What application do you use for managing your business' finances?


I was wondering what applications other people here use to manage their business finances. I looked at some programs such as Simply Accounting and QuickBooks, but both of their free versions are limited to 20 customers - and my suspicion is that if you enter a prospect into the program, it counts as a customer.

Before going out to spend money on an accounting system, I was wondering if people could recommend one over the other, or, of course, a free alternative.

I personally am located in Canada, and ideally, the software should be able to compute relevant taxes. However, I would be interested in seeing what packages are available anywhere (and perhaps I would send them an e-mail asking about support for the Canadian tax system).

EDIT I spoke to my accountant, and he said that there are 3 programs used here in Canada: Simply Accounting, QuickBooks, and MYOB. His office is going to provide me with a license for one of them (he wasn't sure which one off-hand, but will confirm with me on Monday) that I can access remotely.

However, he said that another of the three had an issue with upgrades - when a new version came out, you would essentially be forced to upgrade, because support for the older versions became non-existent. Has anyone else had this experience?

Finance Accounting

asked Jan 16 '10 at 02:57
4,692 points
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  • For certain features like payroll QB requires updating to new versions and after a few years Intuit stops supporting the older versions. At the same time, if you are not using the features that require updates, it is not critical to use the newer version. – Starr Ed 14 years ago
  • It looks like I'm going to get the Pro version of QuickBooks, which I can get for about $120 (40% off the list price). I;m not using the Payroll section, so that should be ok. – Elie 14 years ago
  • I use QB for our business, and I do our payroll using it. Because they drop support after a while for older versions, I just had to upgrade from QB 2007 to QB 2010. That's ok with me, if it's only that often and not more often. The "upgrade" went fairly smoothly, but there really aren't any new features in QB 2010 that I would have chosen to upgrade for. – Tcolling 14 years ago

9 Answers


We manage our business finances with the software version of QuickBooks. It's not perfect but it has worked reliably for our software company as we have grown over the past 12 years.

The big plus with Quickbooks is that it allows us to easily exchange data with our accountant. I'd contact your accountant for a recommendation.

answered Jan 16 '10 at 03:42
Keith De Long
5,091 points
  • Considering my accountant is related to me, I've got a fair bit of flexibility in this. He would rather see me spend the money wisely than use a particular software platform, even at the cost of one of his employees needing to re-enter significant portions of the data at the end of the year. – Elie 14 years ago
  • Elie, one thing to consider is that as you grow, financial data needs to go both directions. While your accountant's employees may be willing to rekey data on their end, over time they'll make significant changes to your books with things like journal entires, depreciation, etc. QuickBooks has the ability to very simply merge your accountant's changes into your books without worrying about changes you may have made to your books since giving him/her a copy. Rekeying your books with accountant updates can get really inconvenient and time consuming. – Keith De Long 14 years ago
  • +1 -- QB has quirks it's true. But it's universal and that saves you time AND money (accountant's fees!) all the time. – Jason 14 years ago


I use Quickbooks for Mac and I've been very happy with it. I would recommend spending the money to get a decent system in place since your finances are such a critical component of your business.

answered Jan 16 '10 at 03:42
Jason Cianchette
511 points
  • It seems that Quickbooks is the recommended solution, but I'll wait for some other people to weigh in on this before making a decision. – Elie 14 years ago


Others you might not have considered: MoneyWorks Gold. I am not affiliated with this company. I have fully demo'd this system and it works great and has some really nice features and a better cost of ownership long term. I currently use MYOB and it works without flaw for 2 years now. You need to consider your needs thoroughly to know what will work. Thankfully most provide demos.

answered Mar 30 '12 at 09:10
11 points


I have been using QuickBooks Premier (for Windows) for about eight years now and have been very happy with it. I use it for bookkeeping, payroll and invoicing. Yes it's not cheap but I believe it's worth the money.

As part of cost consideration, expect to be upgrading every few years especially if you are using their online banking integration, merchant services or payroll features.

Another option you should consider is QuickBooks Online -- a friend uses it for his consultancy business and loves it. We will probably move to the online version as well at some point because the major limitation of QB is the fact that I can't easily access it while on the road.

answered Jan 16 '10 at 06:25
Oleg Barshay
2,091 points
  • I'm not willing at the moment to spend the price of the Premier edition, and I'm not doing any payroll yet (although I hope that business improves to the point that I am). You make a good point about the online version - I'll have to look into it! – Elie 14 years ago


Spend the money. Just do it.

I went two years into my business without correct bookkeeping systems in place, and it cost way more in the end to unscramble everything then if I had just ponied up the money.

I now use Quickbooks Online Edition in tandem with a bookkeeper/CPA, it's a great combo. You can still print out checks, yet give access to your bookie to do all the grunt expense/balancing work.

There are plenty of places to try and save money in a startup, your books are not one of them.

answered Jan 16 '10 at 06:43
Scottie K
21 points


I have been out of the accounting business for four years now but QB was widely used by our clients. We liked it a lot as it is so easy to work with from a CPA’s point of view. In the past, QB had a Canadian version but I think that was phased out. (Your accountant would know.)

I use Quickbooks Pro for my business which for most small businesses works fine. The QB Pro reports function allows you to easily create and memorize specialized reports that are not part of the numerous standard ones that come with QB Pro.

For my nonfinancial clients (personal friends with businesses have also told me this, too), initially, learning QB was overwhelming because of all the tabs and various screens. However, most transactions use the same functions over and over and this becomes routine. Hopefully, your accountant can help set you up with what you decide to go with.

QB Pro out of the box goes on sale a lot at places like Office Max, Office Depot, Sam’s Club, Costco and even amazon.com.

answered Jan 16 '10 at 10:48
Starr Ed
948 points


Down here in Australia I used the small business version of MYOB. Works fine for what I need.

answered Jan 16 '10 at 10:53
527 points


Have you considered using one of the hosted accounting systems? - specifically I have looked at Xero which seems reasonably respected here in the UK, although I'm sure there are plenty of others out there.

(NB At the risk of hijacking the question, I would be very interested to hear if any other readers have good or bad experiences with Xero or other similar hosted products.)

answered Jan 18 '10 at 05:27
Steve Wilkinson
2,744 points
  • I'm looking at using a hosted version of Quickbooks, pending the ok from my accountant. – Elie 14 years ago


If you want to work with an external accountant, then the sensible route is to use some package that they're also able to support.

Personally, I use Business Accountz (http://www.accountz.com ) which works well on the Mac and supports Irish and UK tax systems pretty well.

answered Jan 18 '10 at 22:45
Denis Hennessy
1,363 points

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