10 Reasons Real Business Owners Are Thankful For Online Accounting Software
Time and time again I find myself writing about the perks of online accounting software. But sometimes, it’s more effective to hear from real small business owners—the people actually out in the trenches. That’s why Merchant Maverick has asked small business owners across a variety of industries to share why they are thankful for their online accounting software.
Read on to see how you can apply the valuable insight from real small businesses to your own business endeavors.
Table of Contents
- 1. It Saves Time
- 2. It Makes Taxes A Breeze
- 3. It Allows For Easy Invoicing
- 4. It Helps You Get Paid On Time
- 5. It Provides Reporting Tools
- 6. It Makes Expense Tracking Easier
- 7. It Provides Mobility
- 8. It’s Affordable
- 9. It Comes With Integrations & An API
- 10. It Frees You Up To Focus on Your Business
- Final Thoughts
1. It Saves Time
When you read thousands of online accounting software reviews, you start to see a pattern. Online accounting software saves time.
Tim Carr, founder of WordPress software development company WP Zinc, shares how his online accounting software automates his business and helps him save time:
FreeAgent ensures we can focus on running our small business, and not worry about time-consuming data entry, chasing payments or filing complicated taxes – everything is automated, tax compliant, and with cloud-based access, our accountants can easily get key data without us becoming a bottleneck… we’ve saved hundreds of hours in administrative tasks per year–time which can be sent building better software for our customer, which maximizes business profit as a result.
You’d be surprised how many small business owners waste hours creating and customizing Excel files. Rachel Rusnak, founder the entrepreneurial hub UnCubicle, was one of those people until she found a better way:
I started my first business nearly ten years ago and was clueless about good accounting practices. I was running things out of an Excel spreadsheet (bad mistake). Not only was it messy and consumed a ridiculous amount of time, but human error was also a contributing factor to it not being a good process. When tax time came that first year, it was a train wreck! I was sorting through receipts, realized I hadn’t entered some of my expenses, forgot to send out invoices. Yikes!
I realized I needed a cloud-based system… [It] frees up time (and stress) for me doing manual bookkeeping.”
WordPress and digital marketing consultant Ahmed Khalifa understands the bottom line—time is money. He also shares how his business has profited from online accounting software:
Time is precious but time is also money, so the less time I spend on finance-related tasks, the more time I have to focus on my clients instead and providing them the service to the high standard that I have.
Whether you looking to put your Excel days behind you or want to switch from a complicated program to something simpler, online accounting software could be the answer. It helped these small businesses save time and money and could work for you too.
2. It Makes Taxes A Breeze
You have to file small business taxes, but you don’t have to dread April 15 or rue the day taxes were created. Most (good) accounting software offers some form of tax support. Whether you file W-2’s, 1099’s, Schedule C’s, or VAT, there are plenty of software options for your small business.
As a freelancer, my accounting software of choice was Freeagent… What I love and appreciate about the software the most is the ability to easily prepare and submit VAT returns. However, the standout feature for me is the Tax Timeline, which is part of the main dashboard interface. Not only can I see a live projection of how much tax we owe, but also details of crucial tax deadlines.
Professional writer Spencer Coffman uses QuickBooks Self-Employed to help him navigate the rough waters of self-employment taxes:
[A] cool feature is that at the end of the year I can import all of the [income and expense] data into Turbo Tax for quick and easy tax filing. Talk about convenience!
If you’re tired of stressing about taxes, online accounting software could be a life-saver. Read our article How to Get The Most Out of Your Accounting Software This Tax Season to learn how online accounting can help your small business.
3. It Allows For Easy Invoicing
Let’s face it, Excel just doesn’t cut it.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: invoices are more than a means of making money—they are a representation of your business’s image and professionalism. Not only does online accounting software allow you to create beautiful invoice templates, but most programs also provide great invoicing automations like recurring invoices and the ability to see when invoices are viewed.
I use QuickBooks Online for my accounts. The thing I most appreciate about it is a simple thing – the ability to issue invoices incredibly quickly and keep on top of credit control and who owes me money. With my first business I used Excel templates for several years and wasted huge amounts of time!
If it’s time to give your invoices a facelift, read about the Best Accounting Software for Invoicing or take a look at our top accounting solutions, all of which offer great invoice templates and automations.
4. It Helps You Get Paid On Time
Not only does online accounting software help you send beautiful invoices, it also helps you get paid on time for the invoices you send. One of the best ways to ensure you get paid on time is to offer multiple online payment forms. Almost all online accounting programs allow you to accept credit cards and integrate with key payment processors like PayPal. Features like invoice reminders can also help rein in those late paying customers.
I’m grateful in the ability to quickly set up client invoices, but that I have the ability to easily send follow up reminders.
Jen Boyadjian, founder and managing director at Boyadjian Consulting, also finds it easier to stay on top of her late invoices with payment reminders:
The software reminds me when an invoice is due or late, and I can schedule an automated reminder email. I’m particularly happy about this because I have a difficult time following up with clients for invoices.
If you have a hard time staying on top of late invoices or want an easier way to track invoice payments, definitely consider giving online accounting software a go.
5. It Provides Reporting Tools
Reports are the backbone of accounting. Certain key reports, like Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet, and General Ledger, are integral to balancing the books. Other reports, like Sales by Item or Customer Balance Summary, are icing on the cake. Not only do they let you understand your current financial state and business trends, they also help you make informed business decisions for the future.
