How to pick Accounting Software

Small business accounting software

Selecting accounting software isn’t easy. There are plenty of options, and (despite exactly what the advertisers may say), there’s not really a single program which is the best for all companies. Not even close to it.

How do we discover which small company accounting software program is the good for you? If you are seriously interested in locating a good fit for the business, I’d recommend putting aside 2-3 hrs to research your choices making your decision. That could appear just like a lot, however a good accounting program should save most companies a minimum of a couple of hrs of labor every month sometimes more. For your type of benefit, it’s most likely worthwhile to actually take time to examine your choices.

Below is really a step-by-step help guide to finding the right accounting software for the company. Here goes:

Table of Contents

In your area installed or web-based?

You will find benefits and drawbacks to every. Quick-and-dirty summary: In your area installed = better quality, more abilities featuring, required for most large companies. Cloud-based = portable, access from multiple devices, simplicity of use, perfect for medium and small companies. All of those other article will concentrate on cloud-based software, however the same concepts affect selecting in your area installed software.

Could it be really accounting software?

Regrettably, some popular cloud-based “accounting” programs aren’t accounting whatsoever they’re simply expense tracking. It’s not easy to differentiate together if you are unfamiliar with the area the important thing factor you have to search for may be the term “double-entry bookkeeping.” If software has it, then it’s accounting software. Whether it doesn’t, then it isn’t true accounting. Finish of story. Should you aren’t sure whether a course uses double-entry, ask. Or check its review on this website.

The length of your organization?

Some programs are equipped for companies of the specific size. Make certain the program you’re searching at supports the amount of users you’ll need.

What features do you want?

Lots of people don’t go to consider accounting software having a obvious concept of the key they need. If you would like software that’s accurate, reliable, and pretty simple to use … well, there are plenty of options that suit individuals criteria. To narrow the area just a little, I’ve found it’s better to start by wondering exactly the thing you need your accounting software to complete. For many, job costing abilities is going to be indispensable. For other people, the supply of mobile phone applications is essential. Think not just about the thing you need now, but additionally about what you are able want later on. It’s frequently easiest to select software that may scale together with your business, so when you expand, you can keep to make use of exactly the same system.

Create a list: the characteristics you will should have, adopted through the features you need. Remember to incorporate in their list the potential of integration using the other platforms your company uses, like CRM or shopping cart software software. Good integrations can help you save lots of data entry, and for that reason, considerable time.

To obtain began, here’s a summary of abilities you will probably get in a few of the cloud-based accounting software available. It’s in no way exhaustive, but if this sounds like the first time selecting accounting software, it might aid you in getting a concept what’s available.

  • Automated invoicing options
  • Estimates/quotes
  • Live bank feeds
  • Tools that will help you budget
  • Tools to assist with tax preparation
  • Purchase orders
  • Florida sales tax in multiple states
  • Multiple users/permissions
  • Print checks
  • Expense reports
  • Time tracking
  • Job costing
  • Attach scanned receipts to expenses
  • Inventory support
  • Multiple currencies
  • Integrated payroll
  • Prepare 1099s

What exactly are your choices?

So now you must your attributes. Time for you to start to see the way the various options fall into line.

For those who have some programs in your mind already, begin with them. Otherwise, I’d recommend beginning with any accounting software rated 3.5+ on this website. Visit the accounting software reviews page and perform a quick search (Ctrl-F) for that features you would like (e.g. “inventory”). I can’t guarantee I’ll have worded every feature using the search phrase you utilize, however this method means you can think of a couple of potential options within a few minutes – and eliminate others. Should you anxiously want accounting software which will do your laundry (I understand I actually do) and also the word “laundry” isn’t found in review … well, there’s a high probability the program doesn’t handle that kind of factor.

Jot lower what they are called of the very most promising options. It’s possible multiple programs may have all you want. It’s possible none will, and you’ll need to determine what to stop. Right now, though, you need to most likely possess the field narrowed to for the most part 4-5 options.

Cash-based or accrual?

How can you do your accounting? Whenever you send a bill on June 10 and obtain compensated on This summer 10, would you reckon it as being earnings for June, or This summer? If June, you’re using accrual accounting. If This summer, you’re using cash-based accounting. Either in situation, you will need a cpa program which assists the accounting method you utilize.

You can deal with this limitation by doing a bit of of the reckoning by hand. Consider whether that’s really something for you to do. Personally, the only real cases when I believe it’s worthwhile are FreeAgent and Wave, because they are so great for micro-companies in virtually every other respect.

Just how much will it cost?

Cloud-based accounting subscription packages vary from liberated to over one hundred dollars per month. Once you have their email list of software that provides you all you absolutely should have, you’re able to choose how much you need to spend the money for additional features. Check out the prices, and think about the monthly and yearly cost. Remember, cheaper isn’t necessarily better. If you’re able to buy $20/month accounting software or $40/month accounting software, however, you spent an additional half-hour every week around the $20 software … well, you need to think about: is the time more vital for you than $10/hour? If so, you would like the $40 program. If no, stick to the $20 one.

Probably, you’re lower to two-3 options at this time, and you’ll actually have a obvious forerunner. Since the figures tend to be more manageable, read overview of accounting software or more in your top chioces.

Give it a try

Okay. You’ve most likely had a favored candidate right now, or possibly you’re still waffling between two programs. Here we are at the exam drive. Select the program you prefer to date, and register. Almost all cloud-based accounting programs possess a free trial offer option. Experiment. Browse the functions you apply the most frequently. While there is a learning curve with any new software, have you noticed that design is sensible for you overall? Or are you constantly frustrated and confused? How lengthy will it decide to try perform the tasks you need to do probably the most frequently? Would you such as the overall feel from the software?

Decide

If you like your try out, you’ve found your match. Should you not, then check out #2 in your list.

Best of luck! And, of course, for those who have questions on how to choose accounting software for the business, don’t hesitate to make contact with us!

Katherine Miller

An itinerant wanderer, Katherine spent yesteryear year in Colorado, Chicago, and Nz. Many years being an independent contractor have familiarized her using the headaches that frequently accompany small company accounting, and she’s managed to get her mission to get the best tools to create things just a little simpler for brand new entrepreneurs. When she’s not busy investigating the intricacies from the latest accounting software, she are available focusing on a singular, trekking up mountain tops, and learning Krav Maga. (Though not often all at one time.)

Katherine Miller

Katherine Miller

“”

Invoicing Software: Free or Compensated?

Money

Things are better free, right? There is a certain attract not getting to cover the fundamental tools you have to keep the business running, particularly when you’re just beginning out. This fact may come as no real surprise to software developers, who’ve taken care of immediately the marketplace demand with a number of free invoicing programs.

But they are free invoicing programs useful, or will they prove the adage that you will get that which you purchase? The solution really depends upon your company. Let’s have a quick tour from the benefits and drawbacks:

Pros:

  • Cost – This is actually the apparent one. Considering that cloud-based invoicing software has a tendency to depend on the subscription model, selecting a totally free program will typically help you save between $100 and $500 each year.
  • Quality – People have a tendency to affiliate “free” with shoddy quality … and in some cases, it’s an acceptable assumption. But several new invoicing programs – along with a couple of from the original copies – defy this stereotype. Some, like Debitoor, derive from the “freemium” model they’re just a scaled-lower form of the entire, compensated form of the program. Others, like Nutcache, would be the products of companies that also produce effective, compensated software. Either in situation, we’re seeing an increase of capital and sources in to the free software application market.
  • Solid Fundamental Functions – For fundamental functions (write a bill, send it by email, measure the level as compensated, maintain a summary of products available for convenient entry, etc.), free software application does equally well as compensated software. There isn’t any considerable difference backward and forward as long as you keep to the basics. When the fundamental software meets your requirements, there’s just pointless to cover features you will not use.

Cons:

  • Branding – The old “no such factor like a free lunch” saying rings true here. You won’t be required to pay anything at all to utilize a free invoicing program … however the developers put effort and time and cash into creating, maintaining, and supporting this program. They have to recoup that cost in some way – plus they get it done through advertising. Their branding can look in your invoices – usually inconspicuously, but it’ll exist. You need to weigh whether this makes it worth while.
  • Poor Support – My experience is commonly that you simply don’t get nearly the amount of customer care having a free program that you simply do having a compensated program. You will find rare exceptions, but that’s the rule.
  • Less Advanced Features – While there’s some good free software application available, there isn’t any doubt that exist better quality software if you are prepared to pay. Features for example recurring billing are difficult to find in free software application (though some programs offer them). When you transfer to the sphere of automatic payment reminders and auto-billing, have no idea bother to appear. You’ll have to purchase individuals.
  • Scaleability – Since free invoicing solutions don’t provide the extensive selection of features you’ll get in compensated software, it might not be in a position to scale together with your business while you grow. It is not always a massive problem you could begin in one program and proceed to another later. But it’s something should bear in mind. Also, associated with that you could export your computer data from the program you utilize – free or compensated. Should you choose choose to switch, you shouldn’t lose data.

Conclusion

So what’s the decision? You’ll need to choose that on your own, according to your particular business and it is needs. For the best companies, free invoicing software represents a sensational deal … but it isn’t for everyone.

Katherine Miller

An itinerant wanderer, Katherine spent yesteryear year in Colorado, Chicago, and Nz. Many years being an independent contractor have familiarized her using the headaches that frequently accompany small company accounting, and she’s managed to get her mission to get the best tools to create things just a little simpler for brand new entrepreneurs. When she’s not busy investigating the intricacies from the latest accounting software, she are available focusing on a singular, trekking up mountain tops, and learning Krav Maga. (Though not often all at one time.)

Katherine Miller

Katherine Miller

“”

What’s Double-Entry Bookkeeping (and Do You Want It)?

double entry bookkeeping
Double entry bookkeeping. It’s a phrase you’ve heard a great deal if you were studying our accounting software reviews. You’ve most likely selected up from context that double entry is a great factor. What, exactly, will it mean?

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A Short (and Oversimplified) Good reputation for Accounting

A long time ago before computers, business proprietors had to find away out of keeping their records accurate. In addition, as companies grew to become increasingly more complex, they have to possess a obvious method of expressing the financial states of individuals companies. The double-entry system helped on fronts.

The first known records demonstrating double-entry bookkeeping go to the finish from the thirteenth century. A couple of other scattered references appear next years, as well as in 1458, Benedikt Kotruljević discussed the machine in the publication Della mercatura e del mercante perfetto (Of Commerce and also the Perfect Merchant). As well as in 1494, Fra Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli described the machine at length in Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalità (Whatever You Ever Wanted to understand about Arithmetic, Geometry, Proportion, and Proportionality). Fun fact: Pacioli also trained math to Leonardo da Vinci.

The word “double entry” would be a literal description. Under this technique, a accountant would go into the number for each transaction in 2 accounts – once like a debit and when like a credit. Should you adopted the machine perfectly, within the finish, whenever you added the entire debits and credits, they’d match. This implies your accounts were balanced. When there would be a discrepancy, you can track it lower.

The Accounting Equation

Double-entry accounting has since it’s foundation the fundamental accounting equation, that is:

Assets = Liability + Owner’s Equity

Quite simply, this means that what your company has equals anything you put in it plus whatever financial obligations the company might have incurred.

Now let’s start out one step farther. You might have heard about a chart of accounts. This is actually the list of all of the different accounts a company has. It offers such things as your bank account, your petty cash account … and your financial obligations, expenses, revenues, owner contributions and draws, etc. Put individuals in to the equation, and generate this:

Assets = Liability + Owner Contributions – Owner Draws + Revenue – Expenses + Gains – Losses

A good example:

Say your company is a widget factory. Widget-making machines cost $1000, which means you pay $500 out-of-pocket and obtain a pursuit-free loan for that other $500. In a single year, you sell $2000 price of widgets and spend $200 on widget-making materials. Your customers pays you in Euros, and also you lose $5 as a result of alternation in the exchange rate. Within the equation, that appears such as this:

Assets ($1000 machine + $1795 cash) = Liability ($500 loan) + Owner Contributions ($500 start-up investment) + Revenue ($2000 sales) – Expenses ($200 materials) – Losses ($5 exchange loss)

$2795 = $1000 + $2000 – $200 – $5

$2795 = $2795

That could appear an excessively complicated method of saying A=A … but stay it’s the building blocks of contemporary accounting.

How Double-Entry Works

Double entry accounting uses two posts: debits around the left, credits around the right. If you have an idea inside your mind about credits being positive and debits being negative, eliminate it now, since the next bit might be a bit confusing, as shown with this Venn diagram.

Accounting Venn Diagram

Remember our equation from before? We’re likely to arrange it just a little therefore we just use addition, no subtraction:

So:

Assets = Liability + Owner Contributions – Owner Draws + Gains – Losses + Revenue – Expenses

Becomes:

Assets + Losses + Expenses + Owner Draws = Liability + Owner Contributions + Gains + Revenue

The left side of this equation matches figures within our left column: debits. The best side of this equation matches figures within our right column: credits.

So for Assets, Losses, Expenses, and Owner Sketches, a rise to the need for the account is recorded like a debit.

As well as for Liabilities, Owner Contributions, Gains, and Revenue, a rise to the need for the account is recorded like a credit.

Obvious as dirt? Maybe a good example can help:

To our widgets. You spent $200 on widget-making materials. Which means you acquired $200 in inventory and lost $200 of the cash. Your bookkeeping records (journal records) would seem like this:

Account Debit Credit
Asset: Cash $200
Asset: Inventory $200
Total $200 $200

The entire sums for that Debit and Credit posts complement, so that your books are balanced. Yay!

