricing 2023
Drake Tax is an affordable robust tax software, making it a great investment for firms that file a low volume of individual and state tax returns. It includes all state programs and allows you to prepare multiple state returns for a single business at no additional charge. It also has useful features, such as LookBack and DoubleCheck, and hardware add-ons that will save you time and streamline the process of filing tax returns. Its pay-per-return pricing starts at $345 for 10 individual returns, plus $44.99 per business return while unlimited individual and business returns cost $1,825. Drake Tax Deciding Factors Drake Tax Alternatives Drake Tax Pricing Drake Tax offers three packages: Power Bundle, Unlimited, and Pay-Per-Return. The main difference is that Power Bundle includes access to Drake Accounting and Payroll software, whereas the others offer it as an add-on. Drake Tax Features Drake Tax offers several useful features, including the ability to prepare multistate returns and a DoubleCheck diagnostic tool. Automatic data flow: Drake Tax allows for automatic data flow from a federal return to state and city returns, with override options. It also creates automatic credits for taxes paid to other jurisdictions and auto-fills from ZIP code and employer identification number (EIN) entries. Multistate returns: You can create an unlimited number of state returns for each federal return at no additional cost. LookBack: This allows you to view the prior year’s tax return data, which can be useful for comparing information. You can use a keyboard shortcut to toggle the view between LookBack and the current view. Hardware add-ons: Drake Tax lets you simplify tax preparation by using optional hardware add-ons such as a barcode scanner, which enables importing data from W-2s or K-1s with 2D barcodes. You can also add an e-signature pad, which allows clients to digitally sign returns. DoubleCheck: It’s a diagnostic tool that can track any changes that affect verified data entry items. If it detects any changes, it will flag them for review automatically. SecureFilePro: If you’re seeking paperless options, SecureFilePro allows users to obtain source documents from their clients electronically for tax preparation. Drake Tax Customer Support Drake Tax provides customer support via telephone, email, and online forms. New users are invited to view a series of online videos, which provide more information on how to use the software. Other learning resources include Drake CPE, which offers self-study, on-demand, and annual filing season program courses, online reference guides, and a user manual. Drake Tax Ease of Use Drake Tax is very user-friendly, and navigation is intuitive. It has many features that help you ensure that information is accurate, including the LookBack and DoubleCheck diagnostic tool. The ability to add hardware, such as a barcode scanner and e-signature pad, also makes life easier for you and your clients as it eliminates the need for paperwork. Drake Tax User Reviews Drake Tax reviews show that users found the software easy to learn and use. They also appreciated its affordable price and the fact that it alerts you to any potential errors while preparing the return. However, some felt that the built-in customer relationship manager (CRM) isn’t robust enough for their practice and have felt the need to supplement it with another software, such as TaxDome. The software earned the following average scores on popular review sites: Trustpilot: 4.3 out of 5 based on around 170 reviews Capterra: 4.1 out of 5 based on around 70 reviews G2: 4.6 out of 5 based on about 25 reviews Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) How much does Drake Tax cost? Drake Tax has three different pricing options: $1,975 for the Power Bundle, which includes its proprietary accounting and payroll software; $1,825 for unlimited returns; and $345 for the Pay-Per-Return option, which includes 10 individual returns. Additional individual returns are $29.99 each, and additional business returns are $44.99 each. You can file an unlimited number of state returns. Does Drake Tax have a tax organizer? Yes, it does. Does Drake Tax allow multiple users? Yes, you can add as many users as you like for free. Bottom Line is an excellent option for firms wanting the ability to prepare any type of income tax return, and it offers many of the same features as pricier software, such as a tax planner and client organizer. It also provides the ability to add hardware, including an e-file signature pad. Its affordable price and intuitive design make it an ideal fit for low-volume tax preparers looking for a flexible tax software solution.
October 27, 2022
Bookkeeper360 Review: Features, Pricing & Alternatives
Founded in 2012, Bookkeeper360 is a financial technology firm that offers accounting and cloud-based bookkeeping and business advisory services. As a Xero Platinum partner, Bookkeeper360 provides seamless integration with Xero’s cloud-based accounting software. Pricing starts at $399 per month for companies with up to $20,000 in monthly expenses and new customers get 20% off for the first three months. Bookkeeper360 Deciding Factors Bookkeeper360 New Feature 2023 Bookkeeper360 users can now access Marketplace. This section shows you all third-party software products that can integrate with Bookkeeper360. You can access apps in the following categories: lending, payroll, payments, ecommerce, sales tax, crypto, and business services. The new Bookkeeper360 Marketplace is a place where you can connect third-party apps that can integrate with Bookkeeper360 services. New customers can get exclusive discounts from these services. Take note that not all third-party integrations offer special discounts and offers. Bookkeeper360 Alternatives Bookkeeper360 is an excellent software and bookkeeping service in terms of service quality. However, it scored low in pricing because it’s quite expensive compared to other competitors. We think that very small businesses with limited budgets might find their services expensive. They offer several solutions for business owners and, because of the price of these different types of services, the total cost will vary. Below are the costs for the three subscription plans that Bookkeeper360 offers for core bookkeeping services. Any services beyond bookkeeping—such as payroll, human resources (HR), taxes, or keeping your books up-to-date—are available at an additional cost. New customers can get 20% off of their monthly service charge for the first three months. Up to $20,000 in Monthly Expenses Upon enrollment, you’ll be assigned a dedicated bookkeeper who will work with you to determine the best strategy for your business. Bookkeeper360 assigns United States-based bookkeepers to keep your books up to date. Its bookkeepers are employees, not contractors or freelancers. If you need help, you can call them via phone or set up unlimited meetings with your dedicated bookkeeper. You can also reach out to your dedicated adviser through the Tasks section, which eliminates the need to email your bookkeeper if you have questions. Instead, you can create a task for your bookkeeper, set a due date, and wait for them to get back to you. This feature is comfortable because the communication happens within the Bookkeeper360 interface. When you sign up for Bookkeeper360, you’ll be assigned a dedicated bookkeeper