software-417880_1280A common question business owners have is: how do I choose a bookkeeping system?

There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer.

For small startups, an excel spreadsheet may be adequate. Indeed, I tell people NOT to spend money on QuickBooks (or other software) if they are a side business or they don’t have much going on.

But at some point, a business might grow beyond the point of a spreadsheet being adequate.

So how do you choose software?

There are plenty of choices — QuickBooks is not the only option. Here’s a list of programs I’ve worked with and/or heard of:

  • Quickbooks
  • Xero
  • Wave Accounting
  • Sage 50
  • Freshbooks
  • InAcct

I use QuickBooks and am a member of the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program (and am working on becoming a certified QuickBooks Pro). I really don’t like QuickBooks, but if you’re going to work with small businesses, you have to know QuickBooks.

I’ve been searching for a good alternative to QuickBooks. But I have yet to find one that is really better, so QuickBooks is what I use and what I recommend.

That being said, I also encourage small businesses to at least explore the alternatives to QuickBooks.

One key point: software is great, but plugging numbers into a computer doesn’t make a person a bookkeeping expert. Even if you keep your own books, I recommend having a relationship with an accountant to help you review your books periodically.

Image courtesy of user Geralt on

“This blog post, along with comments that may follow, should not be considered tax advice. Before you make final tax or financial decisions, please secure a professional tax advisor to give you advice about your unique situation. To secure Jason as your accountant, please click on the ‘Services’ link at the top of the page.”