Jennifer Vickery again shares how she benefits from her software’s reports:
I’m always thankful for the Reports as well and I enjoy running management reports and being able to see how I’m doing with my income and expenses this year compared to previous years. This truly helps me in understanding my finances and where I’m headed.
I’m a CEO and I’m thankful for our accounting software because it helps us plan and project. It enables us to pull data and reports and to project our and create goals for the upcoming year. Our accounting software helps our business management and puts us in a position to make better business decisions.
These business people benefit from the ability to run reports straight from their computers or phones. With online accounting software, you can too. Each app offers a different number of reports and different types of reports, so be sure to read our comprehensive reviews to learn more.
6. It Makes Expense Tracking Easier
If you read our other post, Managing Your Small Business Finances With These Expert Tips, then you know how important expense tracking is. One of the main purposes of accounting is to keep a solid record of your income and expenses. Online accounting software offers automations like live bank feeds, receipt scanning, and automatic transaction categorization to make expense tracking even easier.
Freelance writer and project manager Kayla Sloan shares how switching from Excel to the Cloud saved her hours of data entry:
A few years ago, before I had a cloud-based accounting software, I was tracking everything manually in an Excel sheet. It took HOURS for me to put together all of the information for my taxes at the end of the year and to see how much I was spending on various expenses in my business.
When I switched to FreshBooks, I started saving tons of time on these tasks. Plus, it made it easier for me to make decisions about what expenses were worth it and which weren’t.
QuickBooks helps me keep track of Blu Skin Care’s money coming in and out of the business. It’s kept all in one easy to use place. So, I always know where I stand and I’m always ready for tax time… QuickBooks also connects to over 16,000 financial institutions to download and categorize my transactions for me.
If you are currently using online accounting software or are looking for a cloud-based program, be sure to take advantage of all of the expense tracking automation offered.
7. It Provides Mobility
Locally-installed accounting software can’t touch cloud-based software when it comes to mobility. If you’re always out and about, you need software that matches your mobile lifestyle. These small business owners found that mobile accounting apps helped them stay on the go.
Spencer Coffman loves being able to do business straight from his phone. He says:
I’m extremely thankful for the QuickBooks Self Employed software. It is by far the best financial tracking software that I have used. My favorite thing about it is that I can get the app on my phone and it will also track all of my mileage.
Being consultants, we are always on the road. However, this does not stop of us from being able to track/create invoices or track receipts using our mobile devices.
It works for Coffman and Sanders; it can work for you too! Learn Which Accounting Programs Have the Best Mobile Apps if you’re interested in more information.
8. It’s Affordable
More often than not, cloud-based software saves time and money. Almost all online accounting programs are structures as SaaS—software as a service—programs with low monthly fees. There are also several free software options that give paid accounting programs a run for their money.
Vincent Sanders uses Wave, a free accounting program, to help balance the books while saving the checkbook:
We were in dire need of software that could not only track all of our expenses/transactions and generate monthly reports, but could send invoices as well. While most accounting software applications can provide these features, Wave stood out to us because it was free.
9. It Comes With Integrations & An API
Integrations take your accounting software to the next level by letting you connect your software to other business tools like MailChimp, PayPal, TSheets, and more. For the tech-savvy, most online accounting programs offer some sort of API so you can program away to your heart’s desire. Here are a few examples of how real small business owners benefit from integrations and API.
For Zondra Wilson, it’s all about the payment processors. She says:
I can pull in data from apps I use like PayPal and Square.
Tim Carr shares how he uses API to further automate his software:
We’re most thankful for FreeAgent’s well documented and robust API (Application Programming Interface). It’s helped us further automate the entire business workflow from an accountancy perspective.
Integrations provide key features to fit your business’s needs. Most integrations come at an additional cost, but they can be more than worth the price if you’re getting the functionality you need to run your business. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at the 25 Must-Have Accounting Integrations for 2017 for a few ideas.
10. It Frees You Up To Focus on Your Business
Last but not least, online accounting software saves you time so that you can focus on what really matters–running your business.
Jen Boyadjian says:
My online accounting software gives me the time and freedom to focus on my developing my small business because I can automate a lot of tasks that would take me hours to complete manually.
As a small business owner, I am grateful to Zoho Books because since I started working with them 5 years ago they helped me to focus exclusively more on my startup.
Thanks to them my productivity increased… because I realized that I could start using cloud-based online software for almost everything!
I am grateful because I have the possibility to focus on what is REALLY important: my business, with the aim of making it grow every day. Because every entrepreneur knows that the most important thing is to eliminate all distractions other than working on your product or service.
Here at Merchant Maverick, our end goal is always to help you run your business better. If you already use cloud accounting, we hope these expert tips inspire you to take advantage of every feature your software has to offer.
If you haven’t switched to the cloud, you should have a better idea now of how businesses benefit from online accounting software. To learn if the Cloud is right for you, read our post: Accounting Software: Cloud-Based or Locally Installed? If you’re already sold on making the switch, check out our comprehensive accounting reviews and our Complete Guide to Choosing Online Accounting Software.
And as always, if you have any questions on your journey to finding the perfect software, please reach out in the comments below.