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This page is managed by
Noel Radley, Market Research Associate
Last updated: October 24, 2014

Top 10 Most Recommended Online Accounting Software Systems

 
Intacct Financials and Accounting System Intacct serves more than 4,000 customers with their online solution; they're a featured vendor in CRN's 2011 Top 100 Cloud Providers. Intacct targets CPA firms and mid-sized businesses across many industries.
        47 Reviews
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65

Recommendations
in the last 30 days
NetSuite Financials Netsuite Financials is the largest vendor by revenue in the online accounting space. Started under the Oracle banner in 1998, Netsuite users pay a monthly fee and can integrate it with CRM and eCommerce modules.
        3 Reviews
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53

Recommendations
in the last 30 days
Sage 100 Standard and Advanced ERP (formerly Sage ERP MAS 90 and 200) Sage 100 Standard and Advanced ERP is designed for use by small and medium organizations. In addition to core accounting capabilities, the systems offer billing and invoicing, budgeting and forecasting and more.
         5 Reviews
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41

Recommendations
in the last 30 days
Microsoft Dynamics GP Microsoft Dynamics GP is unique in that it can be deployed as an on-premise solution, as a hosted solution, or as a hybrid of both options. it is one of the most widely used packages among small and mid-sized companies.
        4 Reviews
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35

Recommendations
in the last 30 days
Epicor Financial Management Epicor has a long history of utilizing the cloud to provide businesses increased flexibility with a high level of functionality. Their online system is no exception and integrates seamlessly with on-premise solutions.
       0 Reviews
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27

Recommendations
in the last 30 days
 

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Abila MIP Fund Accounting (formerly Sage MIP) Combining customizable reports with customization options, such as user-defined fields, Abila Fund Accounting 100 (formerly Sage MIP) is a flexible and comprehensive system - ideal for government and nonprofits.
        7 Reviews
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17

Recommendations
in the last 30 days
UNIT4 Coda Financials Featuring core accounting functionality, Coda Financials' online accounting software is designed to integrate easily with other business software. Supports medium and large media organizations across various industries.
        2 Reviews
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12

Recommendations
in the last 30 days
The Financial Edge The Financial Edge, by Blackbaud, can be implemented as an on-premise system installed at an office or "in the cloud" as a web-based system. It is developed specifically to meet the needs of nonprofit and government organizations.
        6 Reviews
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12

Recommendations
in the last 30 days
Sage 300 ERP (formerly Sage ERP Accpac) Sage 300 ERP Online is a hosted version of Sage's popular 300 ERP enterprise system. It's a good fit for small to mid-sized organizations and supports many industries, as well multiple languages and currencies.
        7 Reviews
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11

Recommendations
in the last 30 days
Accufund Accounting Suite AccuFund Online is a great solution for parties looking to tap into the robust functionality found in Accufund Accounting Suite while keeping upfront costs low. Core system offers numerous key applications to automate processes.
       0 Reviews
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10

Recommendations
in the last 30 days
 
 


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Buyer's Guide

With online, or Web-based accounting software, an organization’s financial data is hosted by the vendor. In this software-as-a-service (SaaS) module, data is stored on secure servers with automatic back-up and redundancy capabilities. In recent years, these programs have become highly customizable: businesses only pay for the services that they consume. This flexibility, along with the lack of capital investment requirements, attracts small and medium-sized businesses especially.

Because of the hundreds of online accounting programs, it can be very difficult to decide which one is best for your business. This buyer’s guide is designed to help you navigate the online business accounting software market. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Online Accounting Software?
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Benefits and Potential Issues
Market Trends to Understand
The Vendor Landscape
Recent Events You Should Know About

What Is Online Accounting Software?

Accounting solutions track the financial transactions within an organization. Typical features include general ledger, accounts payable/receivable, payroll and reporting modules. Specialty systems often have additional features dedicated to a particular market. These include fund accounting for nonprofits, commission calculations for sales-oriented businesses like real estate, rate analysis for banking or claims scrubbing for medical practices.

Online accounting systems are specifically designed to be used through the Internet, rather than being installed locally onto company computers. This reduces information technology requirements like server hardware, backups and maintenance and shifts the expenditure from being a large up-front capital cost to a much smaller, but ongoing, monthly or annual fee.

There are two types of accounting software online: browser-based, SaaS and application service providers (ASPs). SaaS solutions are designed for the user to access the information through an Internet browser like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or Safari. This allows the information to be accessed from anywhere, and it always looks exactly the same. An ASP is a client-server system, where the business installs a small software “client” onto their computers. In both models—SaaS and ASP—all of the data is hosted by the vendor on a remote server. Most ASPs are also “Web-enabled,” meaning that a Web-browser can be used if necessary, though it will come with a few disadvantages since it is not designed for that purpose.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Online financial software falls into three main categories:

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. This describes an integrated suite of features that includes manufacturing, sales, customer relationship management, project management, supply chain management etc. Buyers will want an ERP if they’re looking for a full-suite comprehensive solution, of which accounting is just a small part.

