Streamlining Startup Finances: How to Choose the Best Bookkeeping Software

Choosing the right bookkeeping software for your startup is crucial to your organization’s financial health. 

From managing payables and receivables to tracking your net profit, the right software can help you achieve your growth goals.

Let’s take a closer look at how to choose the best bookkeeping software for your startup in just a few simple steps.

1. Outline your startup’s financial goals 

Whether you want to monitor business expenses or reduce your operating expenses, setting concrete financial goals is the first step to selecting the right bookkeeping software.

Effective bookkeeping software not only manages your company’s finances but also provides insights you can use to achieve your financial objectives.

For instance, you can uncover:

  • When you can afford to invest more money into your business
  • Top startup expenses that are draining company funds
  • How much profit do you earn each quarter

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2. Choose your interface and budget preferences 

Consider how you want your bookkeeping tool to look and function, so it’s as intuitive as possible and has little to no learning curve.

For instance, maybe you’d like a home page where you can visualize all of your accounts, including your business bank accounts, savings, and assets.

Maybe you’d also like a payables and receivables tab that you can filter and toggle through easily. 

Next, consider how much you can spend per month, year, or transaction. Some software only charges when transactions appear, while others require monthly payments or annual subscriptions.

3. Consider the top features you might need 

What specific features should your accounting software have? 

For instance, you might require meticulous record-keeping to separate your business and personal finances for asset protection purposes. You might also want features that track cash flow and record your credit card and bank transactions. 

Some other features you might need include:

  • Ability to pull balance sheets and specific financial statements within seconds — and download them as .CSV files
  • Option to select “Instant Payments” with receivables 
  • Detailed financial reports to show profits and losses
  • Option to borrow funds from future receivables 
  • Granular expense tracking with tags and filters 
  • Seamless integration with third-party apps
  • Responsive customer service

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4. Conduct software research 

Once you define your goals and what to look for, conduct research to pinpoint the best online accounting tool for your startup.

Look into options like Zoho Books, Quickbooks Online, and FreshBooks.

You can find trustworthy reviews on sites like G2 and Capterra. You can also read through online reviews written by bloggers with subject-matter expertise. These go a bit more in-depth so you can compare features and plans. 

At StartupNation, we also have quite a few guides to help you compare options.

Here are some you can reference:

You can also read through specific customer reviews on G2 to learn what real users think about the products. These are great for uncovering use cases and concerns that formal reviews may not cover.

5. Sign up for free trials and demo meetings 

After narrowing down your top tool contenders, take a look at their plans, pricing, and demo offers. Most bookkeeping tools offer business owners free trials, demos — and sometimes even free plans. Take advantage of these so you can test-drive your options. 

To show up prepared for demo meetings, have a list of questions and concerns ready to go. 

Ask about the features on your list ‌above, how pricing works for each plan, and what tailored recommendations they have. Be sure to also share your financial goals with them so they can help you pick the right plan. 

These details can help you make sure you choose the best final software contenders for your startup.

6. Choose your tool and start using it!

If you’ll have other people leading or managing your accounting software at your startup, now’s a great time to present them with your contenders. 

Let them know which ones you like best and why, how their features work, and (if relevant) how much they cost. 

If you have time, have them test-drive your final options, too. This can help them pinpoint which tools align best with their routine accounting workflows. If you need to, put it to a vote. Or set up some mock workflows on each platform to see what using the software in real time is like.

Then, choose your tool and go through the onboarding process. Contact your sales rep to see if they offer tailored onboarding and how much it costs. Otherwise, set up your own bookkeeping workflows, connect your integrations, and add your payable and receivable contacts. 

When setting these up, keep your goals top of mind. Consider working with a business strategist for hands-on support here. They can guide you on how to manage your assets, which automation to set up, and what you need to track so you can hit your financial goals. 

They might also recommend some additional apps you can integrate to help you have a more holistic financial picture.

Wrap up 

Choosing bookkeeping software doesn’t have to be stressful. Work through the steps in this quick guide to get one step closer to your financial goals. 

For good measure, here’s a quick recap of the steps we shared:

  1. Outline your startup’s financial goals
  2. Choose your interface and budget preferences
  3. Consider the top features you might need
  4. Conduct software research
  5. Sign up for free trials and demo meetings
  6. Choose your tool and start using it!

That’s it for now. Good luck with your software hunt. 🖥️

PS: Looking for more startup resources? Check out The Start newsletter, with fresh startup insights delivered to your inbox every Wednesday. Sign up now

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