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What is accounting software for consultants?

Accounting software helps freelance and independent consultants manage small-scale financial accounting data. A core package generally includes the following modules: accounts payable, accounts receivable, general ledger, and billing and invoicing.

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What 5 key Accounting Software for Consultants features should I look for?

Accounts payable

Enables you to keep track of what you owe and also pay all your bills on time. The feature helps you process your outgoing funds, track invoices, store vendor details and print checks.

Accounts receivable

Helps you effectively manage your incoming payments. The feature offers billing codes for easy handling of recurring outgoing invoices to customers and payment codes for efficient crediting of payments from multiple accounts at one time.

General ledger

Allows users to maintain a comprehensive record of all financial transactions and track spending by project. The feature simplifies budgeting and reporting by showing past and future transactions from specific accounts within a specified date range.

Billing and invoicing

Gives users the ability to track transactional financial data and create billing and invoicing documentation for clients.

Customer relationship management (CRM)

CRM applications help consultants manage interactions with current and prospective customers, clients and/or partners, with the goal of increasing customers, revenue and customer satisfaction.

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Showing 1 - 20 of 263 products
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Showing 1 - 20 of 263 products

NetSuite

With an integrated system that includes ERP, financials, commerce, inventory management, HR, PSA, supply chain management, CRM and more – NetSuite enables fast-growing businesses across all industries to work more effectively by a...Read more

4.10 (775 reviews)

19 recommendations

Sage Intacct

Sage Intacct is a provider of cloud-based financial management and accounting software. Sage Intacct's software solution is suitable for small to midsize accounting firms and can provide financial reporting and operational insight...Read more

4.16 (308 reviews)

19 recommendations

Striven

Striven is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution suitable for many industries and organizations of all sizes. It offers features for accounting, inventory management, human resources, customer relationship mana...Read more

4.79 (48 reviews)

19 recommendations

BQE Core Suite

BQE Core makes it easier and more profitable to run your business. It organizes information, automates repetitive tasks and allows your firm to spend more time providing service to your clients instead of managing internal process...Read more

4.40 (476 reviews)

11 recommendations

FreshBooks

FreshBooks takes billing out of your hands and puts it on autopilot. Set up automated invoicing, online payment options (ACH and Credit Card), and late payment reminders to get paid 2x faster. Next, boost team productivity with pr...Read more

4.47 (3538 reviews)

9 recommendations

Multiview ERP

Multiview Financials is the flagship ERP system developed, sold, implemented, and supported by Multiview Financial Software. Multiview is designed for organizations ranging in size from rapidly growing small businesses to large en...Read more

4.40 (10 reviews)

9 recommendations

ExpensePoint

ExpensePoint is a cloud-based solution designed to help small to large businesses automate employee expense reporting. It enables users to generate, submit, approve and process reports for multiple expenses on a unified platform. ...Read more

4.87 (278 reviews)

7 recommendations

Asset4000

Asset4000 is an on-premise and cloud-based fixed asset accounting solution for small, mid-sized and large enterprises. Real Asset Management, the software vendor has now rebranded and is part of MRI Software and continues to prov...Read more

4.55 (47 reviews)

7 recommendations

Infor CloudSuite Financials

Infor CloudSuite Financials is a solution suite that provides financial functionality coupled with a source-to-settle supply management offering. The solution is role-based, mobile responsive and delivered in the cloud. It deliver...Read more

3.36 (7 reviews)

7 recommendations

Emburse Certify Expense

Emburse Certify Expense effortlessly streamlines your operations through automation and superior customer service. Automatically create reports for employees, streamline approvals, and make reimbursement and reporting effortless f...Read more

4.69 (1232 reviews)

6 recommendations

Software pricing tips

Read our Accounting Software for Consultants Buyers Guide

Subscription models

  • Per employee/per month: This model allows you to pay a monthly fee for each of your employees.
  • Per user/per month: Users pay a monthly fee for users—normally administrative users—rather than all employees.

Perpetual license

  • This involves paying an upfront sum for the license to own the software and use it indefinitely.
  • This is the more traditional model and is most common with on-premise applications and with larger businesses.

