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As previously mentioned in another post of mine, the accounting industry is, without question, receiving a much needed renaissance in the form of technological progression. With the introduction of advancements like cloud computing and automation, the accounting industry is starting to enter the 21st century. One of the most useful innovations to enter the industry is accounting software. This do it yourself (DIY) approach to accounting allows users to take control of their accounts, saving a great deal of money on hiring an accountant. While this software does hurt traditional accountants, it has undoubtedly changed the face of the industry.

As with all new ventures, companies and their developers have realized the potential that the DIY accounting software market has to offer, flooding the market with their own version, swearing to be better than their competitors. But which ones truly are the best?

Here is a list, in no particular order, of the top six DIY accounting applications on the market today.

Freshbooks

Founded in 2003, Freshbooks is a web based accounting application intended for small businesses. In its relatively short lifespan, the company has managed to build quite the name for itself, boasting over 10 million users who have reportedly saved over 192 hours annually on account management. However, the small company’s largest achievement would have to be its astounding claim of helping process of $60 billion dollars through its software.

The app itself is quite robust, including the ability to process invoices, expenses, track time and even features an integrated cloud sharing system where employees and clients can share files. Freshbooks also allows for the processing of credit cards, and can even produce real time statistics on your finances. One of its most appealing features is its virtually non-existent footprint. As a web based program, Freshbooks does not actually take up any space on your computer, and can also be used on your mobile phone or tablet. This is a great application for the truly mobile small business owner.

Xero

Even newer than Freshbooks, Xero was founded in New Zealand in 2006. Another online based program, Xero may not have the same number of clients using the software (well over 800 thousand), but it may offer a much more comprehensive program. Xero offers extensive services for small businesses. Features include: invoicing, inventory, payroll, bank reconciliation, expense claims, file sharing and more. The service even allows for business owners to track their profits over multiple currencies, and, to show its competitive nature, convert their files from Quickbooks, quite possibly the most popular accounting software in the country.  

The program also seems to have its eye on the future of technology, not only in the form of cloud storage and mobile compatibility, but in wearable technology as well. Xero recently released its Apple Watch application, allowing users to keep track of their cash flow on their wrists, with a sleek and intuitive design. They have also integrated support for the much talked about 3D Touch feature on the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7.

With an eagerness to compete with the major players, an adaptive strategy and exponential growth, Xero is poised to take over the accounting software market.

Zoho

Primarily an accounting program, Zoho does offer several other services in marketing, communication, IT and even human resources. Focusing solely on Zohos “Books” application, the company has enough to compete with the likes of Xero and Freshbooks. The application offers the same features you would expect from any standard accounting software: invoicing, expense reports, automated banking, inventory tracking, etc. But where Zoho truly differs is its extensive suite of programs, giving both small and large businesses the tools necessary to grow and develop.

Their sales and marketing applications allow companies to communicate directly with not only users, but potential clients in a way that almost no other accounting software can match. The “CRM” application alone integrates email, phone and social media channels in order to communicate with customers as quickly and efficiently as possible. The “Social” app takes that social media aspect even further, allowing business owners to communicate across the most popular social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and recently Instagram), schedule unlimited posts and monitor success across all accounts. The “Sites” application can create and monitor websites and the “Docs” application stores documents and files in the cloud, allowing 24/7 access. Zoho is by far the most comprehensive software on this list, and is almost irresistible to any serious business owner.

In part two, I will finish my list, showcasing some of the world’s most popular accounting software. Stay tuned!