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Top 3 Accounting Software: Comparison of FreshBooks, Sage 50cloud & NetSuite ERP

Category: B2B News
What is the best accounting software?
The best accounting software is FreshBooks because it is easy to use but robust, with invoicing, time tracker, expense tracker, reporting, and more features in one intuitive app. It is a fit for those looking to streamline their financial management process at an affordable price.

What do you look for in accounting software? Financial management aside, it can and should do more to streamline other business processes tied to company transactions. Inventory, payroll, and expense tracking, these are but some of the critical areas your accounting system should integrate with, if not address with built-in tools.

With this in mind, we rounded up three high-performers, FreshBooks, NetSuite ERP, and Sage 50cloud, accounting solutions that can tie together the loose ends of your inbound and outbound transactions.

Of course, the meat of our comparison still lies in the core accounting features. You’ll learn below how these three solutions are as different and similar to each other. Likewise, where one may be superior over the other, or vice-versa, we emphasize the context, so you get the big picture. After reading through this guide, you will have a clear understanding of the key accounting features you should aim for, and ultimately, the solution worth your dollar.

leading accounting apps

What are the Top 3 Accounting Software?

There are many benefits of accounting software for businesses big and small. For one, it helps make running a business easier through accurate and speedy bookkeeping. This is especially helpful for business owners with less accounting knowledge.

It helps that the latest SaaS trends point to the fact that artificial intelligence is poised to further optimize business processes, including accounting, to augment human capabilities.

Imagine AI taking over contract interpretation or analyzing broad and seemingly disparate financial trends. It’s all about efficiency to overcome the top accounting challenges faced by business owners.

Top Accounting Challenges Faced by Businesses

Source: "State of Small Business Report." Wasp Barcode Technologies.

Even today’s accounting solutions for small businesses are more than capable of addressing top accounting challenges. What you want, though, is to get a system that grows with you, and in this article, we have just the right set to compare.

FreshBooks, NetSuite ERP, and Sage 50cloud are all scalable, flexible, and robust. But it is in the details where they differ. The ideal solution for you will depend on your requirements, so pay attention to the little things below.

1. FreshBooks

freshbooks dashboard

If you are a small or growing business, then  FreshBooks might be what you are looking for. First off, it is designed for smaller businesses; a majority of FreshBooks users have less than 50 employees. That is not to say bigger companies can not use this app, they can, and they do.

A key feature of this is that it is cloud-based, which provides security and accessibility. In line with this, it also has a mobile app, allowing people to use FreshBooks outside the office. On top of all that, it has an easy to understand interface, making it a breeze to use.

FreshBooks makes tedious tasks like invoicing and expense tracking easier. Keep your receipts organized by taking a picture and putting it in the FreshBooks system. Also, FreshBooks keeps track of your time. You and your team can log in, and the time worked is reflected in the invoice.

Using FreshBooks, free up more time by automating tasks like client follow-ups. You can use that time to assess how your business is going through FreshBooks reports. These reports help you get an overview of how your business is going. Meanwhile, it is not too simplified, and your accountant will still find it useful.

If you want to see how it works, sign up for FreshBooks free trial here.

FreshBooks

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Try out FreshBooks with their free trial

Key takeaways:

  • It has a time tracking feature for businesses and teams.
  • It comes with a mobile-ready platform.
  • It automates business tasks like client follow-ups.
  • Easy to use interface makes it very easy for new users with little accounting knowledge

2. Sage 50cloud

Sage 50 dashboard

Sage 50cloud is accounting software for solo business owners and smaller companies. It has three service tiers, with the top tier allowing for over 11 users. Its features include tasks like bills payment, invoicing, and expense management.

In line with invoicing, this software has a job costing feature to helps determine labor costs. It also tracks the expenses that go into any deliverable. Conversely, Sage 50cloud also helps in accounting for revenue.

That in mind, you can link your bank account to the app. This lets you cross check your expenses and revenue with your account. You can also securely access this information remotely. Access can be granted to members of your team and your accountant. Sage 50cloud also lets you delegate tasks to your staff.

Another feature of Sage 50cloud is Sage Intelligence. This gives you insights into your business. Users can easily analyze the information from it for use in reporting and business planning purposes.

Sage 50cloud is a great accounting solution, especially for Windows users. A feature they highlight is its integration with Microsoft Office 365. All you need for it is the licensed Office 365 software. If you need help with the integration, Sage has a comprehensive support section for it.

