215 systems found
Finding software can be overwhelming. We've helped thousands of businesses choose the right accounting software so they can balance their books and make more financially sound decisions.
There is a vast array of accounting softwares and financial management solutions on the market today, with specialized functionality for almost any industry or size of organization. Moreover, the specific type of accounting can differ between programs—project, fund and fixed asset are examples.
Add to this variety the constant change of standards, compliance requirements and technology platforms, and the process of selecting enterprise accounting software gets tricky. This buyer's guide is intended to make the process much more bearable.
Here's what we'll cover:
What Is Accounting System Software?
A Comparison of Top Accounting Solutions
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Market Trends You Should Understand
Benefits & Potential Issues
Recent Events You Should Know About
Business accounting software keeps track of the financial transactions within an organization. A core package includes the following modules:
Spending statistics in Quicken
These systems occasionally come with specialized functionality for particular types of businesses or companies. An example is fund accounting for nonprofit organizations and government entities. Because it's a critical business process, it's often a central component of an organization's enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
There are many popular accounting solutions on the market, and it can be hard to know what distinguishes one product from another and which is right for you. To help you better understand how the top accounting systems stack up against one another, we created a series of side-by-side product comparison pages that break down the details of what each solution offers in terms of pricing, applications, ease of use, support and more:
|Top Intacct Comparisons||Top QuickBooks Online Comparisons||Top Zoho Books Comparisons|
|Intacct vs. Xero
Intacct vs. QuickBooks Online
|Intacct vs. QuickBooks Online
Quicken vs. QuickBooks Online
Sage 50/Peachtree vs. QuickBooks Online
Zoho Books vs. QuickBooks Online
KashFlow vs. QuickBooks Online
|Zoho Books vs. FreshBooks
Zoho Books vs. QuickBooks Online
Zoho Books vs. Xero
|Top Xero Comparisons||Top KashFlow Comparisons|
|Intacct vs. Xero
Zoho Books vs. Xero
KashFlow vs. Xero
|KashFlow vs. Xero
KashFlow vs. QuickBooks Online
|Core accounting||Core systems assist with the basic functions necessary to balance a business' books, including general ledger functionality, the ability to track accounts payable (A/P) and accounts receivable (A/R), fixed assets and bank reconciliation. Every business requires these core functions to manage its finances.|
|Project accounting||This type of system helps project-oriented businesses maximize job profitability and efficiency by tracking detailed project costs. Businesses can examine past job costs and estimate future costs to choose the jobs that will achieve adequate profit. It tracks by project factors like labor, overhead, materials and equipment to improve decision-making.|
|Fund accounting||These solutions support nonprofit and governmental entities in tracking their development and spending of funds. Nonprofit organizations can track their expenditures of donations or grants to make sure they meet fund provider requirements. These systems also allow government entities to make sure they meet unique Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) regulations.|
|Inventory management||This type of solution helps companies keep the correct inventory levels to maximize profit, avoid overspending and minimize the costs associated with inventory depreciation. The right system keeps inventory information up-to-date by tracking product levels as well as orders, sales and deliveries. The Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) stipulate specific ways to account for inventory to ensure proper reporting of value for inventory that has depreciated or undergone other changes. Software with inventory management capabilities ensures this is done correctly.|
|Billing & invoicing||These systems automate the collection of payments from customers to enable timely and consistent collection with minimal human error. There are many different types of billing and invoice systems designed to support the wide range of industries, business models, payment methods and operational scales.|
|Budgeting & forecasting||Users can leverage budgeting and forecasting solutions to project a company's financial outlook from historical data and estimate future conditions. These systems are typically used in businesses that must consolidate multiple departmental forecasts and budgets, and are most helpful where multiple variables drive the ultimate forecast.|
|Fixed asset accounting||This type of system tracks fixed assets by providing a central database of important asset information, including location, check-in and check-out, due date for return, maintenance scheduling, audit history, cost and depreciation. Depreciation schedules are a core element of this specialty.|
|Payroll management||Payroll systems help businesses track and process employee payrolls. They also compose and print paychecks, automatically withhold and pay government taxes and generate the necessary legal and tax reports on a regular basis. Automated reminders to pay required fees help businesses avoid legal penalties.|
Before evaluating your options, you must determine what type of buyer you are. Over 90 percent of buyers fall into one of these three categories:
Growing small-business buyers. These businesses are on the verge of upgrading basic systems, such as QuickBooks, to more robust small-business accounting systems that will support sophisticated functions (such as demand forecasting, intercompany accounts, increased data storage and others). Growing businesses upgrade their systems for a range of reasons. Industry-specific functionality will become important when a small company reaches a certain size threshold.
Enterprise buyers. These buyers represent businesses and organizations that need the functionality of a full enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite. Usually, these systems will include functionality for multi-company consolidation, international operations and foreign currency and other concerns relevant to large entities. Seamless integration is usually more important than specific features; however, there is considerable differentiation in both of these areas, and buyers should examine both. SAP and Oracle, two of the largest vendors, have some of the most feature-rich systems on the market.
