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What is the best way (software) to establish accounting system for an early stage startup

How To Choose Accounting Software For Startups

I just joined a startup, at a very early stage - the company doesn't have sales yet and budget is very very limited.

I need to establish accounting system as well as online invoicing and collection process (by credit cards). The sales will be through the company website. Any reccomendation what to start with or which software is a good fit?

Thanks.

 

Answers

Sara Voight
Title: Controller
Company: Critical Signal Technologies, Inc
(Controller, Critical Signal Technologies, Inc) |

It's hard to answer without knowing a lot about your business. Many companies find they can start rather easily using Quickbooks and using their integrated partners for credit card processing. I can't speak to the online invoicing piece though.

Once your business is established and growing then your needs will be clearer and you can review the various software packages for a good fit based on your business model and size.

Anonymous
(VP Finance) |

Hi,
Thanks for your answer, my only concern with QB is that i have do many sales of small amounts, as far as i know the QB is manually invoices, how do i take control on this, especially when i need to sync it with an online collection process?

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |

Take a look at this free white paper. It may help you figure it out:

The ROI Of Cloud-Based Accounting Systems
https://www.proformative.com/whitepapers/roi-cloud-based-financial-applications

Best... Sarah

Topic Expert
Bob Scarborough
Title: CEO
Company: Tensoft, Inc.
(CEO, Tensoft, Inc.) |

The classic first system for early startups is Quickbooks. Unless you have unique early financial system requirements it is hard to beat the cost/benefit ratio of that system - or the ease of setup and support.

For the E-commerce side you don't need significant integration to your financial system to start. If you did you would need to look at a higher tier financial system.

My two bits - is to look at the E-commerce systems that sell themselves as a service. These sites would charge you a bit of each sale (no upfront cost) - and the better ones will handle your sales tax reporting, multinational sales, storefront, merchant banking (credit card payment acceptance and processing), and fulfillment communication.

Anonymous
(VP Finance) |

Hi
Thanks for your answer, my only concern with QB is that i have do many sales of small amounts, as far as i know the QB is manually invoices, how do i take control on this process, especially when i need to sync it with an online collection process?

Derek Quackenbush
Title: CFO
Company: Rising Data Solutions
(CFO, Rising Data Solutions) |

Yes--hard to answer without knowing more. But I agree with Bob's thinking--you should be able to find an e-commerce app that will handle that for you initially. Then just journal in the results into your GL--if using CC for payment, most activity will be covered when doing the bank reconciliation.

QB is what it is. You might look into Netsuite, Xero, and of course Microsoft Dynamics, which is more than you need right now but I think is a pretty solid system. It is was to integrate it with anything.

Topic Expert
Marc Faerber
Title: CFO
Company: Amarantus
(CFO, Amarantus) |

I agree with Bob. It sounds like sales is the more urgent need and the general books secondary in terms of volume of transactions. You did not mention the nature of your product so don't know if and what the complexity of COGs might be. Since you have limited financial resources keep it simple and straight forward, but keep good notes so when you want to upgrade you do with something that will be able to scale with your business needs.

Topic Expert
Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Hi Anon,

If your sales are thru your website, do you really need to create invoices? I may be missing something here (if so, please enlighten me:) - but if the customer has paid for their order (product price, tax, S&H and any discounts), and your website prints a "transaction receipt" why not call that your invoice?

Then all you need is to pull data down and post aggregated totals by day/ product category, etc into your GL. Naturally, you need to look at revenue recognition to decide when to book as revenue, so shipment date determines which date you use to post the sale.

Regards'
Len

Anonymous
(Accounting Manager) |

I assume you've already hired a qualified CPA to handle your taxes. Consider one that has a good bit of experience in getting new businesses started up. Meaning don't hire one with just tax experience. A good CPA will have a wealth of audit experience in different software and exposure to different applications that can help you with your specific business model.Without more information on how your business works, I hesitate to offer any suggestions for fear they won't be applicable to your situation.

Gerry Anderson
Title: President and Founder
Company: Logicon Solutions
LinkedIn Profile
(President and Founder, Logicon Solutions) |

In a startup, cash is key so you want to optimize your spending of cash on revenue generating activities. With this in mind you should check out Wave Accounting or Freshbooks or Zoho. You might also want to check out the competitors to Zuora if you have a subscription based business. Hope it helps.

Gennadiy Vernikov
Title: Director, Internal Audit
Company: Arista Networks
(Director, Internal Audit, Arista Networks) |

In terms of ease of implementing I agree with the e-commerce recommendations. As an alternative to QB, you might want to take a look at HansaWorld - it has good scaling up options. If there is a strong indication of fast growth and enough certainty that you will need a more sophisticated system within the next two years you might as well start it now with MS Dynamics.

Sara Voight
Title: Controller
Company: Critical Signal Technologies, Inc
(Controller, Critical Signal Technologies, Inc) |

PaySimple - I was trying to think of the credit card system that I thought could create invoices with each transaction. I think your customers can be routed to them, without being obvious to them, and an invoice can be created. Their rates were reasonable and they had a good plan. Hope this helps.

Topic Expert
Bob Scarborough
Title: CEO
Company: Tensoft, Inc.
(CEO, Tensoft, Inc.) |

In response to your follow up question - the key is to find an eCommerce solution that takes care of your customer transactions and collections. Even if you went with a higher tier ERP solution you would most likely not want to put many small customers through your ERP receivables module.

As a starting point you could look at Cleverbridge. They provide a eCommerce solution with no up-front cost - they handle your storefront, your customer collections (including merchant banking), your sales tax collections and reporting, and so on. You would have your reporting and daily summaries and your cash. They would take a percentage of each transaction as their revenue stream.

Understanding Go To Market models and the related business processes and systems to support the unique requirements of different models is not classic financial management or accounting. Understanding the models in use at your company can be very helpful in streamlining business processes for productivity, visibility, and compliance.

Bob Scarborough

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