Rated best value for money

QuickBooks Online Advanced

QuickBooks Online Advanced is a cloud-based accounting solution that helps small to large enterprises manage expenses, projects, invoices and more. It comes with a centralized dashboard, which enables users to gain insights into b...Read more

4.38 (639 reviews)

6 recommendations

Tipalti

Tipalti is a cloud-based accounting management solution that helps users automate their accounts payable process. It offers a variety of features, including invoice automation, payment remittance, regulatory compliance management,...Read more

4.65 (72 reviews)

6 recommendations

Planning Maestro

Centage’s Planning Maestro is a cloud-native planning & analytics platform that delivers year-round financial insight, transforming how companies budget, forecast and report performance. Centage delivers a level of sophistica...Read more

3.95 (42 reviews)

5 recommendations

Emburse Certify AP

Emburse Certify AP gives finance teams insight into their company purchases and the ability to manage spend before it happens, paper is eliminated, and approvals are handled online, making remote work feasible. By automating these...Read more

0.00 (2 reviews)

5 recommendations

Emburse Nexonia Expenses

Nexonia is a configurable expense management solution that eliminates manual reporting, ensures compliance, and helps control your T&E spend. Customers choose Nexonia for tight integrations with ERP's and accounting systems, ...Read more

4.53 (633 reviews)

4 recommendations

AvidXchange

AvidXchange offers accounts payable software solutions and dedicated service teams that help automate your AP and payment process, replacing manual AP with a digital application suite that provides you with 24/7 on-demand, remote ...Read more

4.52 (54 reviews)

4 recommendations

Chargezoom

Build, scale, or pivot your business anytime by putting your accounting system to work for you. Whether you’re using QuickBooks, QuickBooks Online, Freshbooks, or your own homegrown system Chargezoom allows you to unlock the power...Read more

5.00 (5 reviews)

4 recommendations

OnPlan

OnPlan is a sales forecasting and budgeting solution that helps businesses create financial models using what-if scenarios and SaaS benchmarks. Features include rolling financial forecasts, template management, scenario planning, ...Read more

4.93 (14 reviews)

3 recommendations

Open Envoy

OpenEnvoy is the only real-time AP automation solution that audits before payment with 100% accuracy. Our solution eliminates wasted spend and ensures that organizations never overpay their suppliers. There is no manual entry, no ...Read more

No reviews yet

3 recommendations

Adaptive Planning

Workday Adaptive Planning, founded in 2003, provides a web-based system for budgeting, forecasting and reporting. The solution is suitable for a wide variety of company sizes. Delivered over the Web in a software-as-a-service (Saa...Read more

4.49 (173 reviews)

2 recommendations

Popular Accounting Software for Consultants Comparisons

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: November 24, 2021

With so many options to choose from, finding the right accounting software is a daunting process—especially for consultants, who often operate independently and without the budget of larger, enterprise-level businesses.

But that same degree of autonomy is exactly why it's important to find the correct accounting software to meet the unique needs of your business. Without the right accounting software, consultants won't have the breadth of financial insight, integration and automation necessary to thrive in today's economy. We created this Buyer's Guide to help them find the perfect fit.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Accounting Software for Consultants?
Common Features of Accounting Software for Consultants
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Benefits and Potential Issues
Market Trends to Understand

What Is Accounting Software for Consultants?

Accounting software helps freelance and independent consultants manage small-scale financial accounting data. A core package generally includes the following modules:

  • Accounts payable
  • Accounts receivable
  • General ledger
  • Billing and invoicing

The dashboard will have some variation of those modules alongside other supplemental features. For example, Sage Intacct's dashboard contains General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable and Order Entry, among other modules.

Sage Intacct dashboard

Sage Intacct dashboard

Furthermore, there are certain criteria that differentiate accounting software for consultants from accounting software for other types of businesses. These can include features such as cloud-based applications and customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities.

Common Features of Accounting Software for Consultants

While different vendors offer different sets of features unique to their application, there are several core elements of accounting software consultants can expect to find:

Accounts payable

Enables you to keep track of what you owe and also pay all your bills on time. The feature helps you process your outgoing funds, track invoices, store vendor details and print checks.

Accounts receivable

Helps you effectively manage your incoming payments. The feature offers billing codes for easy handling of recurring outgoing invoices to customers and payment codes for efficient crediting of payments from multiple accounts at one time.