who will meet with you over the phone to create a service strategy that meets your needs. That includes determining the frequency of the service and deciding whether you require services in addition to bookkeeping, such as payroll and HR or tax filing. Then, you’ll connect Bookkeeper360 to your accounting system—either QuickBooks or Xero—and work online collaboratively with your bookkeeper to manage your finances. If you need to reach your bookkeeper, you can do so at any time via email, live chat, or phone. Meetings to review financial reports are scheduled on a monthly basis and are conducted by phone. The bookkeeper will also grant you access to their screen so that you can view your books. Bookkeeper360 allows the accrual basis of accounting with its bookkeeping service. If you’re using the cash basis, Bookkeeping360 will handle the accruals and deferrals for you. The dedicated bookkeeper will meet you monthly to fix your books and generate monthly reports. Excluded in the bookkeeping service would be customer invoicing, inventory management, and vendor billing because these fall under a separate product called Back-office services. Bookkeeper360 offers tax services that include individual or business income tax filings, local tax filings, 1099 reporting, and overall tax planning and compliance. Included in the tax services is tax advisory, where you can consult your dedicated tax advisor for tax-related matters. Aside from tax, the Bookkeeper360 team will work with you to analyze your financials and determine a strategy to manage and grow your business through the CFO advisory program. This separate service includes capital management and business coaching. With a CFO, you can optimize your business, minimize costs, and maximize profits through effective planning, organizing, and monitoring. The CFO will help in determining and evaluating key performance indicators, performing profitability analysis, developing a growth strategy, and optimizing cash flow. If you’re planning to expand your business but need additional capital, the CFO will help you forecast the business’s financials, craft business plans, and determine the optimal capital structure. Bookkeeper360 User Reviews There are few Bookkeeper360 reviews from users. However, most scores are high. Since the software works best when integrated with QuickBooks and Xero, we took user scores from the app stores of these accounting software. QuickBooks App Store: 4.7 out of 5 stars based on around 20 reviews Xero App Store: 4.9 out of 5 stars based on about 30 reviews Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Does Bookkeeper360 offer catch-up bookkeeping? Yes. It can update your books even if they’re way behind, but you have to tell your dedicated bookkeeper during the first meeting so that they know where to start. Do I need to have accounting software installed before using Bookkeeper360? Yes, you need to be a QuickBooks or Xero subscriber. Subscriptions to these accounting software are excluded from Bookkeeper360’s monthly fees. What’s the difference between cash-basis and accrual-basis accounting? Under cash-basis accounting, revenues and expenses are recorded when cash is paid or received. On the other hand, accrual accounting records revenue and expenses when earned or incurred. Learn more in our cash- vs accrual-basis accounting method comparison, which also covers when to use each. Bottom Line is an accounting solution designed to help businesses view financial data, streamline bookkeeping operations, and track goals on a unified platform. It allows business owners to create business and financial plans, conduct cost and margin analysis, generate income statements, and calculate sales taxes. Moreover, Bookkeeper360 integrates with two of our best small business accounting software, QuickBooks Online and Xero. The price is a bit high, and we recommend Bookkeeper360 for startup and growing companies.
October 27, 2022
GnuCash Review: Pricing, Features, Alternatives
GnuCash is an open-source personal finance and small business accounting software that helps you manage and track your bank accounts, stocks, income, and expenses. Its features include statement reconciliation, scheduled transactions, double-entry accounting, and a checkbook-style register for tracking cash flow. It’s available for free and can be downloaded to multiple platforms. GnuCash Deciding Factors GnuCash Accounting Software Alternatives Fit Small Business Case Study We used the case study method to evaluate GnuCash’s features across 11 key areas that are essential for small business accounting software. Here are the results of our study: GnuCash and Lendio Accounting are both free—GnuCash is a desktop software while Lendio Accounting is web-based. However, GnuCash falls short in inventory, project accounting, ease of use, and mobile app. Moreover, we’d like to give emphasis on its ease of use. The software is hard to use, and it’s even harder than QuickBooks Online. Most first-time users of QuickBooks Online find it overwhelming—but wait until you see GnuCash’s interface. We placed QuickBooks Online as a third software in the comparison so that you’ll see how GnuCash stacks with paid software products, and it compares well in terms of banking, A/P, and A/R areas. Though it isn’t as good as Lendio and QuickBooks Online, we still believe that GnuCash, being an open source accounting software, presents a lot of opportunities for a very niche group of users. GnuCash is completely free, but its team of volunteers created a for those wanting to contribute to the open-source community. It’s available to download for Linux, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS X devices. GnuCash Features Despite being free software, GnuCash offers an extensive list of features designed to simplify small business accounting functions. Below is an overview of some of its most notable features. Assisted Bookkeeping Options We haven’t seen any bookkeeping service catering to GnuCash users in our research. Also, GnuCash doesn’t offer bookkeeping assistance of any kind on its website. Integrations There are no direct integrations with GnuCash based on its support page. However, we think that integration is possible since GnuCash is open-source software. Frequently Asked Questions How long has GnuCash been around? GnuCash has been around since 1998, mainly for personal finance. In 2001, it added small business accounting. Is GnuCash really free? Yes, GnuCash is totally free with no hidden charges, ads, and in-app purchases. When you download and install it, you can use all its features. It’s perfect for startups and small businesses that can’t afford paid accounting software. Is GnuCash secure? GnuCash is a desktop application, not a cloud-based software. It stores data where you choose like in your desktop’s hard drive, so if your hard drive gets destroyed physically or by a virus, then you’ll lose all data. Bottom Line is a free software product that doesn’t have hidden charges or credit card requirements. Like most open-source software, it’s difficult to use. The interface is old-school, and even experienced bookkeepers will need time to learn the program. If you have plans to modify the source code to enhance GnuCash, we recommend speaking with a programmer. Overall, if you’re looking for software that can be used “out of the box,” there are better free options available, like .
