As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you probably find that keeping the books is one of your least enjoyable tasks. However, there is no getting around it: accurate recordkeeping is essential to maintaining your company’s bottom line.
Fortunately, there are a number of software programs that remove much of the tedium from performing accounting and bookkeeping functions.
Two of the most popular programs are QuickBooks and Freshbooks.
While the names may seem somewhat similar on the surface, the two programs actually perform significantly different functions. Depending on your online business accounting needs, either or both programs may represent the best choice for your company.
QuickBooks is designed for billing and bookkeeping, and is perhaps the most popular accounting software on the market. Many accountants and bookkeepers use QuickBooks. If your record-keeping needs are primarily focused on tracking sales and maintaining inventory, QuickBooks is an excellent choice.
However, its timekeeping and expense-tracking functions are rudimentary, at best. The software wasn’t set up to perform those kinds of functions. Nonetheless, if you are a solo practitioner, you may be able to use QuickBooks to track your own billable hours.
On the other hand, if multiple people attempt to insert timekeeping records within a single QuickBooks program, matters can become complicated very quickly. Therefore, if your company’s primary administrative recordkeeping needs are timekeeping and invoicing, QuickBooks is definitely not the right choice.
Although the program has the word “books” in its name, Freshbooks is not bookkeeping software. If your company only needs bookkeeping or accounting software, don’t waste your money purchasing Freshbooks.
Instead, what Freshbooks does, and does well, is track your billable hours and generate customer invoices that you can customize to fit the needs of your business. The program allows you to send invoices by email or regular mail, and accept payments online if you prefer. You can also set up automatic payments with a credit card merchant account.
Unlike QuickBooks, which can take some getting used to, Freshbooks is extremely easy to use, even if you have no training in accounting or bookkeeping. Freshbooks also features outstanding telephone customer service from knowledgeable representatives.
The one snag is that Freshbooks does not allow customers who sign up for automatic billing to update their address through their profiles or when they pay invoices. However, this is not a problem for one-time billing.
Using Both Programs Together
If you need timekeeping, billing, accounting and bookkeeping software for your company, it makes sense to invest in both QuickBooks and Freshbooks. You will more than make up the initial financial outlay in reduced recordkeeping headaches.
However, if you opt for the strategy of using both software programs together, you must ensure that you account for all transactions within each software program.
To minimize the amount of duplication between the two programs you can create detailed customer invoices with Freshbooks, and limit the total monetary amount of each transaction as a single line item listing in QuickBooks.
Using both programs together in this manner also provides a handy means of double-checking your entries for accuracy.