Basic systems. Basic accounting programs online that aren’t part of an ERP tend to be much more cost effective to purchase outright and install locally, and there aren’t very many Web-based systems that focus in this market. But there are a handful available, if this is the deployment model you prefer and all you need is basic functionality. There are also a number of online vendors that will let you select only the features you wish to use.

Fund accounting solutions. There are several products out there designed specifically for the nonprofit market, which include industry-specific features like fund accounting, requisitions and grant and donation management.

Benefits and Potential Issues

A Web-based accounting system has a number of significant advantages over traditional on-premise software platforms:

Greater level of interactivity. Online bookkeeping software extends system capabilities with functions such as online payments and employee portals. An online accounting system can support a user interface for business employees and customers for communication and sales. Online payments save time by integrating with accounts payable/receivable and the general ledger to automatically update a company’s books. Online employee portals can increase the flexibility of communication and collaboration.

Limited IT burden. Browser-based access for Web accounting software avoids potential compatibility problems, which can sometimes happen when installing these kinds of programs locally to your system. In addition, the vendor handles all of the routine back-ups, upgrades and maintenance, saving considerable time and money on IT infrastructure, a particular benefit for smaller businesses.

Lower up-front costs. Rather than paying a large installation fee, Web-based systems come on more of a subscription basis. In the SaaS model, the user pays a monthly or annual fee, making it a low but ongoing operational expense rather than a capital one.

Data security. Web-based software vendors have stringent security requirements to ensure that your data is secure from hackers and protected from loss. Therefore, an on-premise crash, theft or other hazard to the company’s computers will not destroy the business accounting data. Many online accounting solutions also allow businesses download their data locally, if that’s preferred.

Although Web-based solutions don’t require the same investment in hardware as traditional software installations, subscription costs can accrue over time. The longer the software stays in use, the more the user pays, and after a few years the costs may exceed whatever would have been paid for an on-premise system. This is especially true for larger organizations that have the capital and IT infrastructure to make an on-premise system more cost-effective.

Another issue to consider whenever purchasing any new product is to ensure user buy-in. If people feel like they’re having new software “forced” on them, they’re more likely to resist its implementation. Therefore, it’s important to get them excited about the benefits of the new program. A great way to do this is to involve them in the selection process, either inviting them to the demos directly or, if there are too many users for that to be practical, at the very least surveying employees for their opinions on the features they’d want in a new program.

Market Trends to Understand

Customization. A growing trend in the SaaS accounting market is the ability to select the features your organization needs or wants. If all you need is core accounting, that’s all you pay for, and if you want forecasting but not grant management, the software won’t include it.

Electronic payments. The ability to pay invoices and collect receipts electronically is a great way to save time and money. The benefits are strong enough that most solutions are developing electronic payment features to allow their customers to take full advantage of those capabilities.

SaaS for larger businesses. In the past, Web-based software was being marketed exclusively as online small business accounting software for companies that couldn’t afford the up-front costs associated with an on-premise system. Today, however—although many small business systems still offer SaaS models—more and more vendors are targeting larger companies with SaaS solutions offering extremely high-level functionality, as in the ERP realm, offering the best of both worlds.

The Vendor Landscape

These are the best online accounting software solutions and vendors to consider, categories by program type:

These types of buyers... Should evaluate these systems...
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions NetSuite, Epicor, Microsoft Dynamics GP, SAP, Royal 4
Basic programs HIntacct, Accumatica, Lawson S3
Fund solutions FastFund, Serenic, Accufund, Sage MIP Fund

Recent Events You Should Understand

The accounting business software market is constantly shifting. In addition to experiencing greater adoption of Web-based software, some vendors are expanding their solution offering to try to meet industry-specific needs. Leading vendors Intacct, NetSuite PSA and Acumatica continue to expand their portfolio, and we’ve highlighted some of their recent announcements here:

NetSuite PSA. On May 15, 2012, NetSuite, a popular vendor for cloud-based ERP accounting systems and business management software, announced “Commerce as a Service” product SuiteCommerce—a platform that gives clients the ability to manage all transactions and customer interactions within one business management application.

Acumatica. The March 2012 release of Acumatica, a provider of Web-based ERP financial software, includes features such as project accounting, automated inter-company transfers and more. The release expands Acumatica’s offering to meet industry-specific needs for nonprofits and professional services organizations, as well as multi-location businesses.

Intacct. As a leading provider of cloud financial management and business accounting systems, Intacct continues to be recognized as one of the top private on-demand and SaaS companies. After being chosen for AlwaysOn OnDemand 100 Top Private Companies list three years in a row, Intacct announced a partnership with Faye Business Systems, a consulting firm and software company that helps growing businesses optimize their financial systems. The partnership, announced January 2012, will give Faye clients access to Intacct’s strong cloud-based accounting platform.



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