October 25, 2022
A Checklist for Your Small Business Internal Controls
Internal controls are important for all businesses, regardless of nature, size, and type. When I was at the university, we created an accounting manual for a local small business in the area. The main challenge that we encountered was creating a sound internal control system for a small business with three administrative employees who handle multiple job posts. With that, let me share my experience and learnings with this internal controls checklist for small business application: 1. Properly Segregate Duties Segregation of duties (SoD) is a direct deterrent to fraud and a mechanism that spots errors along the process. There’s no fixed rule on what job roles should be segregated. In designing internal controls, you just have to remember the acronym ARC (authorization, recording, and custody). These three functions are incompatible duties and shouldn’t rest in one person. 2. Ensure Owner Oversight The major challenge in a small business environment is the lack of a workforce to handle jobs that should be separated. Sometimes, the cost of following proper SoD outweighs the benefits due to the lack of a business need for so many administrative employees. Owner participation and oversight can be a compensating measure if it’s impossible or uneconomical to separate incompatible duties. Participation in daily operations is an added layer of protection in case some employees take advantage of a weak internal control system. 3. Create Documentations Documents serve as evidence of transactions. Business source documents must contain certain attributes to make them reliable and contribute to good internal controls. They must have the signature of the person who processed and approved the document, which must bear special notes or stamps like Paid, Approved, Denied, or Closed to show the status of the document within the workflow. To keep the integrity of source documents, consider prenumbering them so that employees won’t be tempted to falsify documents to their own advantage. Documentation is crucial in the accounting process as it helps your employees keep track of everything. But with small business accounting software, you shift to paperless transactions. 4. Perform Independent Reconciliations Another important internal control feature is independent reconciliations, meaning that the person reconciling the accounts must not have custody or access to these accounts. For example, the person performing bank reconciliations must not have access to the bank account. Instead, the person performing account reconciliations must reconcile accounts based on reports provided to them by the person with custody over the accounts, such as forwarding bank statements to the person who will reconcile bank accounts. Hence, you can assign your bookkeeper to perform bank reconciliations—as long as they don’t have access to your bank account or the authority to sign checks. 5. Define Levels of Authorizations Proper authorization ensures that all transactions within the business are valid and legitimate. As good internal control practice, only the small business owner should have the ability to authorize any type of transaction. Even the most trusted employees must not have the same level of authority as the small business owner since putting too much trust can be an opportunity for fraud as explained in the fraud triangle. However, the business owner may delegate certain authorization roles to managers and carefully consider the tasks to delegate. For example, managers can approve expense reimbursements that are below $500 or have the authority to approve sales contracts below $5,000. 6. Establish Standard Operating Procedures Even in a small business, you need to establish a standard operating procedure (SOP). An SOP is a set of steps for routine transactions, and a transaction is routine if it needs to be performed several times a week. These may be recording customer payments, accepting customer orders, ordering goods from suppliers, and paying employee salaries. SOPs are a form of internal control because it streamlines the routine process to prevent errors and mistakes. In forensic accounting and auditing, accountants start with SOPs to understand how the business operates since forensic accountants and auditors are external parties who aren’t aware of all business policies. 7. Be Strict in Cash Transactions In a small business, extra emphasis must be placed on cash receipts, disbursements, and deposits. Controls must be in place to ensure that receipts are issued to cash-paying customers and that different employees collect the cash, record the cash, and deposit the cash. If this SoD isn’t possible, you as a business owner must get involved. Another business practice is setting a threshold for cash transactions. For instance, cash transactions above $1,000 must go through owner approval, while cash transactions below $50 can be charged to petty cash. To reduce the risk of theft, one of the most important cash management tips is to deposit all cash received daily in the bank as keeping too much cash in the business is risky. In line with this, strive to pay cashless for every expense transaction where possible. Cashless payments are safer since our goal is to reduce the existence of physical cash in the business. As such, encourage customers to also pay cashless through e-wallets, debit payments, and credit card swipes, and don’t discourage them from paying with a credit card by charging them an extra fee. 8. Review Logical Security Logical security is otherwise known as application access controls. They refer to login credentials to information systems used in the business like accounting software, expense tracking software, invoicing software, and many more. The appropriate level of management must have access to specific apps and software. It doesn’t mean that every person regardless of their position or role must have access to every app used in the business. For example, only accounting employees must have access to your business’s QuickBooks Online account. More so, employees in the sales team shouldn’t be included in the QuickBooks Online subscription. If your business happens to create a customized system like what we did here in Fit Small Business, you should give each employee a role with specific limitations on what they can do. 9. Review Physical Security Physical security is an internal control as well. It refers to the methods you use to secure business assets if your business has an office or physical shop. Physical security includes installing closed caption TV (CCTV) cameras, creating fencing around the perimeter, and limiting access to specific areas. You can limit employee access by handing out access badges or key fobs. Padlocks and typical door locks are still viable if there’s no business need for high-tech security mechanisms. In crucial areas like cash vaults or offices where you keep trade secrets, the best physical security is to limit access to one employee only and the business owner. If you have extra budget, hire security guards from agencies to guard business premises outside business hours. 10. Assess Business Continuity Some small businesses use sophisticated technology and equipment that help them provide unique products and services to customers. Good internal control dictates that there must be at least a business continuity or recovery plan in case of unforeseen events and disasters. This plan must outline the necessary steps the business must do to continue performing its critical tasks. In contrast, business continuity may also cover sudden resignations, replacements, termination, or death of key business personnel. With a key position left vacant, the business must establish a series of steps to continue operating even with the absence of key personnel. There must be appropriate documentation as well so that the person who will take over the position can continue all ongoing operations within the department. Components of Good Internal Control In establishing good small business internal controls, many businesses follow the framework of the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations (COSO). In the COSO framework, a good internal control system has five components, and you remember them easily using the acronym CRIME: Control activities: These are manual and automated tools that help prevent or detect the risk of misstatements due to fraud or error. The list of controls above are examples of control activities. However, unique control activities may exist in every department, like accounting controls for the accounting department or production controls for the production department. Risk assessment: This involves analysis of risks posed by internal and external factors affecting the business. These risks may pertain to operations like the risk of employee fraud, product returns due to defective production or economic and political risks, such as increasing interest rates, new legislation, and higher tax rates, that the business can’t control. Information and communication: The business must also have an effective information and communication system. It involves communicating information to employees to help them in their responsibilities. The business should communicate to the employees the importance of following controls to ensure smooth operation. Monitoring: This refers to ongoing evaluations of existing controls and the application of controls. Monitoring controls help your business find ways to improve it if there are sudden changes. Moreover, it enables you to detect employees who aren’t following control procedures. Control environment: It’s the set of standards internal controls are based on. The control environment is the attitude of the business owner and management toward adherence to internal controls or the tone at the top. Your business’s control environment is a result of your philosophy and operating style. In other words, it’s a reflection of your ethical values. Hence, business owners who intentionally misstate tax returns can encourage employees to do fraudulent acts but for their own advantage. Bottom Line Good internal controls can help your business operate efficiently and effectively. It also reduces the risk of fraud or error within the system. By following our checklist of essential small business internal controls, you can lay the foundation for your small business’ internal control system.
