Although QuickBooks is the leading bookkeeping software on the market and we highly recommend it to business owners who need to set up their books, there are other bookkeeping services on the market that might appeal to you.
Even if you decide to go with QuickBooks, we encourage you to be aware of the its competitors, in case you later find yourself needing a specific feature provided by one of these services.
Peachtree (by Sage) is a robust bookkeeping software program and is second in popularity to QuickBooks because of its many useful features, such as customer management, invoicing, and time tracking. Peachtree has four subscription tiers, each with a different number of user licenses and features, and they all come with a free trial. You can create and view professional-looking reports and see an overview of how your company is doing.
The one feature Peachtree offers that QuickBooks doesn’t is the ability to manage fixed assets. Also, if you need to keep track of depreciation of accounts, offices, and other machinery, then Peachtree could be a better option than most QuickBooks plans. However, QuickBooks does offer these features in its Accountant and Enterprise Desktop software.
Since Peachtree is the second most popular bookkeeping software on the market, you can probably find an accountant who is licensed in Peachtree without much difficulty. But, compared to the number of accountants who are certified in QuickBooks, there are much fewer Peachtreee licensed professionals.
AccountEdge is a bookkeeping software option that bills itself as “premium small business accounting software.” This software has been around since the early ’90s when it was introduced for the Mac, but now a Windows version is also available. AccountEdge has some helpful features, such as a to-do list and the ability to track transactions in multiple currencies, which is nice if you do business abroad.
Like Peachtree, AccountEdge offers the ability to manage fixed assets, which isn’t offered by QuickBooks. The program also has a very user-friendly interface, but it lacks some features offered by QuickBooks such as online-banking and a company dashboard that allows you to view all of your company’s activity at once. If you need to project depreciation of accounts, offices, and other machinery, then AccountEdge could be a better option than most QuickBooks plans.
AccountEdge is comparable to QuickBooks except for the number of accountants familiar with the software. It may be more difficult for you to find an accountant who is familiar with AccountEdge over QuickBooks.
FreshBooks is software that allows you to track time, organize your expenses and invoice your clients. It’s meant for those who want to track billable hours and send invoices based on those hours. There is a free entry level plan, but it’s limited to one user and three clients or customers you can manage. You can upgrade to the $20 plan that supports 25 clients/customers, but after that the plans get pricey when compared to similar offerings from QuickBooks.
Although not technically a bookkeeping solution, FreshBooks offers some of the same features of bookkeeping software, such as invoicing, exporting and importing data, client management, automated invoice creation, and reporting. The software ties into a number of different online payment avenues and has a 256-bit, federal government grade encryption for all plans to insure the safety of your financial information.
However, Freshbooks’ reporting, project management, and invoicing features are sub-par, and its homepage dashboard is not useful at all, according to Consumer Reports. This software is also pretty basic and not widely used, which may cause problems for you in the future when you need more functionality and support.
Harvest is a time-tracking solution that has invoicing built into the system. It’s an ideal solution for people who want to track billable hours and send invoices based on those hours.
Harvest is not quite as popular as QuickBooks, but it offers some noteworthy features. You can send professional-looking project estimates to clients, and they offer an iPhone app that lets you log expenses on the go from any location. Harvest offers common features of bookkeeping software, such as importing and exporting reports and multi-currency invoicing. It also has unique features like desktop time-tracking widgets and Google Apps integration.
However, Harvest lacks some important features. There is no way to sort or filter invoices, and the system won’t integrate invoice payments from any source other than PayPal. Also, Harvest does not give you the ability to define when your fiscal year begins and ends. Since most businesses don’t have their fiscal year aligned with the calendar year, the yearly reports given may not be much help. In addition to these drawbacks, this software is not widely used, and it may be difficult to find an accountant familiar with the software.
For information on how to set up your company books, see How To: Set Up the Books.