In the world of business sometimes a simple choice like choosing what software to use for accounting can be a daunting task, because there are so many choices to make. To make things seem a little easier for you I have found two different programs that are highly effective to use, and very user friendly. These programs are called Freshbooks, and Xero. Before we dive into the comparisons and differences let us take it one step at a time by reviewing each individual product.
Let’s start with Freshbooks. The beauty of this product for small business starts from the get go, and that means they start with making invoicing super easy! Yes, I said super easy, and this means even the computer newbies will breeze through using this software.
First, the invoices are easily created by just dragging and dropping your company logo, and even changing the color of the invoice if you desire! The software also lets you accept most online payments, schedule specific due dates, and even charge clients late fees (www.freshbooks.com/invoice). Once you start working with a client the software has the capability to let you start a timer to accurately keep track of the amount of time you spent doing the project, and this is actually a plus side for both you as well as your customer! It gives you a certain security knowing that you will be billing your client accurately, and your client will know exactly how long he or she is being billed for. This is a great way to keep your business honest and in good standing, all the while letting others know you are honest!
Furthermore, Freshbooks also lets business owners take snapshots of receipts so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of those tiny pieces of paper. Take a picture and you are done! This is means less time worrying about keeping every little thing organized, and more time being productive as a small business owner. The software also has several other options that allow you to keep track of your business expenses as well as keeping them in categorized order when you need them for tax time! If you are a business owner who is worried about a particular budget during a certain project, which you should be; then, Freshbooks gives you the power to monitor this as closely as you need to. There is one more thing this software lets you do in the expense category, and that is it also allows you to connect your bank accounts, or credit cards. You might be thinking, okay, so what? Well, when Freshbook updates with your most current information you don’t have to type anything out; because, Freshbooks will update itself! This kind of control and automation in business is exactly what businesses need to keep productivity up, and remedial tasks down! What small business owner wants to be sitting at the computer for several hours arranging their data, figuring out their expenses with the possibility of error? I know that I wouldn’t, and I am pretty sure you wouldn’t either. We are just starting to reach the tip of the iceberg on this one everybody.
Moreover, Freshbooks allows you to give an estimate for each individual project with, you guessed it, just a click! When configuring the estimates portion of this software it allows you to even customize these spreadsheets with custom colors, special discounts, and automatic tax deductions. When you have decided your estimate is honest and accurate you can send the estimate to a client’s email quick, and painlessly. No more hand writing e-mails for your small business, because you have just gone professional with Freshbooks! All of your client data that is uploaded to the cloud is also protected by high tech two hundred and fifty six bit SSL protection. This is considered the best protection in the industry (www.freshbooks.com/estimating-software)! If your client is ready to give you the go ahead on that new job, and he or she is in agreement with your estimate you can turn your estimate page directly into an invoice. Say it with me again everyone, “Were saving valuable time”! When you save time in business you give yourself the ability to make more money with that extra time! Sometimes that extra hour or two can mean that you are making those crucial deadlines for that customer, and it could mean that you are potentially keeping your job, or losing it.
Moving on, let us discuss how Freshbooks can help you get paid faster! For the third time I am going to mention this is made easier with Freshbooks by, what again? A simple click! This software is taking efficiency to a whole new level. You might also be thinking, yeah there is a lot of software out there that lets you get paid with a single click; so, what makes Freshbooks different? Freshbooks has another feature you might not have thought of, and that is payment reminders. Do you have a client that is close to being late on payments, or maybe a client that is actually late on a payment? Don’t worry about calling them and having those awkward conversations, because Freshbooks will do that for you too! It can send automatic reminders about payment specific to the date, or dates you choose. You will even have the ability to have Freshbooks deduct a specific amount the same time every month if you have clients with a recurring billing cycle. How cool is that guys? This software makes it feel like you are playing in the big leagues now, am I right? Yes I’m right, because it does let you play in the big leagues with all the professionalism that comes with the territory. Do I have you convinced? Before you go out and buy this extremely great piece of software let’s discuss one final thing about Freshbooks. That thing would be price, and this could definitely mean the difference between buying a license for the software, or letting it sit on the shelf, or in the cloud. No pun intended of course! Now the basic version of this software does start at $19.99; however, once you add in the extras that your small business requires it could end up costing you substantially more. If you have a substantial amount of work, then I believe this would be a great estimate for your small business, because of several different factors that we will discuss. Freshbooks has been featured on Cnet, Forbes, CNN, The New York Times, TechCrunch, Mashable, Bloomberg, and FastCompany. The software also has several customers who were proud to leave their testimonials on the website itself. Now you are probably thinking, “what does this have to do with pricing, or the purchasing of the product”? Actually, it has to do with everything. Testimonials and features give the company credibility, and credibility means everything in the world of business. Would you rather buy a new car that Ford built, or would you rather buy a new car that a web designer built? If I were making the choice I would rather buy that car that Ford built because they have the right tools to build that safe and reliable vehicle. This should be important to you, the small business owner as well. I want software for my business that I know gets the job done, and gets the job done well. There is tons of software out there to help your small business, but not all software can do it with the same amount of professionalism, or automation that Freshbooks can.