Additionally, Sage 50cloud forms are compliant with GAAC, CCPA, GDPR, EIN, and more. Something your accountant will appreciate.

If you are interested in this software, simply sign up for Sage 50cloud free trial here.

Key takeaways:

  • Invoice customers with ease and accuracy (includes job costing).
  • Reconcile expenses and revenue with a linked bank account.
  • Integration with Microsoft Office 365.
  • Sage Intelligence generates easy to understand reports on your business.

3. NetSuite ERP

netsuite erp dashboard

NetSuite ERP is the accounting software for bigger companies. More than accounting, it is a multi-functional platform for managing your business. With it, users can make faster daily financial transactions. This is done through its many management functions.

One of these functions is supply chain management. With it, you can analyze demands and review sales forecasts to create a business plan. For support, use automated functions like case tracking, warranty registration, and repair.

There is also production management. With it, you can plan and schedule materials when your operation needs it. Plus, manage and maintain products for the duration of their shelf life with barcodes.

NetSuite ERP allows users to have a better view of business operations. That is part of the benefits of being a cloud-based platform. This app allows for a realtime look at the different aspects of a business. See your operations from a consolidated level down to even individual transactions.

You can see all the software’s features at no cost when you sign up for Netsuite ERP free demo here.

Key takeaways:

  • Streamlined financial transactions through multiple management features.
  • The cloud-based format allows for both broad and specific view of daily business transactions.
  • It is designed for bigger businesses that track and move physical products, for example.

Comparison of Key Features

Now that we have an overview of these products, it is time to get to the top 3 accounting software comparison.

Expense Tracking

You need to spend money to make money. But tracking your expenses can be hard and tedious. In this section, we look at how these accounting solutions can help you stay on top of your spending.

With FreshBooks, you can connect your bank account or credit card. It gives you daily updates on recent expenses. It lets you stay organized by keeping your receipts digitally stored. Just take a picture and enter it into the system. It even has features to help you with taxes and client billing.

Using Sage 50cloud also allows you to track billable expenses. It keeps track of what you spend and what you earn. Then you can automatically reconcile those numbers with your linked bank account. This also has instant bill payment capabilities to keep you on top of your finances.

Meanwhile, one of the purposes of NetSuite ERP is to streamline business processes. One way it does this is by letting you manage money across the world in real-time. It gives you insights into global transactions on bank accounts and credit cards. Plus, it gives you an automated multi-book General Ledger feature.

Verdict: This one goes to FreshBooks. All three have good expense tracking, but FreshBooks simplicity gives it the win.

freshbooks expense tracking

FreshBooks’ clean and neat expense tracking UI.

Billing and Payments

Invoices and payments are important; they are how you get paid. Let us see how our top 3 accounting software fare in this category.

With NetSuite ERP, users get the dedicated SuiteBilling. This lets you connect transactions, projects, and subscriptions to the billing engine. It allows for the creation and management of complex rating models. Plus, it supports recurring bills

For payments, you get SuitePayments. It lets you accept credit and debit card payments, as well as other cashless options. It helps you stay safe by enforcing controls like card verification processes. With it, you can handle transactions across many countries in multiple currencies. Plus, you can offer partial payment options.

Sage 50cloud, on the other hand, can track your billable expenses. These include job costing and material expenses. With it, you can manage project orders, complete with quotes and proposals. These items you can convert to invoices. Their payment solution is powered by Stripe or Paypal.

FreshBooks offers similar billing and payment features. It also allows for international transactions as well as credit card payments. Customers can make payments through the sent invoices. This makes it easier for you as FreshBooks will automatically record such transactions.

Also, the app lets you automate as much or as little as you want in the payments process. You can send the best invoices that fit your business by creating them with FreshBooks. This app also allows for retainers, which help you build a steady cash flow.

Verdict: All three have robust offerings in this section. But, the scale and variety that NetSuite ERP offers cannot be ignored.

netsuite erp invoicing

NetSuite ERP invoicing is robust but a bit complex for simple billing.

Operations Management

Using Sage 50cloud helps you grow your business by keeping track of everything. It gives you inventory tracking and management thorough serialized inventory. It helps you have your item information at the ready so that you can focus on your customers.

Similarly, FreshBooks has a comprehensive time tracker, so you see how long tasks take to get finished. You can even create time trackers for projects with specific clients — no need to always check the clock. With the tracker, just log in, and you will get the logs at the end of a task.

You also get an overview of project statuses. In line with this, you can chat and share files with your team and your clients for better collaboration. Plus, through the FreshBooks App, you can do all these on the go.

