The idea behind QuickBooks is a solid one - software that automates your bookkeeping, invoices, tax, and other accounting services. While QuickBooks provides these services, it may not provide the best version of these solutions for your needs. So, it’s worth examining other accounting programs that target the same issues. This way, you’ll know which is the best for you and your Shopify business.
To do that, we’ll compare the positives and negatives of QuickBooks with those of its various competitors. By the end, you’ll find out whether there’s any accounting software better for your needs than QuickBooks.
What Is QuickBooks?
QuickBooks is accounting software designed to eliminate the need to manually input information for your bookkeeping. It accomplishes this task in a number of ways. The software is also useful for managing interactions. QuickBooks can keep track of your various clients, vendors, and customers. This makes organizing much more straightforward.
Your data gets stored in the cloud, which makes accessing it easy on any device, from your computer or even your phone. This allows you to operate your Shopify business from anywhere.
QuickBooks backs up your accounting data and goes to great lengths to protect your data with advanced industry-recognized security standards.
Why The Need For Alternatives?
So, with all those features, why should you consider alternatives? Well, despite those useful benefits, QuickBooks is neither perfect nor even very unique. There are a number of areas in which it stumbles, some of which we will discuss now, and others that we will highlight when comparing QuickBooks with other software.
Issues With QuickBooks
The service works best for smaller businesses. While that’s clearly good news for small businesses, larger businesses may find that their needs exceed the limits of what QuickBooks offers. Even with that in mind, there are other issues that businesses will want to be wary of when considering their accounting program.
Since QuickBooks has moved to its online service model, it has also become more proprietary. QuickBooks Online does not offer file sharing between itself and programs not made by Intuit. This requires the creation of a manual journal entry each time, which goes against the intention of these automatic accounting programs.
QuickBooks’ Pricing Plans
While QuickBooks does have a thirty-day free trial, there is no free version of the software. Instead, QuickBooks offers three pricing options. These options are the Simple Start, Essentials, and Plus, which offer varying degrees of access to QuickBooks’ features. While this is typical of most accounting software today, its pricing is pretty expensive.
5 Alternatives To QuickBooks
Now, with a good understanding of the strengths and flaws of QuickBooks, we have both a benchmark for our alternative software options to meet, as well as some areas in which these programs can outdo QuickBooks’ list of features.
Let’s go through each software in turn and examine how each program measures up.
First up is Xero, which promotes a “beautiful business”. On paper, the software ticks many of the same boxes as QuickBooks with its focus on reconciling your transactions.
Xero automatically categorizes and sorts your data daily to ensure your business’s information remains up-to-date. With the exception of the Early plan, you can even execute these transactions in bulk, saving valuable time.
Xero Takes Your Business To The Next Level
Xero allows users to send and receive invoices more intuitively. Each invoice is customizable to include items like company logos, all from within the program.
It also allows for the automatic acceptance of payments to make it easier to get paid. To further that goal, you can also set automatic reminders to ensure your clients pay on time. You can handle all these invoices from within Xero itself.
Xero makes paying sales tax far less tedious. You can set up and customize multiple tax rates, depending on your needs.
Xero includes a feature that automatically calculates your sales tax. It also automatically records your sales tax on transactions for your convenience.
In addition, Xero includes a feature called the sales tax report, which helps make your tax returns easier to complete and file.
Xero offers support for international businesses. Any transactions conducted internationally are automatically converted to your currency of choice. Xero helps you keep track of how currency markets affect your profits. To assess the strength of businesses in foreign countries, you can view reports in their native currency or your own.
Xero can offer some great benefits for Shopify store owners by integrating with Reconcilely. Our tool connects your Shopify and Xero accounts to allow you to reconcile your Shopify orders automatically in Xero.
Xero’s Pricing Plans
In addition to a thirty-day free trial, Xero offers three plans to support your business. These plans are Early, Growing, and Established.
The Early plan is much cheaper than QuickBooks’ equivalent, but the options offered are severely limited.
The Growing plan is only marginally less expensive than its QuickBooks equivalent, and the Established plan is far more expensive than QuickBooks’ highest tier.
It is worth noting that any of Xero’s paid options come bundled with a subscription to HubDoc, a data capture tool also owned by Xero.