Now let’s go one step farther: You apply the mats to make 200 widgets, that you simply intend to sell at $10 each. (Yeah, you’ve great margins.) The following day, you sell 10 widgets for as many as $100. The bookkeeping records may be like this:

Account Debit Credit
Asset: Cash $100
Asset: Inventory $10
Expense: Price of Goods Offered $10
Revenue: Sales $100
Total $110 $110

And viola! They match again. Double-entry bookkeeping for action.

So I Want It?

If you are a freelancer or managing a really small business, are you able to manage without double-entry? Yes. You are able to file your taxes, calculate your profit, etc., by simply using expense tracking.

You may also type your doctorate dissertation on the rusty old typewriter with keys that stick. Why can you?

Double entry bookkeeping evolved for any reason. It might not appear intuitive initially, but once you begin dealing with it, it can make a great deal of sense. If you are using double-entry bookkeeping, you’re maintaining great records of exactly what’s happening with the money flowing using your company. Balance sheet provides you with a far greater overall picture from the financial condition of the business than only a profit and loss report. So that as your company grows, double-entry bookkeeping will turn it into a lot simpler to help keep the figures straight.

In addition, double-entry is exactly what all accountants use. Should you hire a cpa to deal with things at year-finish, they will want so that you can begin to see the accounts and adjust journal records when needed. Simple expense-tracking software won’t really work it can make more work with everybody over time.

Finally, you’re likely studying this short article because you’re thinking about which accounting software you need to get. And when you’re having to pay for accounting software … why don’t you get software that really handles the accounting properly? It’s generally forget about costly than expense-tracking software, and it is just like simple to use. Actually: in many cloud-based software, all of the double-entry stuff is hidden behind the curtain. You typically don’t need to bother about it unless of course you need to.

Quite simply, there’s not good reason not to choose the double-entry option. There are plenty of great legitimate double-entry accounting programs available … so go try them out! And, of course, don’t hesitate to make contact with us with any queries.

Katherine Miller

An itinerant wanderer, Katherine spent yesteryear year in Colorado, Chicago, and Nz. Many years being an independent contractor have familiarized her using the headaches that frequently accompany small company accounting, and she’s managed to get her mission to get the best tools to create things just a little simpler for brand new entrepreneurs. When she’s not busy investigating the intricacies from the latest accounting software, she are available focusing on a singular, trekking up mountain tops, and learning Krav Maga. (Though not often all at one time.)

Katherine Miller

Katherine Miller

“”

How to pick Invoicing Software

small business invoicing software

So. You’ve made the decision that Stand out and Word just aren’t performing any longer. Maybe, like FreshBooks founder Mike McDerment, you accidentally saved over a classic invoice in Word and lost important data. Perhaps you have trouble monitoring which clients haven’t compensated yet and also you want an simpler method of doing it. Or you just don’t like the feel of your invoices and also you want something a bit more professional.

Regardless of the situation, there’s a lot of small company invoicing software available to create your work simpler. FreshBooks is probably the most generally known, but there’s a slew of other good options too, and they’re must-see. The best idea invoicing software for you may depend partly in your business as well as your specific needs. And also the first big question it’s important to think about is:

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Invoicing or accounting?

Cloud-based accounting software has expanded to incorporate nearly every aspect of invoicing software. Unless of course you’ll need auto-billing (that’s, the opportunity to instantly charge your clients’ charge cards after each invoice), there’s most likely accounting software available with the invoicing features you’ll need. The advantage to handling invoicing with accounting software programs are twofold. First, it enables you to definitely perfectly integrate your invoicing and accounting. Second, oftentimes you will not pay a lot more for accounting software than you’d for invoicing software. Based on your present accounting solution, it’s a minimum of worth thinking about.

Who should stay with invoicing software and disregard the accounting stuff? Most likely anybody where the following points apply:

  • You have accounting software you actually like and it’ll integrate with many invoicing programs.
  • You would like all of the invoicing features you will get.
  • You’ll need auto-billing.
  • You’ve already examined the accounting software options and not one of them provide you with the invoicing features you’ll need.

For other people, I’d recommend looking at accounting software first, having to pay special focus on invoicing-focused solutions like Zoho Books and FreeAgent. You will find a help guide to selecting accounting software here.

Cloud-based or in your area installed?

The remainder of this short article concentrates on cloud-based solutions, but you will find in your area installed invoicing programs around. Cloud-based programs provide you with convenience, mobility, and secure data storage and backup. In your area installed programs could be cheaper over time (a 1-time cost instead of subscription).

Free or compensated?

If you want advanced features, you’ll need to pay on their behalf. However, if you are just searching for something fundamental, you might be able to have it free of charge. To learn more concerning the benefits and drawbacks of free invoicing software, begin to see the article here.

What invoicing software features do you want?

The next move would be to narrow the accessible options by working out what you truly need. If you would like each and every invoicing feature obtainable in stand-alone software, your decision is nearly certainly Invoicera. Go take a look. If you want integrations with many different other software, check out FreshBooks – it provides greater than every other program. But there isn’t any sense in having to pay for features its not necessary, and many companies won’t need everything.

Create a list from the features you must have, along with second listing of the perks you would like – the icing around the cake. That will help you brainstorm, here’s a summary of a few of the features available:

• Online payment option • Customizable templates • Estimates/quotes
• Recurring invoices • Automatic payment reminders • Client portal
• Attach files to invoices • Automatic receipts • Fundamental stock list
• Financial statements • Automated late charges • Customer statements
• Offer percentage discounts • Auto-billing • Multi-lingual
• Inventory tracking • Email services • Multi-currency
• Time tracking • Expense tracking • Field for S&H or P&P
• Florida sales tax • Mobile phone applications • API

What exactly are your choices?

Now that you’ve got your list, observe how it lines track of available software. Should you already were built with a enter in mind, that’s the right place to begin. So might be the three-star or more reviews here. You may either search reviews on this website for that features you would like (make use of the search engine within the upper right-hands corner) or perform a Search for the specific software and also the feature (for example: “Freshbooks mobile”). You will be able to rapidly pull together a summary of 2-4 options.

After you have a brief list, browse the reviews and find out which programs look most attractive to you.

Give it a try

Pick your preferred option so far and attempt a totally free trial. Pay special focus on invoice templates and default email options. Some invoicing programs offer plenty of template options and customizations. Others provide a single template with essentially no choices for personalization. That’s fine if you want that template, however if you simply don’t, it might eliminate this program straight from the bat.

If you want the templates, still explore, noting the appear and feel from the program. Could it be simple to navigate? Exist inefficiencies in setup that will set you back time? Should you encounter any queries, go ahead and take chance to try out customer care.

Decide

With luck, you’re loving the exam run and also you can’t wait to import all of your info, personalize your settings, and begin while using new program. However if you simply feel under passionate, move ahead and check out the next program in your list. The best fit is most likely available.

Best of luck! Of course, don’t hesitate to make contact with us with any queries about small company invoicing software!

Katherine Miller

An itinerant wanderer, Katherine spent yesteryear year in Colorado, Chicago, and Nz. Many years being an independent contractor have familiarized her using the headaches that frequently accompany small company accounting, and she’s managed to get her mission to get the best tools to create things just a little simpler for brand new entrepreneurs. When she’s not busy investigating the intricacies from the latest accounting software, she are available focusing on a singular, trekking up mountain tops, and learning Krav Maga. (Though not often all at one time.)

Katherine Miller

Katherine Miller

“”

FreshBooks Versus Invoicera

Freshbooks-vs-Invoicera

FreshBooks is among the best-known names within the cloud invoicing industry. The organization reports over 5 million users in additional than 120 countries, and touts itself because the #1 cloud accounting solution for small companies in The United States. For that purposes want to know ,, though, we’re simply searching in internet marketing being an invoicing and expense tracking service (because it doesn’t provide double-entry bookkeeping).

Invoicera isn’t too known, but it’s still a well known program with more than 2.5 million users all across the globe. Instead of expanding in to the cloud accounting field, the organization has centered on honing and creating a feature-wealthy invoicing platform.

Both programs possess a lot opting for them, and both get 4.5-star ratings on this website. Now, we’re likely to take particular notice at just how they compare.

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Web-located or In your area Installed:

Both FreshBooks and Invoicera are cloud-based. FreshBooks offers apps for iPhone/iPad and Android devices. Invoicera provides an iPhone/iPad application.

Quantity of Users:

Champion: Invoicera

You could have different figures of users, based on your subscription. Here’s an evaluation:

Cost FreshBooks Invoicera
$ 1 1
$19.95 1 5
$29.95 2 5
$39.95 6 10
$99.95 12 Limitless

Prices:

Champion: Invoicera

For those who have 4-5 clients with no probability of getting good, FreshBooks has better prices. For pretty much everybody else, Invoicera wins out, supplying more users, clients, and auto-bill profiles your money can buy.

While it’s not easy to find out comparable prices because of different plan choices, the next chart ought to provide a tough concept of the way the plans fall into line:

Plan Type FreshBooks Invoicera
Free 1 client As much as 3 clients
$9.95 As much as 5 clients As much as 3 clients
Limitless recurring invoices 1 recurring invoice
5 auto-bill profiles auto-bill profiles
$19.95 As much as 25 clients Limitless clients
Limitless recurring invoices 100 recurring invoices
5 auto-bill profiles 15 auto-bill profiles
$29.95 Limitless clients Limitless clients
Limitless recurring invoices 100 recurring invoices
5 auto-bill profiles 15 auto-bill profiles
$39.95 Limitless clients Limitless clients
Limitless recurring invoices Limitless recurring invoices
65 auto-bill profiles 100 auto-bill profiles
$99.95 Limitless clients Limitless clients
Limitless recurring invoices Limitless recurring invoices
755 auto-bill profiles Limitless auto-bill profiles

Simplicity of use:

Champion: Tie

Both FreshBooks and Invoicera are remarkably simple and easy , enjoyable to make use of. Invoicera takes charge – very slightly – in efficiency of interface and layout … but FreshBooks includes a better help section, which means this category winds up a wash.

Product Features:

Champion: Invoicera

Invoicera arrives a obvious champion here. It offers everything you’re prone to want within an invoicing program and more. I had been very, very impressed. I’d have loved to determine full job costing abilities, however i haven’t yet seen individuals in almost any cloud-based invoicing program.

FreshBooks is missing some fundamental functions incorporated in many invoicing programs. Should you email your invoices, you cannot easily mark them as submitted this program you’ll either have to send them an email to alter their status or undergo a multi-step workaround. Worse, you cannot attach files to invoices or estimates. And also the real killer: you cannot personalize a bill. This program offers only two templates, and aside from adding your company’s emblem, there is not much that you can do to alter them. While FreshBooks has a couple of features Invoicera doesn’t, its core functionality is a lot more limited.

Here’s a failure from the key feature variations between your products:

Features FreshBooks Invoicera
Attach Files No Yes
Customizable Invoice Templates No Yes
Invoice Templates 2 6
By hand Mark Invoices as Sent No Yes
Compound Tax Rates No Yes
Custom Domain No Yes
Tasks/Calendar No Yes
Payment Gateways 14 21
Live Bank Feeds Yes No
Time Tracking: Unbillable Hrs Yes No
Email Service Yes (expense) No
Client Support Ticket System Yes No

Integrations:

Champion: FreshBooks

Additionally to payment gateways, FreshBooks offers 50 plus integrations and add-ons. Invoicera offers only 7 add-ons aside from payment gateways. Both companies offer APIs.

Customer Support and Support:

Champion: FreshBooks

FreshBooks wins with a large margin here. I generally received responses to email queries within twenty minutes during business hrs, and representatives were useful and experienced in this program. With Invoicera, I did not get replies to my emails for more than 24 hrs, so when Used to do, there is a good enough language barrier to become a problem. After I requested for clarification, I did not obtain a response for more than per week.

FreshBooks offers live support Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm EST. They offer their email and telephone number.

Invoicera offers live support Monday – Friday, 9am – 9pm IST (10:30pm – 10:30am EST). They offer their email along with a toll-free U.S. number to however, after i known as the amount I acquired an out-of-service message.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

Champion: Tie

The 2 information mill very close here, there aren’t everything many complaints for either.

The main complaint on Invoicera is customer support. No real surprise there. There’s also a couple of complaints about bugs within the software, in addition to demands for much better mobile phone applications. Invoicera has stated new mobile phone applications are not far off, but they’re already both past due.

For FreshBooks, complaints focus on misleading marketing (FreshBooks states be accounting software but lacks double-entry bookkeeping abilities) and too little features. Multiple people believe that as FreshBooks attempts to transfer to the cloud accounting space, it’s been falling behind in the core capacity like a billing system.

Positive Testimonials and reviews:

Champion: Tie

There isn’t any lack of reviews that are positive for either FreshBooks or Invoicera, and getting spent quite a while studying them, I must conclude there isn’t any obvious champion here. In quantity, FreshBooks arrives ahead, but simply because they have double the amount of users Invoicera does, that’s precisely what I’d expect. Also, my sampling is sort of biased for the reason that I’m only checking British language reviews … that we suspect also skews the census in support of FreshBooks.

In quality, the comments are neck-and-neck lots of users are thrilled with every program willing and able to talk about their encounters.

Praise for Invoicera centers around its appearance, simplicity of use, and expansive set of features. FreshBooks will get kudos on simplicity of use and customer support.

Security:

Champion: Tie

Both companies use 256-bit SSL file encryption and also have servers in multiple datacenters. Servers are monitored 24/7, shielded by firewalls, and guarded from unauthorized access.

Final Verdict:

Champion: Invoicera

It’s very difficult to select a champion here which program is the best for you’ll depend largely on the thing you need out of your invoicing program. That stated, I will give Invoicera the win for the moment, mainly because of its incredible set of features and wonderful interface.

