Bookkeeping and financials?

Hi guys,

How do you handle bookkeeping? Which tools do you like? Any book recommendations for the fundamentals / motivations of bookkeeping and accounting?

Most small business financial stuff I’m finding online seems very slimy / not tuned to software businesses.

I need to whip the books of Raffle Creator into shape this year :slight_smile:

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I had recommendations for Xero and Outright:

I still haven’t signed up for either one… I’m very reticent to have much of anything to do with GoDaddy though, so I think I might opt for Xero.

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Xero is the tool of choice here too.

Has good integrations with ReceiptBank (amazing!) and various other services… plus accounts seem to like Xero.

I also had a good experience with FreeAgent in a previous organisation.

Quickbooks installed locally. Its not great, but it does the job. Relying on someone else’s servers would make me nervous, What if they go out of business?

I signed up for last month and have been happy with it so far. I have an LLC filing as an s-corp and bookkeeping is not anything I’m interested in doing. Each month they reconcile my bank, paypal and credit cards and I just focus on business.

If you have questions, they are very good about calling, emailing, twitter and I’ve found the process to be better than expected.

Let me know if you have any questions,


Big fan of Xero here. I’ve written about how we use it in our business.

You should naturally ensure you have backups/exports of all your critical data when using any service but we’d need a fulltime bookkeeper just to do data entry without being able to use APIs to create all the payments and link up all this data. Ultimately we have all the data of who has paid us what in our own system - and I archive off each year all the evidence of expenses that one has to keep in case of an investigation by the tax man.

I’m willing to trade the theoretical chance of Xero vanishing overnight for the convenience of not having a system living on one computer somewhere, inaccessible when I’m traveling and to the other people who need to access that data.

I use QuickBooks. Works great, especially around tax time when I can just send the Accountant’s Copy to my CPA for review. It also (unsurprisingly) works very well with my payroll system, Intuit Online Payroll. If you’re a Costco member, you get a hefty discount on the monthly IOP service fee.

I actually took Accounting 101/102 at the local community college, which were quite helpful in understanding double-entry bookkeeping. I also bought and worked through an earlier edition of Essentials of Accounting.

Nearly every freelancer I work with seems to use FreeAgent and they all love it. I think it maybe best suited to businesses in the UK.

I gave up using online tools and found a great local bookkeeper. I don’t have lots of small SAAS like recurring payments or similar, so it maybe easier for me to outsource than some businesses, but I just found it kept me disciplined to stay up to date each month (as she will chase me if I don’t provide stuff on time).

I hate paperwork, so staying on top of it each month was a bigger challenge to me than finding a tool to do it.

Also, that may help you as you get someone who you can ask questions while learning about bookkeeping stuff. I like that access to support a lot.

Hope that helps.

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I’ve tried a few. When I got started in my business I used Wave which is what I’d still recommend to almost anyone getting started. They are free and while they support all the important functions (transactions, reporting, P/L) they seem to be built for the business owner vs the accountant. My biggest frustration is that they didn’t support recurring invoices and a lot of my business is invoiced - but recurring so it was a lot of extra work for me.

I then started working with a local book keeping firm, Two Roads and they wanted to pilot me on Xero. So I started on that and enjoyed their tools. They integrate with a number of things and while they aren’t exactly the Stripe of online accounting tools for developers, they do have an active community. Because Xero started in NZ a lot of it’s functionality is quite foreign to me since I’m US based. I’m sure they’ve improved their localization since I stopped using it, but it was different. The #1 thing I loved about Xero was that it supported multiple invoice templates. I run two distinct product lines under one LLC. With Xero I could choose if a customer got the Greenlight logo invoice or if the client got the Baker Labs logo. Sadly, Xero was too different than Quickbooks for my book keepers (and for me) so we went to QuickBooks online.

Quickbooks is stable and has in the last few months launched very nice iPad and iPhone apps (not sure about Android). They for years treated the online version as the “lite” version of Quickbooks and are finally adding more and more features to the online version.

My recommendation is find someone to do your bookkeeping for you. They handle all the reconciliation and tracking of expenses. Each week I receive a report that shows me how we are doing month to date, outstanding invoices and anything else they have questions about.

The value of me NOT having to think about all of these things each week/month is very high and allows me to spend my time on other activities. it sounds like @cityzen’s recommendation of is similar to my bookkeeping firm.

