Choosing the Best Accounting Software for Contractors
Keeping up with finances in a business can be a time-consuming task. For service contractors, this can be even more difficult because of specific accounting needs and the demands of the business. When choosing the best accounting software for contractors, the choices seem limitless.
Uncovering which accounting software option is right for your needs can be overwhelming, and picking the most popular one may not always work. Make the right choice and you can save both time and money. This guide will help you learn about the top choices for contractors and decide which might be your best option.
Know Your Requirements
Before you look at the dizzying array of products available, ask yourself what you need from an accounting package. Are you going to be using the software from a mobile device? Do you need the lowest cost option, or are you willing to pay more for a specific premium feature? Is it important to have software that can handle specific needs for your business? Or will a general accounting package work just fine?
However specific your needs, there are a number of choices of accounting software packages. Asking the right questions about your needs can help eliminate programs from consideration that won’t do you any good. For example, if you need a mobile-ready, Mac compatible program for your electrical contracting business of five employees, you can save yourself time from sorting through all those programs that are Windows-only, meant for larger businesses, and don’t include mobile apps.
QuickBooks is the most widely used account product for small business, and many contractors are very happy with it. Available in both a desktop and an online version, either of which can support your business, depending on your requirements.
One of the most powerful aspects of QuickBooks comes from its ability to integrate with additional products (like FieldPulse). These integrations extend the core accounting functionality by allowing them to offer new features, like timesheets, job costing, team scheduling and more. The majority of contractors agree that neither version is hard to learn, making QuickBooks the number one most popular choice in software for contractor accounting. Pricing starts at $10 per month and goes to $50 per month, with additional add-ons taking the price higher.
Another common option is Xero. Available in both mobile and online accounting options, each offers optimal, secure features for your data. There are three different levels of pricing from $9 a month (Starter) to $30 (Standard for up to 5 users) to $70 at the Premium level, which includes unlimited invoicing and multiple currencies. The Premium tier allows you to add more users at $2 per person per month (which can really add up for larger companies). But, for smaller companies who work internationally, they offer accounting options and flexibility that is hard to find with other accounting packages. Xero also has a variety of partners to provide direct banks feeds and integrated financial services. In addition to the competitive pricing, they offer a free trial for the first month.
The Jonas Corporation
One popular program for construction-specific companies is the Jonas Premier Cloud Construction Software. The product is highly rated, and has a lot of functionality, but has a higher price tag than the other software covered in this article. However, they specialize in providing software just for construction companies. If you have needs that includes extensive project management as well as accounting, Jonas can offer a flexible software package for your business. They primarily work with medium and large companies. So while they might be more than you need today, the can grow with your business. They don’t offer a free trial through their website, so you’ll need to reach out to them to learn more before buying.
Sage Accounting is another option for your business, with cloud access, simple pricing, and upgrade options as you grow. The product isn’t as up-to-date and user-friendly as others on this list, but it covers more than just the basics. Sage has some nice features, including automatic sales tax calculations and project-based reporting. But it lacks some standard options, like purchase orders. They are in the early stages of offering cloud-based services, but as with other companies, expect their cloud services to grow. Their pricing includes a basic version for $10 per month and their full accounting program for $25 per month.
If you’re looking for a free option to get started, ZipBooks is a great starting point. The free tier won’t match what’s offered with their paid program, or the other options on this list. However, it does allow you to keep track of the basics. If you’re only using one bank account, this free tier provides automatic synching.
As you move up to their paid tiers (from $15 to $125+ per month) you gain access to even more features. This makes ZipBooks another option for growing with your business. While you won’t have as many third-party add-ons like with QuickBooks, or built-in industry features like Jonas, ZipBooks can help you manage your books at an affordable price.
Choosing the Best Accounting Software for Contractors
There is an accounting package out there that will fit your needs and help you manage your business finances. While there are dozens of other options in accounting software available, consider these options first for your business.