I’ll be keeping an eye on both companies and updating this short article because they still develop at this time it wouldn’t take much to shift the total amount in either case. The large caveats for potential Invoicera users would be the integration and customer support issues. Individuals would be the only respects by which Invoicera falls well behind FreshBooks, however the contrast is really marked that it is important to note. Like a stand-alone program, Invoicera is outstanding. However, if you want to integrate with accounting or CRM software – or if you wish to have the ability to depend on customer support – FreshBooks is probably a much better bet.

Wish to compare in additional depth? Check out our reviews … or take a look at FreshBooks and Invoicera yourself using their free trials! So that as always, don’t hesitate to make contact with us with any queries.

Katherine Miller

An itinerant wanderer, Katherine spent yesteryear year in Colorado, Chicago, and Nz. Many years being an independent contractor have familiarized her using the headaches that frequently accompany small company accounting, and she’s managed to get her mission to get the best tools to create things just a little simpler for brand new entrepreneurs. When she’s not busy investigating the intricacies from the latest accounting software, she are available focusing on a singular, trekking up mountain tops, and learning Krav Maga. (Though not often all at one time.)

Katherine Miller

Katherine Miller

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How To Setup Your Accounting Software

How to Setup Your Accounting Software Establishing accounting software programs are like baking a cake. A lot of cakes appear in the world—chocolate, caramel, lemon drizzle Bundt cake, layered cake, cupcake. Each one has another style along with a different recipe. However, there’s still a fundamental formula that lays the building blocks for those cakes. You could be prepared to use flour, sugar, eggs, and some kind of tasty flavoring, mix things up together, and throw in to the oven. How to Setup Your Accounting Software In the same manner, you will find a large number of different accounting software options available. Each one has a unique style and hang of features, and every requires specific steps to put together the program properly. But after reviewing a large number of different accounting software packages, I’ve found that accounting software packages as well as their setup processes aren’t as different because they appear  In this publish, I’ll share my sure-fire recipe for establishing a cpa computer software. It’s not necessary to become Mary Berry to bake a cake, its not necessary to become a CPA to follow along with miracle traffic bot setup recipe. We’ve damaged the procedure lower into five easy steps that anybody can follow.

Ready, set, bake!

Table of Contents

The Simple Accounting Software Setup Recipe:

Prep Time: 10 – fifteen minutes

Baking Time: 2 -3 hrs

Ingredients:

  • Company Information
  • Worker Information
  • Florida Sales Tax Rates
  • Contacts List
  • Vendors List
  • Products/Inventory List
  • Chart of Accounts

Step One: Begin with Settings

Whenever I’m using a new accounting software, I usually come from Settings. Exactly like you must always read a recipe through before you begin baking, I suggest hanging out exploring and comprehending the different settings preferences your accounting program requires before you begin your setup process. Frequently, it’s important to add more contact details and financial information in Settings to start. Then you need to set any appropriate default preferences (like what you would like your invoice templates to appear like or which florida sales tax rates you need to experience your invoices). Many occasions, Settings is how you’ll visit add new users/employees and hang up payroll. It is also where you’ll probably setup payment gateways for accepting invoice payments online. Sometimes you can even find certain capabilities (like time tracking or project management software) that you simply won’t get access to before you enable them through settings. Because of this, it truly is effective explore your software’s settings right from the start which means you don’t miss adding any information or setting whenever-saving preferences.

Step Two: Connect with Your Bank

If you are considering connecting your accounting software to your money, you’ll wish to accomplish that immediately to get ready to go. A hyperlink for this feature is frequently found under Settings, but may also be connected using the banking or expense tracking feature in your accounting software.

Step Three: Connect with Existing Apps

If you are using any third-party programs to operate your company (like MailChimp or TSheets), you’ll wish to integrate these programs together with your accounting software. To remain in keeping with our cake example, integrations would be the extra tasty ingredients needed to boost your fundamental, plain Jane cake batter. Most programs come with an “Integrations” or “Connected Apps” section in both settings or on their own dashboard (I’ve most frequently seen it towards the bottom left-hands corner from the screen) where one can connect your software for your existing apps. Note: Make sure to make sure that your accounting software props up integration before beginning. Our accounting reviews have an Integrations section that links directly their application marketplace.

Step Four: Import Existing Data

Probably the most important areas of establishing your accounting software programs are importing your overall data. If you’re transitioning from your existing software, you are able to frequently export your computer data via .csv file, which will make the importing process much simpler. You’ll wish to import:

  • Contacts
  • Vendors
  • Products
  • Chart of Accounts

Each software may have very specific guidelines regarding how to import these files so make sure to look at your vendor’s help center to learn more. Most programs give a .csv template that you’ll then mimic making use of your own data. Although this process could be a tiresome one, it’s of great benefit within the finish and saves much more time than by hand entering each and every contact or item connected together with your business.

Step Five: Add Extras and Automations

Now we all know we stated this would be a one-size-fits-all recipe, and you now have completed all the fundamental steps to establishing your accounting software. But because we pointed out earlier, although the setup process is comparable across all programs, each accounting software programs are unique. The final factor you’ll wish to accomplish to accomplish the set-up process would be to see why is your software unique. Can there be any information you’ve forgot to add? What are the automations that could save you time later on (like default e-mail or invoice reminders)? These finishing touches could make a big difference towards the end result. Those are the metaphorical icing in your accounting software—they might not be completely essential to the setup process, however they definitely make things more interesting.

Dig In

Cake jokes aside, we all know that establishing new software could be a daunting task. By smashing the process lower into five manageable steps, hopefully you are able to rapidly and simply setup your accounting program and return to business. While these fundamental setup steps affect all accounting solutions, we all know the execution of those steps might vary slightly based on your software. Our final little bit of advice would be to ‘t be afraid to achieve to your software’s support team for added help and guidance. All of our accounting reviews includes a section particularly focused on Customer Support and Support and you’ll discover all the methods to speak to your accounting software company.

And, remember, you could achieve to us with any queries you’ve on the way.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause is really a author, enthusiastic readers, and investigator. Additionally to loving writing, she grew to become thinking about accounting software due to her constant need to learn something totally new and know how things work. When she’s no longer working or daydreaming about her newest story, she are available consuming obscene levels of coffee, studying anything compiled by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files together with her husband.

Chelsea Krause

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How to maintain your In your area-Installed Accounting Software Secure

locally installed software security

I’ve heard it over and over. People select a in your area-installed accounting software over cloud-based software simply because they don’t trust the mysterious, elusive Cloud.

While it’s true that in your area-installed software has got the potential to become safer than cloud-based software, users who don’t go ahead and take proper safety measures are submitting themselves to some storm of trouble worse than anything the Cloud could conjure. If you’re using in your area-installed accounting software as well as your computer hosts incredibly sensitive business details about you, the employees, as well as your clients, this can be a chance you are able to&#8217t take.

Whenever you join cloud-based software, the program provider frequently has strong safety measures in position, like firewalls, adware and spyware recognition, anti-virus checking, etc. With in your area-installed software, nobody is taking proper care of to safeguard you. Your computer data security falls positioned on shoulders.

At Merchant Maverick, we don’t would like you to need to bear this burden alone—or worse, ignore your computer’s security completely since it appears too complicated. So, we’ve produced a summary of 12 easy-to-follow ideas to help important computer data be as secure as you possibly can.

If you’ve read our How to maintain your Accounting Data Secure within the Cloud publish, a few of these tips will appear familiar, however they affect in your area-installed software too and therefore are essential we would like everybody to understand about them. Although this publish focuses particularly on in your area-installed accounting software, these pointers can use to the in your area-installed software, as well as towards the average person who just really wants to optimize his computer’s security.

1. Don’t Share Your Passwords with Anybody

Whenever we say don’t share passwords with anybody, we mean it. Passwords should be a secret for any reason.

We might not be speaking concerning the one ring to rule all of them, but we may as well be. Security is really a major problem, so make certain you retain passwords secret—keep it safe—because that’s the surest method to protecting your organization.

2. Create Strong Passwords

Everybody has heard over and over that it’s necessary to create strong passwords for internet accounts, but how can you really do this? We’ve collected several tips from experts within the technology and security field let’s start with what not to do.

Don’t:

  • Share passwords
  • Use common password combinations(123456)
  • Stick to the most common password formats (according to Business Insider)
    1. “one uppercase [letters], five lowercase [letters] and three digits”
    2. “one uppercase [letters], six lowercase [letters] and 2 digits”
    3. “one uppercase [letters], three lowercase [letters] and five digits”
  • Make use of the same password for multiple spots
  • Begin with a capital letter adopted by lowercase letters
  • Finish by having an exclamation point
  • Use password checkers

Do:

  • Use lengthy passwords (a minimum of 8 letters)
  • Use a mix of letters, figures, and symbols
  • Use multiple special figures
  • Produce a brand-new password for each site
  • Allow it to be appear random

Tip: Business Insider interviewed an expert hacker from RedTeam Security, a cyber security firm that identifies any weaknesses inside a company’s security before a hacker can, about his top tip for picking out passwords. The hacker, Kurt Muhl, states to generate a sentence you are able to remember, like: “I bought the house for $1.” Then, go ahead and take first letter of every word only, so you’re left with Ibmhf$1. Along with a couple of extra symbols or figures where you’ll easily remember, and you’ve got your strong password. In the end, it’s much simpler to keep in mind a sentence more than a random assortment of letters, figures, and symbols.

3. Store Passwords Safely

Okay, significantly improved you are aware how to set strong passwords, how should you store them? It might be wise to create a unique password for each login you’ve, but there’s not a way to keep in mind all individuals passwords inside your mind. We’ve checked out several possible solutions, in addition to unsafe organization methods to steer clear of.

A few of these guidelines appear apparent, but you’d be amazed the number of people don’t understand that the next storage choices harmful:

Don’t:

  • Store them within an Stand out document on your pc
  • Store these questions Word document on your pc
  • Store them with any type of document on your pc (online hackers can continue to access these)
  • Save them in emails (sent or received)
  • Leave them on the office
  • Insert them in personal files that clearly states PASSWORDS

The end result is, don’t leave them where another person could access them. Hide your listing of passwords from the sight of family, coworkers, and cleaning crews.

Where in the event you keep the passwords?

Lots of people within the tech industry recommend that you employ an online password manager like LastPass, Dashlane, or KeyPass. It’s important to note that LastPass continues to be hacked on multiple occasions. Whether it were me, I wouldn’t take a chance on online password management tools where my data might be in danger from security breaches.

Rather, I suggest writing a summary of passwords and storing them within an inconspicuously named file inside a locked file cabinet or safe that just you can get. If you really want your computer data safe, write your passwords in some kind of consistent code that known only to you which isn’t written lower.

Yes, it may sound like lots of work, but it’s a cost worth having to pay to keep your data—and more to the point, the information of the clients—safe.

4. Install Anti-Virus/Adware and spyware Recognition Software

We recommend installing an anti-virus and/or adware and spyware recognition solution. Anti-virus and adware and spyware recognition software packages make you stay conscious of any potential or existing threats inside your computer’s security, and a number of these solutions not just identify issues, but additionally fix them for you personally.

Some common and trustworthy options include:

  • Bitdefender Anti-virus Plus
  • Bitdefender Total Security
  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus
  • Kaspersky Internet Security Software
  • McAfee LiveSafe
  • ESET Internet Security Software
  • Avira Internet Security Software Suite

Note: Please seek information before purchasing. Forbes and PCMag both offer many articles giving suggestions about selecting good virus/adware and spyware protection.

5. Install Firewalls

Additionally to anti-virus and adware and spyware recognition software, you need to make certain your pc and your router have firewalls installed. Since it’s name suggests, just like firemen dig an obstacle to prevent raging forest fires, cyber firewalls produce a barrier involving the computer or network and then any unauthorized use of your pc.

Many computers offer built-in firewalls, which can be enough for your requirements. Kaspersky explains how you can determine if your pc already includes a firewall set up in the content 6 Tips to maintain your Desktop Computer Safe.

In case your computer doesn’t possess a built-in firewall, or you require the added security of the firewall program or hardware, here are the most typical and trustworthy options:

  • ZoneAlarm Free Firewall
  • ZoneAlarm Pro Firewall
  • Comodo Personal Firewall
  • Small Wall

Note: Please seek information before purchasing. Corporation.com and PCMag both offer many articles giving suggestions about selecting good virus/adware and spyware protection.

6. Secure Your Router

The sport doesn’t finish once you make certain your router includes a firewall installed. You’ll have to further secure your router by altering the initial router password. (Make reference to to step two for instructions on developing a strong password.) It’s also smart to alter the name from the router to something which isn’t easily suspected.

Should you operate in a workplace or business setting (or maybe even at home), you’ll need to produce a guest wireless account (in case your company enables). Ideally, you need to make use of the WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) option in your router (if able) as this option offers file encryption that’s more up-to-date, instead of the older, less secure WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) option.

7. Educate Your Users

Most business proprietors most likely have a minimum of some understanding about internet security software, however that new fresh-out-of-school intern you hired may not. You need to make certain that employees and contractors making use of your software and computer possess a firm knowledge of internet security software.

Several accounting software companies, including Xero (one of the main cloud-based accounting companies) experienced attempted phishing attacks in 2015. A phishing (pronounced “fishing”) attack takes place when online hackers “fish” for user’s passwords and knowledge to allow them to hack accounts. These attacks aren’t restricted to cloud-based software and may affect in your area-installed software users too since the attack frequently uses email as opposed to the software itself.

Within the 2015 attack, Xero users were sent an imitation email that appeared as if it had been from Xero but contained “malicious content.” While the organization resolved this problem quickly, the very best solution should be to have educated users who know to prevent suspicious links and verify addresses.

