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Sage Intacct

Sage Intacct is a provider of cloud-based accounting software. Sage Intacct’s applications are suitable for small and midsize companies and can provide real-time financial and operational insights as well as the ability to automate... Read More
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Zoho Books

Zoho Books is a Web-based accounting solution suitable for small organizations. It features contact management, invoices, expenses, sales and purchase orders, project time tracking and inventory management. Zoho Books also comes with... Read More
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NetSuite

NetSuite is a business management software suite offered as a service that performs enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) functions. It is a horizontal package designed for an extensive range... Read More
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VersAccounts Small Business Cloud ERP

VersAccounts is a web-based accounting and enterprise resource planning (ERP) system designed for growing small and midsized businesses looking to gain real-time financial and operational insights. This Cloud 2.0 system enables businesses... Read More
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Acumatica ERP

Acumatica ERP delivers an adaptable cloud and mobile-based enterprise resource planning solution with a user licensing model which enables a real-time view of business operations at any time from anywhere. Through a worldwide network... Read More
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Multiview

For organizations seeking a solution that conforms to their existing operations, Multiview offers a suite of financial solutions. With Multiview, companies gain visibility over corporate data. The solution includes 14 modules that... Read More
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FinancialForce Financial Management

FinancialForce Financial Management (FM) is a cloud-based system built to provide a complete financial management solution for sales and services-orientated companies of all sizes. FinancialForce FM has several inherent applications,... Read More
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Freshbooks

Freshbooks is a web-based accounting solution that caters to small businesses. Freshbooks serves various industries, such as marketing, legal services and business consulting, trades and home services and information technology (IT). Key... Read More
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ECOUNT

ECOUNT is a cloud-based integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution suitable for small and midsize businesses. It helps manage inventory, production, logistics, sales, accounting and payroll. ECOUNT’s inventory management... Read More
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Microsoft Dynamics SL

Microsoft Dynamics SL is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system designed for project-based small and medium-sized businesses. The solution offers industry-specific capabilities for professional services, government contractors,... Read More
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Microsoft Dynamics AX

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is an ERP system suitable for midsize to large enterprises. The solution has particular strengths in manufacturing and distribution but is also capable of serving buyers across multiple industry verticals.... Read More
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SAP Business One

SAP Business One is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite designed primarily to serve small to midsize businesses. SAP Business One is used to address the needs of many industry verticals including manufacturing,... Read More
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Cougar Mountain DENALI

Cougar Mountain Software offers a business accounting software for manufacturing, nonprofits and public services organizations. Their flagship product Denali is a core accounting solution with applications for general ledger, accounts... Read More
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UNIT4 Financials

Unit4 Financials (formerly Coda Financials) is a suite of global accounting and broader financial management applications. These include general ledger, accounts payable and receivable, fixed assets, budgeting, project accounting and... Read More
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Abila MIP Fund Accounting

Abila MIP Fund Accounting from ProSoft Solutions is a finance management and fund accounting solution designed to serve nonprofits and government agencies. The solution can be deployed on-premise, in the cloud or be self-hosted. Abila... Read More
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Flexi Software

Flexi Software is a financial accounting and process-driven workflow software solution for the banking, insurance, financial services, healthcare, and other service industries. The accounting solution is fully integrated, providing... Read More
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AccuFund Accounting Suite

AccuFund is an online accounting and financial reporting solution designed specifically for the nonprofit industry. Integrated into one, AccuFund's Accounting suite helps nonprofit organizations and government agencies report funding... Read More
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Unanet Project Portfolio Financials

Unanet Project Portfolio Financials consists of one software application with integrated capabilities to manage, plan and track projects, people and financials in real time. Available as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering or an... Read More
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Microsoft Dynamics GP

Microsoft Dynamics GP is a financial accounting system designed to meet the requirements of small to midsize businesses. Microsoft Dynamics GP was originally developed by North Dakota-based Great Plains Software and was acquired by... Read More
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Financial Edge by Blackbaud

Financial Edge NXT is a cloud accounting solution from Blackbaud that provides transparency across teams, security, compliance, and reduces the need for manual processes. The system is a fund accounting solution that provides a general... Read More
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Sage Fixed Assets

Sage Fixed Assets offers integrated accounting features and multiple methods to track asset depreciation (straight line, ACRS, modified straight line, declining balance, even user-defined.) It integrates with other general ledger systems. The functionality... Read More
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InFocus

Founded in 2007 by A/E industry veterans, Clearview InFocus is a scalable, comprehensive billing and invoicing and project management solution that also includes full financials. This is the flagship product for Clearview and its sole... Read More
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Unit4 Business World

Unit4 Business World is a scalable ERP solution designed to address the unique demands service organizations face. It offers multi-lingual and multi-currency capabilities, and is a fit for higher education, nonprofits and NGOs, professional... Read More
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Infor CloudSuite™ Financials & Supply Management

Infor CloudSuite Financials & Supply Management 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... Read More
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Activity HD

nQativ’s Activity HD is an accounting and payroll solution suitable for small to mid-size companies. It offers tools to sort, filter and present data, plus security features to satisfy data confidentiality requirements. Activity... Read More
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Exact Globe Next

Exact Globe Next is an end-to-end business management solution. It offers accounting, inventory management, billing and invoicing, financial reporting, and more. This ERP system can be deployed either on-premise on a local server,... Read More
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Xledger