Moving on, let us discuss a different piece of software called Xero. Xero is the competitor of Freshbooks, but is it any different? According to their website Xero offers a few of the same options as Freebooks such as being able to link your bank account with the software and have it categorize your expenses for you, and being rated by Forbes. However, Forbes listed Xero as the number one company with the best innovative growth back in 2015. Xero offers compatibility with over five hundred different applications and even has the ability to configure payment from multiple currencies (https://www.xero.com/us/features-and-tools/accounting-software/invoicing/). Xero also gives users the ability to customize their invoices with their company logos as well as having the option for different invoice templates. This piece of software also allows online payments via credit card, or Paypal for your small business. Similar to Freshbooks you are given the ability to create scheduled invoices to current clients which as I said before is a great way to make time for more important matters in your business. This software also has the ability for the owner to create a customizable payroll system for his or her employees which is also a big plus! This option allows employees to submit their current time worked, and even apply for vacation leave! In addition, you are also given the option as the owner to pay your employees via direct deposit on a set schedule without the worry about deducting taxes because the software itself will do that for you too (https://www.xero.com/us/features-and-tools/accounting-software/payroll/)! On the company’s website they also give new users the feature and instructions via webinar to convert their old Quickbooks files into files Xero file extensions. This could be very useful when you are ready to get rid of that old accounting software and take the plunge into Xero’s seemingly easy application.
Afterall, in this day and age as a small business owner you shouldn’t be afraid to take that leap, because sometimes big risks give big payouts! The Xero software has a very professional yet simplistic design making it just as easy to learn as Freshbooks. This type of hassle free environment is exactly what all small business owners are looking for because not only will this program keep on giving; but, it will allow you to focus more on innovation. Being creative in the business world is an ongoing struggle between anyone and everyone, so as a small business owner you always need to be on the top of your game in terms of innovation and creativity. You can’t afford not to! Xero will also help you create and maintain your contacts as well as your created smart lists. The software will implement your google contacts and your Microsoft Office conversations as well as their attachments all in one place making it easy for you to keep track of everyone and everything. This is extremely useful because as a user you won’t have to keep flipping between browsers, or browser tabs to find that specific conversation you are looking for because it will be already located in the Xero application. The smart lists we mentioned earlier does have a special benefit if you do decide to use it however. That benefit is that in can create a list based on a buyer and his or her behavior. Extremely useful if you’re looking at monthly data, or even different product data. Now we mentioned sales tax and how it is automatically calculated in just like Freshbooks, but Xero goes one step further and will allow you to file a safe sales tax return via integration with Avalara Trustfile. This ensures you are complying with regulations without you having to worry about the regulations themselves. What more could you want out of an accounting application (https://www.xero.com/us/features-and-tools/accounting-software/us-sales-tax/)?