October 25, 2022
Bench Accounting Review: Features, Pricing & Alternatives 2023
Bench Accounting is a virtual accounting service provider that offers bookkeeping and tax support for businesses and individuals. When you sign up, you’ll be matched with a dedicated bookkeeper who is backed by a team of in-house accountants. Your bookkeeper will categorize transactions, reconcile accounts, and prepare reports on your behalf. You’ll also be granted access to an online application that allows you to view the status of your financial data and communicate with your bookkeeper. Use Cases If you’re unsure whether Bench Accounting is the right assisted bookkeeping service for you, check out our list of the best online bookkeeping services for more choices. Bench Accounting Deciding Factors Bench Accounting Alternatives Bench Accounting offers two plans, Essential and Premium, which cost $299 per month and $499 per month, respectively. Both include monthly bookkeeping and year-end reporting, but Premium gives you more features, like unlimited tax advisory services and federal and state income tax filings. If you require specialized accounting, such as segment tracking, invoicing (A/R), and bill payment (A/P), you’ll need to purchase the Specialized Accounting add-on, which starts at $100 per month. Additional Costs Historical bookkeeping: Starts at $299 per month Specialized bookkeeping: Starts at $100 per month S-corps, C-corps, and partnerships filing add-on: $69 per month for one partner or shareholder when billed monthly or $59 per month when billed annually Upon enrollment, you’ll be paired with your own dedicated bookkeeper. They’ll get to know your business, explain how Bench works, and gather everything they need from you to get started, which includes your information for bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and merchant processors. If you need to contact your bookkeeper, you can book a call or message them directly through the app. One of the most appealing features of Bench is that you have access to unlimited support, no matter which plan you choose. Bench Accounting’s mobile app is available for iOS users and provides financial reporting functionality and real-time cash flow updates. It also gives you the ability to check accounts, vendors, spending categories, dates, credit, and more to ensure that your business is on track. As of this writing, there’s no mobile app available for Android users. Bench Accounting is best for freelancers and small businesses with basic bookkeeping needs, such as providing cash-basis financial statements for tax return preparation. It’s an ideal solution if you have limited time or want to outsource your books to a certified bookkeeper so that you can focus on the other aspects of your business. You’ll also have access to a tax professional to help you make tax preparation and filing easier. However, if you need financial planning services like investment and business expansion, you won’t get those with Bench. Also, because it operates on proprietary software, it doesn’t sync with commonly used accounting software like QuickBooks Online or Xero. Here’s a summary of Bench’s useful features: Dashboard The Bench dashboard contains two menus: Accounting and Messages. The Accounting tab gives you an overview of your financial standing and allows you to instantly view reports, if needed. You can also upload documents, run reports, and connect your bank accounts from the tab. The Message tab enables you to send and receive messages from your assigned bookkeeper. Historical Bookkeeping For an additional fee, Bench’s bookkeepers can provide overdue bookkeeping services depending on how late you’re on your books. If you’re less than two years behind on your bookkeeping, you’ll need the catch-up bookkeeping add-on. Your bookkeeper will update your books accordingly on your behalf. If you’re behind on your books for more than two years, Bench offers a special program called BenchRetro. Specialized Bookkeeping If your business needs invoicing, bill payment, property tracking, or third-party revenue collection, you’ll need to sign up for specialized bookkeeping, which starts at $100 per month. Gusto for Payroll Bench Accounting integrates with to help you manage your payroll transactions. Gusto files local, federal, and state payroll taxes automatically and generates W-2s. It helps you manage employees’ information, benefits, and deductions. Learn more about the solution by reading our Gusto review. Financial Reports The Accounting tab on your dashboard provides you with real-time updates of your financials, showing exactly how much money you have and how you’re spending it. You can access your income statement, balance sheet, and other reports that are fully customizable. You can tag transactions with labels like products, clients, locations, or sales channels to see exactly how your business is performing. Click here to see the reports that the Bench Accounting app generates. Bench’s Essential plan includes the preparation of a year-end financial package needed to file your taxes. To make taxes more hassle-free, you can upgrade to the Premium plan, which includes unlimited bookkeeping and tax support. Premium also has filing for sole proprietors, contractors, and businesses (S-corps, C-corps, and partnerships). When your books are completed, your dedicated tax coordinator will help you track down forms to help you simplify the filing process. Bench partners with for filing your return at the end of the year. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) What will my Bench bookkeeper do on a monthly basis? Each month, your bookkeeper will import all of your business transactions and categorize them, then reconcile your bank accounts and prepare financial statements. If your bookkeeper has any questions about a particular transaction, they’ll send you an in-app message. When your bookkeeping has been completed for the month, you’ll receive a message inviting you to view your financial statements and account information online. How can I get in touch with my Bench bookkeeper? You can book a call with your bookkeeper or send them an in-app message directly through the Bench app. There’s no extra fee or hourly charges for support, and you’re welcome to reach out to them whenever you have a question. How can I ensure the accuracy of my Bench bookkeeper’s work? Once your bookkeeper wraps up your books every month, the information is reviewed by an in-house support team that ensures accuracy. Also, they never make assumptions about your business, preferring instead to reach out with any questions. How much does Bench Accounting cost? Bench Accounting offers two monthly subscription plans, Essential for $299 and Premium for $499. While both offer basic bookkeeping and year-end reporting, Premium has unlimited tax advisory services and federal and state tax filing. How does Bench Accounting work? Once you sign up for Bench Accounting, you’ll be assigned a dedicated bookkeeper who will learn more about your business and help you connect your bank and credit card accounts. They’ll also categorize your transactions and send you monthly reports and a year-end financial package. Premium subscribers will also receive tax assistance. Bottom Line is a great option if you lack in-house accountants or don’t want to purchase or learn how to use accounting software. Bench bookkeepers are trained professionals, so you can be sure that your books are well taken care of, at a fraction of the cost of hiring a local certified public accountant (CPA). If you only need basic bookkeeping and your business makes enough money to sustain the $299 price tag for unlimited monthly bookkeeping support, then Bench is a cost-effective solution. You can try Bench Accounting for free to see if it’s a good fit.