There’s a couple of methods for you to educate the employees:

  • Distribute pertinent articles in weekly company emails– Have the employees read articles like Xero’s “3 Ways to avert being Phished” or McAfee’s “10 Ideas to Stay Safe Online.”
  • Make Sure for https:// – https:// isn’t just an accumulation of random letters and symbols—it signifies the site you’re going to access meets acceptable security standards. If you notice that the site doesn’t have https:// in front from it, it isn’t secure and is a gimmick.
  • Encourage free education courses– Online for free courses cover a range of topics, including security. Khan Academy offers courses on Cybersecurity, and MOOC offers an internet Security Fundamentals course, a Network Security course, a Cloud-computing Security course, and much more. These two sources have the freedom and you will find several others like them.
  • Enroll your team in certification classes– Although you join web based classes, you may also earn verified certificates for that classes you are taking. Most of the certificate classes cost extra, but it may be worth spending the organization budget on the weekend of classes if each worker arrives having a verified, professional certificate in security.

8. Make the most of User Permissions

Just about all good accounting software offers business proprietors the opportunity to manage users and hang user permissions for his or her employees. Among the best types of this within the in your area-installed software world is QuickBooks Pro, which helps you to set ten different roles (company administrator, regular user, custom users, accountant, time tracking only, reports only,  all access legal rights, no access legal rights, limited access) and control the amount of access by specific feature.

Take benefit of these user permissions. They are among the best tools to manage what your users see and don’t see. By doing this, you will know just the most reliable employees get access to more sensitive information, which eliminates worry.

9. Create Multiple Accounts for the similar Computer

For those who have multiple employees discussing exactly the same computer, make sure to create separate user accounts for every worker. The amount of user access could be controlled for everybody account, making certain extra to safeguard sensitive information.

PC World recommends creating an administrative account which is used to manage security settings along with a standard account as the work account (even if you’re alone making use of your computer). Only managers get access to computer settings, which means this ensures that nobody will get their on the job company information unless of course they’re approved. Read much more about PC World’s security recommendations within their article 9 Ways to maintain your Home windows Computer Safe.

10. Take Physical Safety Measures

Among the primary things in your area-installed software security lacks may be the physical security provided by cloud-based companies. Most cloud-based accounting software companies offer physical safety measures like 24/7 surveillance of information centers, controlled entrance to servers and knowledge facilities, etc.

I’m not to imply you have to hire an armed guard to look at your projects-from-desktop computer or office computers, however i am stating that it never hurts to become careful with where and how you store your pc. Such things as not departing your doorways unlocked and never giving untrustworthy employees access secrets of your workplace building appear like no-brainers, but go a lengthy way toward making certain your computer data is protected.

11. Keep The Software Updated

Surprisingly, software updates aren’t just designed to clutter your screen or annoy you while you’re in the center of working. These updates frequently contain fixes to potential bugs or breaches. Make certain you take time to improve your software and make sure that you are operating using the best, most contemporary safety measures.

12. Support Your Computer Data Regularly

It’s simple to ignore copying your computer data. Most cloud-based software providers handle data backups for you personally, however when you make use of a in your area installed-software, you’re accountable for creating copies of the data (just in situation anything should ever occur to your pc).

You will find cloud-storage options you are able to export data to, however this defeats the objective of a in your area-installed software, doesn’t it? However, you may also support data for an exterior hard disk that may then be kept in a secure location. Don’t forget to assist your computer data regularly so that your information can remain as current as you possibly can.

Keep Calm and Focus On

Managing your in your area-installed software’s security on your own can appear overwhelming initially, but it is possible. Hopefully these tips help make your existence simpler and make you more conscious of the significance of computer security, for both your company’s sake and for your very own well-being. Everybody can, and really should, have the ability to use their software worry-free. Although it might appear like lots of try to implement these safety measures, this really is one situation where it truly is better safe than sorry.

The publish How to maintain your In your area-Installed Accounting Software Secure made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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The Intricacies of Invoicing Software: Are You Ready to Modernize Your Billing System?

small business invoice software

If you’re responsible for bookkeeping or billing for any kind of organization, you realize the significance of organization and accurate. You’ve reached stay on the top of who owes what or you’ll never get compensated (duh).

Many people might find the insightful available software choices confusing, though. These days, there aren’t merely a bewildering number of accounting programs to select from, but additionally dedicated invoicing software solutions, particularly created to handle every aspect of invoicing. Should you, too, are at a loss for the amount of electronic invoicing possibilities, you with thankful to understand that for many small companies, a (free!) web-based invoicing program may be all that’s necessary.

Regardless of whether you distribute invoices within the mail, digitally, or both, cloud-based invoicing software programs are a method to simplify your invoicing processes, assisting you do such things as track payments, calculate charges, send more professional-searching invoices, and provide your customers online payment options.

I come up with this short article to assist anybody thinking about making the switch to online invoicing software from traditional invoicing methods discover why it’s worthwhile. You&#8217ll also find out how cloud-based invoicing software will help you meet your objectives and help you save money, which you’ll then invest in more enjoyable online services, like Cinemax NOW and Amazon . com Prime (or simply reinvest it to your business anything you think may be the smarter choice. I&#8217ll defer for your judgement in this situation).

Who Needs Invoicing Software?

Nearly anybody can usually benefit from switching from pen-and-paper or Word-and-Stand out invoicing to dedicated software designed with the objective. Should you&#8217re thinking about making the transition, the first decision is going to be whether to check out invoicing software or accounting software.

Most accounting software includes a minimum of fundamental invoicing capacity. If you’re able to find accounting software inside your cost range that fits your invoicing needs, there&#8217s pointless you’ll need stand-alone invoicing software too. But you may want advanced invoicing features most accounting programs don&#8217t offer (for example auto-billing). Or you will be with limited funds &#8211 and invoicing software programs are frequently just a little less expensive than accounting software.

Obviously, better still than cheap is free of charge, and there are a few excellent free invoicing software options available. They are particularly great for freelancers, sole proprietors, and micro-companies.

A Brief History of Invoicing Software

In researching this subject, I came across that electronic invoicing dates completely to the mid-1960s! As the hippies were going through the limits of the awareness in Bay Area and Woodstock, companies were getting their very own little revolution, envisioning a “paperless office” and electronic file transfers. (Ok, so perhaps that’s being a tad too dramatic, but it’s kinda interesting in my experience that individuals were considering “going paperless” lengthy prior to the computer age.)

Anyway, because of ‘60s businessmen’s non-psychedelic revolution (well, most likely non-psychedelic who knows), the very first Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems were established in an effort to exchange transactional data, for example invoices and buy orders, with clients and vendors. These kinds of systems were utilised completely up to the 1990s, when came email and QuickBooks.

Copying a bit, you may be surprised to understand that the initial accounting software was really Peachtree, not QuickBooks. Peachtree (now Sage 50) was created for that first desktop Computers in 1977, but after QuickBooks arrived on the scene in 1992, QB grew to become the de facto software small companies employed for accounting needs like invoicing.

So, e-accounting and e-invoicing solutions have been in existence in excess of fifty years. Wild. Besides, lots of small, mother-and-pop companies and contractors have even today prevented using any type of sophisticated invoicing software simply because, well, they haven’t really required to. Sure, you utilize email, and you will use MS Word or Stand out, but you love to keep things really quite simple.

Today, another kind of another electronic revolution is going ahead (again, I’m most likely being overdramatic, however, are looking for a way to create invoicing software interesting). I’m speaking about cloud-based software. From invoicing to website design, several different popular software companies generally use has moved, or is incorporated in the processing of moving, towards the cloud.

Cloud-computing offers lots of advantages over traditional invoicing methods, also it makes going high-tech together with your old-school paper and snail-mail invoicing system quite simple and much more useful than ever before.

What’s Cloud-computing?

The primary two kinds of software in the marketplace today include software that is a component of a hard disk or server (on-premise software) and software that’s available on the web or “in the cloud.” “In the cloud” implies that information is stored on remote servers that may be utilized from the computer or any other device you receive online with — your smartphone, your tablet or netbook, etc.

Instead of entering just how all of this works, all you will need to know for that purposes want to know , is your data — for instance, your customers’ payment information — is stored online, and that means you can get on online. The information is encrypted, which protects it from online hackers, and also, since it isn’t stored on your pc, you won’t lose it in case your computer dies.

When compared with proprietary (installed) software, that you usually pay a 1-time fee, cloud-based software works a lot more like something. Users of cloud-based software services are usually billed on the recurring monthly (or yearly, or whatever) basis.

Advantages of Invoicing Software versus. Traditional Invoicing Methods

Okay, so remember earlier after i stated cloud-based invoicing software programs are both simple and easy , useful? For example of the items which means, particularly, with regards to the benefits it provides over doing everything by hands (or utilizing a spreadsheet program like Stand out, which isn’t created for invoicing).

Get compensated faster — The earlier you signal your invoices, the earlier you’ll probably get compensated. With smart invoicing software, you are able to schedule invoices to become sent As soon as possible, meaning faster, more reliable earnings for you personally. Furthermore, most invoicing software enables you to definitely collect online payments using a service like PayPal or Stripe, that is way quicker than awaiting a cheque (as well as easier for the clients and vendors).

Become more organized — Invoicing software leaves little room for human error, meaning less missed payments or overdue payments will fall with the cracks. Using smart software, you won’t need to make sure to do important billing tasks because they’ll be performed instantly.

Look more professional — Invoicing software typically includes professional-searching invoice templates, which you’ll personalize together with your company name and emblem.

Collect automatic payments — Should you offer any kind of subscription or membership-based service, you should use invoicing software to gather automatic payments each month (or every three several weeks, each year, etc.).

Collect helpful sales information — Most invoicing software has reporting abilities which allow you to track payments, forecasted earnings, client history, and so on. Some likewise incorporate fundamental expense tracking. After that you can evaluate these reports to create important business decisions.

Better billing statements — Again, with less room for human error, you receive better billing statements so you don’t anger your clients by overcharging them, or lose out on revenue by undercharging. Some software may even instantly calculate taxes and late charges.

Save sources — Handling all of your billing by hands takes considerable time, and everyone knows that point is money. Plus going paperless may also save lots of trees and also the cost to purchase individuals dead trees. Based on this 2013 TechRadar article, e-invoicing, that’s, emailing clients invoices rather of mailing them printed bills, is roughly 10 occasions less expensive than paper invoicing.

Send invoices everywhere — Cloud-based invoicing software could be utilized everywhere with a web connection. Which means you can certainly invoice customers or access your business’s billing information wherever you’re in the planet, as well as out of your phone if you want to.

Audit protection — Using invoicing software results in a obvious record of sales figures along with other cash-flow information. This article prove helpful while preparing your taxes and will also be essential to cover your A-S-S should you ever get audited through the I-R-S. (One caveat, though: Good invoicing practices really are a start. However, you should certainly consider double-entry accounting to maintain your ducks consecutively&#8211especially since most cloud-based accounting programs allow it to be quite simple.)

Better security — Payment information which is presented lower in writing or held in Stand out sheets or even the like is susceptible to thievery and destruction in case of an all natural or technical disaster. Cloud-based software stores such sensitive information within an encrypted format on remote servers. This reduces your liability and causes it to be which means you won’t lose all of your important data in case your server will get hacked or destroyed inside a ton, alien invasion, etc.

Invoicing Software Features

Invoice software typically comes full of helpful features, from customizable invoice templates and automatic florida sales tax calculation to recurring invoices and automatic payment reminders. Using invoicing software doesn’t need to mean going completely paperless, either — some invoicing software systems include “snail mail” services too.

Obviously, its not all invoicing solution includes every possible feature, but here are a few common options that come with invoicing software.

  • Online payment options
  • Customizable templates
  • Estimates/quotes
  • Recurring invoices
  • Automatic payment reminders
  • Online client portal
  • Capability to attach files to invoices
  • Automatic receipts
  • Fundamental stock list along with other inventory features
  • Financial statements
  • Automated late charges
  • Customer statements
  • Offer percentage discounts
  • Auto-billing
  • Multi-lingual abilities
  • Inventory tracking
  • Email services (distribute invoices within the mail)
  • Multi-currency support
  • Time tracking
  • Expense tracking
  • Field for S&ampH or P&ampP
  • Florida sales tax and VAT calculation
  • Mobile phone applications
  • API for developers to integrate the program using their existing systems

  • Fundamental bookkeeping features

If you’re presently looking for invoicing software, it’s smart to check out their list and choose featuring you’ll need, that are &#8220nice-to-haves,&#8221 and which you’ll equally well do without.

Primary Kinds of Small Company Invoice Software

While we’re mostly concentrating on cloud-based invoicing software in the following paragraphs, there’s also some in your area installed options. You may also select from free and compensated invoicing software, in addition to accounting software with invoicing features.

Cloud-based — As pointed out, lots of modern invoicing software programs are cloud-based. Free or pay-as-you-go cloud software provides you with versatility and scalability and frequently requires minimal, or no, commitment. Additionally, it provides secure data storage and backups.

In your area installed — There’s also some invoicing programs you are able to download for your computer, for example Invoice Expert and ExpressInvoice. In your area installed programs could be cheaper over time (a 1-time cost as opposed to a subscription). However, they lack mobility along with other helpful online features.

Accounting software (with invoicing features) — Quickbooks Online, Xero, FreeAgent, and Zoho Books are types of cloud-based accounting software with invoicing features. (FreeAgent and Zoho Books have particularly nice invoicing features, much better than that which you&#8217ll get in some dedicated invoicing software.) An alternative choice is in your area installed accounting software with invoicing features, for example Quickbooks and Sage 50.

Free — You might be surprised to understand that virtually all of the main cloud-based invoicing software services possess a free option&#8211though for many programs, the constraints from the free version render it virtually useless. (FreshBooks&#8217s free version, for example, enables you to definitely manage just one client.) Still, there are several excellent free options available which permit for limitless clients. You might not get as numerous features or just as much customer care just like compensated plans, however for some small companies or freelancers, a totally free plan may be all that’s necessary. Selecting a totally free program will typically help you save between $100 and $500 each year.

