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(60 days—2 months per Software taught)
(1) QuickBooks is the most popular small business accounting software businesses use to manage income and expenses and keep track of the financial health of their business. You can use it for invoicing customers, paying bills, generating reports, and preparing taxes.
Small business owners typically use QuickBooks to manage their invoices, pay their bills, and track their cash flows. They also use it to generate month- and year-end financial reports as well as prepare for quarterly or annual business taxes. Some business owners manage QuickBooks themselves while others prefer to use an in-house or outsourced bookkeeper.
- Create and Track Invoices
You can create invoices easily and either print them or email them to customers. QuickBooks will automatically record the income and track how much each customer owes you. You can view the amount of your outstanding invoices—known as your accounts receivable (A/R)—as well as how many days they are overdue by running an Accounts Receivable Aging Report.
- Keep Track of Bills & Expenses
QuickBooks automatically keeps track of your bills and expenses by connecting your bank and credit card accounts to QuickBooks so that all of your expenses are downloaded and categorized. If you need to track a check or cash transaction manually, you can record it directly in QuickBooks in just a few minutes.
You can also enter bills into QuickBooks when you receive them so that QuickBooks will help you track upcoming payments—or accounts payable. You can ensure that you pay your bills on time by creating an Accounts Payable (A/P) report. This report will provide you with the details of your current and past due bills.
- Print Financial Statements for Your Business
By managing all of your cash inflow and outflow activities in QuickBooks, you can print financial statements that can provide useful information about how your business is performing.
Lenders often require financial statements when you apply for a small business loan or line of credit.
Three primary financial statements in QuickBooks
- Profit and Loss Report
The profit and loss report will show you how profitable your business is by summarizing its income minus its expenses. The report shows you the bottom-line net income (loss) for a specific time period, such as a week, a month, or a quarter.
- Balance Sheet Report
The Balance Sheet Report shows what your business owns (assets), owes (liabilities), and its net worth (equity) at a particular point in time.
- Statement of Cash Flows
The Statement of Cash Flows in QuickBooks will show you all of the activities that affect the operating, investing, and financing cash inflows and cash outflows for your business.
- Track Employee Hours and Run Payroll
Payroll is an area that you don’t want to skimp on by trying to do it manually. Mistakes made in calculating paychecks can result in steep penalties and unhappy employees. QuickBooks has its own payroll function that can calculate and run payroll as often as you need it automatically.
QuickBooks can track your employee’s hours. The hours tracked then flow to both your customer invoices (if billable) and your payroll. This ensures that every hour you pay your employees is considered for billing to a customer.
The best part about using QuickBooks payroll is that it is integrated with QuickBooks so that your financial statements are always up to date as of the latest payroll run. The purchase of a QuickBooks payroll subscription is required to run payroll, but you have several levels of service to choose from to fit your needs.
Running your payroll through QuickBooks will allow you to:
- Pay employees with a check or direct deposit
- Calculate federal and state payroll taxes automatically
- Have QuickBooks fill in the payroll tax forms for you
- E-pay your payroll taxes directly from QuickBooks
- Track Inventory
QuickBooks can track the quantity and cost of your inventory. As you sell inventory, QuickBooks will automatically allocate a portion of your inventory to cost of goods sold (COGS), which is an expense account that reduces your income. This allocation is a requirement for calculating taxable income and very cumbersome to do by hand. QuickBooks can also automatically remind you to order inventory when quantities are low.
- Simplify Taxes
Perhaps the most important thing QuickBooks can do for your small business is to simplify tax time. By far, the largest headache in preparing a tax return is compiling your income and expenses. If you use QuickBooks during the year, all you need to do at tax time is print your financial statements. Better yet, with QuickBooks Online you can invite your tax preparer to access your account directly so they can review your numbers and print whatever information they need to prepare your return.
- Accept Online Payments
One of the best ways to improve your cash flow is to offer customers the option to pay their invoices online. You can add QuickBooks Payments (formerly known as Intuit Merchant Services) so that customers can pay online directly from their emailed invoice. QuickBooks Payments is similar to other merchant services. However, because it is integrated completely within QuickBooks, the sale, credit card fee, and cash deposit are all recorded automatically as they occur.
- Scan Receipts
Another key to making tax time a breeze is being able to organize your receipts in QuickBooks. All QuickBooks Online subscribers can download the QuickBooks app to their mobile device for free, take a picture of a receipt, and upload it to QuickBooks Online in just a few minutes.
No more lost receipts or manually matching up receipts with downloaded banking transactions. QuickBooks allows you to attach a receipt to the corresponding banking transaction. You can upload an unlimited number of receipts to QuickBooks Online, which are stored in the cloud along with your data. This can be helpful for companies that track numerous expenses.
- Track mileage
Many self-employed and employee/owners use their personal vehicles for business purposes. This provides a generous tax deduction of 57.5 cents per mile for 2020. However, to receive the deduction, you are required to keep a record of the date, miles, and purpose of your trip.