- Custom designs for invoices
- Support for multiple currencies
- HubDoc bundle offers a little extra
- Paid options aren’t a massive improvement over QuickBooks in terms of price
- The Early option feels very limited, even with its cheaper price
Zoho’s slogan is “Your life’s work, powered by our life’s work”. Even with such a bold claim, it’s important to examine exactly what their life’s work offers your business. Zoho offers an entire suite of different software solutions and tools to help online businesses simplify and streamline their various processes.
Zoho Books, their accounting service, is one of these solutions. It is online accounting software, like QuickBooks, that enables Shopify and other e-commerce store owners to better manage their finances.
Zoho Books Lets You Focus On Your Client’s Satisfaction
Zoho Books allows you to set up custom invoices for your business with unique fonts and logos. This helps create the appearance of professionalism for your business. These invoices also include options for payments either in cash, cheque, or online. This allows the customer to choose the option that suits them. WIth that accommodation, they’re more likely to pay on time, hassle-free.
The client portal allows you to interact with your clients more effectively. You can accurately measure customer feedback and record their suggestions for improvement. Engage in discussion and share quotes with clients from within the portal and leave email chains behind. The portal allows users to make partial and full payments directly but also allows for bulk payments with a single click.
Zoho Books allows users to automate certain monotonous tasks. This includes recurring invoices and payment chasing. Create a recurring profile, and Books will send transactions out automatically. You can also send automated payment reminders to clients to ensure you’re paid on time.
In addition, it includes an automatic transaction categorizer to avoid missing transactions if you receive them in large quantities.
Zoho Books Pricing Plans
Zoho Books includes four pricing options, including a free tier and a fourteen-day free trial. The plans include Free, Standard, Professional, and Premium.
The Free tier includes many features but requires that your business falls under a certain earning bracket. The Standard and Professional tiers add many more features at a reasonable price, but the Premium tier becomes a bit pricey for smaller businesses.
- The free version is quite impressive if you fall under its earning bracket
- The Client Portal is a useful feature for most businesses
- The free version won’t be available to many small businesses
- The premium tier is out of reach of smaller businesses
Wave stands out in this comparison for one particular reason. With the exception of one feature, which we will discuss shortly, you can use the software totally free.
While it may not be as full-featured as some of the other services on this list, there’s still a lot to take advantage of. These include Wave Accounting, Wave Invoice, and the Finance Board.
Wave Helps Your Business Make A Big Splash
You can view all your accounting information in one place with Wave’s finance board. This information includes overdue invoices, overdue bills, credit card usage, the state of their associated bank accounts, net income, and a comprehensive summary of your expenditure so you can keep an eye on how your business is doing. These categories appear as shortcuts on the dashboard.
With Wave Accounting, you can view a customizable chart of your various accounts to check their status. You also have access to reports on your business’s profits and losses, as well as its cash flow, and can even create and manage balance sheets.
Unlike QuickBooks, you aren’t asked to select whether your business is cash-based or accrual. Instead, the option is toggleable to run accounts either way.
Wave Invoicing allows you to send and receive invoices in seconds. You can set up recurring billing for repeat customers, as well as use automatic credit card payments to make sure your business receives payment promptly and professionally.
If needed, the option for repeat billing is toggleable on or off if your relationship with a client changes. With this, Wave promises you’ll get paid “on time, every time”.
For those using both Wave Accounting and Wave Invoicing, your bookkeeping is a breeze.
Considering those two services are free, how does Wave make its money?
While the previous two services are completely free, Wave does offer a paid payroll service in the US and Canada at an affordable price. This can be valuable for those looking to expand beyond their status as small businesses.
- Accounting and Invoice services are free
- Payroll service is competitively priced
- Finance Board helps consolidate info from both programs
- Designed for startups and smaller businesses, lacking other major features
FreshBooks offers a fully-featured suite of options for your business. FreshBooks comes with all the programs you want from an accounting software similar to QuickBooks but also includes a few more interesting features as well.
FreshBooks Keeps Your Business Productive
FreshBooks offers built-in support for professional-looking invoices, with custom layouts and details to help your business stand out.
Using FreshBooks’ automated payment service, set reminders for customers to pay you, and securely charge clients’ credit cards. This feature also includes requests for deposits, ensuring you get paid what you’re owed when you’re owed it.
