My old Thinkpad that I used as a mini server died, and on that machine I ran an old version of Quickbooks. I have used Quickbooks for invoicing and accounting for about 7 years. It has served me well, however when the machine died I decided to look at upgrading from my 2009 version to the newest. As I looked at options I realized that there may be some alternatives.
Today you can get quickbooks in a desktop version or an online version. On the day of writing this you could get Quickbooks from intuit for $199 a 20% discount from the regular price. The other version that seems more fitting is the online version of Quickbooks that starts at 12.99 a month ($155.88 a year) for the small business version.
Since I have been happy with my old 2009 version of quickbooks it is hard to justify a yearly payment of $156 to use the online service. The only benefit I see from the online service is that it is available from any location. This feature does not really apply to me since I use remote access into my previous machine to connect to Quickbooks. The other features they push for the online version I don’t necessary need.
Since my laptop died, I have been investigating what is out there to use. Here are a few great resources, of other quickbooks alternatives (Capterra – Top 10 QuickBooks alternatives for small business | Exact CPA)
During my investigation I found that many of the sites that talk about alternatives are focusing on the online version vs the desktop version. Since I was unsure of which way to go, for me a desktop version is simple in that it is a one time purchase. They online version is monthly and the thought of a few years of payments tends to not sit well for me.
Armed with some of the reviews above, I decided to look at the pros and cons and also a few alternatives I had been watching.
Rating Quickbooks Alternatives
Over the last week I decided to try two possible competitors of Quickbooks.
I will review the outcome of my experiment regarding both of these.
To help evaluate these I chose an online version and a desktop version to make a fair comparson.
Manager.io is a new product. They label the system as an accounting package for small business. The great feature I could point out is the simplicity of the product. There are install packages for Windows, MAC, and Linux. The actual install was simple and quick. I started with Manager.io because it was a downloadable package
- Cost: Manager.io is Free. It is really hard to compete with that kind of pricing
- Usability: The overall Look and feel plus navigation is simple and quick. Setup your company associate a bank account (more on this) and then start billing or configuring
- Features: There are a lot of great features. The summary page is one of my favorites, it is simple and quick to see your overview of your business
- Migration: There is no easy way to import Customers, or past invoices.
- Integration: As of this writing there was no way to interact with your back account. You can import a bank statement but not sync
- Expenses: There was no quick receipt option and I had to turn on an expense feature
Overall I think Manage.io is a great system and will continue to grow. For the things I need a package to do, I think it could suffice. I don’t like the idea of having to manually add all my customers but the process was pretty easy. As the system matures, I think it will become a great alternative for small business.
Wave App is an online accounting system. Their tag line is:
awesome, cloud-based, integrated software and tools for small businesses. So far, that includes Invoicing, Accounting, Payroll, Payments and more, plus Personal Finance Software, too.
How can you not like a software package with that great “What we are” message. I created an account and added a business name and started using the system.
- Cost: Waveapp is Free. They have a premium package that includes instant support
- Usability: The overall Look and feel plus navigation is simple and quick. Setup your company associate a bank account. It has a feature for personal and business.
- Features: There are a lot of great features. This system does payroll, invoicing, reporting, receipts, and more
- Integration: Waveapp allows you to sync with your bank account and also accept credit cards. They seem to be growing the list of integration systems quickly
- Support: I had a question and submitted a ticked to their support system and got a response in about an hour. Great answer and communication
- Receipts: One great feature that I have to call out is the ability to use their mobile app and scan receipts for both business and personal.
- Migration: As with the other system there was no direct migration from QB to this system. You can import and move old data (see here) but items like customers have to be manually added. When I asked during the support request it appears that is something coming in the future.
- Cloud Based: This can be both a Pro and Con. In recent weeks, the uptime and security of cloud systems has been questioned.
Overall, I am really impressed with Wave. If you are starting out, I would say give this a try. If you are fully vested in Quickbooks with payroll and processing (product lists) it may be hard to move because of the manual process you may have to do to re-create items. Wave seems to have a great product and a great future ahead of them.
Both systems seem to be a good competitor or alternative for QuickBooks. However, I don’t think I would move a small business with many employees into these systems. It seems to be a good fit for a 1-3 person company. The reason I really liked Quickbooks is the ecosystem around both support and tools for quickbooks.
In the end, I have decided to move to Wave. The online availability and receipt feature won me over. I am going to finish out the year on Quickbooks 2009 to help get a summary and also run in parallel with Wave. This will let me finish the year in one system and start fresh in the new.
Email me with your thoughts or comments. If you have had any experiences with either system.