Thursday, August 7, 2014

The great cloud accounting software search of 2014 (part 2)

This post is a continuation of my search (see previous post here)

After a rather exhaustive googling exercise, I arrived at a list of products that I initially looked at. The list got quite long, so I started to eliminate as I went along by performing these basic checks:
  • Does it have a free trial that includes all functionality, or at least all advertised functionality that I'm interested in?
  • Does it support multiple currencies? Specifically I checked for the following:
    • Supports ZAR as base currency
    • Can I, in the trial, create an invoice in a different currency (USD), either by specifying the currency on the invoice or by specifying the currency on the customer record.
  • Check if some basic accounting features are supported, especially functionality for deferred revenue and work in progress, even if only through manual journals.
  • Price: I quickly realised that I would quite easily be able to find a good enough solution for less than $250 (USD) per month, so anything that would cost more than this based on our expected usage was eliminated.
The majority of the options that were eliminated were eliminated due to multi-currency shortcomings. This doesn't necessarily mean that the software doesn't have any multi-currency functionality, it just means that I could not get it to do what I want it to do within a reasonable time (about an hour) of trying in the trial version. Thus, in some cases elimination on grounds of lacking multi-currency functionality was rather a reflection of usability or trial edition limitations. Regardless, for my purposes, this is sufficient reason to not waste any further time evaluating such options.

Using this procedure I was able to eliminate the majority of options. I have to mention that some of these looked like really great software, but for some or other reasons simply didn't fit our requirements. This does not mean that it's bad software, it might be a much better fit for someone else. The full list in the order in which I evaluated them: Freshbooks, Xero (still in the running), Clearbooks, Kashoo, Kashflow (still in the running), Acumatica, Sage One, Intacct, Zuora, FreeAgent (still in the running), Quickbooks online, Netsuite, Outright/Godaddy bookkeeping, Big Red Cloud, Bean Cruncher, Zoho books (still in the running), Saasu, SMEasy, Bluubin, PingAccounts/CapitalOne.

Thus, I'm left with four options that I feel could do the job:
In both Kashflow and Xero's case some kind of time tracking add-on may be necessary too, but both of those seem to have a generous number of add-ons available. Although this adds extra cost it still looks like most combinations will be significantly cheaper than some of the more expensive options I evaluated and hopefully still well within my $250/month limit.

I'm now moving on to a next round where I'll compare features and usability against our requirements in a bit more detail and hopefully arrive at a final answer shortly. Although the available options may be quite varied in pricing I'm not too worried about price at this stage. As long as the price remains within certain limits (like $250/month), finding the best fit is a much higher priority than saving a few bucks.

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