Accounting and invoicing software is important for any well-organized business.
Monthly software subscriptions can be an affordable alternative to enlisting the services of a traditional accountant. With accounting and invoicing software utilizing more AI and automation, simple accounting for small businesses has never been easier.
In this article, we’ll explore what accounting software is and why it is essential. We’ll also look at some of best accounting software on the market, key bookkeeping features and future trends to look out for.
What is accounting and invoicing software?
Accounting and invoicing software packages are online systems that help small business owners keep track of their cash flow.
Accounting software allows businesses to:
Monitor financial accounts
Organize expense tracking
Manage vendor and customer contact information
Prepare for the upcoming tax season
Track inventory levels
Create purchase orders
Monitor account balance sheets and customer billing
Accounting software generally comes with invoicing features, though you can find standalone invoicing tools.
Using invoicing software instead of PDFs streamlines the payment process and decreases the chance of delayed or failed payments. These tools can auto-populate the invoices and often come with click-to-pay buttons so clients can avoid time-consuming bank transfers.
Accounting and invoicing software packages offer a wide range of features to help business owners keep on top of their money.
Here are the key software features to look for when choosing your tools:
A dashboard. An intuitive dashboard gives you an overview of your business finances. You’ll get a health check of your business at a glance, like profit and loss, expenses and sales.
Integrations. The best accounting and invoicing software integrates with other apps. When merged with a CRM, employees can instantly use the tools, skip software training and manage everything from a single hub.
Banking sync. Your bookkeeping tool should digitally sync with the business’s bank account. Bank reconciliation tools like QuickBooks Online and Xero use AI to identify patterns and automatically categorize transactions.
Invoicing. Some accounting software allows automated invoicing, whereas others require finance or invoicing teams to handle invoices manually. Recurring invoices are available as an add-on to standard software packages.
Billable hour tracking. Track every hour worked with billable hour tracking, available from the top accounting and invoicing software. Basic packages may integrate with specific tracking software (e.g., time-keeping apps) and connect to a CRM platform.
Some advanced features are nice to have but only suit some businesses. Here are exclusive elements certain accounting software providers offer:
Mobile app. Mobile apps vary in functionality. Some Apple and Android accounting apps offer basic receipt tracking (using your device’s camera), whereas other apps offer advanced options, such as sending invoices on the go.
Inventory management. Inventory management helps retail, distribution and e-commerce businesses keep track of company inventory in real-time. Some customers may require a dedicated management system that can link to a CRM.
Multi-business support. Software permitting multi-business support allows users to export financial data from two or more businesses to one platform. These add-ons can increase the pricing of paid plans.
The features you’ll need will depend on your business: Field-based teams and freelancers may benefit from a mobile app, while e-commerce companies may value inventory management with their accounting tool.
There are plenty of options available, so organizations should choose the right accounting software for their business needs. Let’s explore some of these platforms.
The best accounting software of 2023
Small business owners are busy. They need accounting software that acts as a personal accountant and smooths financial processes.
To save you time, we’ve shortlisted our top accounting and invoicing software choices.
Note: The tools we’ve chosen here are not only powerhouses in the bookkeeping industry – they integrate with top CRMs like Pipedrive.
Best small business accounting software: QuickBooks
Intuit QuickBooks is a popular accounting and invoicing software among the self-employed, freelancers and small businesses.
It has an easy-to-use interface and a comprehensive list of features available across tiered plans, including:
Customizable, quick-pay invoice creation, allowing clients to pay you quickly and easily
A self-employed package enabling you to separate personal and business finances in the tool
Quickbooks invoice automation, which streamlines the invoicing process
Expense receipts that track and categorize outgoings
An app to monitor your accounting on the go and track mileage
A payroll add-on for when you’re ready to employ people
QuickBooks online integration with support for CRMs
On higher plans, you can include access for multiple users, connect more sales channels, project profitability and more.
The app is a comprehensive accounting tool that easily connects with other software in your tech stack. Quickbooks integration API enables smooth linking with document creators (like monday.com or Google Workspace).
Thanks to Pipedrive’s integration with QuickBooks, you can coordinate all your customer and vendor information, invoices and bills.
You can see your estimates, invoices, payments and sales receipts all within your CRM.
In Pipedrive, you can also send email invoices and estimates to customers and track sales trends – all reconciled in QuickBooks.
