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The Ins and Outs of Bookkeeping Software for Small Businesses

  • Bookkeeping News
  • Small Business

If you’re a smaller business and have been looking for a way to get on top of your finances then bookkeeping software may be just the thing you’re looking for to help you get organised and stay on top of your expenses. Bookkeeping software is not only good for keeping track of your cash flow, but it also helps you avoid errors in invoicing, payroll, and record keeping.

Manual bookkeeping that involves massive data collection and calculation is not only time consuming but it also leaves a lot of room for error. Mistakes in your invoicing and payroll can be tricky and confusing to correct. Accounting software can make easy work out of complex pay cheques that involve various hourly rates according to hours worked.

While, yes, you may have the competent maths skills to work this out yourself (or know how to devise an impressive excel sheet to do it for you), why waste the time? You could be working on more important things to advance your business.

So, if you’re thinking of going down the road of bookkeeping software, we’re here to give you some key things to consider when choosing your tools. The first thing you’re going to notice is that bookkeeping software is essentially accounting software; there isn’t much differentiation from the two. However, for the sake of clarity, we’ll be referring to this software as bookkeeping software. The next step is working out what’s best for you. We suggest choosing the right software comes down to these three things:

  • Price
  • Usability
  • Integrated features

The beauty of bookkeeping software is that you can either use it online (which many bookkeepers prefer) or have it installed and downloaded on your computer. Working online (or over the cloud) means you can work across a range of different devices and still have your data there to access. Having the software installed on a device means that you’re only able to access your data from one device. Make sure you understand which type of software you’re purchasing before making the commitment. A few digital bookkeeping tools that the experts at Shoebox Books stand by include Quickbooks, Xero, and MYOB.

We highly recommend these tools of the trade when it comes to top bookkeeping software. However, they are not suitable for every business. To find your perfect bookkeeping and accounting platform and help you transition to digital, get a little guidance from your closest Shoebox Books Bookkeeper!

The Benefits of Using an Accounting Software

These benefits will vary across platform, but some of the general benefits of transitioning to digital bookkeeping include:

  • Access data easily and from any location
  • All templates and systems are easily in place
  • You all can look at the info at the same time in real-time
  • Data gets backed up to the server
  • Can be compatible with other third party apps or software
  • Can be cost effective
  • Faster to use a software that has all the templates and reports all ready to go and compiled with a click of a button
  • Accurate
  • Improves productivity by streamlining invoicing and payroll processes
  • Helps businesses manage their cash flow
  • Allows business owners to perform financial analysis
  • Helps strategic planning

Key Features to Expect

The following features are fairly customary across software platforms. These are the standard when it comes to bookkeeping software, helping you streamline your business financial documentation processes.

  • A Ledger is a book which has all the information regarding debits and credits of a business. While some like to create this document in an excel file, your chosen software will have a ledger feature to keep everything in one place.
  • The ability to integrate billing features with inventory storing
  • A display of accounts receivable and accounts payable
  • High security features to keep data secure
  • Time tracking for payroll or single touch payroll
  • If not, you can get a STP solution affordably for less than $10 a month
  • Business expense tracker
  • Direct banking or the ability to handle multiple accounts
  • Automatic payments for wages and other bills
  • Tax calculations
  • Reporting

A Few More Things to Consider

Below we share our list of the top bookkeeping platforms for small businesses, but before we get to that, it’s important to highlight some key considerations you should make before selecting a platform. As mentioned, these platforms vary across their usability and features, so check below to see if any of the platforms we’ve mentioned have the features you’ll need.

  • Will it be able to grow with you if your company starts to expand?
  • Is support provided?
  • Is it user friendly?
  • Does it have multi-user access and can other external people access it too?
  • Is it compatible with other systems or software that could potentially be integrated
  • How the data and reports are presented – are they easy to read?
  • Does it have varying types of reports available?
  • Is it expensive?
  • Is it cloud-based or will you need local storage on your device?
  • Does it allow you to do double entry?
  • Is there mobile access?
  • Are there customer and vendor portals?
  • Is there training available?
  • Does it allow you to do quarterly taxes?
  • Is it suitable for multiple currencies?
  • Is CRM integration possible?

The Best Bookkeeping Software in Australia


Xero is just about the gold standard when it comes to bookkeeping and accounting software. It was one of the first to go completely cloud-based, making it easy to access through any browser. There’s honestly not a lot Xero can’t do when it comes to managing finances for your business – double entry, mobile access, time tracking, payroll, inventory tracking, multi-currency support… it has it all. In fact, some of the few pitfalls include not providing live support, customer or vendor portals, and quarterly taxes. However, this can be something Shoebox can assist as we work with you to understand how this software package works.


Much like Xero, there’s not a lot that MYOB can’t do. It’s got all of the standards – double entry, mobile, payroll, invoicing, inventory, multi-currency, and more. It even allows customer and vendor access by allowing them to click through invoices. Again, like Xero, its only pitfall is not providing live support – although there is a 24/7 support website – and quarterly taxes. If you’re tossing up between Xero and MYOB, let Shoebox help you decide with some one on one with an experienced bookkeeper.


Quickbooks is another one of those gold standard platforms when it comes to bookkeeping software, and of course, it’s another software package Shoebox bookkeepers are highly familiar with. We don’t go over every feature included, as you’ll find it’s much the same as MYOB and Xero; however, as an added bonus, Quickbooks does provide live support.

Zoho Books

Zoho is another excellent platform with a near comprehensive set of tools to allow you to do all of your accounting and bookkeeping in one place. Like Xero, MYOB and Quickbooks, it’s cloud-based, and as an added bonus, it’s quite affordable. A setback is that it’s Australian counterpart doesn’t provide live support (unlike in the US), however there are contacts provided to reach to get support.


Sage is a nice, clean, and simplistic cloud-based bookkeeping system. Sage’s software package provides email invoices and statements, BAS reporting, mobile access, and phone and email support, however there are a lot of features that you’ll have to pay extra for. While you can get extra add-ons like time-tracking, multi-currency, and payroll management, you’ll have to pay a little extra.

Get Extra Support

As you can see there are a number of resourceful bookkeeping platforms available for small businesses to help with financial management. Settling on one to choose it tough but can be made easier when taking in some of the factors mentioned above. If you need some extra help, talk to one of the professionals at Shoebox. If you’ve decided software just isn’t for you, one of our qualified bookkeepers can step in to assist you with your financial record keeping and responsibilities. Contact Shoebox today to learn more about our services, or if you want to learn more about bookkeeping software, check out our previous article comparing Xero and MYOB.