Compensated — With compensated plans, you typically have more features, more users, and customer care. Additionally you can remove any software provider’s branding and/or domain around the invoices you signal out, replacing it with your personal company information.

For additional info on the variations between free and compensated cloud-based invoicing software, take a look at Merchant Maverick’s Katherine Miller’s article about them. How to pick Invoicing Software also offers some helpful information on the variations between free and compensated invoicing software, and cloud-based versus. in your area installed invoicing software.

The Best Small Business Invoicing Software

Beginning to obtain a wise decision of the items invoicing software can perform for you personally, and which invoicing features you may want? I really hope so, otherwise why shall we be held spending my Saturday penning this? Great! Keeping that concept in your mind, take the time to see about some the greatest-rated (rated 4 stars or greater by Merchant Maverick) invoicing software systems available so that you can pick which of those programs will best match your specific needs and budget.

The next invoicing software packages are rated 4-5 stars on Merchant Maverick. All of these are web-based solutions with a totally free along with a compensated option.

FreshBooks

Freshbooks small business invoicing software

FreshBooks is excellent cloud-based invoicing solution with a few fundamental bookkeeping features. (Unlike its advertising, however, it’s not full accounting software.) It’s among the finest invoicing solutions available on the market at the moment, also it integrates having a vast number of software. It’s excellent customer care and it is very simple to use. FreshBooks is tailored to independent contractors and small, service-based companies.

Best features:

  • More integrations than every other software
  • Recurring invoices
  • Auto-billing
  • Automatic payment reminders
  • Client statements
  • Customizable automatic notecards
  • Discounts and late charges
  • Partial payments
  • Online payment option through PayPal
  • iPhone/Android apps

Prices:

You should use FreshBooks free indefinitely to handle just one client. Based on the number of users and clients you’ve, compensated plans vary from $19.95/month to $39.95/month.

Invoicera

small business invoice software

Invoicera is yet another excellent, easy-to-use cloud-based invoicing software solution with wonderful features, although the customer support could stand improvement. It is among the pricier options, however it provides more features than most invoicing software and includes auto-billing. Actually, if you would like each and every invoicing feature obtainable in stand-alone software, your decision is nearly certainly Invoicera.

Best features:

  • Auto-billing
  • Inventory tracking
  • Project budgeting
  • Client portal
  • 21 payment gateways
  • Invoice personalization options
  • Smooth navigation
  • API
  • Time tracking
  • Estimate tool to deal with quotes
  • Multi-currency

Prices:

Free plan includes limitless invoicing for 3 clients and something user. Compensated plans vary from $19.95/month to $99.95/month.

Zoho Invoice

small business invoicing software

Zoho Invoice is definitely an attractive cloud-based invoicing choice for many companies, because it provides a slew of features at an affordable cost. Technology-not only by itself or along with other Zoho products.

Best features:

  • Recurring invoices
  • Online payments
  • Payment reminders
  • Intuitive interface
  • Multi-currency
  • API
  • Time tracking
  • Send invoices via snail-mail (for further cost)
  • Reports
  • Import/export abilities
  • Florida sales tax calculation

Prices:

Free plan includes one user and 5 clients. Compensated plans vary from $15/month to $30/month.

Invoiceable

small business invoice software

Invoiceable is free of charge for everybody to make use of without any limits — it doesn’t actually have a compensated version. You could have as numerous clients and send as numerous invoices as you desire. It&#8217s even the only free version that provides you the opportunity to create and send recurring invoices. For really small companies and freelancers who’ve a comparatively low invoice volume – particularly if your present option would be typing up invoices in MS Word or Stand out – Invoiceable is definitely an option really worth thinking about.

Best features:

  • Recurring invoices
  • Email or PDF invoices
  • Discounts and partial payments
  • PayPal online payment option
  • Multi-currency
  • Client list
  • Ultra-easy and simple to make use of

Prices:

There’s no recurring monthly charge, however, you will pay a 1-time payment to get rid of the Invoiceable Branding (£49) or show your personal domain on emailed invoices rather of Invoiceable’s (£39).

Debitoor

small business invoicing software

Debitoor is really a fundamental cloud invoice software service that’s simple to use and proficient at what it really does. It’s very decent customer support, even on free plans. Debitoor is tailored to independent contractors and small companies.(Note for the United States readers: this program isn&#8217t yet obtainable in the U.S. or Canada.)

Best features:

  • Estimates feature
  • Set default payment terms by client
  • Reports
  • Florida Sales Tax/VAT
  • API
  • Bank reconciliation

Prices:

Debitoor offers three cost tiers: Free, Premium (€5/month) and Premium Plus (€10/month).

Compare the top five cloud-based invoicing software programs at-a-glance.

Final Thoughts:

With regards to the current software small companies use, it’s a real buyer’s market. With cloud-based software, automating your invoicing responsibilities no more requires you to purchase an expensive QuickBooks software suite. Heck, you barely even require a computer nowadays, you are able to run your entire business out of your iPad if you would like.

Lightweight cloud-based invoicing software enables you to cover just the features you’ll need, which may be offered free of charge. Such invoicing software programs are usually simple to learn and employ, and certainly simpler and fewer time-consuming than doing everything by hands. As well as for traditionalists — you don’t always need to lose out on snail-mail features, either.

To help you get began on the road to an simpler, more organized invoicing system for the business, browse a lot of our invoicing software reviews or you can call us with any queries you may have about invoicing software.

The publish The Intricacies of Invoicing Software: Are You Ready to Modernize Your Billing System? made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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How You Can Keep Accounting Data Safe within the Cloud

Cloud Security

We store away our physical treasures behind locks, what concerning the treasures we can’t see? How about the data we store with that invisible mystery known as the Cloud?

The web is perhaps the area we want security probably the most, and also the place we most frequently ignore. If you are using cloud-based accounting software, security is much more critical in the end, this is actually the placed you record sensitive financial information for the company, employees, and customers.

Most cloud-based accounting software companies offer some selection of safety measures, but they are individuals measures enough?

Regrettably, the solution to that’s frequently &#8220no.&#8221 While selecting an application company with strong security is essential, you should realize the function that you simply personally play to keep your computer data safe within the cloud. Within this publish, we’ll provide eight useful tips and methods to maximizing your security to be able to keep the accounting information safe and sound. And also you don’t have to be a tech genius to apply them.

Questions you should ask Regarding Your Company

Firstly, make sure to select a software with strong security.

Good accounting software information mill upfront and honest regarding their security policies, which policies can generally be located on the bottom of the websites. Should you aren’t very acquainted with cloud accounting or internet security software, it’s not easy to understand things to look for when it comes to safety measures, so we’ve produced a summary of questions that you should ask your present or potential company.

Note: If you work with or selecting a in your area-installed accounting software, your software provider doesn’t provide security. You are well on your personal when it comes to security since all safety precautions is going to be directly mounted on home. Skip lower to another section for useful security tips (many of which affect in your area installed software too) or stay tuned in for the How To Maintain Your In your area Installed Accounting Software Secure publish.

1) Have they got multiple data centers?

You need to decide on a company which has multiple data centers, preferably in various, undisclosed locations. By doing this, contrary transpires with one data center, you still possess a copy of the company file saved securely.

Certainly one of most typical difficulties with cloud accounting is servers crashing. If your company has multiple data centers with multiple servers, this is not an issue and you may keep using your software in peace.

2) Do you know the physical safety measures at these data centers?

Since data centers store your sensitive financial information (including accounts, charge cards, SSN, etc.), you need to make sure that strong physical safety measures are come to safeguard your data. Physical safety measures can (and really should) include:

  • 24/7/365 surveillance
  • Video monitoring
  • Bulletproof walls
  • Fire protection
  • Ton protection

3) Is data supported regularly?

Not getting frequent data backups ought to be an offer-breaker. Contrary should ever happen, you would like so that you can retrieve up-to-date copies of the documents.

4) Is my data encrypted?

Probably the most important safety measures to consider in accounting software programs are data file encryption. 256-bit SSL file encryption is good. Read our publish What’s SSL? An initial Take a look at Internet Security if you’d like to find out more.

5) Who can access my data?

Carefully read your company’s privacy statement to determine who can access your computer data and just how that information is used. Frequently, live bank feed integrations or accountants may have read-only use of sensitive information, that is important that you should know. My general guideline is that if studying the privacy statement enables you to feel queasy, it’s not best for you.

Also, make sure to ask cure can access the information centers. Ideally, companies have controlled entrances and admit approved personnel only.

6) Does the organization have virus/invasion recognition?

This can be a key preventative measure that may catch any potential intrusions or breaches before they be a problem, providing you with reassurance and added security.

7) Exist firewalls in position?

A firewall blocks unauthorized use of a network, offering another layer of preventative security.

8) Has the organization have you been hacked before?

This really is most likely the most crucial question. Being hacked (or experiencing a burglar breach) previously can clearly be considered a huge indicator of poor security (although, when the hack was the catalyst for considerably improved security, then the organization will probably be worth keeping within the running).

You’ll should also look into the company’s downtime ratings or history—that is, how frequently the company’s servers crash. You’ll need a company with positive uptime so that as couple of crashes as you possibly can. You may have to complete some Googling to uncover these details.

9) Bonus: Does the organization offer two-factor authentication?

While two-factor authentication isn’t necessary, it adds another layer of security that stops online hackers, or perhaps employees and coworkers, from stepping into your bank account having a stolen password. We’ll cover this in greater detail below.

Security Safeguards You Need To Take

The sport doesn’t finish once you choose a cpa software company with strong security. You’d be amazed by how your own security habits—or lack thereof—affect your data’s safety (as well as your own safety for instance). That’s why we’ve come up with these eight steps that may help you as well as your employees keep the accounting data protected.

1. Don’t Share Your Passwords with Anybody

Whenever we say don’t share passwords with anybody, we mean it. Passwords should be a secret for any reason.

Cloud Security

We might not be speaking concerning the one ring to rule all of them, but we may as well be. Security is really a major problem, so make certain you retain passwords secret—keep it safe—because that’s the surest method to protecting your organization.

2. Create Strong Passwords

Everybody has heard over and over it&#8217s necessary to create strong passwords for the internet accounts, but how can you really do this? We’ve collected several tips from experts within the technology and security field let’s start with what not to complete.

Don’t:

  • Share passwords
  • Use common password combinations (123456)
  • Stick to the most common password formats (based on Business Insider)
    1. “one uppercase [letters], five lowercase [letters] and three digits”
    2. “one uppercase [letters], six lowercase [letters] and 2 digits”
    3. “one uppercase [letters], three lowercase [letters] and five digits”
  • Make use of the same password for multiple spots
  • Begin with a capital letter adopted by lowercase letters
  • Finish within an exclamation point
  • Use password checkers

Do:

  • Use lengthy passwords (a minimum of 8 letters)
  • Use a mix of letters, figures, and symbols
  • Use multiple special figures
  • Produce a brand-new password for each site
  • Allow it to be appear random

Tip: Business Insider interviewed an expert hacker from RedTeam Security, a cyber security firm that identifies any weaknesses inside a company’s security before a hacker can, about his top tip for picking out passwords. The hacker, Kurt Muhl, states to generate a sentence you are able to remember, like: “I bought the house for $1.” Then, go ahead and take first letter of every word only, which means you&#8217re left with Ibmhf$1. Along with a couple of extra symbols or figures where you’ll easily remember, and you’ve got your strong password. In the end, it’s much simpler to keep in mind a sentence more than a random assortment of letters, figures, and symbols.

3. Store Passwords Safely

Okay, significantly improved you are aware how to set strong passwords, how in the event you store them? It might be wise to create a unique password for each login you’ve, but there’s not a way to keep in mind all individuals passwords inside your mind. We’ve checked out several possible solutions, in addition to unsafe organization methods to steer clear of.

A few of these guidelines appear apparent, but you’d be amazed the number of people don’t understand that the next storage choices harmful:

Don’t:

  • Store them within an Stand out document on your pc
  • Store these questions Word document on your pc
  • Store them with any type of document on your pc (online hackers can continue to access these)
  • Save them in emails (sent or received)
  • Leave them on the office
  • Insert them in personal files that clearly states PASSWORDS

The end result is, don’t leave them where another person could access them. Hide your listing of passwords from the sight of family, coworkers, and cleaning crews.

Where in the event you keep the passwords?

Lots of people within the tech industry recommend that you employ an online password manager like LastPass, Dashlane, or KeyPass. It&#8217s important to note that LastPass continues to be hacked on multiple occasions. Whether it were me, I wouldn’t take a chance on online password management tools where my data might be in danger from security breaches.

Rather, I suggest writing a summary of passwords and storing then within an inconspicuously named file inside a locked file cabinet or safe that just you can get. Should you really would like your data safe, write your passwords in some kind of consistent code that known only to you which isn’t written lower.

Yes, it may sound like lots of work, however it&#8217s a cost worth having to pay to keep your computer data&#8212and more to the point, the information of the clients&#8212safe.

4. Use Two-Factor Authentication

In case your software offers it, utilize it. Two-factor authentication is really a security precaution which makes users sign in with a password and another type of identification (email the three, ATM card number, fingerprint, etc.). This security isn’t foolproof, at all, however it means people can’t access your bank account with only your password.

Accounting software firms that use two-factor authentication include:

  • Xero
  • QuickBooks Online
  • Zoho Books
  • NetSuite

5. Install Virus/Adware and spyware Recognition Software

In case your software provider doesn’t use invasion or virus recognition, we advise researching the herpes virus recognition/adware and spyware solution. (Virus/adware and spyware software may be beneficial for private computers too, whether or not the software provider you utilize does offer this type of security.)

