Managing Business Finances On-the-Go: A Review of the Top 6 Mobile Accounting Apps

As a modern small business owner, you juggle countless responsibilities crucial for growth, from acquiring customers to streamlining operations. With so many plates spinning, you need tools that simplify complex tasks like keeping finances organized, money moving, taxes paid properly, and records clean for reporting.

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This is where accounting apps have proved to be total game-changers for today‘s entrepreneurs and solopreneurs. They enable you to effectively track income, expenses, invoices, payments, and so much more from the palm of your hand.

But between stalwart legacy brands and shiny new solutions, how do you even begin deciding what accounting software to entrust something as mission-critical as your company finances to?

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll cover:

  • The key benefits of using a mobile accounting application
  • An in-depth assessment of the 6 top accounting apps on the market right now
  • Tips from experts on choosing the ideal solution for your business needs and budget
  • Implementation best practices for seamlessly onboarding new accounting software

Let‘s get right into understanding why mobile accounting apps are practically mandatory for running a streamlined small business today.

Why Apps Are at the Center of Managing Small Business Finances in 2023

Legacy manual practices like keeping a stack of receipts and ledgers to log income and expenses simply can‘t cut it anymore for most small businesses today.

Managing taxes, ensuring compliance, keeping payments flowing quickly, having financial visibility to make smart decisions – these necessities require accounting software designed for simplicity, mobility, and automation.

Don‘t just take my word for it. According to 96% of small business owners surveyed in Intuit‘s 2022 report, utilizing accounting and financial management software is very important or extremely important to success.

Here are 5 compelling reasons why experts widely hail accounting as one of the most indispensable tools for empowering entrepreneurs today:

1. Respite from Manual Drudgery With Automation

Accounting apps eliminate tedious tasks that are prone to human error like manual expense logging, data entry, and report creation. Features like automated bank feeds, receipt scanning, and mileage trackers further remove grunt work.

This frees you up to focus on big picture strategy and growth efforts.

2. Real-Time Financial Insights at Your Fingertips

Easy access to up-to-date financial reports like profit & loss and balance sheets via your phone provides visibility into how your business is performing and where there‘s room for improvement.

3. Smooth Tax Preparation and Compliance

Come reporting season, accounting apps help ensure you have clean records of deductible expenses, tax payments on invoices are calculated appropriately, and all financial information needed for filings is easily exportable.

4. Anywhere Accessibility Plus Offline Functionality

Since accounting apps live in the cloud, you can monitor your finances from anywhere with an internet connection across the globe. Many also offer offline accessibility to continue working when internet connections are spotty.

5. Tight Integrations With Sales and Payments Tools

Leading solutions integrate smoothly with other platforms small businesses rely on daily — payroll providers, ecommerce stores, payment processors, CRMs, sourcing apps etc. This level of connectivity brings all aspects of the money flow together.

SMBs Who Adopt Accounting Software Report Up to 50% Savings in Time on Financial Tasks

_"Adopting Zoho Books cut the hours we previously spent on bookkeeping and finances by more than half. The automation and organizational features are real time-savers that allow us to focus on business growth and serving clients."_

  • Jamie Smith, CEO, Digital Branding Agency

Convinced that going all-in on accounting automation is non-negotiable? Let‘s explore the top solutions on the market right now and uncover one tailored to your business.

An In-Depth Review of the 6 Best Accounting Apps of 2023

Here is a curated shortlist of the top performing accounting mobile applications among small businesses today across crucial criteria like user experience, critical features, customer support, and value.

1. FreshBooks: Top Choice for Consultants and Creatives

Best For: Consultants, creative pros, and marketing agencies

Trusted by over 30 million entrepreneurs and freelancers around the world, FreshBooks is designed expressly for the workflows of consultants and creatives running client-service businesses.

It enables you to completely manage core accounting processes — from capturing expenses to tackling taxes — entirely via an intuitive, beautifully designed mobile interface.

Freshbooks Mobile Dashboard

Key Features and Benefits:

  • Mileage and timesheet tracking to automatically log billable hours and claim vehicle deductions.
  • Instantly scan or snap paper receipts to directly record expenses on-the-go.
  • Client portal and notifications to communicate seamlessly about invoices, contracts etc.
  • Robust reports like profit and loss, accounts aging, and expense analysis.
  • Accept online payments fast through FreshBooks‘ integrated payments solution.
  • Seamless experience working across mobile and desktop apps.

