Are you tired of spending copious amounts of time on your accounting tasks? You're certainly not alone. If you're managing the accounting processes of multiple small businesses and eCommerce businesses, there'll be lots of financial data to organise, manage, and analyse.
However, the emergence of the digital age presents a host of opportunities for accounting professionals to create a more efficient financial management system, for themselves and their clients. Accounting tools are designed to make your job easier (and far less stressful!)
Key Takeaways from this Post
We've sourced the 10 best accounting tools for accountants, plus 3 more as a bonus. Go through our list and adopt a few to revolutionise your accounting operations in 2024.
What Tools do Accountants Really Need?
As an accountant, you can benefit from harnessing a multitude of tools to increase your productivity and efficiency. This, in turn, can reduce your workload and enable you to take on more clients. Let's go through some key features and tools that accountants and small business owners can benefit from:
If you're an accountant and you're not yet using a cloud-based accounting software, you're definitely missing out. Professional business accounting software simplifies financial management with a number of accounting tools to help you keep accounts organised. They can also help you prepare and analyse key financial statements.
A good business accounting software will include accounting features like automatic financial report generation, tax and VAT calculations, bank account reconciliation, and invoicing. Keep an eye out for a free trial or demo so you can get a clear picture of key features and capabilities before you commit to a software.
Tracking expenses can be a chore for accounting firms and small businesses. Expense tracking tools allow your clients and their employees to easily share their expenses. These tools will capture important data from documents like receipts and invoices, and record it in the software. If you integrate your expense tracking tool with your accounting software, the data will also be recorded there.
While an accountant probably won't be in charge of inventory, inventory management is still an important part of the accounting process for eCommerce businesses. With inventory management tools, you can determine the value of your client's inventory at any given time. They also provide real-time records of the whereabouts of stock.
Some inventory management and inventory accounting software even have warehouse management features, such as the ability to transfer stock from one warehouse to another, and select specific batches to ship from.
Payroll software enables you to pay your clients' employees directly through it. It also simplifies tasks like time-tracking, and allows employees access to a portal where they can manage, edit, and submit information. Additionally, you can pay money directly to pension providers. Plus, be confident in meeting payroll system obligations like maternity pay and Statutory Sick Pay.
Appointment scheduling apps are invaluable if you're handling lots of clients. They can integrate with different tools and software, like Zoom, for example, and Stripe to accept online payments. Allow your clients to book appointments with you and automatically send reminder notifications beforehand. With key features like these, you can create a unified appointment system where appointments are handled with ease.
Financial planning tools help accountants with budgeting, and planning future expenditure and business growth. They typically include key features like cash flow forecasts, along with a range of financial reporting and analytical capabilities. Financial planning software can save accountants considerable time by consolidating and interpreting data and helping with tax compliance.
Best Accounting Tools
1. Link My Books: Best for Consolidating eCommerce Data
Link My Books is an accounting tool that sits in between a user's eCommerce platform and accounting software, effectively linking them together. Once connected, the software automatically consolidates eCommerce financial data, generates daily summary invoices, and sends them across to your accounting software.
Without Link My Books or another similar tool, transferring eCommerce data to accounting software is time-consuming, tedious, and prone to errors. Conversely, with Link My Books, the process is quick and easy as you're essentially putting your accounting on autopilot. It can save you six hours per month, per client!
- Summary Invoices
- COGS Calculations
- Guided Tax Wizard
- Multi-Channel Integration
Link My Books' summary invoices will help you manage expenses and keep track of your clients' customer payments because they include all their important financial data. Summary invoices present a clear breakdown of both revenue and expenses.
For example, sales, shipping, refunds, seller fees, and COGS (cost of goods sold). This gives you a clear view of your client's profits and losses each time they receive a payout from their eCommerce platform.
Furthermore, these summary invoices will match the payouts that your client receives in their bank account. And, bank account reconciliation can be done with just one click.
You can also receive summary invoices for deposits from payment processors such as PayPal, Klarna, and ClearPay, if these are connected to your (or your client's) Shopify account.
Link My Books accurately calculates COGS and includes these figures in summary invoices. Knowing your COGS is essential for accurate profit margins and tax calculations. Simply turn on the COGS tracking feature through the Link My Books platform to reap the benefits of consistent and precise calculations.