A number of common and trustworthy options include:

  • Bitdefender Anti-virus Plus
  • Bitdefender Total Security
  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus
  • Kaspersky Internet Security Software
  • McAfee LiveSafe
  • ESET Internet Security Software
  • Avira Internet Security Software Suite

Note: Please seek information before purchasing. Forbes and PCMag both offer many articles giving suggestions about selecting good virus/adware and spyware protection.

6. Educate Your Users

Most business proprietors most likely have a minimum of some understanding about internet security software, however that new fresh-out-of-school intern you hired may not. You need to make certain that employees and contractors making use of your software possess a firm knowledge of internet security software.

In 2015, Xero (one of the main accounting companies in security) experienced an attempted phishing attacks. A phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is how online hackers “fish” for user’s passwords and knowledge to allow them to hack accounts. Within this attack, Xero users were sent an imitation email that appeared as if it had been from Xero however it contained “malicious content.” While the organization resolved this problem quickly, the very best solution should be to have educated users who know to prevent suspicious links and verify addresses.

There’s a couple of methods for you to educate the employees:

  • Distribute pertinent articles in weekly company emails – Have the employees read articles like Xero’s “3 Ways to avert being Phished” or McAfee’s “10 Ideas to Stay Safe Online.”
  • Encourage free education courses – Online for free courses cover a range of topics, including security. Khan Academy offers courses on Cybersecurity, and MOOC provides a Web Security Fundamentals course, a Network Security course, a Cloud-computing Security course, and much more. These two sources have the freedom and you will find several others like them.
  • Enroll your team in certification classes – Although you join web based classes, you may also earn verified certificates for that classes you are taking. Most of the certificate classes cost extra, but it may be worth spending the organization budget on the weekend of classes if each worker arrives having a verified, professional certificate in security.
  • Follow your software company on Twitter – Among the first places companies publish security breaches is on Twitter because they are able to tell others fast and rapidly update users on any developments. Make sure to &#8216follow&#8217 your software company so that you can inform your employees in regards to a breach or server downtime immediately. Or, even better, have the employees follow the organization on their own work Twitter accounts.

7. Make the most of User Permissions

Just about all good accounting software offers business proprietors the opportunity to manage users and hang user permissions for his or her employees. Among the best types of this really is Xero, which helps you to set five different roles (no access, read-only, invoice only, standard, and consultant) and control the amount of access by specific feature.

Cloud Security

Take benefit of these user permissions. They are among the best tools to manage what your users see and don’t see. By doing this, you will know just the most reliable employees get access to more sensitive information, which eliminates worry.

8. Keep The Software Updated

Surprisingly, software updates aren’t just designed to clutter your screen or annoy you while you’re in the center of working. These updates frequently contain fixes to potential bugs or breaches. Make certain you take time to improve your software and make sure that you are operating using the best, most contemporary safety measures.

Prepared to Rumble

Hopefully these tips make you more conscious of the significance of internet security software, for both your company’s sake and for your very own wellbeing. Everybody can, and really should, have the ability to use their software worry-free. Although it might appear like lots of try to implement these safety measures, this really is one situation where it truly is better safe than sorry.

Make sure to look out for the article &#8220How to maintain your In your area Installed Accounting Software Secure,&#8221 not far off to some website in your area.

The publish How You Can Keep Accounting Data Safe within the Cloud made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Merchant Maverick’s Awards for Best Small Business Software

Best small business software

For most small business owners, it’s a jungle out there. Danger lurks around every corner, predators seem to be silently stalking your every movement, and – in the immortal words of Jethro Tull – the rivers are full of crocodile nasties. Let’s face it, when it comes to start-ups and small businesses the statistics are grim. According to one recent study, the failure rate of retail establishments after four years is over 50%, and businesses in the service industry usually meet the same fate. Sadly, restaurants tend to do even worse, and the majority are forced to close their doors before a decade has passed.

There are many reasons why businesses eventually fail – bad locations, limited staff, a poor economic climate, etc. But experts are beginning to agree that most failed businesses (no matter what industry they belong to) have one, very important factor in common: inexperience on the part of the owners/managers. It’s all very well to follow your dreams, but man does not live on dreams alone. For most of us, a little thing called money is required if we want to eat, access our electricity, wash our clothes, keep our children shod, etc. That’s right, money. It’s what you get when you run a business that brings in more revenue than it puts out. That sounds so simple: spend less than you make. But the reality is that pulling in a profit takes knowledge, skill, and access to the proper tools. Frankly, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve opened up a cat-grooming boutique or finally launched that grilled-cheese food truck you’ve always wanted – if you don’t know what you’re doing when you set out, and/or don’t bother to learn as you go, you might as well throw your seed money down the storm drain.

Fortunately, at Merchant Maverick (MM), we understand how hard it can be to start a business – let alone to keep one going for more than a year or two. You shouldn’t have to do everything by yourself – keeping up with inventory, payment processing, invoicing, shipping, point of sale, website design and the like is nearly impossible without the right equipment (good ol’ pen and paper just doesn’t cut it anymore). The good news? Advances in software and cloud technology have resulted in some pretty impressive small business tools. Even better news? The writers and reviewers at MM have invested thousands of hours researching, testing, and rating small business services/software. In other words, we know our stuff. Running a business is a tremendous burden, but the heavy lifting has already been done – we’ve done if for you – and all you need do is benefit from our years of experience.

Each company below has undergone a rigorous evaluation by an experienced MM reviewer. We scoured websites, read help articles, and browsed through user forums. We talked to customer service and saw for ourselves how responsive they were. And most importantly, we tested the actual software or service ourselves. The following are our reviewers’ top small business software picks for merchant services/payment processing as well as for mobile payments, shopping carts, point of sale, accounting, inventory management, invoicing, booking, email marketing, CRM, project management, loyalty rewards, and website building.

So, without further ado, let the awards ceremony for the best small business software begin!

Merchant Account Providers

Winner: Dharma Merchant Services

dharma-merchant-services-logo

Dharma Merchant Services is one of our all-time favorite companies, period, here at Merchant Maverick. Defined by exceptional customer support, low-cost hardware, excellent industry connection, and reasonable negotiation-free rates and fees, Dharma is an ideal option for small businesses with in-person sales. It distinguishes itself from the competition by using only interchange-plus pricing and charging no early termination fees or monthly minimums. There are no annual fees, no application fees, and no pesky PCI compliance fees to deal with either. In addition, this company dedicates 50% of its net profits to charity. Dharma is basically a paragon of integrity, honesty, and respect, and it’s worth its weight in gold in this sometimes unscrupulous industry,

There is one small catch: businesses must process at least $10K per month to use Dharma Merchant Services. Businesses with smaller revenue streams are directed instead to Flint Mobile (see review below).

Dharma offers amazing in-house customer support during business hours (8:00am – 5:00pm Pacific Time). If you need support outside this time frame, you will be directed elsewhere, depending on the severity of your issue and what processor you’re using.

To read more about Dharma Merchant Services, see our full review here.

Runner-Up: CDGcommerce

cdgcommerce-logo

Boasting a great reputation and a low monthly base fee (which includes access to Quantum gateway), CDG Commerce is a budget friendly alternative to Dharma Merchant Services, especially for low-volume merchants or web-based businesses. CDG was established in 1998, and has had plenty of time to cultivate a reputation for honesty and excellence. In fact, customer complaints are nearly non-existent, which is a miracle in itself after nearly 20 years in business. Like Dharma, CDG offers interchange-plus pricing, does not charge an early termination fee, and has no gateway setup fees or PCI compliance fees.

CDG Commerce charges only $10 per month in base fees; beyond that, you can pick and choose which additional services you want to pay for. This is a great system, as it ensures that you won’t be stuck buying things you neither want, nor need.

CDG offers live chat, email, and phone support 24/7. In our experience, support staff is helpful, knowledgeable, and scrupulously honest.

Click here to read our full review of CDGcommerce.

Mobile Payments

Winner: Flint Mobile

Flint-mobile-logo

Flint Mobile is our overall top pick for mobile, based primarily on its speed, ease of use, reliability, and price point. To start off, it doesn’t offer a swiper – not a free one, not a paid one, just no reader whatsoever. You can either key in card numbers or simply use your phone’s camera to scan numbers instead. That in and of itself significantly reduces the cost for setting up your account. Flint therefore has the ability to offer lower rates, which is exactly what they do. And with a ridiculously low rate for processing debit alongside a very fair credit rate, they’re nearly impossible to beat.

Flint has only two rates:

  • Debit transactions: 1.95%
  • Credit transactions: 2.95%

Yep, that’s it. It doesn’t get more complicated than that at any point: there are no per transaction fees, no non-qualified fees, and no surcharges of any kind. Flint Mobile runs transactions at a much faster speed than other similar apps, and while it might take a couple tries to get your scanning settings set up the way you like, Flint makes customization an easy and intuitive process. Our one complaint is that they do not provide any means for printing a paper receipt.

One very important thing to mention about Flint Mobile is that, even with the EMV liability shift (effective October 1st, 2015), users have no need to upgrade hardware. The camera scan will continue to work as it always has, with no change to liability. Currently it’s the only mobile processor we’re aware of that will securely process chip cards with no hardware upgrade.

This app can’t replace a full-feature tablet POS, but it comes with a number of amazing features (integrated QR coupons, invoicing, customizable receipts, etc.) and executes service flawlessly. If you’re looking for a sensible, surefire way to accept payments and grow your clientele, you can’t go wrong with Flint Mobile.

If you’d like more information about Flint Mobile, check out our full review.

Runner-Up: Payline Data

payline-data-logo

Payline Data is mostly a standard merchant account provider, but it has a good mobile solution and low-volume fee structure. Extra services are offered as-needed, so you only have to pay for what you need. There are two pricing models (to accommodate both low and high volume merchants):

Simple (Under $5,000 per month)

  • $5 monthly fee
  • Interchange + 0.50%
  • $0.10 per transaction

Pro (Over $5,000 per month)

  • $20 monthly fee
  • Interchange + 0.20%
  • $0.10 per transaction

We really appreciate the number of customer service and support outlets Payline provides, and it has an extensive knowledge base and FAQ for self-service support, which is quite nice.

Payline Data delivers on any businesses essential needs, and has managed to maintain positive reviews and a spotless reputation since 2009 – which is no small task in the credit card processing industry. In general, it’s a great pick for mobile processing for small businesses everywhere.

Find out more about Payline Data by reading our full review here.

Shopping Carts

Winner: Shopify

shopify-banner

Shopify is unique in that it can be used as a physical POS or an online shopping cart or both at once. This inherent flexibility gives it a clear edge over other shopping carts, and its low price point make it well within the reach for small businesses, even those with strained budgets. Shopify is the industry standard for shopping cart software, and for good reason. There are never any limits to the number of products you can sell, which is nice, though there aren’t many limits to the software in general.

All Shopify plans come with a full 14-day (no credit card required) trial. There are no setup or cancellation fees. Plans range from $14/month to $179/month with rates ranging from 2.9% + 30¢ to 2.4% + 30¢. You can pay on a month-to-month basis, but you’ll receive a 10% discount if you choose to pay for one year up front (a 20% discount is offered for those who sign a two-year contract). We’re not terribly fond of Shopify’s transaction fees, unfortunately, although they do get waived if you use Shopify as your credit card processor.

Shopify is eminently user friendly, and the cart is easy to set up and easy to manage. In our experience, the software works flawlessly from the point of view of both the customer and the merchant, and it is one of the most feature-rich carts available. It is accessible for online mavens, but it is also well within the reach of newcomers and amateurs. Shopify offers a number of apps, some of which are free and some of which may cost a small fee. You can check out Shopify’s App Store to browse offerings.

Customer support is available via phone, email, and live chat, but there are other great self-help resources as well, including a support center, Knowledge Base, a discussion forum, and a Shopify “Experts” page where you can find experienced professionals in design, marketing, development, and photography.

For more information, click here to read our full review of Shopify.

Runner-Up: Ecwid

ecwid-logo

Ecwid, the “go anywhere, sell anything, no manual required” shopping cart, is designed for small eCommerce businesses, as well as for individual sellers and start-ups. We’re big fans of Ecwid, and there are two main reasons why. Firstly, it is extremely ubiquitous, and capable of integrating with nearly every existing website, from social media platforms to blogs. Secondly, it is so reasonably priced, compared to its competitors, that you would be foolish not to take it out for spin. Unlike most shopping carts, there is no typical “free trial period” for Ecwid. Instead, you can simply try out the Free Plan (the obvious advantage to doing this is that your services won’t be cancelled after your trial period ends).

Ecwid offers unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, and no transaction fees on every subscription level, even the free plan. Paid plans range from $15/month to $99/month. Personal support by email and online chat are only available at higher subscription levels.

Like Shopify, Ecwid gives you the option to use the software as a physical POS. However, this function is really best suited for online-only business owners who want the option of having a mobile or “pop up shop” operation, but aren’t trying to maintain a physical storefront at all times.

In general, Ecwid is a solid product with great, user-friendly elements. It’s not the best solution for high-volume sales, but most companies out there (especially startups and very small businesses) will be fully satisfied with its features and ease of use.

Read our full review of Ecwid to learn more.

POS Software

Winner: ShopKeep

shopkeep-logo

ShopKeep is one of the best software solutions we’ve ever encountered at Merchant Maverick. This simple, elegant, and visually-appealing cloud-based POS has carved out a solid niche catering to small-business food and beverage sellers. For a very low monthly cost, ShopKeep can help you manage your inventory, customers, employees, as well as record transactions and offer a variety of reporting options (for analyzing all this data).

ShopKeep does not require you to sign a contract. It is a pay-as-you-go, monthly subscription service. There are no extra maintenance fees, and what’s more impressive, tech support is 100% included in the monthly charge. The actual pricing system is beautifully simple as well: $49/month/register.

Other than it’s extremely reasonable price point, ShopKeep’s biggest selling point is its ease-of-use. There is very little learning curve involved, and even the most technologically deficient should have no problem learning the ins and outs of this software in a matter of days (or hours, more likely).

