Best accounting software 2024

May 24, 2024
4
minutes to read
by
Jelina Rosin
Table of Contents

Traditional accounting software promises convenience and simplicity, but the reality can be a far cry from that.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is shaping the accounting and tax landscape. Manual processes, error-prone spreadsheets, and tedious reconciliations are giving way to AI-powered solutions like Thriday. These innovative tools streamline workflows, allowing business owners to focus on strategic growth.

However, not all accounting software is created equal. Many existing platforms need to catch up in key areas, leading to frustration and missed opportunities. Let's explore these pain points and determine the best accounting solution for you and your business needs.

Problems with traditional accounting

The time-consuming data entry nightmare

Older accounting software often lacks robust data import features, forcing you to manually input transaction details. This is tedious and prone to errors that can snowball into significant financial mishaps.

Thriday eliminates this headache with automatic transaction import and smart categorisation. Say goodbye to manual data entry and hello to accurate, up-to-date financial records. EOFY shouldn't be a data entry marathon.  Here's a helpful EOFY checklist so you can enjoy a calmer tax time.

Bank feeds that leave you wanting more

Some platforms, like Xero, offer bank feeds that can be a hassle to set up and often provide limited historical data. This makes it difficult to access crucial information for tax purposes or reconciliations.

Thriday's direct bank integration ensures smooth, real-time data sync with your accounts. Access your complete financial history with ease, no matter when you connect.

Clunky reports and frustrating user experiences

Certain software, like QuickBooks, may have inflexible reporting features or user interface quirks that make simple tasks unnecessarily complicated. A user reported QuickBooks crashing when trying to send forms with more than four invoices attached, highlighting a potential internal buffer issue. Due to software limitations, this simple task becomes an exercise in frustration.

Another user described the inconvenience of QuickBooks not automatically populating customer email addresses when sending invoices via email. This seemingly minor detail adds unnecessary steps to the workflow, disrupting efficiency. 

Fortunately, Thriday offers customisable reports, seamless invoice sending, and a user-friendly experience that won't leave you pulling your hair out. Learn more about the differences between Thriday and QuickBooks here: https://www.thriday.com.au/compare/thriday-vs-quickbooks

Mobile accessibility gap

Many platforms limit you to desktop access, hindering your ability to manage finances on the go. Limited mobile apps or lacklustre features can lead to frustration and delays.

Thriday's mobile-first design means you can control your finances anytime, anywhere. Track expenses, approve invoices, and access key reports from the palm of your hand.

Stagnant innovation and limited functionality

Older software can feel stuck in the past, lacking the cutting-edge features that modern businesses need to thrive. Separate programs for payroll, inventory, and tax create disconnected workflows and additional costs.

Thriday offers an all-in-one solution with built-in payroll, inventory management, and tax features. Say goodbye to fragmented systems and enjoy a truly integrated financial management experience.

Pricey plans with questionable value

Many platforms often nickel-and-dime you with expensive plans and add-ons for essential features. Some may even offer bank account-like features without the protection of government schemes.

Some traditional software may not offer actual bank account functionality, meaning government schemes do not protect your funds.

These software "bank accounts" are not actual bank accounts. They don't hold your funds directly and are not backed by government financial claims schemes, like the Commonwealth Financial Claims Scheme (CFCS) in Australia.

What does this mean for you?

You might lose your hard-earned business income due to a software failure or company insolvency. Since these "bank accounts" aren't protected by government schemes, your funds might not be recoverable. 

Thriday's transparent pricing includes all the features you need to manage your business finances effectively without breaking the bank. Plus, Thriday offers a real bank account backed by the Commonwealth Financial Claims Scheme, ensuring your funds are protected.

Features to consider when looking for accounting software

1. Comprehensive automation

Automation is the backbone of modern accounting software. If you're tired of manual data entry and repetitive tasks, look for software like Thriday. This unique approach to automation combines banking, accounting, and tax functions into a single platform. 

Thriday automatically categorises transactions, reconciles GST, and generates financial reports, saving you valuable time and minimising errors. Other software options like Xero also excel in automation, providing features like invoice creation, expense tracking, and bank reconciliation.

Accounting software designed to automate tedious tasks
Accounting software designed to automate tedious tasks

2. Australian-specific compliance

Navigating Australian tax laws and accounting standards can be complex. Choose software specifically designed for the Australian market to avoid penalties and ensure compliance. Thriday shines in this area, as it's built with Australian tax laws in mind and automatically calculates and lodges your BAS. 

