What’s better than a table full of New Year’s appetizers? Better than a good glass of champagne? Even better than a midnight kiss to ring in the new year?
Okay, that’s a stretch. ButÂ you can’t blame a girl for trying.
Each new year brings fresh, exciting opportunities. In the accounting world, this translates to shiny new features. This year, in particular, has seen some very impressive feature developments. In fact, a few key advances in functionality have already set three accounting software companies apart from the rest. These changes have generated press attention and positive user feedback, and earned Wave, Quickbooks Online, and Zoho Books a place in this article about the best accounting software for 2018.
WaveÂ (see our review) is a free, cloud-based software with a beautiful user interface (no wonder we like it right?). The company was founded in 2010 by Kirk Simpson and James LochrieÂ and is now used by 3 million small business owners.
Wave was built with small business owners in mind. The ability to separate business expenses from personal expenses makes the software a great choice for freelancers and the self-employed as well.
Some of the most notable features in Wave includeÂ beautiful invoicing, contact management, accounts payable, expense tracking, basic inventory, and the ability to capture pictures of receipts and convert them into expenses.
But the reason we really love Wave is that these features are always getting better. The software constantly updates to fit the needs of business owners. Last year, Wave became the first accounting software company to offer a fully-integrated lending feature. This lending feature allows users to request loans between $5,000 and $500,000. Loan applications are approved through Wave, and once approved, funds are received as quickly as 24 hours.
This year, Wave continues to roll out the updates. The software offers two new reports, better navigation, and a company file export (which is usually only found with QuickBooks). Wave also plans to add:
- Multi-currency support
- A product report
- An FX report
- Duplicate transaction detection
Wave’s robust and varied features rival those of even some paid software options, especially considering some of these new updates. This is why Wave is Merchant Maverick’s pick for Best Free Accounting Software for Small Businesses and one of my favorite choices for small business owners.
Although Wave is free and intends to stay that way, there are a few extra costs you should be aware of if youâre considering this software:
- Payroll â $15/mo +$4/mo per employee
- Credit Card Processing â 2.9% + $0.30/per transaction
- Chat support â $9/mo
- Chat and Phone support â $19/mo
To learn more about Wave, read our full review and be sure to keep your eye open for the next big wave of updates.
QuickBooks OnlineÂ (see our review) is an easy-to-use, cloud-based accounting solution with a healthy feature set and a strong reputation. QuickBooks has basically been around since the dawn of time (in terms of accounting software), but the newer, online version has been particularly well-received by users since it is easier to use and more mobile than QuickBooks Desktop Pro.
QuickBooks Online is ideal for all types of business. Scalable pricing plans and diverse functionality make the software fit numerous business needs. Some key features include a clean interface, accounts payable (essentials and plus plan only), budgeting (plus plan only), contact management, beautiful recurring invoices, ample accounting reports, class and location tracking, inventory (plus plan only), and a strong chart of accounts.
For a long time, the most common complaint about QuickBooks Online was that, while it was good, it was not as good as QuickBooks Pro. One of the reasons QuickBooks Online is on the rise in 2018 is that the software is now being updated multiple times every month; in fact, it is finally starting to catch up to QuickBooks Pro.
Last year, QuickBooks underwent a huge design overall and added a key project management feature, as well as inventory reorder points, mileage deductions, invoice and payment trackers, and more.
One of the biggest reasons QuickBooks Online won a spot on this list is its brand-new, built-in lending feature — Get Capital. According to Techcrunch:
QuickBooks users can now get access to small business loans up to about $35,000 for up to six months from inside their bookkeeping software.
QuickBooks Online has won ourÂ Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses title. We did recently drop its rating from 5/5 stars to 4.5/5 stars for some usability and navigation difficulties, but with multiple updates coming out each month, we’re hopeful that QuickBooks Online will be back to 5/5 stars in no time. In short, this software really worth keeping an eye on in 2018.
If you are interested in QuickBooks Online, here are the available pricing plans (QuickBooks Online often has sales promotions, so be sure to check these before purchasing):
- Simple Plan â$15/mo
- Essentials Plan â $35/mo
- Plus Plan â $50/mo
- Payroll â Pricing starts at $39/mo + $2/mo per employee
To learn more, read our full QuickBooks Online review and use the free trial to take advantage of the new features.
Zoho Books (see our review) is an easy-to-use accounting program with unbelievable invoicing features. The Zoho Corporation has been around since 1996. It launched its accounting program, Zoho Books, in 2011.
Zoho Books is ideal for small businesses that want strong accounting and attractive invoice templates at an affordable price. The software is also ideal for international businesses that require multi-currency support and the ability to send invoices in multiple languages.
For a long while, Zoho Books was known to have some of the best invoicing around, but a few key issues were holding the software back. Lately, though, the software has crept up like a dark horse. Recent updates have put Zoho Books almost completely on par with QuickBooks Online in terms of features, which is why we’ve named this software one of the best of 2018.
While Zoho is not incredibly forthcoming about future updates, the company updates their software multiple times each month. In the most recent updates, the company has increased usability, created customizable purchase orders, and added a brand new retail invoices feature.
The software is unbeatable in terms of invoice features and customizations and offers incredibly affordable prices, which makes it worth watching this year.
If you are interested in Zoho Books, here are the three pricing plans available:
- Basic — $9/mo
- Standard — $19/mo
- Professional — $29/mo
There is no payroll available at this time. To learn more or check out this software’s competitive features and recent updates, read our full Zoho Books review and take the free trial for a spin.
How To Choose Accounting Software
Wave, QuickBooks Online, and Zoho Books are all powerful accounting programs with innovative updates and abundant features. And they seem to be getting better and better with time.
But with three great options to choose from, it is difficult to know which is the best choice for your company — especially if you don’t have an existing accounting software. OurÂ Complete Guide to Choosing Online Accounting SoftwareÂ is a helpful tool and a good place to start your search.
If you have an existing accounting solution that doesn’t quite measure up to the programs discussed above, it might be a good time to change allegiance. Your business is your livelihood, and software that fully meets — and exceeds — your business needsÂ isÂ important for success and growth.
If you are already a Wave, QuickBooks Online, or Zoho Books user, congratulations! You’ve made a good decision, and we hope the features rolled out this year serve you well.
Best wishes to all this new year. May 2018 be a season of joy, dreams, and, most importantly, smooth accounting.
|Wave||QuickBooks Online||Zoho Books|
|Read Review||Read Review||Read Review|
|Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site|
|Price||Â $0||$15 – $40/mo||$9 – $29/mo|
|Accounting Method||Â Accrual||Â Both accrual and cash-basis||Both accrual and cash-basis|
|Web-based or Installed||Web-based||Web-based||Web-based|
Good customer support
Easy to use
Attractive invoice templates
Advanced inventory features
Good tax support
God mobile apps
|Competitive pricing plans
Easy to use
Good mobile apps
Excellent customer support
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