Furthermore, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of things and discuss price just like we did with Freshbooks. First off, Xero’s website seems to be a little less secretive about their price ranges. For the Basic version of this software it will run a small business owner about nine dollars a month. This allows you, the small business owner, to send out five invoices, five quotes, five bills, and reconcile twenty bank transactions per month. Their most popular plan is called the Standard plan which will then cost you thirty dollars per month. This version looks like it does not set a limit on certain amounts of invoices, quotes, bills, or bank reconciliation you can send. The standard version also lets you create payroll for five different people, which could be perfect for the right small business. Xero offers one more payment option after the standard option and that option is called Premium 10. This version is no different than the standard version other than you can request to pay up to ten people for a whopping seventy dollars a month. However, if you decide you need to pay twenty people you can pay ninety dollars a month, or maybe one hundred people, then it is a crazy one hundred and eighty dollars a month (https://www.xero.com/us/pricing/). These options don’t really seem that practical for a small business so I wouldn’t worry about them.
What Software Should I Choose for my Small Business?
Like every choice in your small business the answer is strictly up to you, but I will recommend you take some things into consideration. Is it worth paying extra for payroll, or do you cut your employees checks right out of your checkbook? Is it economical to pay for extra services if you don’t need them? Xero does promise twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week support whereas Freshbooks might, but it doesn’t say on their company website. Other things to consider is how many bells and whistles do you really need? At every level that deals with purchasing you should always keep the price fresh in your mind and ask yourself, “will this work with my current budget”? Both products have relatively the same functionality minus Freshbooks not being able to integrate with over five hundred different applications; but, this doesn’t remind me of something small businesses usually need. Also ask yourself, “what justifies buying this software for my business and not the other”? If you can answer that clearly and concisely without hesitation I would believe your reason for buying Freshbooks or Xero is valid. Both products also seem very user friendly and very easy to pick up within a very short time period so I see no cons to either product in that department; however, in my personal opinion I believe Xero is somewhat geared towards businesses with a larger established consumer base rather than small businesses themselves. Don’t let this deter you from purchasing the software if you are a small business because remember when we discussed prices? The starter version of Freshbooks is actually $19.99 whereas the starter version of Xero is only $9.00.
In essence, it would seem Xero offers a little more functionality when compared to Freshbooks at a more competitive price range, which again is great for your small business! Cha-ching! Hear that? That is the sound of your wallet getting fatter when you make the right decision for you and your small business, and it sounds lovely. Now I might have confused you after discussing the bells and whistles, but if the software already comes with it and its cheaper than the competitors software, then why not use it? Even though you are a small business owner, you are still a consumer somewhere, and a consumer should look for the most cost-effective way to purchase what they need for their life. Okay so before you head out into the vast ocean that we call the internet ask yourself one final important question. Ask yourself, “Is this exactly what I need, and will this help me generate more revenue for my small business, or will it hurt it”? If either of these products will give you an advantage to your business without breaking the bank definitely buy the one that suits you best.
Finally, we know that Freshbooks, and Xero are highly functioning applications that help you manage payroll, invoices, quotes, discounts, and even your taxes; but, will either of them create the ongoing exceptional support that you require to keep you from making a poor investment? I’m not talking about monthly payments for the software licenses folks; however, I am talking about a personal investment. These products are relatively easy to learn and use, but can you afford to learn them, and does your business really need them? If you are a small business doing less than two jobs a week, depending on your revenue, and what type of job you were actually doing I would probably say no. If you are a small business with multiple contacts from several different email platforms, or if you have jobs and clients all over the place I would say yes. These two pieces of software are a great way to break into the new technological fields of automation. I look at Freshbooks and Xero as if they were my own personal secretaries, except that they always perform at the highest standard with absolutely no mistakes. By no mistakes I mean that assuming you, or the person operating your software license didn’t make any typos. The age of Quickbooks has came and since past, now it is the age of Freshbooks and Xero. What are you waiting for? Go out and make that big decision. Go out and destroy the competition with your speed, customer service, and professionalism! Remember it is up to you whether or not you succeed in the dangerous world of business. There will always be new twists and turns in the dynamic business realm; however, there will always be people to help guide your way and help you make that big decision. You can choose to always stay the little fish in the pond, or you can choose to become the terror of the deep. Never hold yourself back, and always remember to follow your dreams no matter how big or small they might be. I hope you make the right choice that fits your small business, and I wish all of you the best of luck in the future. Remember, sometimes the road to success is not always clear, so you need to make it clear.