Outsourcing is not an excuse for not understanding your books. In college, my roommates father was a very successful entrepreneur and I was talking to him about not liking accounting - he replied, “accounting is the language of business, you must understand it to be successful”. The larger my business becomes the more I understand that.


I’ve used:

  • Quicken (Personal)
  • Quickbooks (Two S Corps)
  • Quickbooks Online (spent $ on research, but it fell short)
  • inDinero
  • Outright
  • LessAccounting
  • Xero

By FAR, I’ve found the best one was Xero. They have a few hundred employees and the product is really mature. Basically, it just works and follows standard accounting practices. They have loads of documentation and hundreds of video walkthroughs of common things you would want to do with it.

I would also second Gavin’s suggestion to find a book keeper. This is not a core function of your business. It’s important, but not important for you to be doing. I haven’t paid a single bill for my business so far this year. It’s well worth the cost.

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+1 for Xero which I have used for the last 4 years.+1 also for Saasu which was a close 2nd when I was choosing.
-1million each for Quickbooks, MYOB etc.

I wrote about his many years ago at and another couple of rants about QB & MYOB

My annual (personal - I am a sole trader, not a Pty Ltd) tax return process has gone from a profanity-ridden 4 day antisocial lockdown to about 2 minutes copying Xero reports totals into a simple Google docs spreadsheet. BX (Before Xero) I literally had no idea how my business was doing until the EOY return because it was just too hard to figure out.

I warmly second this (no matter if you use an online tool like Xero, or something that your accountant will like, or nothing at all etc):

This, because time and focus is scarce when bootstrapping, so I find that outsourcing this (like many other things) is really worth it.

One thing that gets in my way with all of these is that they want to “make your life easier” by asking for your bank account’s username and password.

For me, that’s a bit too much. As in, “no f’ing way!”. Is that just a limitation of my bank that it doesn’t provide some kind of standard export that others have, or is that just how things work? I hate having to do things by hand, but there is just no way in hell I’m handing out my account credentials to anyone else.

Really? That is f*cked up. I don’t care how good your software is, I’m not giving you my banks password.

I use a free webapp my accountant provides, and they allow you to upload csv bank statements (or just type the values in). But I’m still very new to it, so don’t know how good or easy to use the feature is.

We use Quickbooks. We despise it, but there were no options when we started the business and the thought of moving seems painful. Also, every accountant we have ever had only uses QB so using something else and having to export for them and then import their changes and all that just seems messy.

We converted our very traditional accountant to Xero :slight_smile: He now recommends it to other people.

Haha. Maybe we’ll have to give it a go.

Freshbooks is great if you need to do invoicing or basic bookkeeping for a consultancy (I should know, that’s me on the landing page of

If you need a full accounting package, I thoroughly endorse Xero. It also has a great list of Add-on tools. My only complaint is that their Expense tool is poor/confusing. Our team hated it. I even personally used their payrun tool to do our payroll manually because I couldn’t bear the thought of using some piece-of-crap payroll software. Once our company got big enough we hired a bookkeeper through Xero’s Advisor site. I found that a lot of Xero Advisor’s bundle your Xero subscription fee with their fees so my first bookkeeper was quite cheap considering I was getting a $40/month Xero subscription for free.

I had checked out Bench but found it odd that they use their own proprietary accounting software. It just seemed like a risk going with them in case I didn’t like their services and wanted to leave.

If you’re in Canada and have more than 5 people, I’d recommend Scalability. They do back office outsourcing and have a great workflow with Xero for accounting, Box for managing expenses and invoices, TribeHR for people management, etc.

Plus a million for getting a bookkeeper to handle things for you. I have a VA in the Philipines through Pepper who I send my 5 CC statements to once a month. She enters them into a home-grown bookkeeping system. DO NOT DO THAT, but I’m sort of pot committed to it.

This year I spent a solid week reconciling things for the purpose of Japanese taxes, and I will – knock on wood – have a better process for doing that next year.

Hi ,
I have used Quickbooks, Xero, Harvest for bookkeeping . And I am currently using “Invoicera”. So far I have a great experience using Invoicera as an Online Accounting , Bookkeeping, Invoicing and Billing Software.
I know while running a business bookkeeping and accounting is crucially important . By using an Online Software you can make your business more efficient and less Time consuming. I would suggest you to go for Invoicera. Its pretty good.