If your business is growing, you might need to upgrade your accounting software. Here are the 6 best accounting platforms for your organization.
As your small business continues to scale, cash flow transparency and accounting efficiency become harder to maintain. That low-cost or free accounting software you started with 2 or 3 years ago might now be causing bottlenecks. It may depend on highly manual processes, making accounting tasks impossible to scale with demand.
The objective for most businesses is to grow revenue, but with your success, you may need to adjust your accounting tool and expense tracking process periodically.
If your team is currently burdened by the following, it may be time for an upgrade:
- Too many accounting tasks
- Long accounts receivable, or payment, wait times
- Even longer account payable timelines
- Poor cash flow visibility
- Payroll compliance
- Frequent duplicate payments and accounting errors
- No accounting strategy
Does business size matter when choosing accounting software?
As your business expands, you may be subject to different taxes or benefits liabilities. But even if that’s not the case, you may simply be overwhelmed, even with basic bookkeeping software in place.
General business sizes are:
- Small business — fewer than 100 employees, under $50 million in revenue
- Midsize or medium business — between 100-999 employees, under $1 billion in revenue
- Large or enterprise business — more than 1,000 employees and $1 billion in revenue
If you have a 1-person accounting team trying to juggle accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) processes while your business grows past the 50-employee mark, your cash flow is going to quickly become bottlenecked.
Even with a team of 50 people, you should ideally have around 2 or 3 individuals in your accounting department using bookkeeping software.
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6 best accounting platforms for growing businesses
The following 6 accounting platforms have been chosen based on their affordability and flexibility. Each one is an enterprise resource management system (ERP), so they can often link an accounting task with other essential business processes, such as customer support, inventory management, and product management.
Not every business needs a full-scale ERP — for small and new medium-sized businesses, bookkeeping software will do. But for medium-sized businesses continuing to expand, or if you deal with complex supply chains, warehouses, sales, and manufacturers, you might need an ERP.
In addition, the accounting software listed below has extra integrations or is compatible with many other systems, so you can customize your program to match your business needs.
1. Intuit QuickBooks Online Advanced
After graduating from Wave accounting, many business owners chose Intuit QuickBooks Online as their first paid accounting tool.
The Simple Start plan will give you enough to calculate taxes and deductions, manage contractors, and send recurring invoices, but as your business develops, you may need a higher package.
QuickBooks Online Advanced, the most robust option on the list, allows you to also do these tasks:
- Inventory management
- Organize invoices
- Scheduled payments
- Automate workflows
- Add 5 users to your team
- Allow employee expense training submissions
- Tap into custom insights
- Custom and high-powered integration access for a more streamlined process
For $100, QuickBooks Online Advanced is a powerhouse and perfect for a small business that’s expanding but not yet mid-sized.
Xero is another popular, cost-efficient platform for a small business that hasn’t yet graduated to the next level. With its top plan being $65 after including analytics, project management, and expense tracking add-ons, it’s certainly less pricey than QuickBooks Online, and it offers many of the same features.
Key accounting features include:
- Bill management
- Inventory management
- Expense tracking
- Bank reconciliation
- Electronic payment
- Supplier and customer contracts
- Data capture
- Online invoicing
- Purchase orders
- Sales tax
- Fixed asset management
Navigating the Sage accounting product line is a bit more challenging because several different ERP systems depend on your business size and industry. As a small business, you might have used Sage 50cloud accounting software. As a medium-sized business, you have many more options, including:
- Sage X3
- Sage Intacct
- And Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate (CRE)
Out of these, Sage Intacct remains 1 of the most popular selections for medium-sized business accounting software. This platform offers many of the same features as Xero or QuickBooks but also assists with:
- General ledger
- Check printing and processing
- Fund accounting
- Vendor management
- Inventory tracking
- Reoccurring billing
- Overpayment or partial payment processing
- Multi-project and multi-department management
- Approval process control
To find out the pricing for Sage Intacct, you would need to request a quote.
4. Microsoft Dynamics 365
Microsoft is another enterprise-grade software that has a product line, but the most popular accounting tool and ERP is Microsoft Dynamics 365. With this specific platform, there are various modules you can choose to invest in. Microsoft Dynamics 365 subscriptions can include:
- Customer Data Platform
- Project Management
- Supply Chain
A large company might go with Finance, but medium and small business owners can opt for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
There is an essential and premium version, costing $70 and $100 per user, respectively, but they offer an array of capabilities beyond accounting.
For businesses that deal with supply planning, deliveries, warehouse, and manufacturing, Business Central is a one-stop shop.
5. NetSuite ERP
Oracle NetSuite is ideal for large businesses or companies about to go global. That’s because NetSuite has several different features, including accounting, order processing, inventory management, production, supply chain, and warehouse operations.
This powerhouse platform can handle multiple currencies, subsidiaries, regional reporting requirements, and more.
Pricing for this platform is generally based on what you need, and the cost is ultimately affected by licensing for the core platform, optional modules, and the number of users.
6. FinancialForce ERP
If you already use Salesforce, then you’ll probably want to use FinancialForce for your accounting software. Their ERP Cloud solution provides a detailed way to manage your billing process, update your general ledger, control procurement workflows, and manage orders and inventory.
For some teams, this program will be easier to use than NetSuite or Microsoft Dynamics while providing many of the same benefits. FinancialForce is best for smaller medium-sized businesses.
How to work with integrations and 3rd-party applications
Every single entry on this list integrates with different 3rd-party applications.
Zenefits integrates with both Intuit QuickBooks and Xero.
Third-party integrations can be used to sync accounting data with other departments, automate accounts receivable, expense reporting, or accounts payable processes, or integrate crucial operations like payroll or benefits administration into your general ledger.
Zenefits, for example, integrates with both Intuit QuickBooks and Xero.
Integrations are always add-ons to your accounting software or ERP, so you must factor the cost of these extra plugins into your budget. However, the efficiency and cost savings from a digital, automated, and seamless process are well worth the planning.
Embrace a complete digital transformation for your business
Payroll is a headache for HR and the accounting team, especially for businesses working across state lines or even globally. But after you upgrade your accounting software and automate your processes, what’s next?
HR is probably one of the most important operations to digitize after accounting. HR professionals are overworked and overloaded with repetitive tasks, complex procedures, and compliance requirements. Going digital can not only streamline essential HR tasks but also improve the employee experience.
To learn more about transforming your HR processes, check out our free guide on building a modern HR system.