With powerful tools tailored for remote work and an extremely intuitive interface, FreshBooks is the leading choice of consultants, accountants, designers, coaches, and marketing professionals.

2. Zoho Books: Feature-Rich Pick for Startups and Retail

Best For: Startups, retailers, restaurants, inventory-based businesses

Part of the popular Zoho productivity suite, Zoho Books is favoured by growing startups and brick-and-mortar businesses for its depth of features including inventory and order management, location-based tracking etc.

It brings all the departments from inventory to sales to accounting together to give you clarity into your numbers.

Zoho Books Mobile App

Key Features and Benefits:

  • Customizable invoices and quotes to build your brand.
  • Inventory management with multi-location stock tracking.
  • Multi-channel order centralization.
  • Mileage tracking via GPS with auto field-population.
  • Bank transaction management and reconciliation.
  • Contact and deal pipeline visibility.
  • Cash flow analyses to optimize spend.

Zoho Books excels at both scaling depth alongside growth and catering to industry-specific needs like retail without sacrificing usability.

3. QuickBooks: The Legacy Leader For Product Sellers

Best For: Product companies, ecommerce owners, enterprises

A small business accounting mainstay used by over 7 million entrepreneurs globally, QuickBooks Online lets you handle accounting, payroll, payments and more from one place.

It offers tailored integrations and features for popular platforms like WooCommerce, Shopify, and Amazon.

Quickbooks Accounting Mobile App

Key Features and Benefits:

  • Create, send and track invoices and payment status.
  • Scan receipts and log mileage for taxes.
  • Accept payments via QuickBooks Payments.
  • Generate key financial statements.
  • Track billable employee hours.
  • Optimization for eBay, Amazon, and Stripe users.
  • Advisor assistance for accountants.

With products fine-tuned for ecommerce sellers and deep third-party connections, QuickBooks rules the roost when it comes to catering to product companies.

4. Wave: The Best Free Accounting Software

Best For: Solopreneurs, bootstrapped and cash-strapped businesses

Wave offers 100% free, unlimited professional accounting software for startups and small business, making financial control accessible to cash-strapped entrepreneurs.

It covers all the accounting basics like tracking income and expenses, invoicing, bank connections, and reporting. Advanced features can be added affordably later as needs evolve.

Wave Free Online Accounting App

Key Features and Benefits:

  • Invoicing, estimates, and receipt scanning.
  • Data imports from banks, PayPal, Stripe, Square.
  • Expenses, profit and loss tracking.
  • Multi-currency support.
  • Notifications and reminders.
  • Hundreds of free professional templates.
  • Affordable upgrades like payroll.

With a stacked free forever plan allowing unlimited users, transactions and basic features, Wave wins when it comes to sheer value. It lets early-stage businesses save precious capital for other priorities.

5. Xero: Beloved By Accountants for Client Collaboration

Best For: Accountant and client collaboration

Xero makes business accounting convenient while offering accountants an efficient platform to access and advise clients in real-time.

It appeals to accountants thanks to excellent accounting transparency through its live feed and activity timeline. Business owners also benefit from seamless integrations with platforms like PayPal, Shopify, HubSpot and more to centralize financial data.

Xero Accounting Mobile App

Key Features and Benefits:

  • Bank transaction categorization into income, expenses etc.
  • Instantly convert quotes into polished invoices.
  • Support to snap images of bills and receipts via mobile.
  • Automated tracking and alerts for unpaid invoices.
  • Mileage expense monitoring with GPS tracking.
  • Maximizer CRM integration for unified access to customer financial data and history.
  • Over 560 app integrations with tools SMBs use daily — Slack, MailChimp etc.

With stellar third-party integrations and real-time collaboration enabling accountants to stay up-to-date, Xero excels at interoperability.

6. Sage Accounting: Ideal for Multi-Location Organizations

Best For: Retail chains, franchises, localized businesses

Sage Accounting software brings customizable accounting capabilities catered to multi-unit enterprises like retail chains, restaurants, auto dealerships etc.

It enables unified real-time visibility into finances across all locations while allowing localized management of workflows like invoicing based on outlet needs.

Sage Accounting Mobile App

Key features and benefits:

  • Raise and customize invoices across multiple locations using 100+ templates.
  • Snap a photo of receipts and automatically log expenses to the centralized ledger.
  • Consolidated real-time reporting across stores and franchises.
  • Granular view into profit and loss by individual locations.
  • Inventory management like purchase order automation and multi-unit stock tracking.
  • Contact database centralization from all retail stores.

