Accounting, Bookkeeping, and QuickBooks Tips for Small Businesses

Posts tagged online bookkeeping

SageOne Review

SageOne - Online Bookkeeping for Small Busienss Owners

This week I took a look at SageOne, a new online accounting tool from Sage Software. I really enjoy working with Peachtree, now known as Sage50. So I was thrilled to see Sage’s announcement of offering online bookkeeping software. Sadly, I was extremely disappointed with SageOne. It is easy to use and has a beautiful screen appearance. However, the software’s simplicity is too basic and is missing a lot of important accounting features that have become the norm with other cloud based accounting software providers. As I played around with SageOne, I kept thinking this is very similar to FreshBooks, yet FreshBooks is one hundred times better. I have hope for SageOne and believe it will improve with future developments. I think there is future potential for SageOne, but Sage needs to quickly get the ball rolling if they want to have a chance to compete in the online accounting software market. The competition is fierce.

Cost: $29/month, Free Trial

What I Love:

  • The online accounting interface is very pretty and easy to navigate.
  • Very simple to set up and get started. They offer a video tutorial to walk you through a couple of steps, then you’re up and running. Piece of cake.
  • The ability to track Projects and Tasks is a cool idea and has lots of potential. SageOne lets you create projects, assign tasks to employees, track hours spent on the tasks, has a message center to communicate with your employees, and you can attach files. The collaboration tools are a great way to keep track of your team and the work being done.
  • Invoicing customers is easy. You can enter the amount to bill, or pull hours worked from the project and task center. You can add your own logo and have a choice of a couple different invoice layouts. Invoices can be emailed from SageOne and sent to customers as attached PDF documents.
  • Easy to manually enter your expenses to keep track of where you spend money. There was an option to link the expenses to your projects. This seems like a great idea, but you can’t pull up these linked expenses later to invoice to the customer, there were no reports to see profit/loss per project, it didn’t show up on the project window to compare against your estimated project expenses, etc. So I’m not sure why this option was there, except for future development maybe?
  • Easily record transfers between bank accounts.
  • Standard bank reconciliation feature, which is a great double check that you recorded all of your deposits and expenses. It was easy to add missing deposits, checks, and a link for accountants to make an adjusting entry.
  • The dashboard offers a graph so small business owners can see their profit/loss during the year. You can also easily see which customers owe you money and track your projects from your dashboard.
  • I’ve heard rumors of an accountant portal coming later this year. This would be a great tool so SageOne could keep a basic interface for small business owners, while giving accountants, bookkeepers, and CPAs more advanced tools.
  • SageOne offers the ability to set up email notifications to be reminded of past due invoices, upcoming project due dates, and when you receive project messages from your team members. Don’t want a lot of emails? You can opt for the daily digest email and get all notifications in one email instead.
  • My Wish List:

    • A sad array of reports. Yes, they offer the top 3 reports, but that’s it. Currently SageOne only offers a balance sheet, income statement, and aged receivables (money owed from customers) reports.
    • What, you can not download your bank transactions? SageOne doesn’t automatically connect to your bank accounts, credit card accounts, and PayPal? Seriously? Isn’t this industry standard? Very disappointing. Data entry is a thing of the past, this alone could kill their product.
    • I guess they’re trying to offer a more cash based accounting model. When you enter an invoice, the income does not appear as income on the profit/loss (Income Statement). Instead, it shows up on your balance sheet as “potential sales” under your liabilities. I found it interesting when creating an invoice, you don’t have the ability to record the sales to an income account. Then, when you record payment from your customer, you get the option to post the sales to an income account. Therefore, after you receive and record the customer payment, then the work shows up as income on the profit/loss statement. I understand most very small businesses operate on a cash basis (or checkbook accounting as I like to call it), but this makes it really difficult to track how much money you’re actually making each month. Not to mention, would I remember a month later what services where for each invoice, especially if I work with a lot of clients?
    • Along the same lines as above, you can not record one customer payment against various income accounts. For example if you run a landscaping company, you might invoice your customer for landscape design services and installation. On the invoice, you can break out different projects. However, you can not record income from these two services to different income accounts when your check arrives.
    • No online payments from customers available.
    • SageOne does not integrate with any of the other Sage products.
    • There is no import/export function.
    • SageOne does not support payroll. This is really surprising since their projects and tasks are built to support employees and team members working together. So, if you have employees, you will need another accounting program to account for payroll.
    • Small business owners can not enter bills and keep track of money owed to vendors, utilities, rent, etc. Only cash expenses can be entered in SageOne.
    • I would love to see the Projects/Tasks tracking features expanded. It’s nice you can enter estimated hours to complete, estimated expenses, and estimated billable fees. However, it would be great to easily see how much you’ve actually spent on expenses and billed for the project/tasks as compared to your estimates. SageOne will compare your estimated time against the time already spent. However, tracking hours is a manual task and there is not a time clock.
    • I don’t believe SageOne has an iPhone, Droid, or other smartphone apps.