Customer support is fantastic, and unlimited email, live chat, or phone is included in the monthly price. The support page on the company website is also fantastic, and offers comprehensive articles and video tutorials on every aspect of the software.

Read our full review of ShopKeep if you’d like more details.

Runner-Up: SalesVu

salesvu-logo

SalesVu is a perfect POS for the average small business, offering a robust feature set at a competitive price. eCommerce options are built right into the software, so you can design your own site from the back office without ever having to pay for (and integrate) Shopify or hire an expensive third party designer. Integrated eCommerce also ensures that communications between the web store and the brick and mortar store are smooth and seamless.

Prices range from $25/month to $150/month, depending on how many features you need (things like time tracking, accounting, etc. are a bit extra). Basically, SalesVu can be as affordable as you need it to be. Additionally, when you open an account with SalesVu you get a free credit card reader, which is a nice benefit (for some small business owners, an iPad and a credit card reader may be all you need).

Customer service is good, but the primary strengths of this software are found in its intuitive interface and broad flexibility. It is so much more than just a mobile cash register. With SalesVu, you can monitor inventory, create detailed reports, design custom discounts and promotions, maintain an active customer database, and manage employees – and you can do all these things anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. Opening an account with SalesVu gets you a free credit card reader, which is a nice benefit. For some business owners, an iPad and a credit card reader may be all you need.

SalesVu integrates with SalesVu Easy Accounting, Quickbooks, Facebook, and Zapper.

You can check out our full review of SalesVu for more information.

Accounting Software

Winner: Xero

best small business accounting software

It’s not hard to see why Xero takes the prize for best small business accounting software. It is mobile, cloud-based, easy-to-use, and extremely comprehensible for the small business owner who is handling finances on his/her own (click here for a full list of features). While it can be more expensive long-term than something like QuickBooks Pro, small business owners – especially those who aren’t accountants by nature or profession – are more likely to enjoy using a simple, intuitive program like Xero.

There are multiple pricing plans available, ranging from $9/month to $70/month (these prices include updates as they are released, usually every 3-6 weeks). Small companies with limited invoicing needs would have to look far and wide for a similarly robust accounting/payroll package that trumps Xero’s $9/month price tag. And happily, you don’t have to sign a contract with Xero; plans are paid by the month and you can basically cancel the service at any time. Xero offers a 25% discount for non-profits and a 15% discount on your total bill if you subscribe for multiple businesses. If you do feel comfortable making a commitment and signing up for a 6 month subscription, you’ll get a 30% discount.

There are only a few minor problems with Xero, one of which is slow customer support response times. Customer service is offered 24/7, year-round, but some customers have complained of long response times, cut-and-paste answers to questions, and reps who don’t seem to actually know how to use the software. This would be a much bigger deal if Xero was complex or had a steep learning, curve, but it’s not as alarming considering the software’s general simplicity and ease of use. Furthermore, many customers praise Xero’s level of customer service, and the wait times are comparable to those of other accounting software programs.

One real perk of using Xero is that it integrates with over 400 other applications which can facilitate nearly every aspect of business operation, including inventory management, CRM, and POS (some of these are only available to certain countries; in the U.S., there are about 350 Xero integrations available). 

Read our full review of Xero here.

Runner-Up: QuickBooks Pro

Best small business accounting software

Intuit’s QuickBooks Pro is a robust, feature-rich accounting solution, perfect in many ways for small business (to see a full list of features, click here). It is locally installed software, which results in lower per-year costs and more features than your typical cloud-based software, so if you’re willing to deal with a pretty steep learning curve at the beginning (especially difficult for people who have no previous accounting background), then QB Pro can be an excellent way to save money in your accounting budget. Though it lacks the convenience of a cloud based solution – you don’t get automatic, routine updates or instant access to new features – it is a very viable accounting solution for companies with complex bookkeeping needs.

QuickBooks Pro’s list price is $299.95. This might seem a bit high compared to something like Xero, but keep in mind that QB Pro requires a one-time purchase and does not use a subscription model — and it is nearly always available at a discount. While there’s no free trial available, Intuit does back QB Pro with a 60-day guarantee; if you return the program for any reason within 60 days, you can get a full refund. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, the purchase price does not include updates, nor do you get full tech support or bank feeds. It’s also worth noting that customer service tends to be slow.

One comment we’ve noticed often on user reviews is that, while people aren’t particularly enthusiastic about QB Pro, it works and does what it’s supposed to do; many claim that it’s the best accounting program available. While that’s far from a resounding recommendation, it’s also true that despite its drawbacks, for many businesses, QB Pro is more than adequate. And whether you love it or hate it, QuickBooks Pro is often the best option for the money.

Read our full review of QB Pro here.

Inventory Management Software

Winner: Stitch Labs

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Stitch, the flagship product of Stitch Labs, is a cloud-based inventory management solution with tons of functionality, myriad useful integrations, and fantastic customer service. Designed to combine inventory, billing, accounting, shipping, and eCommerce features with your choice of 3rd party integrations, Stitch is the do-it-all, full service inventory solution. As the name would suggest, it is intended to be the thread that holds the backend of your company firmly together. Really, its only flaw is that is designed exclusively for American companies. International businesses will have to look elsewhere. 

Price plans range from $29/month to $449/month, not bad considering how many features this software brings to the table. What’s more, Stitch is easy to use, even for the uninitiated. The UI is clean, understated, and intuitive. Within a few minutes of signing up, you should feel like a pro, able to create products and customer contacts and generate sales orders with ease. It’s easy to pick up on your own just by experimentation, but if you’re queasy about finding your own way around, you can reference one of the many tutorials on each page that take you step-by-step through all the basic tasks.

In general, the customer service department is responsive and helpful. Our questions were promptly answered (never longer than 24 hours, even on the weekend), and ticket creation happened immediately, so we always had a case number to reference and never felt lost in the shuffle. Not surprisingly, the Stitch Labs support team is highly praised all over the web.

Stitch integrates with a large number of other programs and applications, including Amazon, eBay, BigCommerce, Magento, Shopify, and Square, to name just a few. And when you combine an excellent selection of integrations with powerful suite of tools,you’ve got inventory management software that is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses.

You can read more about Stitch Labs in our full review.

Runner-Up: TradeGecko

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TradeGecko, a cloud-based inventory application for small to medium sized businesses, is comparable to Stitch Labs in functionality and number of integrations, but is more geared toward international companies (it still works well for American companies, if you don’t mind a time difference with the support staff).

The design of this software emphasizes collaboration, group workflows, and activity feeds. This means that you can reference sales information, purchase orders, and stock levels at once, and they will all update in real time. TradeGecko is intuitive and easy to use, and has a clean – if spartan – UI which is perfect for a bookkeeping system.

TradeGecko offers a free 14-day trial, no credit card required. Plans range from $49/month to $399/month, though you can get a monthly discount if you commit to paying for a year up-front. The company provides a detailed knowledge base, with step-by-step instructions for performing many tasks, and it also offers 24 hour customer support. On the whole, our support experience was positive, though a few of our tickets took longer than we would have liked to resolve.

Integrations include Shopify, Salesforce, Xero, Magento, Quickbooks Online, Amazon, and WooCommerce (to name a few). All in all, TradeGecko isn’t the cheapest product on the market (which is why it’s the runner up for this category) but it is so intuitive and feature rich that small to medium-sized businesses with a budget to kick around should give it a look.

For more information about TradeGecko, read our full review here.

Invoicing Software

Winner: Freshbooks

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Officially, Freshbooks is a web-based accounting solution, though it is fair to say that it’s best utilized for its incredible invoicing features. This software is tailor made for independent contractors and small, service-based businesses; it is easy to use, has lots of interesting features (including time tracking, reporting, and expenses), and integrates with a huge variety of 3rd party applications.

Pricing, unfortunately, is a bit steep for the target market (small businesses), though there is a free plan which allows you to manage a single client. Paid plan range from $19.95/month to $39.95/month. Customer support is available Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm EST. In our experience, representatives are remarkably quick to respond to emails (usually within 20 minutes during business hours) and are courteous, helpful, and knowledgeable.

As mentioned above, FreshBooks offers more than 60 integrations and add-ons including  PayPal, Shopify, Basecamp, and Stripe. It is as comprehensive an invoicing solution as you could hope for, especially since it does offer other perks, like reporting.

You can read our full review of FreshBooks here.

Runner-Up: Invoiceable

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Invoiceable is simple, easy to use software that allows you to create professional looking invoices. It’s actually free to all, with no feature limits, though you can opt to pay a one-time fee to remove the company’s branding from your invoices: this is a perk that no other free invoicing program offers. Additionally, unlike many of the other major free invoicing programs, Invoiceable isn’t just a wimpy, scaled-back version of a paid service. You can have as many clients and send as many invoices as you like.

Of course, with a completely free service you’re going to miss certain features that come with a paid subscription. Support, for example, is unreliable and sporadic. Response times can vary between 1-12 days, and sometimes you may not get any response at all. There is also limited sales tax functionality, which means that the software really only works for businesses that charge a single, across the board tax rate, or don’t charge tax at all.

That said, if you are a freelancer or own a very small business with relatively low sales volume, this may be all you need for now. It’s leaps and bounds better than simply typing out your invoices into MS Word or Excel, and it is one of the best free options out there that both allow you to have unlimited clients and actually works in the United States! The interface is basic and intuitive, and while customer service is slow, you probably won’t need it most of the time. If this sounds like a good match for you, we suggest you try it out. You’ve got nothing to lose – after all, it’s free.

Read our full review of Invoiceable here.

CRM Software

Winner: Zoho CRM

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User-friendly, reasonably-priced, and full of useful features, Zoho CRM is our favorite customer relations management software, hands down. It’s not hard to see why we’re such big fans. The “building blocks” which make up the Zoho CRM logo are not there for design purposes alone; these blocks allude to the fact that the Zoho team has developed many other business applications, all capable of working together seamlessly (much like Google Apps). In addition, Zoho has an well-deserved reputation for integrating nicely with a number of 3rd party add-ons, including MailChimp, Unbounce, Google Apps, MS Office, and Quickbooks (see a full list of add-ons and integrations here). In short, Zoho CRM software can adjust to any size business, be whatever you need it to be, and grow with you as your business expands.

You can try Zoho CRM for free with a 15-day trial of their Professional package. After that, pricing breaks down as follows:

  • Entrepreneur: Free, up to 3 users
  • Standard: $12/user/month
  • Professional: $20/user/month
  • Enterprise: $35/user/month

24-hour Mon-Fri telephone support is available to paying customers, though those using their free edition are limited to email support. However, your email questions can be flagged according to urgency, so that important queries do not fall to the wayside.

You would be hard pressed to find a CRM that provides more functionality at a lower cost. Zoho CRM is, without a doubt, the most bang for your buck.

Read our full review of Zoho CRM here.

Runner-Up: CleverTim

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Clevertim is a cloud-based CRM system with a firm mission: to cater specifically to small businesses. With a surprisingly reasonable price point, a clean, user-friendly UI, and the ability to integrate with 3rd party developers (via an open API), Clevertim may just be as clever as its name suggests. The only chink in Clevertim’s armor is the lack of a mobile app. As it is now, the app functions smoothly on a desktop, but is only so-so on a tablet and virtually nonexistent on a phone.

Clevertim offers a 30 day free trial. After that, plans range from absolutely free to $99/month. You can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel your subscription at any time. Unlike most other CRM systems, Clevertim does not charge on a per-user basis. Instead, each plan has a user limit. There is also  customized pricing available, which allows you to upgrade the number of users allowed in your plan.

Clevertim is relatively new and does not yet have its own dedicated Technical Support team. However, queries can be sent to the company either via web tickets or through the sales email address.

Read our review of Clevertim here.

Booking Software

Winner: BookingBug

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BookingBug can do just about anything you would expect from scheduling software, but still manages to be accessible and intuitive. Many companies claim to be versatile, but this software actually is designed for a wide variety of industries, making it one of the only options out there for B&Bs or bike rental shops, and a better option than most for medium-sized spas and salons. It is a perfect tool for businesses that want to offer combination services while managing limited resources and limited staff (see a full list of features here). It is distinct from other appointment booking software other ways as well: first, it’s designed for serious scalability – which again validates its claim to be “the only real-time distributed booking and reservation system that works for all business types” –  and second, it integrates with a vast number of 3rd-party apps all over the world. This is a company that prides itself on innovation and flexibility.

Plans run from $19.95/month to $69.95/month, or you can scale up to an Enterprise plan, which are priced on an individual basis. Customer service comes free with your account. Like most companies, BookingBug relies heavily on email support, but phone support is available for some of the more expensive plans. We received helpful responses to our email inquiries within hours – always a great sign.

One terrific thing about BookingBug is that it offers your customers the option to make online payments (full or partial, including pre-payment and bulk payments); you can also issue full or partial refunds directly through the site via one of the software’s numerous payment integrations. BookingBug integrates with programs like MailChimp, WordPress, Facebook, and Dropbox as well.

There isn’t much negative feedback about the company online or in user reviews. Granted, some people have complained about issues with their mobile apps, but BookingBug’s receptivity and responsiveness to these issues speaks well about the company’s commitment to customer service.

To read our full review of BookingBug, click here.

Runner Up: Bookeo

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Bookeo is cloud-based booking software with a lot to offer. Not only does it include important booking features, but it provides a surprising variety of marketing solutions, integrates with many payment platforms and third party applications, and boasts excellent security features. This is innovative software as it is, and Bookeo continues to improve with age; significant new feature releases occur every few months, and updates are frequent. The only consistent complaint disappointed reviewers have is with its lack of phone support. (Bookeo relies on email and a store of 300 tutorials for its customer support.)

