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How to Choose Accounting Software

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Katherine Miller

Katherine Miller

An itinerant wanderer, Katherine spent the past year in Colorado, Chicago, and New Zealand. Several years as an independent contractor have familiarized her with the headaches that often accompany small business accounting, and she’s made it her mission to find the best tools to make things a little easier for new entrepreneurs. When she’s not busy investigating the ins and outs of the latest accounting software, she can be found working on a novel, trekking up mountains, and training in Krav Maga. (Though usually not all at once.)
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2 Comments

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    Ted

    Hi Katherine –

    Thank you for your guidance through multiple accounting software products.

    There is one more thing I need to know before making my decision. There are roughly two categories of people. The first group learns a product quicker and uses it better when the most of the underlying details and nuances are hidden by software. The other category is just the opposite – they do not like to see only a simplified front-end and feel confused if they are not able to see what is going on behind the scenes. I personally belong to the second category. And now, after going through studies of accounting fundamentals in the last couple of months I already started to make sense of these slightly weird at the beginning accounting terminology and concepts and began to appreciate double-entry methods in their original 500 -years-old form. I started to understand the mechanisms of bookkeeping as they were originally designed. So at this point encountering so called “user-friendly” software and dealing with kind of a “black box” probably might be a little bit frustrating. While relying on software in the aspects of volume and accuracy of data processing I would like to be able to see an underlying accounting data “as is” – journal entries, general ledger, the details of posting transactions to particular accounts and so on.

    So here is my question. Which of the products does not shield the user from looking and dealing with the accounting data in its “classic” form?

    In particular, is there at least an alternative, optional mode of work for “not-completely-dummy-users” in Xero? If so then Xero would be an easy choice for me.
    Thank you.
    Ted.

      Katherine Miller

      Hi Ted,

      Thanks for your question, and sorry for the delay in my response. In either Xero or QBO, you’ll be able to view journal entries, your general ledger, chart of accounts, balance sheet, etc. While the software will automatically enter debits and credits to the proper accounts when you, say, write an invoice, you will always be able to go back in and verify it manually. Both programs are designed to be simple to use for people who don’t understand accounting, but if you do, you can check the behind-the-scenes workings and verify that everything’s correct.

      I’d suggest giving Xero a try at this point–use the free trial to explore the program and see what you think!

      Best of luck!
      Katherine

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