Choosing an accounting software for your business

If you are one of the Aussies that used Waveapps to record your business transactions or you are thinking of getting started with an accounting software, read on, we’ll cover:

  1. How to choose an accounting software
  2. My recommended option
  3. What are your next steps to take to move on from Waveapps.

Waveapps will no longer support markets outside US & Canada.

Waveapps was my go-to accounting software for startups, it did everything that needed to be done: record transactions, send customised invoices and receive payments through Stripe, a dashboard summarising important information and run reports. That’s to mention the basics, but it offered integrations with Google sheets and Woocommerce which made it a great option, on top that it was offered for free.

Even though you couldn’t get automatic feeds from Australian banks, uploading transactions via CSV or QBO files was an easy enough task to do and you could scan receipts from your phone and add them to your expenses (for free!)

You couldn’t do BAS or payroll but those are not needed for most of start-ups are not registered for GST and don’t have payroll, so it was a great solution.

But on 1st December they announced they will be limiting its operations to US and Canada. 

Fair enough, no heart feelings, we all take the decisions that work best for our business. Now, we are left with a void, so many other options to consider, not many are free and honestly I’m not quite convinced on the free ones. 

It is time to step up the game and find a good alternative.

It is mentioned in the article that Waveapps is working on a partnership with Zoho books for an easy transition. They are offering a 12-month free account but even though the information is not clear on the offer page, I presume they may revert to their current pricing structure after the one-year free offer is up. Their offer starts at $13.20 per month or $11 per month if paid annually.  

Read here Waveapps’ announcement.

It’s time to shop around for a new software

If we are going to pay for a software, then it is time to shop around and choose the best option for us.

Cost effective doesn’t mean compromising in quality

I always look at the value vs price equation, I like to find the best solution at the best price but I don’t compromise on quality. It is important that the system ensure data integrity and security and availability of information.

Choosing an accounting software

Most of the well known cloud accounting systems in the market are capable of doing the same thing: record transactions, categorise them and produce reports. Most of them have an account receivables module where you can raise invoices, follow-up payments and in some cases accept credit card payments (always check if the cost is competitive) and an accounts payable module where you can record your expenses and schedule payment,  best case scenario you can do supplier’s batch payments, produce an ABA file that you can then upload to your bank and pay your suppliers without doing it one by one, manually.  

Technically, the best small business accounting software in Australia is the one that is suitable for your business. 

Make a list of the features you want for your business. 

  • Integrate with your website?
  • Easy bank reconciliations?
  • Easy to send invoices and collect payments? 
  • Recurrent billing?

Pretty much all accounting programs offer integrations or add-ons but some integrations will come at a price, so it is worth to do a checklist of the features your business needs including nice to have’s and see which options in the market offers that.

A feature I particularly like is the option to take pictures of your receipts and synch it to your accounting system, ensuring you don’t lose your receipts and account for every expense. 

The very basics:

  • Upload transactions either by file or automatic bank feeds including transactions from your credit cards.
  • Easy to customise chart of accounts to suit your business
  • Accounts Receivable: Brand invoices, send, collect payment
  • Accounts Payable: manage bills
  • Access to financial statements, at least Balance Sheet and P&L (per month)
  • Reconciliation of account.

Depending on your business:

  • BAS: If you are GST registered you need to do a BAS. At a very least you need to track GST. 
  • Payroll

Nice to have’s

  • Bank feed integrations both credit cards
  • Automatic Cash flow
  • Recurrent bills/expenses
  • Claim expenses with your phone (snap a picture and send it over to the system)
  • Create accounts and sub-accounts in the chart of accounts.
  • Budget

Accounting systems are part of my DNA:

I’ve evaluated software programs for large size companies and small companies most of my professional life. Early in my career, with the help of the IT department, I developed my own accounting software (this is pre-cloud accounting software packages that has made everything easier).

Being in the implementation team of accounting systems in my past corporate life, evaluating top end accounting software packages like Oracle and SAP, I know for sure that it doesn’t matter which system you use but the information you put in and what do you do with that information.

The decision to choose one over the other will come to subjective preferences such as the interface, pricing, integrations with other pieces of software you use in your company, etc.

It is never what the system does but HOW you use it. 

I will never get tired of highlighting the importance of recording the transactions correctly, not only making sure you are not doubling up records but also in a way that provides enough information that will help run different analysis. I can’t stress this enough.

It is not about the tool, it’s about the driver

Let’s say that I want to compete in the Formula 1 and I buy the best car but I don’t know how to drive it, what fuel to use, have car control skills, nothing. I will never win just for the fact that I have the car. I bet you that Lewis Hamilton (winner of 2020 F1 race  #igoogledthis) in a 1960 VW Beetle will have a better chance to win the race than me.

You can have a Ferrari but if you fill it with low performance fuel and it is driven by an inexperienced driver then you would think that the car is rubbish, when it isn’t. It’s the skills around the software.

Choose something that feels comfortable for you, that would be of benefit for you, depending on your business needs. 

If you want my recommendation

I’m choosing Quickbooks online (QBO). I started using Quickbooks in 2009 when the software was sold in Officeworks and it has a lot of improvements since then,  no wonder Canstar has rated as the best accounting software as well.  It offers the best value for money.

I like QBO’s interface, the dashboard, the ability to produce reports and at a reasonable price point. It starts  at $15 for the lite version or $20 for the Simple Start which is perfect for a business owner because it lets you track your cashflow. 

My second best option is Xero but it can get quite messy and I don’t particularly like the interface but does what every piece of software do. You see how it comes to preferences. Pricing starts at $25 per month. 

If you were a Waveapps user, here is what you need to do next:

  1. Export your data: Login into Waveapps, go to settings in the left sidebar, select Data Export. Select all three options. Check your email straight away because the link to download the data expires in 24 hrs, otherwise you need to repeat this process.
  2. Run reports: Go to Reports and get your financial statements for each financial year, aged receivables and aged payable as of the last day of last month. Get your trial balance as of 30th June 2020 (last financial year) and any other report you find useful.
  3. Choose a new accounting system.
  4. Migrate your data: the easiest way to do it is to import opening balances (from your trial balance) into your new system, you’ll lose the history for analysis in the system but you will have the data in a CSV file anyway, so you can always work from there. Ideally you would like to start fresh from the first day of the current financial year so you need to reconstruct data. Check with your new provider if they can do data migration.
  5. Customise your new system.

As a special I’m offering free subscription to QB if you sign up for one of my bookkeeping packages. 

Let’s chat.

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