What we love about QuickBooks accounting and invoicing software: Millions of small businesses trust QuickBooks. It offers a range of plans designed to suit all businesses and has CRM QuickBooks integration options.
Best easy accounting for small business: Xero
Xero is a popular cloud-based accounting software (similar to FreshBooks and Sage) suitable for self-employed people and small and medium businesses.
Integrating other apps with the online accounting software via the Xero Marketplace is easy and makes keeping track of financials simple. Xero’s accounting features are great for companies of all sizes and range from basic to advanced, including:
Expense management to keep on top of spending and submit/reimburse expense claims
Bill tracking, giving customers a clear view of accounts payable/receivable
Xero accounts payable automation that permits users to directly accept online payments by direct debit and credit/debit card
Multi-currency accounting with its Ultimate or Premium plan and instant currency conversion offering ease of use for businesses around the world, operating in more than 160 currencies
Similar to Intuit Quickbooks, Xero integrates with Pipedrive. Pipedrive’s integration with Xero allows customers to find quotes, invoices and payment history in the CRM.
What we love about Xero accounting and invoicing software: Xero cloud accounting software is adaptable, making it easy for all businesses to use, including freelancers and sole traders.
Best for payment processing: Stripe
Stripe (similar to PayPal) is a payment processing platform for every sized business, from new startups to top enterprises, including Airbnb and Lyft.
Stripe’s products come in three categories: global payments, revenue and finance automation and Banking-as-a-Service:
Global payments. Stripe allows businesses to accept secure online payments and even provide pre-built payment pages. Brick-and-mortar stores and events retailers also benefit from Stripe’s POS systems, which enable in-person payments.
Revenue and finance automation. Stripe’s billing feature is great for organizations who need flexibility in managing customer subscriptions. You can either set up recurring billing or charge clients based on usage. The platform also allows users to send invoices and automates sales tax and VAT.
Banking-as-a-Service. Stripe Connect links with your existing platform so you can continue taking payments without altering your processes. The Stripe CRM integration with Pipedrive lets you manage Stripe customers and their payment records from your account. You can also view and update invoices without leaving Pipedrive.
What we love about Stripe payment software: Stripe has an extensive toolkit for managing finances and accepting payments worldwide, so it’s ideal for international businesses.
Best free automated sales report app: QuarterOne
QuarterOne is a revenue forecasting app that creates automated sales reports, analytics, forecasts and predictions.
The QuarterOne app is perfect for businesses that want to make better financial choices. The online tool tracks and shares real-time sales performance and helps you identify potential problems earlier. With QuarterOne, finance teams benefit from the following features:
Sales predictions to estimate pipeline growth based on sales team velocity (how quickly prospects move through the sales pipeline)
Automated updates that sync with a CRM and pull real-time revenue forecasts
Flexibility that allows sales teams to spread deals over multiple months
Velocity metrics that help leaders understand the performance of individual sales team members
Target comparison measures to compare and contrast monthly performance goals
What we love about QuarterOne accounting and invoicing software: With only two payment plans, QuarterOne offers simple and flexible pricing. Its free plan allows sales teams to sign up unlimited users, access online customer support and receive weekly basic emails.
Best for automation: Paycove
Paycove is an automated quoting, invoicing and payments solution powering unique billing workflows that seamlessly integrate with CRMs.
Paycove’s automation features offer more control over cash flow and save employees time, allowing them to put more effort into important projects. The software includes:
Personalized billing, making it easy for users to create custom templates
Flexible payment options and subscription support built to adapt to growing businesses
Reporting and analytics offering real-time data updates, advanced filtering and trend analysis
Document preparation, quotation processes and e-signature collection
Paycove’s Core plan uses an all-in-one pricing structure that includes docs and quotes, invoices and payments, reporting and analytics, collections and tax and accounting designed to boost efficiency.
Paycove integrates with Pipedrive to deliver unique billing workflows for businesses that need it. Set up the integrations in one simple process and instantly provide quotes, manage inventory, calculate tax burdens and more.
What we love about Paycove automation software: Teams can create quotes 90% faster, giving them more time to handle other revenue-generating tasks.
