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Choosing The Right Bookkeeping Software For Your Practice

Choosing The Right Bookkeeping Software For Your Practice

Running your own bookkeeping business comes with a lot of decisions. Some are easy, like picking a new keyboard. Choosing the right bookkeeping software for your practice, however, is a big one.

Should you use whatever bookkeeping software your clients are using?

Should you spend hours or days learning all of the most popular options?

In case you didn’t know, I write about being a bookkeeper at my main site, That Bookkeeper. Last month, I wrote a post about why bookkeepers should just use one bookkeeping software platform for their practice. I think you’ll like the full article, but if you’re pressed for time, let me give you a quick summary of why I think this is important.

In the beginning, you may be stuck using whatever bookkeeping software your client or employer uses.

When you’re just getting started, you don’t have a lot of control over what you use. You need a job (or bookkeeping clients), so this isn’t the time to be picky about what you use. It’s also a great time to explore all of your options to see which one is the best fit.

Once you are established as a professional bookkeeper, choosing one platform will make a big impact on how you run your business.

If you’re not planning on hiring, sticking to one platform will improve your efficiency. You’re learning one workflow, one set of keyboard shortcuts, and one set of standard reports that are always formatted the same way. Jumping between three different platforms makes you a bit slower.

If you are planning on hiring, this will save you a ton of time in training. If you are onboarding your team to one program, you don’t have to create rules and policies for multiple software platforms. Troubleshooting issues with your team and your clients won’t always be easy, but it will be much easier when you only have to learn the quirks of one system.

So which bookkeeping software should I choose?

This is a question I can’t decide for you in this post. Below I will give you a few recommendations, but it’s the same as any other “best of” list. I can show you a list of options I like, but you need to find the bookkeeping software that fits you. You’re going to be living in this interface for hours every day, so find one that has the features you like, good support, and will grow with your practice.

Bookkeeping software options.

First, you’re going to want to choose something to run your business on and where you do the bulk of the work for your clients. I know I said you need to choose one, but that doesn’t mean all of your clients will gather their data in the same place. They might already track their sales in another program, and your job is to take that sales data and get it ready to run reports, prepare their tax return, or send the data to their accountant for further processing.

For your practice: QuickBooks or Xero

If you run a small business, and your clients are also small businesses, choose one of these two. They connect with a ton of other services you may need to work with, and they have a huge customer base. It’s fun to root for the underdog, but you need stability here.

For your clients: FreshBooks or Harvest

If your client needs something simple to use and finds QuickBooks and Xero overwhelming, suggest one of these. There are a ton of options in this space, so I’m just going based on what I have used the most.

FreshBooks is a great all-around choice for a simple way for your clients to manage invoicing, time tracking, etc. It connects with QuickBooks, so you can pull in sales and expense data, but it doesn’t work with Xero. Harvest is heavily focused on time tracking and project management and would be good for a client with a lot of staff and contractors logging time against multiple projects. It connects with Xero and QuickBooks, so you can pull in sales data automatically.

Since there are so many options out there, I’d like to hear what you use. Let me know in the comments if you have found a better option for your clients or for running your bookkeeping business.

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