October 25, 2022
QuickBooks Desktop Premier Review: Features and Pricing for 2023
QuickBooks Desktop Premier, a desktop version of QuickBooks bookkeeping software, enables you to perform a wide range of accounting tasks, such as sending and tracking invoices, running payroll, and managing inventory. It’s ideal for businesses that need to keep separate books for multiple companies and have an experienced bookkeeper who rarely needs assistance from an offsite accountant. Pricing starts at $799 per year for one user. Are you looking for something else? Read our guide to the best small business accounting software. QuickBooks Desktop Premier Deciding Factors QuickBooks Desktop Premier New Features for 2023 Tag intercompany transactions: With this new feature, you’ll no longer have to adjust manually for intercompany transactions when creating consolidated reports, helping you manage multiple business entities better. Cash Flow Hub: This helps you track your cash position and your bank and credit card accounts and loans. With Premier 2023, you can now review account balances, see cash balance trends, manage overdue bills and payments, and track cash performance over a specified period. Upgraded mileage tracking: QuickBooks Premier 2023 now allows you to track business mileage from your desktop or mobile device automatically and get it approved by your manager or supervisor. You just need to input the start and end trip locations, and the app will calculate the mileage automatically. The previous version tracks business mileage, but you have to record your odometer readings manually. This new feature is only available in the iOS mobile app. Inventory categorization: You can now organize item lists by categories or groups so that you can shorten the list and easily find what you need. Improved bank feeds: Premier 2023 now connects to many banks that were previously not possible. Also, you can set up the frequency of automatic downloads of banking data. QuickBooks Desktop Premier Alternatives QuickBooks Desktop Premier pricing runs from $799 per year for one user to $1,999 per year for five users, which is expensive compared to most small business software. For example, you can get with similar features for $85 per month ($1,020 per year) with five users included. However, if you only need one user, QuickBooks Premier can be of great value. If you’re dissatisfied with QuickBooks Desktop Premier, then you can ask for your money back within 60 days of purchase. Enhanced Payroll QuickBooks Desktop Enhanced Payroll calculates your payroll taxes, lets you run your payroll in minutes, and allows automatic import of your time data. It costs $50 a month plus $5 per employee per month and includes free direct deposit. Fit Small Business Case Study We conducted a case study to determine how Premier performs against our internal rubrics. Our QuickBooks Premier review was based on an expert evaluation using different categories. For each, we assign respective weights based on how essential they are to our evaluation. The table below summarizes the result of our QuickBooks Desktop Premier case study. QuickBooks Desktop Premier vs Competitors QuickBooks Premier is very strong in most areas of our case study. Its mobile app is pretty weak compared to QuickBooks Online and Xero, which isn’t surprising given that QuickBooks Premier isn’t cloud-based software. While QuickBooks Premier received only 1 point for pricing, that is a little misleading since our case study evaluated pricing based on a subscription for five users. QuickBooks Online charges $85 per month for one to five users, but QuickBooks Premier charges by the user with a single user being only $799 per year. If you only need a single user, then Premier can be of very good value. QuickBooks Desktop Premier Features QuickBooks Desktop Premier offers a wide range of tailor-made features specially designed for your industry. Whether you’re a general contractor, nonprofit organization, or professional service provider, you’ll find many useful functionalities in the QuickBooks Desktop Premier software. Below is a list of some of its key features. QuickBooks Desktop Premier would have hit all the right notes if not for its inability to track activity by location, which is a popular feature of its cloud-based counterpart, QuickBooks Online. However, as with QuickBooks Online, setting up QuickBooks Desktop Premier is easy and detailed. You can input company information and set entity type. After setting up basic information, you can also modify or import a chart of accounts, close prior period accounts, and input beginning balances. When it’s time to share your books for tax with an offsite accountant, like a certified public accountant (CPA), you create an electronic file called the Accountant’s Copy. When creating it, you must choose a dividing date. For instance, if you’re sending a CPA the information for your 2022 tax return, you’ll choose a dividing date of Dec. 31, 2022. Your accountant will be able to work on transactions on or before Dec. 31, 2022, to prepare your return. You’ll be able to continue working on 2023 information but won’t be able to change any information prior to 2023. This allows both you and the CPA to work on the company file simultaneously without interfering with each other. When the accountant is done, they’ll send you an Accountant Changes file that you’ll import to record the changes made and release the divide date. The only downside of this feature is that you have to send the Accountant’s Copy every time you need a CPA to check your books. This is inconvenient compared to cloud software, which allows your accountant direct access to your books with a simple invite. Users who left QuickBooks Premier reviews praised it for strong inventory accounting reports and the ability to generate advanced reports. However, some dislike that the mobile app is very limited and that it is a bit expensive—especially if it comes with payroll. Overall, the user ratings are a little lower than the ratings for QuickBooks Online and Xero, which is consistent with our evaluation that QuickBooks Premier is a little more difficult to use for nonaccountants. Here are QuickBooks Desktop Premier’s ratings on several review websites: G2: 4.3 out of 5 based on over 1,600 reviews TrustRadius: 8.4 out of 10 based on about 800 reviews Software Advice: 4.34 out of 5 based on around 1,500 reviews Google Play (for Mobile App): 3.1 out of 5 based on over 100 reviews App Store (for Mobile App): 1.9 out of 5 based on more than 50 reviews Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) When is QuickBooks Desktop Premier right for me? QuickBooks Desktop Premier is right for you if you’re working with an in-house bookkeeper, have complex inventory accounting needs, or are in a specialized industry, including retail, general contractor, manufacturing and wholesale, retail, nonprofit, and professional services. Is QuickBooks Desktop Premier better than QuickBooks Online? QuickBooks Desktop and Online are designed to serve different business purposes. For instance, Desktop Premier is great for multicompany accounting and inventory, while QuickBooks Online is better for companies whose accounting tasks are done remotely. Are there great alternatives to QuickBooks Desktop Premier? Yes, there are, and the right one depends on your needs. For example, if you need access to more than five users, you need to upgrade to QuickBooks Enterprise, whereas if you want a free alternative, consider Lendio Accounting. Bottom Line is powerful accounting software with many advanced features and reporting capabilities that take time and patience to learn. Full-time bookkeepers will love it for its quick data input and fast navigation compared to cloud-based software. However, inexperienced bookkeepers might be served better by cloud-based software, such as QuickBooks Online, if they need frequent help from an offsite bookkeeper.