QuickBooks Online makes this incredibly easy. Their mobile app will use the GPS in your phone to automatically sense every time you are in a moving vehicle. Then, you can review your trips and add a note with the purpose of each business trip.
(2) Zoho Books is online accounting software that manages your finances, automates business workflows, and helps you work collectively across departments. It is a robust accounting, billing, and invoicing software solution. Its central web-based dashboard gives you access to a complete template library and allows you to control inventory; it’s also integrated with banking capabilities. The accounting software also comes with various automated functions for a more streamlined billing and invoicing experience. Zoho Books is available as software as a service (SaaS) cloud-based program, as well as on Android and iOS mobile devices.
Zoho Books Features
- Invoices: A comprehensive invoicing feature allows you to send custom statements to your clients. You’re able to add your business logo, colors, and fonts for completely branded invoicing capabilities. A clear and intuitive web dashboard aggregates all of your contacts and active invoices into a single location, affording you a more efficient receivables management workflow. You can also establish email payment reminders for your customers, ensuring that your clients pay their invoices on time.
- Banking: Zoho Books can connect directly to your financial institution, providing a smooth banking and online accounting experience. It allows you to monitor all transactions and balance your finances. The product also comes with cashflow prediction reports, enabling you to plan for the future.
- Billing: The software enables you to easily create, send, and manage your business’s payables from an intuitive console. It comes with recurring invoices, time tracking tools, and the ability to convert purchase orders into invoices with the click of your mouse.
- Inventory: Zoho Books also acts as a practical inventory management platform. It allows you to assign SKUs, track inventory levels, and pre-configure automated minimum stock levels; it will even order more product for you when you’re running low. These tools help maintain customer satisfaction, they’ll never have to join waiting lists because you’ll always have the proper amount of items on hand.
- Zoho integrations: This accounting software product comes fully integrated with the Zoho line of customer relationship management (CRM) software solutions; a full list of compatible products can be found on the vendor’s website.
(3) Fresh Books is accounting software operated by 2ndSite Inc. primarily for small and medium-sized businesses. Fresh Books offers a subscription-based product that includes invoicing, accounts payable, expense tracking, time tracking, retainers, fixed asset depreciation, purchase orders, payroll integrations, double-entry accounting, and industry-standard business and management reporting. All financial data is stored in the cloud on a single unified ledger, allowing users to access the same set of books regardless of location on desktop and mobile. It offers a free API that enables customers and 3rd-party software vendors to integrate external applications with Fresh Books. Fresh Books also supports multiple tax rates and currencies.
It also incorporates a payroll feature and a projects feature. The software is priced on a pay-per-use recurring monthly fee.
Features, Benefits, Product Strengths
- Invoicing, Payments, and Accounting – FreshBooks has invoicing features that are easy to use. It is simple to create and customize professional-looking invoices. Users can add their logo and personalize a thank you email. It accepts online payment from credit cards and ACH. Other features include automated reminders and client credit card charging, request for deposit on invoice, add tracked time and expenses on invoice, offer discounts, automatically calculate taxes, and more. Online payments are automatically recorded in the user’s account. More payment options for the client are available with no hidden fees. Online payment setup can be done in one click, as well as accepting credit card payments online, in person, or over the phone. Other payment features include scheduling, international currencies with Stripe, auto-generated collected payment reports, and more. Double-Entry accounting features identifies revenue items and related expenses for accurate calculation of profits and losses.
- Expenses, Time Tracking, and Reporting – The cloud invoicing and accounting software allows users to connect their bank account or credit card for automated entry, so that the business is updated with the most recent expenses. They can take a photo of a receipt, log it, and data is updated and organized in the system. It has features for multi-currency expenses, automatic categorization, tax-friendly categories, assignment of recurring expenses, and more. Time tracking allows for at-a-glance breakdown of hours spent on work. It has a start-stop timer that automatically logs time into an invoice. Users can also track time from other apps such as Asana, Basecamp, Trello, and Teamwork , or use the Chrome browser extension. Other features include team time tracking, time against a specific client, detailed time entry notes, weekly and monthly views of tracked time, and more. The insightful dashboards provide important financial reports such as profit and loss that makes it easy during tax time. Features include color-coded breakdown of spending, summary of most recent activity, sales tax summary report, accounts aging, and more.
- Projects, Estimates, Mobile, and more – FreshBooks is ideal for small business owners and their teams. They can invite contractors, employees, and business partners to manage projects, and set permissions for file access. Simple collaboration features are built in to easily get feedback from others. Features include chat tool, project due dates, project status overview, team project and deliverables management, and others. Custom estimates can be quickly transformed into invoices. It also has customizable Proposals, estimate approval by client for project kickoff, estimate status tracking, estimate preview, addition of discounts, and more. Mobile apps for iOS and Android devices are available for creating invoices on the go, capturing receipts for expense logging, chat, status updates, and others. New features and integration are regularly introduced, such as with Gusto Payroll, profit and loss report, Dropbox integration, and same-day deposits
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