Guided Tax Wizard
Our Guided Tax Wizard helps with tax compliance. With it, you can quickly and easily set up the correct tax rates for your clients' businesses. It accounts for VAT, GST, and sales tax, whether their customers reside in the UK, US, Australia, or elsewhere in Europe. Once set up, Link My Books automatically applies the correct tax rate to every single sale made. And, transfers this data over to your accounting software along with the rest of the information.
With Link My Books, you can set up multi-channel, and multi-platform, integration for each of your clients. This means that all the data from all your clients' eCommerce stores gets consolidated and sent over to your accounting software, whether they sell from:
- TikTok Shop
Or any combination of these.
Link My Books is compatible with two of the most prominent eCommerce accounting software in the industry; QuickBooks Online and Xero.
2. QuickBooks Online: Best for Tax Management and Compliance
QuickBooks Online is a feature-packed, cloud based accounting software. Although it's widely-used by both small businesses and large, it's one of the most ideal accounting software for accountants too. This is down to its wide range of professional business accounting tools, as well as its expert learning resources.
QuickBooks has a number of products and tools that are specifically designed to assist with your accounting practice and your clients. For example, bill management and team collaboration tools.
- Manage VAT and Taxes: For client's in the UK, QuickBooks is HMRC-approved for the Making Tax Digital scheme. It enables you to submit VAT directly to the HMRC, get tax estimates, and prepare for self-assessments. It also has a VAT error checker to ensure you consistently pay the correct amount of tax. Additionally, accountants can get their hands on QuickBooks Pro Tax for free when they sign up for QuickBooks Online Accountant.
- QuickBooks Practice Manager: This is an add-on product that syncs seamlessly with QuickBooks Online Accountant. Key features include automating tasks, creating workflows, managing client data, and generating reports on your practice's performance.
- Cash flow forecasts: QuickBooks generates cash flow forecasts for up to two years in the future. Its cash flow management tools enable you to analyse your business to see where and how you're making your money. With this transaction data, you can hone in on your activities to identify your most profitable projects and jobs.
- Payroll: Offer your clients' payroll services by using QuickBooks' Payroll software. This software includes key features like automatically submitting pension information, automatic chart of accounts configuration, timesheet submission, and automatic overtime calculations.
3. Xero: Best for Managing Your Practice
Xero is another ever-popular accounting software that can help accountants streamline their workflows and boost efficiency. It offers a partner program where you can become Xero-certified and join more than 200,000 bookkeepers and accountants who are earning rewards and discounts by using Xero for their business.
The Xero Partner Program is free to join and helps you to connect with new business owners through the Xero Advisor Directory.
- Xero Cashbook and Ledger: This gives accountants access to a range of key features like importing transactions from bank accounts, fixed asset management, and report generation for preparing budgets. You can also allow each business owner access to the software so they can view their data and financial documents.
- Xero HQ: Xero HQ helps you to efficiently manage your business, staff, and clients, from one platform. Perform actions like assigning clients to staff members, securely gather, share, and store client documentation, and create report templates with your company's branding.
- Xero Practice Manager: As an all-in-one management software, Xero Practice Manager will increase your productivity. You can set targets for productivity, track billable hours, invoice clients, and build customised reports based on different specifications like costs and time. You can also set deadlines for tasks and projects, and sync Xero Practice Manager with your Xero account.
- Xero Tax: Ensure you and your clients remain tax-compliant with Xero Tax Software. You can submit personal and corporate tax returns to HMRC through the software, and connect it to Xero so data flows smoothly from one to the other.
4. Zoho Books: Best for Professional Invoicing
Become an authorised Zoho Books Consulting Partner and enjoy the networking benefits that'll help you grow your business. You can boost your visibility and potentially connect with clients all across the world. The cloud-based software is good for easy access and financial management, for both you and your clients.
- Invoicing: Zoho Books provides flexible invoicing solutions that make the process of creating, sending, and paying invoices quick and easy. Send your clients branded invoices, and set up automatic payment reminders to minimise the time and effort you spend chasing them up. Plus, you can offer your clients a variety of payment methods, including cash and cheque, and also accept payments online, directly through the invoice.