October 25, 2022
Best Small Business Accounting Software
The best accounting software for your small business vary greatly by industry and your personal preferences, which we’ll cover in this guide. We selected our top accounting software for small businesses based on pricing, ease of use, and how they perform against various accounting tasks, such as invoicing, project management, and inventory accounting. Here are the eight best accounting software for small businesses: : Best overall industry-customizable small business accounting software with project, class, and location tracking (4.4 out of 5) : Best for use on a mobile app (4.35 out of 5) : Best for managing the books of multiple companies (4.25 out of 5) : Best for unlimited users (4 out of 5) : Best for small service-based businesses (3.15 out of 5) : Best free solution for tracking income and expenses (2.85 out of 5) : Best online bookkeeping service as an alternative to do-it-yourself (DIY) accounting software (no score) : Best accounts payable (A/P) software for advanced bill pay features and approval workflows (no score) Comparison of Best Small Business Accounting Software See fullscreen table × QuickBooks Online: Best Overall Small Business Accounting Software is our best small business accounting software because of its strong feature set, including the ability to create classes and locations for tracking income and expenses. It’s a versatile program that you can customize to specific industries, such as churches, restaurants, and nonprofits. QuickBooks Online is also easy to use and allows you to share data and files effortlessly with employees, certified public accountants (CPAs), and tax professionals. With tiered subscription levels, it can scale as your business grows or your needs change—making it the top accounting choice for 5.5 million small business subscribers. Who QuickBooks Online Is Best For Construction: QuickBooks Online, when integrated with , provides excellent project accounting and construction management tools like employee time and location tracking, customer relationship management (CRM), and a customer portal. Ecommerce retailers: can be added to QuickBooks Online to provide direct integrations with most ecommerce platforms, reducing the need for expensive third-party connectors. Real estate businesses: The ability to separate activity by class and location makes QuickBooks Online a viable option for property management companies that need to track income and expenses for various segments and locations. Invoicing: QuickBooks Online is our best invoicing software as it calculates sales tax rates automatically based on the customer address or transaction location. Trucking companies: provides a great integration that adds fleet management, IFTA tracking, and dispatching to your QuickBooks Online software. Mac users: QuickBooks Online’s intuitive design and navigation are optimized for Mac users. Bank reconciliation: QuickBooks Online has the most comprehensive bank reconciliation of all the leading accounting software programs on the market. You can reconcile transactions by connecting your bank accounts or uploading your files of statements manually. Standout Features Location and class tracking: Set up tags to track your income and expenses across different departments, properties, or locations of your business. You can use this feature to determine which department brings the most money to your business. Inventory: Track the cost of inventory on hand and allocate that cost between ending inventory and the COGS. Project accounting: Set up projects to include income, expenses, and wages, and create project estimates. A huge drawback we found in QuickBooks Online’s project accounting, however, is that you cannot compare estimated to actual project costs. Invoicing: The best thing about QuickBooks Online’s invoicing feature is that it calculates the sales tax rate automatically to apply to your invoice based on the customer address. Bill Pay: Pay your bill electronically directly from your QuickBooks account. We compare the features of each plan in our QuickBooks Online comparison guide. Expert Opinion It’s hard to go wrong with if you can afford the price. It’s very flexible and powerful software that can be customized for nearly any business. The ability to track profit and loss (P&L) by class and location allows you to see how profitable your business is across different offices, locations, and properties. Another benefit of QuickBooks Online is that you can find a local QuickBooks ProAdvisor in your area easily if you need one. To get the most out of the platform, check out our free QuickBooks Online tutorials. Zoho Books: Best Accounting Software for Use on a Mobile App stands out from the other accounting software with its powerful mobile app. We recognized it as the leading mobile accounting app because it can perform almost any accounting task, including sending invoices, accepting online payments, entering bills, and viewing reports. The app also allows the creation of recurring invoices and tracking of time worked, making it our pick for the overall best accounting software for freelancers. The software is one of the many Zoho apps—which includes Zoho CRM, Zoho Inventory, and Zoho Projects—that can be integrated to give you a comprehensive solution to all your business needs. Zoho Books can be purchased separately as part of the Zoho Finance bundle or as part of Zoho One, which includes all of Zoho’s apps. *Elite and Ultimate were launched in 2022. Elite is designed for those needing improved inventory management features like serial number tracking, while Ultimate is great for those wanting advanced analytics such as collaborative reporting. Standout Features Mobile app: Mobile accounting is one of Zoho Books’ biggest strengths. The mobile app can perform plenty of accounting tasks—including invoicing, accepting online payments, recording bills and bill payments, categorizing expenses from the bank feed, and viewing financial reports. Inventory: Zoho Books has complete features for tracking inventory. You can track inventory on hand and the COGS, adjust the cost of inventory, and categorize expenses based on vendor details, product details, and stock-keeping units (SKU). Project accounting: Track time worked and assign it to a project or customer, create expenses from a project, and generate an invoice straight from the project. Expert Opinion We believe that conducting business with clients on the go is easier when you have a powerful mobile app like . However, that’s not the only thing it can offer, as it’s also remarkable in other aspects, like inventory and project accounting. Whether you’re a large enterprise needing inventory software or a very small business wanting a free package, it can be a great option. QuickBooks Desktop: Best Multicompany Accounting Software If you manage multiple businesses, then is for you. All its editions, which we cover later, can be used to keep the books of an unlimited number of companies for a single price—a big advantage over QuickBooks Online. Because of this, QuickBooks Desktop is our top-recommended multicompany accounting software. Another reason to use the program is it works even when you have no internet connection because it’s locally installed. QuickBooks Pro and Premier are the most popular desktop versions of QuickBooks for Windows. Meanwhile, QuickBooks for Mac, one of our best accounting software for Mac, has features similar to Pro. Standout Features Multicompany accounting: Manage the books for an unlimited number of companies with