Xledger is an automated and scalable cloud-based accounting/ERP solution for medium- to large sized companies and is designed to provide insight and analytics for decision-makers. The system is an out-of-box solution that is configurable... Read More
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Fusebill

Fusebill provides businesses with cloud-based financial and accounting processes, including core accounting, billing and invoicing, financial reporting and more. The system is suitable for small businesses, as well as midsize companies... Read More
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Deltek Ajera

Deltek Ajera is an integrated accounting and project management solution built for architecture and engineering (A/E) firms. It is suitable for small to mid-size firms seeking an industry-tailored solution to improve project level... Read More
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Deltek Vision

Deltek Vision is a web-based project-based solution for professional services firms that is available for cloud or on-premise deployment. It combines project accounting, resource management, project management, time/expense management... Read More
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Infor SunSystems

Infor SunSystems is an integrated financial management, purchasing, inventory and sales management solution. It is used by more than than 9,000 customers in over 190 countries worldwide. Offered in multiple languages and currencies,... Read More
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Abila MIP Advance™

Abila MIP Advance™ is cloud-based fund accounting software for non-profit organizations and municipalities and has close to 20,000 users across many sectors. The software suite offers a variety of functionalities including general... Read More
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SBS Financials

SBS Financials is cloud-based software designed for multi-entity accounting. The system is flexible and adapts to an organization’s existing workflows. SBS Payroll/HR and SBS Procurement can be added to create an integrated financial... Read More
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EBizCharge

EBizCharge offers a full suite of payment processing, billing and invoicing solutions. It includes payment integrations to accounting/enterprise resource planning/customer relationship management and e-commerce platforms, mobile solutions,... Read More
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Connected Accounting & ERP

Accountek is an accounting software solution available for on-premise deployment. It is suited for small to medium-sized businesses across a variety of industries. Accountek offers connected accounting and enterprise resource planning... Read More
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AXIO Core Financials

AXIO Core Financials from SBS Group is an Enterprise Resource Planning system that is powered by Microsoft Dynamics. The software is designed for global use and offers multi-language, multi-currency support and is compatible with companies... Read More
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Accurants

Accurants is a cloud-based accounting solution suitable for small businesses and freelancers. Key features include modules for time tracking, project management, invoicing and expense tracking. Accurants allows users to invoice customers... Read More
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SAP Anywhere

SAP Anywhere integrates sales, marketing, e-commerce, and inventory activities into one complete front-office system. With SAP Anywhere users can manage and track inventory, manage orders, manage the procurement process, and more.... Read More
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Sage Live

Sage Live is a cloud-based and mobile-ready accounting platform for small and mid-sized businesses. Key features include multi-company, multi-currency, and multi-legislation support, personalization based on user role, bank integration,... Read More
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Beyond Software

Beyond Software is a project accounting and management software system available for small to mid-size companies. The system allows organizations to manage and execute around their projects by increasing visibility and creating accountability.   Industries... Read More
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Sparkrock

Sparkrock is an all-in-one solution for large and midsize Nonprofit organizations. It offers Finance & Accounting, Workforce Management, Payroll, Employee Scheduling, Case Management and Donor Management. Each module can be purchased... Read More
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Restaurant365

Restaurant365 is a cloud-based accounting solution for restaurants of all sizes. Key features include accounting, inventory, banking, budgeting and analytics. Restaurant365 offers general ledger features such as retail fiscal periods,... Read More
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Macola

Macola is the ERP and business software that manufacturers and wholesale distributors trust to automate, grow and streamline their business workflows. Macola meets the unique needs of growing SMBs ─ automating and managing core... Read More
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Sage X3

Sage X3 is an enterprise business management software suite that includes integrated functionality for financial management, sales, customer service, distribution, inventory, and manufacturing, and business intelligence. Sage X3 is... Read More
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SAP Business ByDesign

SAP Business ByDesign is a software as a service (SaaS) enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The software is designed to serve all the key needs of a business and offers applications for customer relationship management (CRM),... Read More
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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.
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Financial Suite by IntelliTek

Financial Suite by IntelliTek is the financial component of IntelliTek Systems’ broader ERP offering. Financial Suite by IntelliTek is an ideal accounting systems for small and mid-market companies. The platform is comprises of Accounts... Read More
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Sage 100 Standard and Advanced ERP (formerly Sage ERP MAS 90 and 200)

Sage 100 ERP (formerly branded as Sage ERP MAS 90 and 200) is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system for small and midsize businesses. The solution is typically recommended to companies with annual revenue between one... Read More
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Sage 300 ERP (formerly Sage ERP Accpac)

Sage 300 ERP (formerly Sage ERP Accpac) is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system that serves small and medium-size businesses in professional services, financial services, public sector, and other markets such as distribution... Read More
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SAP ERP Core Finance

Over 30,000 companies, spanning 120 different countries, are using SAP ERP Financials to conduct their financial management.  Noteworthy names include General Mills and Office Max. SAP ERP Financials is a part of SAP’s Business... Read More
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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

What Is Online Accounting Software?

Accounting solutions track the financial transactions within an organization. Typical features include:

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.

AR invoice screenshot in AccuFund

AR invoice screenshot in AccuFund

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 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 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 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 it 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 systems were 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