- Inventory management: Zoho's inventory management feature gives you real-time access to stock levels and values. Get notified when stock levels fall below a certain threshold, and quickly adjust inventory levels to account for lost or damaged items.
- Financial reporting: Set up automatic report schedules and customise reports according to yours and your clients' business objectives. Generate reports on taxes, payables & receivables, and profits & losses, to name just a few. Analyse data on a granular level with Zoho Advanced Analytics and make smart, data-driven decisions.
- Project management: Zoho Books' project management tools help with time tracking and billing clients. It optimises team collaboration with features like assigning tasks to employees, and allowing them to fill out their own time sheets.
5. Clockify: Best for Time Tracking
Clockify is a time tracking software that's super useful for expense management. The application is really intuitive and has a user-friendly interface. All plans (even the free one) allow for unlimited users and projects, so your whole team can track the time they spend on each project, and invoice your clients accurately.
- Reports: Get birds eye and detailed views of the time spent on each project, task, or client with Clockify's reporting tools. You filter reports with specifications like 'Client', 'Tag', or 'Status', and choose between summary and detailed reports. Additionally, you can share, download, and export reports in both PDF and Excel format.
- Invoicing: With Clockify, you can create invoices by importing the time and expenses logged in the app. And, customise your invoices with your branding. With Clockify, you can also send personalised emails to clients with invoices attached, or to gently remind them to pay.
- Team management: Manage your team with tools for approving or rejecting expenses, time off, and time sheets. You can also send reminders to your staff to prompt them to submit their timesheets.
6. Wave: Best for Cash Management
Wave is a suite of accounting software and payment management tools. Both its Wave Accounting features and Wave Invoicing features are absolutely free. You can add on key features, like payroll and the ability to receive online payments, for additional costs. Together, these freebies and paid plans can help you create an intricate accounting and payment system that's tailored to your needs.
- Accounting: Wave's accounting solution offers a simple way to manage revenue and expenditure. It connects with almost 10,000 different credit cards and banks. You can connect as many bank accounts to the software as you wish, for rapid reconciliation of bank accounts and financial transactions. Wave Accounting customers have access to a smart dashboard where they can access key features, and manage and track their finances.
- Invoicing and payments: Wave Invoicing allows you to create and send professional invoices to your clients. Get status updates on each invoice, such as when it's viewed, and set up recurring billing and automatic payments. Users can also send their clients payment reminders through Wave, and sync their invoicing data with their Wave accounting software.
- Receipt scanner: Wave uses OCR technology to scan receipts and extract data from them. You can scan up to 10 receipts at a time and automatically import the data to your Wave account within a matter of seconds. This is a fantastic tool for tracking business expenses.
- Payroll: Wave guarantees its payroll software to be 100% accurate. You can submit payments into employee and contractor bank accounts with just one click of a button. Like Wave's other features, Payroll integrates with the core accounting solution so everything syncs up nicely.
7. Sage for Accountants: Best for Client Management
Sage for Accountants is a powerful cloud-based accounting solution with a big emphasis on client management and engagement. As the name suggests, this particular Sage solution is designed for accountants.
You can access to an assortment of practice-boosting tools, from a professional proposal builder to automated data processing. Sage for Accountants is an intelligent software that utilises smart technologies for optimum business management.
- Smart engagement letters: Sage for Accountants auto-updates letters to your clients so that your practice continually meets compliance standards. Build your own smart letter library quickly and easily, and communicate important information and dates. Smart engagement letters can be accessed via the Contact Hub, where you'll find client records and notifications when it's time to renew your letters.
- Client management: Access real-time client data from your online portal. With this cloud-based solution, you can also allows access to both colleagues and clients, and control the level of access each has. Organise your clients by grouping them together with tags, create lists, and customise folders. You can also create alerts on client files explaining tasks other team members need to complete.
- Automatic data capturing and processing: Integrate AutoEntry by Sage with Sage for Accountants for rapid data capture and categorisation. This handy business accounting tool allows you to scan receipts and other documents. It automatically captures essential data like unit price, total, and item description with incredible accuracy. You and your team can use the app to upload images wherever you are.