Best-of-breed buyers. These buyers are focused on specific functions. For example, nonprofit organizations need to look specifically for accounting software for business that can perform fund accounting. This method tracks funds in such a way that different grant providers can see the right report on how each fund amount has been used. Meanwhile, in education, universities and colleges often need software specific to higher ed, for example to track the disbursement of financial aid. Construction companies or engineering firms, on the other hand, usually need a system that can break down costs by each project, location and other characteristics. For best-of-breed buyers like these, functionality is often more important than integration.
The key benefits of financial management systems are clear: better visibility of costs and expenditures, which leads to more financially responsible decision-making. In addition, systems can generate reports in a variety of ways to summarize this information cleanly for the right audience.
For example, nonprofits can generate reports specific to a particular grant provider, detailing exactly where every cent of the funding ended up. This allows an organization to be accountable to investors, donors and lenders, maintaining trust and avoiding financial damage. These systems also allow companies to ensure compliance with reporting standards and federal requirements.
There are a number of issues that should be avoided when selecting a solution. Buyers in certain vertical industries must make sure the appropriate modules are included in the system they purchase. For example, engineering firms and construction companies should choose a system with a project accounting module.
Another issue is a company's rate of growth; the buyer should consider how fast the company is growing at the time of purchase. This way, the company will not grow out of a system immediately after investing considerable time and funds in the selection and implementation processes.
As you evaluate accounting software packages, consider these current market trends:
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). SaaS is picking up speed as buyers realize the advantages of lower upfront costs and quicker implementation time. NetSuite is a prominent example of a SaaS system: In fact, it is available only as a SaaS offering.
Mobile apps. Mobile applications are gaining popularity across the board, and accounting is no exception. Check to see how each vendor is innovating on this front.
Increased specialization by industry. Increasingly, consumers are demanding more industry-specific features, and vendors are listening. Products that were once “horizontal”—such as Sage MAS 90/200, QuickBooks and Microsoft Dynamics—are increasingly adding new vertical features to cater to buyers’ specific industries. Make sure to keep a lookout for features that fit your particular industry when investigating tools and solutions.
Business intelligence. Interest in business intelligence is on the rise. Business intelligence takes the massive amount of data collected and organizes it into reports designed to support business improvement. Many vendors are now integrating business intelligence into their ERP accounting and financial management systems.
Oracle acquires Netsuite. In July 2016, Oracle purchased Netsuite, further expanding the already impressive reach of its cloud platform. Netsuite’s financial management solution has become a key player in the small and midsize business (SMBs) accounting market, while Oracle is well-known in the enterprise space. It will be interesting to see how this merger will impact customers in the long term—in the interim, users should expect more integrations between NetSuite and Oracle products.
Sage adds chatbot and AI to cloud accounting software. Initially launched at the Sage Summit conference in 2016, Sage officially released its chatbot with its Sage One software in January 2017. The chatbot, Pegg, uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to provide businesses with a “virtual accounting assistant.” With Pegg, users can track receipts, submit expenses, see which customers are behind on invoices and more.
Zoho launches customized payment solution: Zoho Checkout. Zoho’s newest addition to their financial suite is a customizable online payments solution designed for businesses of all size. Users can build and brand a secure payment page, connect with a payment gateway and collect one-time and recurring payments from customers. Zoho Checkout is available in both free and paid plans, with capabilities increasing as plans scale.
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A Graphic of the Top-Rated Accounting Products
FrontRunners uses real reviews from real software users to highlight the top software products for North American small businesses.
Our goal is to help small businesses to make more informed decisions about what software is right for them. That’s why we engineered FrontRunners.
To create this report, we evaluated over 215 accounting products. Only those with the top scores for Usability and User Recommended made the cut as FrontRunners.
Scores are based on reviews from real software users.
The Different Graphics Show Different Sizes of Vendors
Small and Enterprise refer to the size of the software vendor company—not necessarily the size of customers they serve.
We break vendors into two groups for two reasons: It’s a more equal comparison of products, and software buyers have told us it’s helpful.
To determine who’s Small and who’s Enterprise, we look at how many employees the vendors have. All products in FrontRunners, whether Enterprise or Small, are evaluated using the same process.
Each graphic shows the top 10-15 performers for each the Enterprise and Small vendor categories. You can switch views simply by clicking on the version you’d like to see (above the graphic). You can read more in the full FrontRunners methodology here.
Products Are Scored Based on User Reviews
The gist is that products are scored in two areas—Usability and User Recommended—based on actual user ratings.
To be considered at all, products must have at least 20 reviews published within the previous 18 months, and meet minimum user rating scores. They also have to offer a core set of functionality—for example, accounting products have to offer general ledger, accounts payable and receivable and bank reconciliation.
From there, user reviews dictate the Usability and User Recommended scores. Usability is plotted on the x-axis and User Recommended on the y-axis.
You can download the full FrontRunners for Accounting Software report here. It contains individual scorecards for each product on the FrontRunners quadrant.
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For more information about FrontRunners, check out the following:
FrontRunners constitute the subjective opinions of individual end-user reviews, ratings, and data applied against a documented methodology; they neither represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, Software Advice or its affiliates.