Bookeo’s pricing differs by product (in other words, by whether you want to book appointments, classes, or tours), but each version offers a 30-day free trial and a 30-day money back guarantee on the first paid month of subscription. Bookeo accounts do not require set-up or processing fees and you don’t have to sign a contract – always a good sign.

One of the best things about Bookeo is that it is user-friendly. Action items and information are intuitive and clearly distinguishable, and the software in general is organized neatly, in a very manageable way. There isn’t much setup support, unfortunately, but the self-help tutorials available are precise, and sufficient enough to help you circumvent most major problems.

Customer service centers on the Bookeo Help Portal, which consists of 300 tutorials and an email support form. There is no phone support, however, and this is the only consistent complaint from disappointed reviewers. You can receive some support via a live chat option on Bookeo’s promotional website.

Read more about Bookeo here, in our full review.

Email Marketing Software

Winner: MailChimp

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At Merchant Maverick, we’re all in agreement that MailChimp is the boss when it comes to email marketing. It’s a mature, time-tested software with reasonable pricing plans, a great selection of features, and tons of integration, and it scales well to just about any size campaign. Better yet, for users with modest needs, MailChimp offers a robust, flat-out generous free plan which lets you have up to 2,000 subscribers and allows you to send up to 12,000 emails per month. There’s only one real catch: if you do your email marketing with the free plan, there will be a small MailChimp badge at the bottom of every email you send out. 

Paid plans come in two basic varieties: send-based (pay as you go) and list-based (monthly). These plans are fairly specific and complex, so if you’d like more details about pricing you should navigate here.

MailChimp is generally very easy to use, and signing up for a MailChimp account is simple; enter a name and email address and you’re on your way. The customer support system is pretty extensive as well, though it lacks telephone support, which is slightly disappointing. However, our experience with them has been good; representatives were courteous and well-informed, and inquiries were answered in anywhere from 20 minutes to 20 hours, depending on urgency. MailChimp’s biggest selling point, however, is that it offers over 500 integrations and add-ons. (These include Google Analytics, Zendesk, SHopify, Magento, and Salesforce).

Check out our full review of MailChimp here.

Runner-Up: AWeber

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AWeber appeals to a smaller niche than MailChimp, but it’s still incredibly easy to use and quite affordable. It comes with some very nice features, especially for businesses which want to send all new subscribers the same series of messages: the autoresponder setup in particular is easy, intuitive, and well explained within the program, and users have a lot of options. 

AWeber offers a free 30-day trial for lists of up to 500 subscribers. After that first month, there is a single list-based pricing plan available. It’s reasonably priced for the most part, but so robust that very small companies may find they are paying for lots of extra features they may not even require. If you don’t need much from your email marketing tool, you might be better off with MailChimp’s generous free plan.

In general, AWeber finds a healthy balance between ease of use and high functionality. Navigation is remarkably intuitive, considering the number of features available. The WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor has some quite impressive characteristics, and recent updates to the software have have managed to significantly improve the email design experience. Additionally, the analytics and reporting capabilities are well above par for an email marketing tool of this type, as are AWeber’s investment in numerous 3rd-party integrations.

Our experiences with customer support have been positive overall. As a rule, we’ve found AWeber’s representatives to be friendly, helpful, and prompt in responding to queries. Response times to our inquiries varied in time between 20 minutes and 6 business hours.

Read our full review of AWeber here.

Project Management Software

Winner: Trello

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Trello is a visually-oriented, Kanban-based project management tool that works by allowing users to see and manage their tasks and projects via detailed ‘cards’ which are then pinned onto ‘boards.’ At its most basic level, Trello is an ingenious way to create and organize a set of virtual 3×5 cards without the risk of misplacing them, but it also can also work as a simple task management tool, offering features like file storage and automatic email notifications.

The standard, free version of Trello allows for unlimited boards, users, and attachments (with a 10 MB max per file upload). However, for a fee, Trello also offers two upgraded versions of the software: $3.75/user or $5/user

Trello’s simple, visually-appealing UI makes it incredibly easy to use; there is almost no learning curve involved. A mere five minutes after I signed up I was able to navigate the software quickly, creating cards and boards like a pro. It may be integrated with several 3rd party apps, including Zapier, Google Drive, Box. Dropbox, and OneDrive.

Trello provides email support (via support@trello.com) to all users during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST).

Not only is this software reasonably priced, but it is characterized by elegance, simplicity, and user-friendliness. It would be difficult to find a basic project management solution with a more intuitive, visually-appealing design. And in terms of sheer adoptability – of getting your employees to actually use a software-based task management tool – Trello scores extremely high.

You can check out our full review of Trello if you’d like more information.

Runner Up: Basecamp

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With over 9,000,000 current users, Basecamp is considered the most popular cloud-based project management software system of all time. It is, without doubt, one of the most user-friendly project management programs out there. When it comes down to brass tacks, simplicity is an enormously valuable characteristic, and Basecamp is just that – simple. This is project management software at its most basic and effortless level.

This software is celebrated for its no-frills, no-fuss pricing system. There are no hidden fees and no per-user costs. Plans range from $20/month to $150/month. Features include task tracking, a calendar, email notifications and a daily recap of activities, text documents (basically giant legal pads), and very simple reporting.

Basecamp is known for fast, reliable service. While they don’t provide the level of immediate personal support that you can get from other software companies (read: no phone or live chat support), the folks at Basecamp respond quickly to email requests and offer a large variety of ready-made aids and live training tools.

Basecamp itself is a pretty basic program, but there are a huge number of optional 3rd party applications available if you want or need to increase software’s functionality. You can see a complete list of Basecamp integrations on the official product website

If you have plain, bread-and-butter management requirements, we think you’ll find that Basecamp is a suitable, extremely affordable way to go. One of the best things about Basecamp is the fact that it is designed, updated, and supported by an established parent company. It is a sure bet, in other words.

Read more about Basecamp in our full review.

Shipping Software

Winner: ShipStation

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ShipStation is a reasonably-priced, web-based shipping solution for eCommerce retailers. Designed to streamline the fulfillment process as much as possible, this software has invested in a huge number of integrations that make it possible for you to sync up your business with the most popular sales channels, shopping carts, payment gateways, and mail carriers.

Pricing plans range from $25/month to $145/month. There’s a free 30-day trial that includes access to all features, with no credit card required. If you’re not satisfied with the product within 90 days, ShipStation offers a full refund, no questions asked.

The user interface can be a bit overwhelming at first, as there multiple options, menus, and sub-menus displayed on most pages. A bit of patience is definitely required when you start out, though you can take advantage of a number of video tutorials, a large knowledge base, and a pretty robust community forum if you run into trouble. Actually, you can have your own personal account manager if you want, and this person will help guide you through the setup phase of your account. Some of the higher paid plans can receive chat support as well. In general, customer support is slightly disappointing, and the responses we received to queries were somewhat boilerplate and indifferent.

One of ShipStation’s biggest selling points is that it integrates with an enormous number of carriers, marketplaces and shopping carts, especially when compared to the competition, including FedEx, UPS, USPS, and Fulfillment by Amazon, as well as Shopify, Etsy, Magento, Square, eBay, etc. The list goes on.

Check out our full review of ShipStation for more information.

Runner-Up: ShipWorks

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ShipWorks is probably the best shipping software available, though unfortunately it’s a PC-only app (which removes about half of the world’s users) and the learning curve is extremely high. The good news is that this software, which is designed to streamline the order fulfillment process for small to large businesses, has many amazing features you can’t find in other shipping applications. With a few clicks, ShipWorks can download shipping information from an online sales channel, calculate and print postage, generate labels, packing slips, and more. Combine this functionality with integrations for over 40 different mail carriers and eCommerce platforms, and you’ve got a shipping solution that really packs a wallop. Additionally, ShipWorks scales well, in a way that its SaaS competitors don’t.

Cost per month is determined by two different factors: shipment volume and number of licenses. Shipment volume is divided into three tiers:

  • $14.95/month for 0-99 shipments/month
  • $29.95/month for 100-999 shipments/month
  • $49.95/month for 1,000+ shipments/month

The price for shipment volume is then added to your licensing fee to determine the monthly bill. How much you pay for licensing is based on the number of online sales channels you use with ShipWorks.

Our own experiences with ShipWorks support have been positive. Turnaround times on support tickets were 24 hours or less, and we never had trouble reaching anybody on the phone. The Knowledge Base is extensive, and covers everything from setup and configuration to online marketplaces and shipping providers. What’s more, the articles are clearly written and provide plenty of screenshots.

As I mentioned above, ShipWorks integrates with a huge variety of shipping carriers and online marketplaces (including USPS, FedEx, UPS, Magento, Etsy, Shopify, Volusion), but if you happen to use a store that isn’t directly supported by ShipWorks, you can always work with a developer and use the ShipWorks Generic API to create your own integrations.

Click here to read our full review of ShipWorks.

Loyalty Rewards Software

Winner: Sweet Tooth

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Sweet Tooth is a prolific loyalty rewards software that currently works with over 3500 merchants worldwide, including Delta, Universal, and Olympus. Sweet Tooth is dedicated to increasing customer engagement, and case studies from many of the clients mentioned above have demonstrated nearly 20% increases in customer lifetime values, sales and repeat purchases. It is complex software with a high learning curve, but in general, the benefits of using a robust loyalty rewards software outweigh the inconvenience of having to learn how to use it! Sweet Tooth is an ideal solution for both eCommerce merchants and merchants who use combined methods of commerce.

Sweet Tooth works best – and is most full featured – when it’s used through Magento, though you can use a lighter, simpler version of Sweet Tooth on BigCommerce or Shopify (this is free for up to 500 customers). Sweet Tooth subscription plans are offered monthly and automatically renew unless cancelled. Plans begin at $49/month, and are broken down by loyalty point transactions and annual revenue generated on Magento. If your activity exceeds the limitations of your plan you will be required to upgrade to the next available plan. You can view the full pricing details for Shopify, BigCommerce and Magento on the Sweet Tooth website.

Customer service is available Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST. Overall, our experience with Sweet Tooth has been positive. Everyone we’ve spoken to at the company has been knowledgeable and friendly, and most reviewers on Magento cite the technical support as an essential part of their loyalty program.

Read our full review of Sweet Tooth if you’re interested in learning more.

Runner-Up: Belly

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Belly provides a more hassle-free loyalty rewards program than Sweet Tooth, and is ideal for smaller businesses with brick and mortar store fronts (such as bakeries, cafes, grocers, bars, spas, fitness clubs and boutiques). What’s really unique about Belly, though, are its customizeable rewards offerings and “all in one box” setup, which includes an iPad (with stand and combination lock), data reports, a personal support representative, social media integrations, and email marketing tools. Even more significantly, Belly customers get a mobile page for their business on the Belly app, where potential customers can look to find Belly-compatible businesses.

Monthly subscription costs range from $99 – $199, and all contracts run for 12 months. The cost of the iPad, iPad stand, application software, and unlimited rewards cards are included in the subscription costs for the highest plan, but an additional $150 installation fee is charged for lower plans.

Right now there are only a few drawbacks to Belly, most important of which is its steep price. Customer service can be a bit spotty as well, and unfortunately, not enough other businesses currently use it, which doesn’t provide much incentive to customers to get in the Belly network. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for an easy, no-worries loyalty program, you can’t go far wrong with Belly.

Read our full review of Belly for more details and information.

Website Building Software

Winner: Wix

 

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Wix is our number one choice for web building software, and it’s not difficult to understand why. With its sleek editing interface and multiple selection of apps and integrations, it is an extremely effective do-it-yourself website designer. In addition to being easy to use, Wix provides a great selection of unique and visually appealing templates (there are hundreds to choose from).

The free version of Wix is provided to anyone who signs up, though any website you create under the free plan will be branded with the Wix logo. Paid plans range from $4.08/month to $24.90/month. Wix’s store offers payment processing through a handful of vendors, including PayPal, WebMoney, Skrill, and PayU.

All in all, Wix is intuitive and user-friendly. Within a few hours, you should be able to take a template, mess around for a bit with the editing tools, and build yourself an incredibly fine looking website.

Because Wix allows developers to create and share their own add-ons, other users are given the opportunity to expand and diversify their websites as well. Some of the most popular integrations available include online shop expansions (like the Etsy app), the Wix Hotels premium booking system, live Instagram feeds, website profile systems, and a variety of other site boosting applications

There is one downside to the software: unlike most other website-building services, Wix does not offer 24/7 live-chat or provide an email response system. There is a toll-free number you can call for help with technical issues, but be aware that you could possibly be put on hold for an unspecified amount of time.

Click here to read our full review of Wix.

Runner-Up: Jimdo

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With its reasonable price points and clever, yet simplistic editor, Jimdo has made a mark on the website building industry. Managing to be both straightforward and comprehensive, Jimdo allows users to make custom, professional looking websites. Templates are provided, of course, but you’re not bound to the confines of the template you choose; you have total freedom to edit and can essentially be as hands-on about the design process as you want.

Jimdo plans range from free to $20/month, and all plans come with an HTML5 WYSIWYG web editor, usage of professional-grade templates, social media tools, a mobile device editing view, blogging tools, photo galleries, Google Maps, contact forms, direct video embedding, widget integration, optimized mobile websites, and unlimited bandwidth.

While the only online payment processor currently supported by Jimdo is PayPal, a selection of various real-world payment methods can be activated in a website’s store, including invoicing, payment-in-advance, collection-upon-delivery, local pickup, and local delivery.

This is an easy-to-use service that somehow still manages to astound with the depth of its overall functionality. Some things may be a bit too simple, and Jimdo isn’t sophisticated enough to work as a tool for a professional web designer, but it is perfectly suited – price-wise and in ease-of-use – for small businesses who would otherwise have to hire out their web design services.

Read our full review of Jimdo here.

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