Every high-performing startup will outgrow spreadsheets and manual data entry to track financial performance. With growth comes an opportunity to use software solutions designed to automate and streamline operations.
Accounting software gives your startup the time and room to uncomplicate a typically stress-ridden process of financial reporting and management.
What accounting SaaS does
Accounting SaaS give businesses a single platform to monitor your business’s finances and generate insightful financial reports. Essentially, accounting software:
- Helps you do basic invoicing and billing, calculate tax, manage clients, reconcile bank accounts, and track financial metrics.
- Reduce manual burdens on finance teams, save time and resources, and gives you easy access to all your business’s financial information in seconds.
Why CFOs need accounting SaaS
The role of the CFO has evolved significantly in the era of SaaS software as accounting automation provides businesses with more options. Gone are the days when CFOs were responsible for ‘just the figures’.
Now, CFOs sit on the fronline of company growth plans, using financial and operational data for corporate planning, expansion strategy and fundraising. Cloud accounting software allows CFOs to
- drive improved collaboration with accountants, bookkeepers and colleagues
- avoid combing through manually compiled reports and spreadsheets
- get accurate insights to executives, investors, auditors, or tax authorities
- use real-time information to refine operations, purchasing, and hiring.
When your startup begins to scale and you attract the attention of larger customers, investors (and regulators), you need to have a bullet-proof account of all the business’s finance and compliance processes. Accounting SaaS makes it a lot easier for CFOs to achieve this.
Comparing accounting SaaS: Xero, Sage, and Quickbooks
When considering accounting SaaS, start with the specific needs of your business.
Remember that the software you choose needs to scale with your growth. Your 10-person team could easliy grow to 50 in a matter of months, and your software stack will need to keep up. Ask yourself:
- Is it easy for my finance team to use?
- Is it easy to query data and generate reports and financial statements?
- Will it support accurate reporting and auditing as we scale and complexity ?
- If the business expands internationally, will this accounting software support different payment methods and currencies, and comply with local sales tax and regulations?
Let’s have a look at the three most popular accounting SaaS tools among Cledara users: Xero, Sage, and Quickbooks. We will break down each tool’s features, strengths, and limitations.
First up is Xero, an accounting system born in New Zealand and most popular there, in Australia, in the UK and US, where it’s expanding. Xero is popular with growing start-ups as their platform is straighforward and easy to use. It’s designed for small businesses, accountants, and bookkeepers. Xero helps small business customers pay bills, file tax returns, and claim expenses.
With Xero, users can:
- Transact in over 160 currencies, get instant currency conversions, view rate changes, report in preferred currencies, and analyze how currency markets impact cash flow
- Track cash flow with a dashboard, get an overview of the business’s finances in one place, and monitor financial health
- Match bank transactions, reconcile data with bank feeds and store documents online
Xero is a favorite among businesses because of its ability to integrate with leading tools such as Stripe, PayPal, Vend, Shopify, and GSuite.
In their own words: “Xero’s online accounting software connects small business owners with their numbers, their bank, and advisors anytime.”
Look out for Xero’s user-friendly dashboards, mobile app, and comprehensive app store. Some reviews suggest it may not suit larger businesses, and that it has limited financial planning and analysis (FP&A) capabilities.
Make informed software decisions. Book a Cledara demo today.
Sage Accounting helps finance teams create and track invoices, cash flow, automate admin, and record income and expenses. One of the big strengths of Sage is that it suits the needs of just about any company, regardless of industry or size.
Sage Accounting also supports bank feed integrations covering hundreds of banks, eliminating the need for manual data entry as transactions are automatically imported into your Sage.
In their own words: “Take control of your small business bookkeeping with time-saving automation, invoicing, and remote access. Improve cash flow, get paid faster, and get more done.”
Look out for Sage’s strong data visualization, accounts receivable automation capabilities, and affordable pricing tiers for small businesses. But be mindful some reviewers found the initial setup difficult.
Intuit Quickbooks collects and collates all your business’s financial information and displays it in easy to digest and manageable reports and visuals. Based in the US and the market leader with over , Quickbooks is often referred to as the ideal solution for small-to-medium sized businesses thanks to its entry-level support and user friendly functions.
Quickbooks integrates with more than 650 third-party solutions such as Paypal, Square, and Shopify. Quickbooks is an all-rounded tool that offers features to manage income, expenditure, planning, profitability, and your teams.
In their own words: “Simplify your accounting. Easily track income, expenses, and more with accounting software designed for all kinds of businesses.”
Look out for Quickbooks’ integrations with third-party apps and easy-to-understand financial statements. But note that some reviewers mentioned rare outages, while others highlighted limits on transactions.
Summary: Xero vs Sage vs Quickbooks
Xero, Sage and Quickbooks share a number of similarities, but there are also quite a few differences that set them apart in terms of customization, billing and user-friendly interfaces.
Xero is ideal for small businesses and freelancers operating in Australia and New Zealand, owing to its strong grasp of the market in those two countries.
Quickbooks is well-trusted and well-known by accountants and bookkeepers across the United States, who use it to comply with different state and federal sales tax rules. It’s another good fit for small businesses.
Meanwhile, Sage is the solution that many larger enterprises stick with, given its ability to manage multiple business entities and its broader capabilities around HR, payroll, and payments.
Make informed software decisions. Book a Cledara demo today.