3. Advanced reporting and analytics

Beyond basic bookkeeping, your accounting software should provide in-depth insights into your business's financial health. Look for customisable reports, financial forecasting tools, and built-in analytics that help you understand profitability, cash flow, and areas for improvement. 

Thriday's real-time cash flow and tax forecasts give you a clear picture of your financial situation, while Xero and QuickBooks Online offer a wide array of customisable reports and financial dashboards.

4. Integration and scalability

Your accounting software shouldn't exist in isolation. Ensure it integrates smoothly with other essential business tools you use, such as bank accounts, invoicing software, or inventory management software. 

Additionally, choose a solution that can scale alongside your business. As you grow, you'll need software to handle increased transaction volumes and user accounts without sacrificing performance.

5. Cloud-based functionality

Cloud-based accounting software offers unparalleled convenience and flexibility. You can access your financial data from any device with an internet connection, collaborate with your team in real-time, and benefit from automatic updates and backups. 

This means you're always working with the latest version of the software, and your data is secure. Thriday, Xero, and QuickBooks Online are all excellent examples of cloud-based accounting software that prioritise accessibility and collaboration.

Thriday customer
Thriday customer

Compare the Accounting Software Options for Australian Businesses (2024)

The world of accounting software is constantly evolving, with new solutions emerging to address the unique needs of Australian businesses. While traditional options may still work for some, it's important to be aware of their limitations. 

The following top-rated software rundown represents a range of innovative solutions, each with its own strengths and potential drawbacks. Consider your specific business requirements and explore these options to find the perfect fit for your financial management needs.

Thriday: The best overall solution for Australian small businesses

Thriday is a game-changer, revolutionising financial management for small businesses in Australia. This innovative platform seamlessly blends banking, accounting, and tax features into one cohesive solution.

Key features include:

  • Up to 10 bank accounts* with an auto allocation feature so you can put your business budget on autopilot
  • Invoice software designed to help you get paid fast
  • Expense management including automated receipt reconciliation
  • Automated accounting software including asset and liability register to maximise deductions and minimise tax
  • Cash flow calculation and forecasting
  • BAS and tax lodgment direct lodgment to the ATO from the same platform you do your banking

Cash flow powers businesses and the data coming in and out of the bank account is the source of truth for every important decision a business needs to make. Why wouldn't the same platfrom you use for banking also power your accounting?

Pricing: Plans start at AUD 0/month for access to free banking*, a free trial for one month, going up to AUD 29.95/month for the Timesaver Plan

Best recommended for Australian small businesses and sole traders who want an all-in-one banking, accounting, and tax solution prioritising profitability. Companies will be able to join soon!

Pros: It combines banking, accounting, and tax features, automates BAS and GST compliance, has an intuitive interface, real-time reporting, competitive pricing, and uses a unique Profit First methodology for financial management.

Cons: If you have an accountant they may get scared you're taking away their day job 😉

Want a demo? Book one here!

Thriday - all-in-one financial management platform for small business
Thriday, the all-in-one financial management platform for small business

QuickBooks

QuickBooks, owned by Intuit, boasts a global user base of over seven million businesses. Their highly versatile cloud-based platform offers desktop and mobile access (iOS and Android).

Quickbooks

Key features include automatic bank syncing, multi-currency transactions, recurring transaction setup, and workflow automation. QuickBooks also integrates with hundreds of third-party apps for e-commerce, expense management, and more.

Choose from four pricing tiers: Simple Start (basic), Essentials (small businesses working with suppliers), Plus (growing businesses), and Advanced (larger businesses with 5+ employees).

Pricing: Plans start at AUD $25/month (Simple Start), scaling up to AUD $110/month (Advanced).

Best recommended for Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) seeking a comprehensive solution with advanced features and extensive integration options.

Pros: Extensive feature set (invoicing, expense tracking, reporting, inventory management, project tracking), vast app integrations, scalable for growing businesses.

Cons: Can be expensive, basic plan lacks certain features (e.g., recurring transactions), learning curve for complex features, some users report bank feed issues.

For a direct comparison between Quickbooks and Thriday check this out.

Xero

Xero is an Australian powerhouse with over 3.25 million customers worldwide. Their platform offers robust accounting tools for businesses of all sizes.

Choose from four plans: Starter, Standard, Premium 5, and Ultimate 10. They frequently offer discounts and add-ons.

Xero accounting software
Xero accounting software

Xero excels at Australian-specific features, including superannuation tools and intuitive mobile apps. The Xero App Store provides thousands of integrations.

