I am a Chartered Accountant, so I know the basics of bookkeeping quite well. I have been using Excel. I set it up the same way one would set up manual, paper ledgers (sold in office supply stores). The only difference in my Excel ledgers versus manual pen & paper ledgers is that Excel will do the sums for me. I still have to enter every line of data manually, but then I can do all kinds of totals with Excel. This means I also have a decent handle on how Excel's basic spreadsheet functions work. (Don't confuse this with Excel spreadsheets designed and sold by others as bookeeping templates. Those often use "macros" which is a computer language BEYOND me!)
At work, I like Simply Accounting. I don't like Quickbooks. I don't *use* either of these programs. Clients use them but I use them to pull reports and I find Simply Accounting's reports to be far superior to Quickbooks' reports. That's just personal preference.
I heard of Google... Outright? Is FREE, cloud computing accounting software. When I went to look at it, it was designed for the U.S. only. So, I never tried it out. In hindsight, I don't need any interfacing with tax forms that Outright (and other programs) boast. I should have tried it. Oh well.
I RECENTLY stumbled upon a Canadian-made cloud accounting software. I happened to see it in the "Great Canadian Apps" in the iTunes store. It's called Kashoo and has a picture of a pig (I guess a piggy bank). Now, it is cloud computing so your data is stored on THEIR stuff. The main program is online, but there is an iPad App so I can work offline and therefore have a copy of my data (but the main data is online.) The online program has more (and much better) functions than the App.
I just entered 3 months of data (becaues I'm waaaay behind in my books!) and, so far, I really like it. Here's why it works for me:
- I am not HST registered, so I don't need HST reports. I dont' know if the paid versions of Kashoo have HST reports available.
- I will keep my detailed inventory listing in Excel, which I only update 1x per year. The free program does not have a detailed inventory tracking module. (Again, I did t not investigate the paid versions.)
- I don't have any payroll to deal with.
- I know how to do my taxes, so I don't care if it doesn't interface with tax programs or produce income tax-driven reports
- Reports are limited, but it has a balance sheet, profit & loss, and trial balance. That's all I need to do my taxes. (It can drill down to account details too (transaction details) and it has an aged receivables and aged payables function if you need it. Most of my stuff is immediate cash received and paid, so I'm not hot'n'heavy over that, but it is basic for anything claiming to be an accounting program!)
- My business is incorporated, so I don't have any personal info in there (like my SIN) that I would be afraid of being "in the cloud". My corporate books are piddly, so I dont' care who wants to look at them. Clound computing claims to be safe and encrypted and all that jazz, but I don't understand it, myself.
- In the same vein, I don't have piles of cash in my business accounts, so anyone looking to rip me off through "the cloud" will be disappointed, lol
Here are some of my favourite features so far:
- It can export to excel or PDF (or .csv), so I can always keep back up information myself.
- It's FREE - well, there's a free version. While limited, the free version has everything needed for basic accounting (so they say, and so far, it does what I need it to since I don't have complicated inventory, HST or payroll to deal with)
- It has an iPad App
- It is simple.
- Cloud computing is accessible anywhere there is an internet connection and a browser.
- If you believe in the security of the cloud provider, since your data is there, it's like having a back up system.
- It has a bank reconciliation ability, like most accounting programs, but I haven't used it so I can't commnet, but that's a basic feature needed for anything claiming to be an accounting program.
- It says it can download transactions from your bank accounts, but I haven't figured out how yet and am not really interested in that anyway. I have few enough transactions, I can just enter them.
It's cool. Check it out. I'm enjoying it (but I'm a geeky accountant.... tee hee). It is used worldwide; it's not just Canadian.
What are you using? I am curious now!