a single subscription. Advanced inventory management: QuickBooks Desktop offers more advanced inventory tracking than QuickBooks Online. For instance, you can create assembly items to build and track finished goods, which can be useful for manufacturing teams. Class tracking: Classes can be customized to represent cost centers or enterprises, making QuickBooks Desktop our leading farm accounting software. Expert Opinion If you prefer locally installed software over a cloud-based program and mobile accounting app, then go with . Its Pro and Premier editions are very powerful accounting software, perhaps even more powerful than QuickBooks Online. However, they’re more difficult to master and don’t provide the advantages of mobile accounting. Read our in-depth comparison of QuickBooks Online and Desktop to choose the best software for your business. Also, read our QuickBooks Desktop Pro review, QuickBooks Desktop Premier review, and QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise review to learn more about each version of QuickBooks Desktop. Xero: Best Accounting Software for Unlimited Users is a cloud-based accounting software with features similar to QuickBooks and Zoho Books. However, unlike those two, all Xero plans include unlimited users. If you need multiple seats to access and work on your accounting software, then this provider is an ideal choice. Its features are comparable to QuickBooks, and it’s considerably less expensive, making it one of our best alternatives to QuickBooks. Standout Features Unlimited user access: Xero offers a good value for your money, as all its plans support an unlimited number of users without any extra cost. Fixed asset management: What makes Xero unique from other accounting software is its fixed asset manager. You can record and track fixed assets (like machinery, vehicles, and equipment), set up depreciation entries, and account for gain or loss from a disposal of a fixed asset. Inventory management: Create and track inventory, monitor inventory levels, add inventory items to invoices, and track COGS. Expert Opinion unlimited user access makes it a great option for collaborative teams. Its fixed asset manager, which is unique among accounting programs, is useful for manufacturing teams that use different kinds of machinery and equipment in their production. A major drawback to Xero compared to QuickBooks Online is the lack of bookkeeping professionals who support it. While Xero has 2.3 million users, most of them are located outside of the United States. Check out our free Xero courses to learn how to make the program more useful for your business. FreshBooks: Best for Small Service-based Businesses has many project management features beneficial for service-based businesses, such as the ability to create estimates and convert those estimates to invoices once approved, track time spent by team members on a project, and communicate with members through its built-in collaboration tool. Another useful feature is the ability to compare estimated and actual project costs, which isn’t possible with QuickBooks Online. Standout Features Project accounting: FreshBooks allows you to create estimates with items like inventory and sales taxes, convert estimates to projects, track time and instantly convert time entries to invoices, and more. Excellent customer service: FreshBooks offers plenty of customer support options, including phone and email support and self-help guides and resources. However, its biggest advantage over other software providers is that it allows FreshBooks users to directly call its customer support over the phone. With other providers like QuickBooks Online, you have to send a request and wait for them to call you. Mobile app: The FreshBooks mobile app lets you create and send invoices, enter and pay bills, accept payments online, and record billable time from your smartphone. Expert Opinion doesn’t have inventory accounting features, so we highly recommend it for small service-based businesses needing a strong project management solution. If you have team members working on multiple projects and you want to make sure that no billable time is missed, then its time tracking tool is a great help. Billable hours and expenses entered by employees and contractors will be saved until added to a customer invoice. You might enjoy our free FreshBooks tutorials for an in-depth view of how to use the platform. Lendio Accounting: Best Free Solution for Tracking Income & Expenses (formerly Sunrise) offers free accounting software for small businesses needing basic tracking of income and expenses and a solid invoicing function. Its main drawback is the inability to reconcile your bank accounts to your bank statements, which isn’t a major problem unless you issue a lot of paper checks. If you’re a small business or a freelancer wanting to know where money is going, you should do well with Lendio Accounting, our best free accounting software. Standout Features Receipt capture: Lendio Accounting lets you capture and store receipts from your browser or with the Sunrise mobile app, helping you organize your expense claims easily. Automatic expense categorization: Upgrade to Plus to get automatic expense categorization in your bank feed. Invoicing: You can create customized invoices, send them on a recurring basis, track sales taxes by jurisdiction, and accept short payments from customers. Expert Opinion is a great choice if you’re a solo business owner or freelancer looking for a free invoicing solution without the need for professional bookkeeping assistance. It has a decent mobile accounting app and good customer service. If you’re looking for a zero-cost platform that allows more than one user, we recommend ; and if you need the option to track inventory and project profitability, you’ll need a paid program like QuickBooks Online. Explore our free Lendio tutorials to learn how to use the platform. Bench: Best Online Bookkeeping Alternative to DIY Accounting Software Your time is valuable, and you should definitely consider outsourcing some of your bookkeeping tasks. , our best online bookkeeping service, will complete your bookkeeping for you in its proprietary software, starting at only $299 per month. This is far less than you would pay a local independent bookkeeper, and you can even add on tax filing and advisory services for an additional charge. Bench is a flexible bookkeeping service that can be customized to different industries, including real estate. *Bench isn’t a complete bookkeeping system and was, therefore, not evaluated in our case study. However, it’s an excellent alternative to traditional accounting software for small businesses with specific needs. Standout Features FreshBooks partnership: Bench is FreshBooks’ largest accounting partner. It can import your invoicing activity from FreshBooks to include in your accounting records. Human bookkeepers: You’ll be assigned a dedicated team of bookkeepers that will produce monthly financial reports based on managing and reconciling your bank accounts. Tax pros: In the Premium plan, you’ll be assigned a tax pro who is available for unlimited tax consultations and who will oversee the preparation of your annual income tax returns. Expert Opinion will take care of the most crucial tasks in your bookkeeping process, which are overseeing the import and classification of your bank transactions and reconciling your bank accounts. We firmly believe that services like Bench should replace the DIY accounting software that many small business owners wrestle with every month. However, the