    I’m sad to report that at this time I would not recommend SageOne to my customers. It’s very similar to FreshBooks, but FreshBooks offers a lot more services and at a better price. For that matter, at $29/mo you could also use Xero and get a full accounting package. I’m disappointed with Sage. It’s almost as if they threw together an online accounting software so they could say they offer cloud based accounting solutions. I have a feeling they hoped customers would not see past the pretty interface and user friendly application. SageOne has some good ideas, but has a long way to go to be competitive with other cloud based accounting solutions that are currently on the market. I’ve heard rumors Sage is continuing to develop this product, so hopefully the future will bring better news for this poorly created cloud based accounting tool.

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    Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
    Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

    Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and Virtual CFO solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, home brewing, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


Wave Accounting Review

Wave Accounting

Continuing my quest to find reputable, online, cloud based bookkeeping solutions for small businesses, I came across Wave Accounting. Wave Accounting started about a year ago with a mission to help the small business owner be more successful. To accomplish this goal, they are creating bookkeeping tools that are easy to use, designed with the small business owner in mind, and offer support for their online bookkeeping software. Only being in business for a little over a year, I honestly have to say I’m impressed with their cloud based bookkeeping software. Wave Accounting is designed for the small business owner, typically under 9 employees. This is a great solution for mompreneurs, work at home mom’s (WHAMS), photographers, real estate agents, Mac users, independent contractors, the self employed, home offices, and freelancers.

Cost: Free!

What I Love:

  • When you set up your account for the first time, Wave has you choose your business type to help create a chart of accounts that makes sense for your specific business. This is a huge help to small business owners. Even more impressive is Wave’s extensive list of business types – from photographers, to creative types, to consultants, to hair/spa businesses, to medical and dental offices, to retailers, to web and tech companies, to just plain and simple general service businesses.
  • Offers the ability to set up and track sales taxes.
  • Connect your bank and credit card accounts to Wave, allowing Wave to automatically download and import your transactions. Huge time saver allowing small business owners to focus their time on important tasks, not data entry.
  • Wave offers an invoicing tool with four styles of professional looking invoices that allow you to customize the colors and add your company’s logo.
  • The expense feature allows small business owners the ability to enter bills, track account payable, easily add a payment, and write checks. When you enter expenses, Wave will attempt to automatically categorize expenses the software recognizes.
  • Reporting section that has a balance sheet, income statement (profit and/or loss statement), sales tax reports, aged receivables, aged payables, reports to calculate the gain/loss on foreign currency exchange, etc. Another cool feature is you can email, export to Excel, or save the financial reports as a PDF.
  • Dashboard with quick access to useful financial information and snapshots about your business.
  • As an accountant, I love this this tool. Wave Accounting has a guest collaborator tool, allowing small business owners to invite guests to view and/or edit your company’s financial information. Your guests could be your CPA, your accountant, a bookkeeper, board members, assistants, etc.
  • Cloud based, meaning you have access to your small business bookkeeping from any computer that has an internet connection.
  • Wave has a ProNetwork for accountants and bookkeepers. This is a great way for accountants and bookkeepers to learn the software to better assist their small business clients. This a also a great benefit to the small business owner who are looking for a CPA, accountant, and/or bookkeeper that is familiar with and that works with Wave Accounting.
  • Wave Accounting integrates with FreshBooks and Google Docs.
  • Separate tab for tracking the small business owner’s personal finances. As your CPA has told you time and time again, you should not mix business and personal funds. However, we are well aware that many small business owners comingle business and personal funds. This tool makes it easier to split and track debit card and credit card transactions between personal and business expenses.
  • What small business owner doesn’t love free bookkeeping software!

My Wish List:

  • The advertisements at the bottom of the screen are a bit annoying. But, it’s free software and they have to make their money from somewhere. I do have to give the folks at Wave Accounting credit, the ads I saw were for reputable companies that I would actually consider doing business with. They were well thought out and well planned ads, not random, junky ads you see on most free websites.
  • Wave is not set up with merchant processing companies yet. Meaning no online bill pay options for for your customers when you email them an invoice. Wave does play nice with FreshBooks, so if this is important feature for your business you can do your invoicing in FreshBooks, then import those transactions into Wave Accounting.
  • Currently, they do not offer time tracking or time sheets. However, rumor has it that Wave Payroll will be coming to the US later this year and I’m guessing that will take care of that issue.
  • I didn’t see an iPhone and/or Droid phone app. I love being able to check my account balances, send invoices, etc. from my mobile devices while on the go.

Overall, Wave Accounting is a basic online bookkeeping and accounting software. It beats keeping your books on a spreadsheet and is a great solution for the small business owner. I love that it offers the self employed an affordable bookkeeping option that handles most general bookkeeping functions. Keep in mind Wave has only been in business for a little over a year, and they are continually adding and creating more tools to save entrepreneurs time and money. I’m anxious and curious to see what the future holds for Wave Accounting..

