September 20

Which Accounting Software Is Best For Businesses In Canada?

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Accounting software can help manage your budget and accounts payable and receivable while allowing you to become better at tracking your financial health. However, with so many different accounting software options available, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here we look at the top accounting software options available in Canada to help narrow down your choices.

best accounting software for businesses in Canada.

QuickBooks

This is probably the most recognized name in accounting software. It has helped set the standards for accounting interfaces with exceptional ease of use and reporting. It provides what many business owners find to be an excellent all-in-one solution, including an online payroll function. If you need highly comprehensive accounting software for an established business, this is the right choice for you.

Advantages:

  • Improved visibility with a centralized dashboard
  • Expense and inventory tracking
  • Customized reports
  • Allows multiple users
  • Automated payment approval
  • Accounts payable reminders
  • 24/7 support with online training
  • Invoicing and batching
  • Mobile app for key functions

Disadvantages:

  • Does not offer industry-specific features
  • Difficult to learn due to multiple functionalities
  • Has limited file sizes for uploads
  • Limits the number of transactions
  • Peak times can be slow loading for the online version, such as during tax season 

Xero Accounting

Formally known as Accounting 2.0, this software offers a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for even the least savvy users to learn quickly. When wondering which accounting software is best for small businesses, this is a great starter software for smaller, growing businesses.

Advantages:

  • User and mobile friendly
  • Enables batch payments
  • Strong integrations
  • Ongoing updates
  • Tracks hours in real time

Disadvantages:

  • Payroll function only accommodates up to 4 employees
  • Limited reporting and tracking categories
  • No search functions
  • Limited customization for invoices 

FreshBooks

As a Toronto-based company, FreshBooks is a great option for Canadian service and project-based companies.

Advantages:

  • Time tracking and project management functions
  • Real-time invoice tracking
  • Customized invoicing

Disadvantages:

  • Very few accounting features
  • Limited users and billable clients
  • Limited access to the mobile app
  • No real reporting features
  • No payroll function, although it can be integrated with Gusto 

Sage Accounting

When wondering which online accounting software is best, Sage Accounting often comes to mind. They have been around since 1981 and now offer two accounting software packages: Sage One for freelancers and small businesses and Sage 50 for small to medium businesses. It then offers different packages allowing companies to choose the ideal functions based on their needs and budget.

Advantages:

  • Accepts multiple currencies
  • All features are available on the mobile app
  • Multiple integrations with third-party apps
  • Project tracking, ideal for freelancers

Disadvantages:

  • No time tracking
  • Limited report customization
  • Interface feels outdated
  • Payroll function only available with Sage 50 for up to 10 employees
  • Only available as a cloud-based software 

Wave Accounting

Another Canadian company, this software is owned by H&R Block. This is a free software with additional coaching and bookkeeping services available for a fee. You can add on payroll and online payment processing for an additional cost. It is best for service-based companies looking for a free software solution with limited accounting members to manage day-to-day finances.

Advantages:

  • Free
  • Easy interface
  • Accommodates unlimited users and invoices
  • Accessible from anywhere
  • Has its own third-party integrations

Disadvantages:

  • As free software, you can’t upgrade
  • Not a scalable solution
  • Only works with existing third-party integrations
  • Only offers email customer support
  • Limited invoice and quote customization
  • As a free app, it shows ads when in use
  • Payroll function is only available at an additional cost 

Zoho Books

Although located in India, Zoho does have an office in Cornwall, Ontario. It is best for growing companies thanks to its excellent scalability. It also offers integration capabilities with the most popular business apps. It is best for service-based companies that need CRM integration.

Advantages:

  • Simple, easy-to-use design and layout
  • Automated payment reminders
  • Mobile friendly
  • Ideal for service-based businesses

Disadvantages:

  • Number of users is based on plan type
  • Integration is limited to Zoho suite
  • Limited invoice customization
  • Only offers payroll and EFT payment processing through third-party integration 

What To Consider When Choosing Accounting Software

what to consider when choosing accounting software for businesses in canada

To help you find the best accounting software for your Canadian business, consider the following:

Your Accounting Set-Up

  • Do you have an accounting team, accountant, or bookkeeper? Are they in-house or outsourced?
  • Are you currently paper-based or mostly digital?
  • What types of invoices do you tend to receive, electronic or paper?
  • Do you still use spreadsheets?

Type Of Business

The products and services you offer impact your choice. Some software is product-based, while others are service-based. You need software that adapts to your charging methods. Also, the number of customers you have can impact your choice, as many software options limit the number of unique invoices you can send, often based on varying package levels. Tracking billable hours is also very specific when compared to functions such as tracking inventory. So, understanding the functionalities and features, along with each function’s limitations, is key.

Payroll

Many accounting software companies do not offer a standard payroll function. They either charge extra, limit the number of employees, or require a third-party integration. Again, it is often based on package levels that dictate the number of employees allowed.

Taxes

You want accounting software that helps facilitate the tax return process and offers automated tax reporting or tax completion. This will make tax season easier, so tax function tends to be a worthwhile investment.

Desktop vs. Cloud

Desktop accounting software is a one-time purchase and doesn’t need an internet connection. However, it becomes outdated quickly and costs more. It is also limited by licensing, so to use it on multiple computers, you have to pay more. You’ll be responsible for backups as well and will usually pay for upgrades each year. The software also doesn’t tend to be as integration-friendly and does not include a mobile app.

Cloud software costs less, although it usually has a monthly fee. Although you need an internet connection, cloud software can be accessed at any time, from anywhere. It automatically updates, usually for free, and includes at least some free cloud backup and storage. Cloud software also tends to be more integration-friendly.

A man holding a smartphone with a payment screen on it - desktop vs cloud accounting software

While choosing accounting software can be complex, this guide helps narrow down your choices. Another option is to outsource your accounting and bookkeeping functions with a provider that can help find a software solution ideal for your needs.

For more information about outsourcing your accounting needs, click here to book a free consultation with the accounting experts at Intrepidium.

Ryan Roch, CEO Intrepidium Consulting Inc.

About the author

Ryan Roch is the CEO of Intrepidium Consulting, offering customized Bookkeeping, Accounting, Fractional CFO, and Tax Preparation Services to small and medium-sized businesses. With extensive experience in financial reporting, strategic planning, budgeting, compliance, and cash management, Ryan helps clients overcome financial challenges, gain clarity, and achieve their growth objectives.


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accounting software, accounting software for businesses in canada, small business in canada


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