- Cash flow forecasts: Add Futrli by Sage onto your subscription for detailed and accurate cash flow forecasting. With this, you not only get insights into your business's performance, but you can also create different dynamic scenarios and view their resulting outcomes. Get meaningful reports on metrics like profit, tax, and KPIs.
8. ZipBooks: Best for Simplified Bookkeeping
ZipBooks is an accounting software that combines simplicity and intelligence. It has some impressive smart features that make it a strong contender for accountants and businesses alike.
You can manage your accounts through the user-friendly cloud-based dashboard, that's accessible via desktop and its mobile app. ZipBooks even has a free version, with which you can enjoy its basic features at no cost.
- Accounting: ZipBooks has everything you need for accurate bookkeeping and accounting. You can reconcile your bank account, auto-categorise data with machine learning, and generate a variety of reports including income statements, general ledgers, and balance sheets. ZipBooks also enables smooth collaboration, with the option of adding team members and assigning tasks to projects.
- Intelligence: ZipBooks has a number of smart features designed to help you retain customers and optimise your business's financial healthy. Get actionable insights into your business finances and follow the recommended steps to boost your business health score. ZipBooks even scores the quality of your invoices to maximise customer retention.
- Billing: ZipBooks' billing software features multi-currency support and professional invoicing tools. You can also set up recurring invoices for subscription customers. Offer your clients multiple ways to pay, including credit card, PayPal, and Square, and track the time of your team and projects.
- Expense management: Finally, ZipBooks has a range of expense management tools that are great for business accounting. Once you've created a transaction and marked it as 'billable', simply add the name of the billable client to add the transaction to their invoice. There's also vendor management tools so you can keep on top of everything you owe.
9. Gusto: Best for HR and Payroll Management
Take your business accounting to the next level with Gusto for Accountants. The cloud-based Gusto Pro dashboard for accountants will help you manage your clients and their payroll from one central location.
From here, you can access analytics, client data, and actions you need to take. You will also be notified of changes to your clients' payroll, such as when employees leave.
- Time tracking: Employees record their own time for automatic and accurate payrolls. Furthermore, performance data can indicate the success of projects, teams, or individual employees, so you or your clients can identify when you/they need to bring more people onboard, train existing employees, or offer promotions.
- Onboarding and hiring: With Gusto, onboarding and hiring is made simple and cost efficient. You can create and post jobs through the software, as well as job offer letters. Keep organised with an onboarding checklist and share documents with new and existing team members.
- Integrations: You can integrate lots of different applications and software with Gusto to add functionality to it. From accounting software like QuickBooks to expense management software like Expensify, you can create a streamlined and unified system. You can even integrate rewards apps, like Bonusly and Empuls, to recognise hard work and boost employee retention.
- Career development: Gust offers a range of career development tools to grow your accounting firm. Through the Gusto Academy, you can become certified in areas such as payroll and practice management. You'll receive CPE credits and badges in recognition of your development. And, incorporate your badges into your firm's emails to show off your credentials.
10. Trolley: Best for Payout Management
Finally, we have Trolley. Trolley is a payout management platform where you can pay contractors, individuals, or companies anywhere in the world. It's a global payout system with multi-currency support that helps ensure you remain tax compliant, regardless of the geographical location of your payees. New users can also enjoy a free trial or book a demo.
- Secure payments: Trolley takes security seriously and implements plenty of security measures. The platform boasts bank-grade security and encryption. You can also customise your security settings through the client portal to suite your business. It offers security options like two-factor authentication, and user roles and permissions.
- Automation: Trolley is big on automation. For example, you can build custom payout workflows and send automatic, white-labelled payment confirmation emails. Trolley also automatically accounts for changes in tax regulations.
- Integrations: Connect Trolley to your existing tools and software. If you use Slack, for example, Trolley sends notifications to other Slack users in your team when a payment is made. Or, connect Trolley to your Twilio account to send payees payment confirmations via text. Additionally, you can integration with your accounting software and CRM.
Bonus: 3 More Note-worthy Accounting Tools
As promised, here are 3 more note-worthy accounting tools as a bonus:
Expensify is an expense management and expense reporting app that you can integrate with other applications, like QuickBooks or Xero accounting software. Track your firm's expenses, generate expense reports, and even schedule and book travel and accommodation through the software. Issue your employees with an Expensify credit card (and set a credit limit) to maintain complete control over company expenditure and optmise cash management.