The program includes many expense tracking options to help you keep an eye on your finances. If you link your credit card with FreshBooks, your information updates daily to make sure your books are up-to-date.
FreshBooks allows users to scan and import physical receipts using a smartphone, making manual data entry a thing of the past.
One distinctive feature of FreshBooks is its time tracker. This feature works to help you optimize your business’ productivity. You can optimize productivity by calculating how long tasks take, and view those statistics on a streamlined breakdown page.
Time is optionally tracked on your computer or smartphone, guaranteeing your business remains productive no matter where you are.
Another unique productivity feature of FreshBooks is its project management tools. FreshBooks offers file storage systems to consolidate your business’ information in an easy-to-access cloud-based hub.
It also allows users to communicate with one another for collaboration, as well as letting clients give feedback directly, all accessible from within FreshBooks.
FreshBooks Pricing Plans
FreshBooks offers four pricing plan options. These options are Lite, Plus, Premium, and Select.
Lite and Plus offer a modest range of options at a competitive price. While Premium is a lot pricier, the full range of features may be worth it for your business. The Select plan offers a custom suite of features at a custom price, to best help your business and meet its needs.
- The largest number of features on the list
- Productivity features are unique to this service
- The Select plan allows for bespoke service
- The Premium plan is considerably expensive
- Some of these features go beyond the scope of small businesses
Sage Business Cloud
Sage’s Business Cloud includes a robust list of features to take care of your accounting, operations, and more. This cloud-based alternative includes individual tools that target specific issues, allowing you to choose which services you need and customize your experience.
Sage Has The Tools You Want For Your Business
Sage Accounting includes the ability to send and track invoices to make sure you have total control over your income. Using Sage’s mobile app, you can also photograph and capture receipts via your smartphone’s camera.
The intuitive dashboard feature allows you to “forecast your cash flow” by tracking your total income and expenses each month. These are foundational tools for any business.
Sage Payroll automatically calculates payslips based on hourly salaries to speed up the payment process. You can also set up and manage workplace pensions for employees, and even communicate with other auto-enrolment software.
When combined with Sage Accounting, Sage Payroll creates and posts salary journal updates into associated accounts. This helps you stay on top of your finances.
Sage HR offers a specialized tool to manage your employees' activity to ensure that your business runs healthily and smoothly. It includes tools for communication and reporting to keep in touch with your employees. Your employees can request leave and check which of their co-workers is doing what, all from within Sage.
Sage’s Pricing Plans
Sage’s products offer different pricing options depending on each product.
Some, like Sage Accounting, offer multiple payment options, similar to others on this list. Others include a single option, with tiers being determined by the number of employees it will process.
All in all, these options range from reasonably priced to very expensive.
- Sage Accounting covers all the basics at a reasonable price
- Sage HR is a unique feature for this list
- Some people may want an all-in-one package, rather than separate tools
- Higher tiers become prohibitively expensive
Streamline Reconciliation With Reconcilely
As mentioned previously, Reconcilely (simplified to Reconcilely) is designed to benefit the reconciliation of your Shopify orders. Reconcilely works with Xero and QuickBooks, giving more options to the user. If you’re a Shopify user planning to use one of these accounting programs, Reconcilely is a must!
Reconcilely exports your Shopify orders in real-time to your accounting software of choice. This means that you can see exactly where your money is coming from and where it’s going. This drastically speeds up the process of reconciliation and keeps your books presentable and organized with minimal effort.
When exporting data from Shopify, the service combines all your transactions and orders. This can cause large delays when trying to sort out payments and is one of the biggest inconveniences with the service. With Reconcilely, this issue is solved. Reconcilely automatically sorts these payments, the way they should have been from the outset.
Reconcilely is competitively priced, offers a wide range of benefits over Shopify’s built-in exporting method, and gives you access to your orders in real-time. For Shopify users, it may as well be mandatory.
So, Which Alternative To QuickBooks Should I Use?
It’s clear now that while QuickBooks offers features that are beneficial to any business, those features are not unique to their service. Not only that, but their service is more expensive than many others on this list.
With that in mind, we hope that it’s clear that any of these alternative software options will serve you and your business better and make sure its future is brighter.