service doesn’t completely eliminate your bookkeeping tasks. You’ll still need to issue invoices to your customers, collect payments, and pay your bills. These tasks are closely tied to businesses, and we believe most business owners like maintaining control over these activities. We recommend as a great free invoicing program to use if Bench is doing the rest of your bookkeeping. Bill: Best A/P Software for Advanced Bill Pay Features & Approval Workflows (formerly known as Bill.com) makes it easy for businesses to track and pay large numbers of bills quickly and easily by importing bills from email automatically and allowing for a customized approval process—which is why it’s our top-recommended A/P software. What’s more, it integrates easily with both QuickBooks Online and Xero. *As with Bench, Bill isn’t a complete bookkeeping system; thus, it wasn’t evaluated in our case study. However, we consider it a great alternative for processing A/P. Standout Features Invoice capture: Bills received via email are transferred to your bill list automatically, where you can modify them and then send them on for payment approval. Automatic bill approvers: Bill approvers can be assigned by bill, or you can allow Bill to choose approvers based on the settings in your Bill Approval Policies. Dedicated approvers page: Approvers have their own login, where they’ll see only bills that have been submitted for their approval. Bill payments: Once bills have been approved, you can schedule payment through e-payments, internal wire transfers, or check payments. Issue invoices: With the Get Paid plan, you can issue invoices and track the payment of your invoices for customers who use Bill. Expert Opinion We recommend as it’s a great bill payment solution for managing your A/P. Most accounting software come with some features to manage your bills, but Bill goes far beyond these built-in features. Its import process and accuracy are better, and the customized approval process is a necessity for larger organizations. If you choose to use it for payments, you might opt to add the Get Paid plan for accounts receivable (A/R), but we don’t view that A/R function to be any better than the invoicing features built into most accounting software. The only exception is if your customers also use Bill, in which case, the payment can be collected within the platform and the tracking is done automatically. How We Evaluated Small Business Accounting Software We evaluated accounting software based on pricing, ease of use, and how well it performed against the ideal features we’re looking for, including project accounting, inventory management, and mobile accounting. Our evaluation was based on a rubric scoring methodology in six categories, each with designated appropriate percentages. Our criteria for choosing the best small business accounting software are as follows: Accounting Software for Niche Industries Some industries have accounting needs that require specialized software. Here are our top picks for niche industries: Why You Need Small Business Accounting Software Approximately 64% of business owners do their own bookkeeping and 64.4% of small businesses use accounting software to streamline their operations. To achieve financial stability, small businesses can use bookkeeping software that help them make informed decisions. In addition to helping you understand and manage your business’s finances, good accounting software can save you time. You can read our top bookkeeping and accounting tips to help simplify your bookkeeping and use it effectively. How Small Business Accounting Works All businesses should have accounting software that can bill customers, help manage their bills, track their payments, and provide reports to see how a business is performing. Beyond that, the features needed in accounting software will vary by industry and personal preference. Invoicing & Tracking Customer Payments Your accounting software should be able to issue invoices and track them until they’re paid by your customer. It’s also helpful if your software will print an A/R aging report, which shows all of your outstanding invoices grouped by how long they’re past their due date. Finally, the best accounting software will track inventory, time, and expenses and allow you to add them to your invoices easily without much manual data entry. Managing Bills & Tracking Expenses Ideally, your accounting software should allow you to input bills when you receive them, including their due date. You can receive reminders of upcoming due dates and print an A/P aging report, grouping bills by how long they’re overdue. Reporting At the very least, your accounting software should print a profit and loss (P&L) statement and a balance sheet that can be used to prepare your tax returns. It’s helpful if software prints comparative financial statements that show both current and prior year numbers side by side. The best accounting software will print many more reports than just basic financial statements. For instance, if your business deals with inventory, a report summarizing the quantity and cost of the current inventory on hand is essential. If your company works on large projects (e.g., a construction company), you’ll want reports that track the profitability of individual projects and compare the actual results to the estimated costs. Fulfilling Industry-specific Needs Many industries have specific requirements for their accounting software that might not apply to other industries. For example, restaurants and brick-and-mortar retail stores need a strong point-of-sale (POS) system. For these businesses, it’s important to choose an accounting system that will integrate with a POS system to transfer the data automatically without manual entries, which can cost time and create mistakes. Other industry-specific needs include time and location tracking of employees, ecommerce platforms, CRM, and subcontractor management. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) What is the best small business accounting software? QuickBooks is by far the most popular small business accounting software in the US. However, there are some less expensive alternatives to QuickBooks you should consider. What is the difference between cloud-based and on-premise accounting software? A cloud-based software like QuickBooks Online allows you to access your books from the internet. On-premise programs like QuickBooks Desktop can be accessed only from the computer where it’s installed. Read our comparison of QuickBooks Online vs QuickBooks Desktop to learn more. Is free accounting software good for my business? If you only need basic accounting features like income and expense tracking, then you may benefit from free accounting software. Some free accounting programs, such as Lendio Accounting, also offer great invoicing functions. Do I need to be an accountant or bookkeeper to use accounting software? No, as there are some easy-to-use accounting software that doesn’t require prior bookkeeping experience. These include QuickBooks Online, Wave, and FreshBooks. However, to get the most out of accounting software, we recommend that you work closely with your accountant. Bottom Line There are many terrific small business accounting software applications available, but none of them are as versatile and comprehensive as . However, it isn’t always the best solution, especially if you only have very basic needs and wish to save money. If your priority is mobile accounting, is more suitable. If your business operates in a very specialized industry, you may find a great choice.