Using NetSuite ERP lets you oversee your day to day operations. These include viewing order statuses and ensuring product quality at the procurement stage. With this app, you get a better view of operations like supply chain, production, and fulfillment.

Verdict: Sage 50cloud wins this round. It offers a bit more than FreshBooks in terms of inventory. At the same time, it is more simple compared to what you can get with Netsuite ERP

Reports and Insights

This category will look at how these apps present your information. Most accounting software take the numbers and make reports. But, another feature is they present your data in a way that gives you insight.

Using Sage 50cloud gives you one-click reports for sales, taxes, and more. From the dashboard, get a quick look at where your business stands. In an instant, check your receivables, expenses, inventory, and funds.

With NetSuite ERP, get a better overview of your business with dashboards and KPIs fit to your role. It uses both standard and out-of-the-box report types for a variety of ways to see your finances. Also, the report builder tool lets you make the report that fits your needs fast. Then, customize reports layouts to highlight key aspects for presentations.

The NetSuite ERP reports feature also tracks your statistical and operational data. That way, it can give you a more comprehensive view of your business. Lastly, the statements and reports are compliant with standards like US GAAP and IFRS.

FreshBooks lets you create the reports you need from your dashboard. Access important files and make tax filing easier. Their reports include features like color-coded breakdowns, Accounts aging, and standard accounting reports. You can even filter financial reports by clients, team members, and dates.

Verdict: For ease of use and comprehensive reporting, this section goes to FreshBooks.

freshbooks reports

It is difficult to not like the simplicity of how FreshBooks lays out your reports.

Integrations

FreshBooks has an extensive list of apps that it can integrate with for improved functionality. With Dropbox, tracking your business expenses becomes easier. HubSpot lets you manage your clients more smoothly. Then Paypal lets you give your customers more payment options.

The app itself is available for Android and iOS. It also allows you to access what you need on FreshBooks from your mobile device for added mobility.

A key feature that Sage 50cloud offers is its integration with Microsoft Office 365. It works with both the MS Office Business Premium and the full MS Small Business Productivity Suite. Doing so allows for secure cloud sharing for you and your team.

Similarly, NetSuite ERP offers integrations with Microsoft Office tools like Outlook and Excel. Still, being part of NetSuite, it is integrated with other solutions from the same company. For example, they have SuitePeople as an HR solution.

But, it has SuiteCloud, an integration solution for applications and systems. Some of these programs include SalesForce and Google Apps. The great thing about this is that integrations are customizable with Netsuite ERP.

Verdict: This round goes to FreshBooks. In as much as NetSuite ERP can do more, there is more value in the simplicity of FreshBooks for growing businesses.

Pricing and Support

FreshBooks takes the cake when it comes to the lowest entry point: $15 per month. If you’re looking for an affordable way to get an accounting app now, this app will surely work for you. But its true worth can be seen at how it scales to your growth requirements. FreshBooks’ tiered plans are designed exactly for that, letting you, for instance, bill up to 500 clients in its Premium Plan ($25 per month).  You can also get a custom quote if the business is really thriving.

Meanwhile, Sage 50cloud’s entry point is at $50.58 per month. You get job costing, easy invoicing, and secure remote access. With the premium plans, you can manage multiple companies and enjoy role-based security. Clearly, Sage 50cloud doesn’t give you much room to maneuver your cash flow around.

As for Netsuite ERP, you would have to contact them for their price. It offers so many features that you can customize your plan according to your needs. The app also provides top-notch support with webinars, white papers, live chat, and more. On the flip side, this means that if your accounting needs are just taking off, NetSuite ERP is not the best choice.

Verdict: For what it offers at its prices, Freshbooks takes this category.

Which accounting software is for you?

Going through our top 3 accounting software comparison, FreshBooks emerges as the best in terms of scalability, intuitiveness, and pricing. That is, talking about small to medium businesses and fast-growing startups. It’s the same primary market targeted by Sage 50cloud.

However, NetSuite ERP is best for enterprises. So, until you grow the business to that level, you’re better off with FreshBooks and Sage 50cloud. You don’t want to use NetSuite ERP for small-scale transactions. That’s like utilizing an all-terrain vehicle for city driving. What you want is a compact solution that packs in the goods you need. You need not take our word for it because using all FreshBooks’ features at no cost is possible. Simply sign up for FreshBooks free trial here.

Incidentally, you may have a unique requirement for accounting. You can check out our guide on accounting software for Mac or free accounting solutions.

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

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