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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


FreshBooks – Video Review

Here’s my first attempt to offer my readers a visual test drive of FreshBooks, via video. I was super excited about how it came out, expect the full screen view gets blurry. I’ll keep playing with my screen cast software and try to figure this out so my next video will be easier to see in the full screen version. Bear with me, I’m a video and screen sharing newbie.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reeGy1GmsKo&context=C330d1deADOEgsToPDskK_DOZyx2hw-kJ88GSngXFm


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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


FreshBooks Review

It’s tax time. Which means it’s time to turn your shoebox full of receipts and bank statements into meaningful information your accountant can use to prepare your tax return. Let’s face it, most small business owners do not go into business because they enjoy bookkeeping. I’ve done some research and played around with a handful of cloud based bookkeeping services. Some of these online bookkeeping software solutions are too good to keep secret! Keep an eye on my blog for the next few weeks while I explore and review these cloud based accounting services. Today’s topic is FreshBooks.

Cloud Based Small Business Bookkeeping

FreshBooks

Cost: Free – $39.95/month

FreshBooks is a great online bookkeeping solution for small business owners. They started as an invoicing/billing service so those features are top notch. Small business owners can send professional looking invoices, set up recurring invoices and payments, receive online payments, track employees & contractors time, and have FreshBooks automatically send reminders to your slow paying customers. They can even help small business owners manage sales taxes.

FreshBooks doesn’t stop at the invoicing and billing side. They also have an expense tracking feature to help you manage small business’ expenses. To save on data entry time, FreshBooks also offers the ability to import your expenses from your bank or credit card company via a .CSV or .QBO file.

Best of all, it’s an online service meaning you have access to your financial information at anytime and from anywhere. Read on to get specific details on what I loved about FreshBooks and my wishlist.

What I LOVE:

    Invoicing and Billing Features:

    • Easy to use layout.
    • Customize your account with your logo and business colors.
    • Professional looking invoices that can be emailed, snail mailed, printed, or downloaded as a PDF.
    • Set up recurring invoices. All you do is enter the invoice once and then FreshBooks will automatically send your recurring when you specify.
    • Customers can click on your emailed invoice and pay your bill online!
    • Set up recurring credit card payments to be charged automatically.
    • Save time with your collections and have FreshBooks automatically send out reminder emails to your slow paying customers. Your automated emails are customizable, so they sound like they’re coming from you rather than being a computer generated email.
    • Ability to invoice in any currency
    • Ability to calculate and track sales tax.
    • Send estimates to prospective customers. Your customer can approve it online and then you can easily convert the estimate into an invoice.

    Time Tracking:

    • Provide contractors & employees with access to log their hours (they won’t have access to your financial data).
    • Time tracking also includes a start/stop timer to accurately track time spent on projects and jobs.
    • Easily convert time sheets into invoices.

    Expenses:

    • Expense tracker to enter and record your expenses.
    • Save time on date entry by automating your recurring expenses.
    • Ability to attach copies of your receipts and bills. No more messy shoeboxes or filing cabinets filled with receipts. Just snap a picture with your phone & you’re done!
    • Import your expenses from your bank and/or credit card company via a .csv or .qbo file.
    • Comes setup with a handful of most commonly used expense categories. You can also add your own categories for your specific business.
    • Ability to record an expense and then link it to an invoice, if the expense should be passed along to your customer.

    Financial Reports:

    • Financial reports that let you take a look at your small business profit/loss, see who owes you money, where you are spending your money, track revenue by client, track revenue by employee, time sheet reports, etc.

    Bonus Features:

    • Online service, meaning your financial records are stored in the cloud. Providing small business owners with access to their accounting data from anytime and from anywhere!
    • Access your business financial information from desktops, laptops, smart phones, tablets, and Macs.
    • Long list of add-on’s to customize your accounting needs. Some examples are Shoeboxed, PayPal, Google Apps, MailChimp, SalesForce, etc.
    • Plays nice with QuickBooks – you can imports your sales figures into QuickBooks.

Wish List:

  • I would love to see the ability to track bills, when bills are due, and accounts payable.
  • I’m surprised they are not set up to automatically download transactions from your bank, credit card companies, and PayPal. It does have the import feature, but automatic downloads are a great benefit for small businesses.
  • I would also love the ability to automatically categorize your imported expenses.
  • The ability to import into QuickBooks is an added bonus. I really wish the data could be imported via an .iif file, providing me with more sales data usability in QuickBooks.

Overall, FreshBooks is a great bookkeeping program. As small business owners know, cash is king! FreshBooks shines in the invoicing/billing customer area, which is key to helping generate cash flow. Their expense tracking features are lacking, but the expense tracking features are adequate for a small business to be able to use FreshBooks as their stand alone bookkeeping software. I love the fact that FreshBooks sales data can be imported into QuickBooks via an Excel file, making it an incredible billing/invoicing tool for small and mid-sized businesses.

Disclaimer:
The links above are affliate links and I get paid if you click on them and sign up for FreshBooks. However, the statements above are my own opinion and I did not receive compensation for writing this review. All content is provided for informational purposes only.

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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


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