Other Expensify expense management features include receipt scanning, automatic bill payments, and automatic tax calculations for invoices.
Koalender is an appointment scheduling tool that syncs with your calendar. Send your clients a link through which they can select a convenient appointment time from your available time-slots. This is then automatically added to your calendar. All attendees will also automatically receive reminder emails before the scheduled appointment or event.
FreshBooks is another accounting software, ideal for small businesses and accountants. Go through its range of learning resources and receive a Collaborative Accounting Certification. Add value to your accounting services by gaining FreshBooks expertise and streamlining your business with a number of key features. The FreshBooks Accountant Hub helps you to manage your clients' accounts, and effortlessly switch between them.
How to Choose the Best Accounting Tool for you
Modern accounting tools are becoming more sophisticated with their capabilities and key features. They've even completely eliminated the need for manual data entry. But, how do you choose which ones are right for you and your practice? Let's go through some essential criterion to consider:
From time-tracking to inventory tracking, to project management and tax management, the list of key features for accounting tools can go on and on. The features you need will depend on your budget, the size of your firm, and the type of clients you take on. Accountants working with small business owners, for example, might not need to invest as much money in full service payroll solutions.
On the other hand, an accountant specialising in eCommerce will benefit from eCommerce accounting features. For example, inventory tracking tools and a tool that links eCommerce stores to accounting software, like Link My Books.
You might want to prioritise accounting solutions that are user-friendly. This is particularly relevant if your clients or your employees are going to be accessing and using them. The best accounting software and tools come complete with learning resources to help you familiarise yourself with the entire process. However, you don't want your clients to have to go through a steep learning curve when they hire you.
There are a number of ways to determine how user-friendly a software is. Look for a demo or a free trial, and also take a look at user reviews on websites like GetApp and Capterra.
Level of Support
You want to subscribe to tools that offer a good level of customer and IT support. Look at user reviews, and also take note of the different methods of communication each tool or software uses. You might also investigate how long each company takes to respond to emails and resolve issues.
Plus, whether there are any common technical issues that keep cropping up for users. This might indicate an underlying problem the team has failed to address.
Can your chosen tools handle large businesses as well as small businesses? Accounting tools and software are meant to help your business (and your clients' businesses) grow. Therefore, you want to source solutions that can grow with you.
If your clients are currently very small businesses, they don't want to stay that way forever. It's your job to manage their finances in such a way that their small business can expand and thrive. And when this happens, your tools should be able to be able to keep up.
For example, by enabling you to seamlessly upgrade your subscription to accommodate more sales, or adding accounting functionalities that aren't generally needed for small businesses.
Integrations and Apps
Ideally you want to connect all your accounting tools together in one cloud-based system. This will create a unified structure for your accounting processes and simplify your tasks. For example, you might opt for QuickBooks accounting software, and then connect it to Link My Books and Expensify. Clockify, on the other hand, can connect with both your accounting software and your HubSpot CRM.
Automation is key to a streamlined accounting setup. Most software for bookkeepers and accountants will offer some level of automation.
Take a look at automation tools and features that belong to different accounting apps. The more tasks you can stick on auto-pilot, the more time you'll have to spend on other areas of your business.
You might, for example, benefit from automating much of the tax management process. Or, opt for automatic bank reconciliation with software like Wave Accounting.
Take a look at this table for a quick visual of how our top picks compare:
Simplify Your eCommerce Accounting (in Minutes)
eCommerce accounting doesn't need to be complicated. With the wide variety of tools and integrations available, you can simplify the process so it takes minutes rather than hours. If you have a lot of clients to contend with, consider what business accounting tasks and processes you can automate. This will save you considerable time.
Link My Books facilitates automatic eCommerce accounting by connecting eCommerce platforms with the best accounting software on the market. Gain overviews of eCommerce activities with financial statements that include COGS tracking, revenue and expenses, and tax calculations.
Not sure where to begin? A Link My Books free trial is a great place to start. Register today and try Link My Books free for two weeks; no credit card or personal details required.