The depth of multi-location management capabilities makes Sage a specialized powerhouse option for large regionally dispersed businesses.

How To Determine The Right Accounting Software For Your Growing Business

Now that we‘ve explored the spectrum of leading accounting mobile applications, how do you determine which solution checks all the boxes for your expanding company?

Here are 6 tips from finance experts on choosing accounting software tailored for your needs:

Clearly Define Your Must-Have Features First

Do you need separate user logins for employees, location-based reporting for retail outlets, or advanced inventory synchronization across channels like wholesale and online stores?

Clearly outline 4-5 non-negotiable capabilities before evaluating options to zone in on the best fit.

Compare Pricing Tiers to Pick the Optimal Value

While some accounting apps have forever-free versions, they limit features. Evaluate all pricing tiers against current and future needs to get the highest value for money as you scale.

Account For Integrations With Existing Tech Stack

Choose software that smoothly integrates platforms you already use daily like Stripe, Slack, G Suite etc for real-time data flow rather than siloed work.

Opt For Specialized Solutions For Industry-Specific Needs

Ecommerce retailers need more payment processing and multi-channel order features than a professional services firm. Determine whether specialization is better over generalized software.

Prioritize Better UX For Maximum Adoption

An app with steeper learning curve means wasted time getting teams trained. Well designed mobile interfaces with thorough onboarding resources translate to quicker and wider internal adoption.

Only Select Software With Exceptional Support Channels

Nothing hurts productivity like running into account errors and having no reliable customer support routes. Ensure your choice has multiple assisted contact options like live chat, email ticketing etc.

Stick by these buyer best practices tailored to accounting technology selection and you‘ll land on automation that tick marks all boxes!

Now that you‘re equipped to select the accounting app aligned to your small business needs, let‘s run through key pointers for smoothly onboarding new financial software.

How To Seamlessly Switch Accounting Software As Your Business Grows

Transitioning from startup-grade accounting tools to more advanced solutions future-proof for scaling or ditching spreadsheets for automation can feel intimidating.

But following a structured approach will ensure minimal disruption to your financial workflows.

Here are 5 proven recommendations from CPAs to stick the landing when implementing new accounting software:

Gradually Phase in The Switch Over 2-3 Months

Rather than abruptly shutting down existing systems on a fixed cut-over date, slowly activate the new application‘s capabilities phase-by-phase so your team has time to adapt without dropping balls.

Run Both Systems Side-By-Side Briefly

Before fully transitioning legacy software, keep it running in parallel for 1-2 weeks as you activate the new application. Comparing output from both for discrepancies safeguards data integrity.

Develop Clear Internal Guidelines for Adoption

Create detailed documentation related to timelines for rollout phases, which teams own which areas of the app, how to submit bug reports/upgrade requests etc. to align everyone.

Assign Dedicated Points of Contact for Assistance

Appoint power users across teams to become experts on the app‘s relevant areas like reporting, payments processing etc. Staff can leverage these resources for quick help during onboarding.

Make Small Tweaks Gradually Post-Implementation

Avoid overhaul changes immediately after launch no matter how ambitious for expansion you are. Let users settle into existing features, then release additional capabilities through regular updates.

Sticking close to this phased launch playbook will make swapping accounting systems feel far less disruptive. The temporary overload will pay off tremendously in elevated efficiency and cost savings!

Conclusion: Enter the New Era of Mobile Accounting

Very few business software categories can promise the sheer breadth of benefits that accounting applications put at a small business owner‘s fingertips today – from major timesavings through automation to real-time insight into money matters through intuitive dashboards.

Juggling the relentless responsibilities involved in nurturing a profitable company is demanding enough without having to manually track financial data points across siloed spreadsheets.

Equipping yourself with an accounting app aligned to your workflows and priorities frees you up for big picture leadership, not grunt work data entry.

While stalwart legacy brands like QuickBooks and Xero continue dominating mainstream mindshare, don‘t dismiss newer players.

Solutions like Wave offerstripped-down yet powerful free plans perfect for budding startups while Zoho Books impresses by uniting accounting with robust inventory and order management.

The key is outlining the way you conduct business now and exactly which pain points need resolution today and 12 months from now before matching with software.

By beyond just implementing an accounting mobile app but completely optimizing processes around its capabilities, you‘ll be primed to not only manage finances seamlessly but also unlock keen financial visibility to fuel growth.

Here‘s to achieving new heights of operational efficiency on your entrepreneurial journey!