Best for populating documents: Formstack
Formstack documents app is a user-friendly tool businesses use to streamline data capture, document preparation and e-signature collection from a single platform. Its tiered pricing model offers:
Versatile, codeless forms that can be used by anybody, eliminating the need for staff training or lengthy onboarding
Document preparation which supports Microsoft Office, secure PDFs and dynamic documents
E-signature collection to allow partners and customers to sign from anywhere, reducing paperwork to zero
Formstack Platform productivity solutions to help workplaces to organize teams and streamline their operations
What we love about Formstack productivity and form-building software: Teams enjoy Formstack’s easy-to-use document maker, which allows them to transform data into visually appealing documents.
Best for time tracking: Timely
Timely is a time-tracking tool that monitors every second employees and business owners spend on documents, meetings, emails, websites and video calls. It might not be the obvious solution when it comes to invoicing software, but if billing for time is a regular occurrence in your business, it’s one to consider.
It maximizes users’ time and boosts efficiency by:
Giving businesses real-time insights into the progress and profitability of their projects to make hitting deadlines and targets easier
Keeping an eye on how teams spend their day so they can quickly make adjustments and avoid bottlenecks or overstaffing
Providing accurate hourly billing for client projects so companies don’t miss out on money
The best part about Timely is that it’s completely automated – there’s no need to remember to click in and out of the timer each time you change tasks.
An automatic timer ticks behind the scenes while team members work. The app compiles a precise timeline and confirms an accurate bill of work. After that, it can create a single project document detailing how an entire team spent its time.
What we love about Timely time-tracking and invoicing software: Freelancers no longer need to worry about mistakes that occur with manual tracking. Duplicate entries and missing hours are a thing of the past with Timely’s customizable timesheet templates, which allow for accurate billing. This feature also enables workplaces to pay employees for the exact number of hours they’ve worked for.
Best for financial modeling: Dryrun
Dryrun is a powerful, flexible financial modeling and cash management platform for anyone looking for a deeper dive into their accounts with financial modeling and cash management.
As a Dryrun user, you can wave goodbye to spreadsheets because the platform utilizes cloud-based storage so it’s impossible to lose information. It allows business owners and financial advisers to explore potential finance scenarios, making forecasting and contingency planning easier.
In addition to its projection modeling software, Dryrun also offers:
Easy-to-read visuals of your sales pipeline, bills, invoices and financial statements
A simple data import option, giving you access to the most accurate information
Export and share capabilities that make collaborating with colleagues or presenting to clients simple
The choice to have daily, weekly or quarterly views of your business finances, meaning you don’t have to change the way you work to use the platform
Smooth integration with online accounting systems like Intuit Quickbooks and Xero, which allows for easier day-to-day running of your business
Dryrun can also connect seamlessly to your CRM, boosting its potential to help you manage your finances. For example, with the Dryrun Pipedrive integration, you can insert previous and current deals into an easy-to-visualize timeline to accurately predict cash flow.
What we love about Dryrun accounting and invoicing software: Business owners and financial advisers love its data modeling software that enables them to create “what-if” scenarios, allowing for more sound business decisions and less risk.
The future of accounting and invoicing software
Self-employed people, freelancers and small businesses who may not have the resources to employ an accountant need their accounting software to work just as hard.
A reliable bookkeeping tool should be easy enough to use but powerful enough to navigate complex financial terrain. It should also anticipate user needs and automate tasks as much as possible.
Quickbooks provider Intuit is pioneering AI. It’s also funneling resources into cloud and mobile-focused accounting software to meet the needs of modern small businesses. The company even acquired the AI-focused trio of Credit Karma, Imvision and Origami Logic for better access to technology and experts in the new frontier.
With more than 730 million AI-driven customer interactions per year, Intuit is generating 58 billion machine learning predictions per day. Intuit’s end-to-end approach maximizes customer value with a single, unified data architecture. With this robust data set, Intuit is delivering personalized AI-driven experiences to more than 100 million consumer and small business customers, with speed at scale.
As one of the top providers in the accounting software field, competitors will likely follow suit, investing further in AI, machine learning and cloud-based tech to keep up.
Cloud-based mobile accounting, similar to the Quickbooks advanced app, is constantly developing.
For example, say your job involves traveling locally to meet with clients. The Quickbooks advanced app uses your location to track and report your mileage. In the future, more sophisticated background time and resource tracking could provide value in other fields.
Accounting and invoicing software is vital for well-organized, financially stable businesses. The best accounting software comes with a range of highly developed features that make your day-to-day financial tracking easier – so easy you rarely need to think about it.
Centralize your incomings and outgoings, send invoices and create a streamlined accounting workflow by connecting your tool to a CRM like Pipedrive.
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