General ledger

Allows users to maintain a comprehensive record of all financial transactions and track spending by project. The feature simplifies budgeting and reporting by showing past and future transactions from specific accounts within a specified date range.

Billing and invoicing

Gives users the ability to track transactional financial data and create billing and invoicing documentation for clients.

Customer relationship management (CRM)

CRM applications help consultants manage interactions with current and prospective customers, clients and/or partners, with the goal of increasing customers, revenue and customer satisfaction.

Financial reporting

Enables you to track and report on your financials with recognized business accounting best practices.

Online accounting

Allows users to access and modify all accounting data remotely through a cloud-based server hosted by the vendor.

Project accounting

Helps project-oriented consultants maximize job profitability and efficiency by tracking detailed cost breakdowns of individual projects. It allows consultants to examine prior job costs and estimate future costs to choose the jobs based on projected profit.

Asset management

Offers a central asset and inventory management system for managing equipment from acquisition to depreciation to maintenance.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

It's important to consider what type of buyer you are before examining your options so that you know exactly what to look for in a product. Most consultants seeking accounting software fall into one of three categories:

Freelance consultant. Independent consultants are responsible for managing their own financial accounting data, without the infrastructure or budget of a business with multiple employees. These types of buyers aren't usually experts in accounting, and therefore require only basic accounting functions while prioritizing ease of use and cost over more feature-rich platforms.

Consulting firm. Ranging from a small handful of employees to a midsize network of individual consultants, these businesses often desire more robust systems. These systems should be capable of managing multiple users and projects, as well as the ability to integrate with existing systems like CRM or asset management software. They therefore require a product with a greater degree of sophistication and wider range of applications, such as CRM software, to fulfill their business needs.

Best-of-breed buyer. These buyers have more familiarity with accounting software and its specific functions. They know the individual applications they desire and how they will address their consulting and accounting initiatives. For example, an HR consultant would seek payroll management capabilities, while nonprofit and cause-driven consultants would look specifically for accounting software to help manage funds and a variety of financial benchmarks. Best-of-breed buyers like these typically prioritize functionality over integration.

Benefits and Potential Issues

When you boil it down, the benefits of accounting software for consultants are the same as any other business: a clearer and more comprehensive analysis of one's accounting data, which in turn leads to more responsible financial decisions and a better understanding of the proverbial Big Picture. Advancements in automation and integration have made accounting software an essential piece of the business pie, rendering older, manual accounting methods extinct.

That said, there are certain things you'll want to consider before implementing accounting software into your consulting business. For independent and freelance consultants, protecting existing data and ensuring a seamless transition is paramount. This is especially tricky when integrating with other software, so be sure to back up all client data prior to implementation.

It's also important to ensure that a given piece of software includes all desired functionality and is sufficient for your organization's projected growth rate. The last thing you want is to invest in new software only to realize it doesn't have a specific feature, or that your consulting business will outgrow the software's capabilities as it acquires more clients. Thankfully, most accounting software platforms offer trials and demos that will allow you to test drive it before you buy it.

Market Trends to Understand

Consultants will want to keep an eye on these notable trends playing out in the accounting software space:

Cloud-based software. Accounting software platforms—and really software as a whole—are moving toward the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. Compared to the more traditional on-premise hosting model, SaaS offers lower upfront costs and quicker implementation time. Both of these factors make cloud-based software ideal for consultants with smaller budgets and less margin for downtime.

Mobile apps. Similarly, mobile applications and smartphone-optimized web interfaces are gaining popularity not just in accounting, but across all industries. This trend is particularly relevant to consultants, who are often on-the-go and managing multiple accounts at once. For a detailed look, check out our breakdown of the best mobile accounting apps.

Industry-specific features. More and more, vendors are offering industry-specific features that cater to the unique needs of a given vertical. Be sure to keep this in mind when investigating solutions for your consulting business, as even products that were once broader and more horizontal continue to add features that benefit specific industries.

Vendor consolidation. When evaluating accounting software for consultants, buyers should consider the financial viability of small vendors, which larger merchants are acquiring at an ever-increasing rate. This is especially true of accounting and ERP markets, with major players like Oracle and Sage making significant acquisitions in recent years.