Pricing: Plans start at AUD 32/month (Starter), going up to AUD 115/month (Ultimate).

Best Recommended For More complex businesses that have the resources and budget for accounting and bookkeeping services.

Pros: Ubiquitous with accountants, robust Australian-specific features (e.g., superannuation, BAS), app integrations.

Cons: Notoriously terrible support. Higher price point, basic plan limited to single currency, no money-back guarantee, some users experience limitations with bank feed functionality and historical data access.

For a direct comparison between Xero and Thriday check this out.

MYOB business

Previously MYOB Essentials, this software is favoured for its user-friendly interface. Key features include invoicing, expense management, payroll processing, financial reporting, and even built-in CRM tools.

MYOB Accounting Software
MYOB business

MYOB Business offers a "Lite" plan for new customers, along with Pro, Plus, and Premier plans for increasing features.

Pricing: Introductory offers start at AUD 5/month (Lite), scaling up to AUD 170/month (Premier) after the discount period.

Best recommended for Small businesses comfortable with accounting basics and seeking a user-friendly platform with built-in CRM capabilities.

Pros: Intuitive interface, built-in CRM for higher tiers, customisable invoices and reports, strong payroll features.

Cons: It can be expensive after introductory pricing, limited free trial options, and some find the interface less modern.

For a direct comparison between MYOB and Thriday check this out.

FreshBooks

FreshBooks caters to freelancers, self-employed individuals, and small businesses focusing on client management, billing, payments, and overall business management.

Freshbooks Accounting Software

The most basic plan is competitively priced, offering features like unlimited expenses, estimates, and invoices (for up to 5 clients).

Pricing: Plans start at AUD 19/month (Lite), going up to AUD 70/month (Premium). Custom pricing available for larger teams.

Best recommended for Freelancers, consultants, and service-based businesses who prioritise invoicing, time tracking, and project management features.

Pros: Good for invoicing and time tracking, user-friendly interface, project management features, affordable for smaller teams.

Cons: Fewer features for larger businesses and limited reporting capabilities may not be suitable for complex accounting needs.

For a direct comparison between FreshBooks and Thriday check this out.

Zoho Books

Zoho Books offers a free plan suitable for businesses with under $50K AUD in annual revenue. It includes multi-lingual invoicing, client management, and automated payment reminders. Premium plans are available for larger businesses.

Zoho Books stands out with its inventory management tools, making it suitable for retailers and manufacturers.

Zoho Books Accounting Software

Pricing: Free plan for businesses under AUD 50K annual revenue. Paid plans start at AUD 16.50/month (Basic), scaling up to AUD 319/month (Ultimate).

Best recommended for Budget-conscious businesses, especially retailers and manufacturers, who need a feature-rich solution with strong inventory management.

Pros: Feature-rich free plan, affordable paid plans, strong inventory management, integration with other Zoho products.

Cons: There is a steep learning curve, the interface may feel cluttered for some, and there are limited third-party integrations compared to others.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can accounting software help me get my BAS lodged correctly? 

Yes! Several platforms, notably Thriday, automate BAS calculations and lodgment, minimising errors and ensuring compliance. Xero and MYOB also offer BAS preparation features.

What's the difference between single-entry and double-entry accounting software?

Single-entry: Simpler, often used by sole traders, records transactions once (like a chequebook).

Double-entry: This method is more comprehensive and is used by most businesses. It records each transaction twice (debit/credit) for better accuracy and financial insight. Most modern software uses double-entry.

Is cloud-based accounting software safe for sensitive financial data? 

Reputable providers prioritise security with encryption, regular backups, and robust access controls. For added assurance, look for certifications like ISO 27001 and SOC 2.

Can I switch accounting software if I'm unsatisfied with my current one? 

Yes, but it can involve data migration challenges. To make the transition smoother, research software that offers easy data import/export or professional migration services.

Do I need an accountant even if I use accounting software? 

Software automates many tasks, but an accountant provides valuable expertise, especially for tax planning, complex financial situations, and business advisory services.

Can I try accounting software before committing to a paid plan? 

Most accounting software providers offer free trials or demo versions, allowing you to test the features and interface before subscribing. This is a great way to see if the software fits your workflow needs.

Is cloud-based accounting software safe? 

Yes, reputable cloud-based accounting software like Thriday, Xero, and QuickBooks prioritise data security with encryption, regular backups, and multi-factor authentication. This ensures your financial data is protected and accessible only to authorised users.

Which accounting software is best for Australian tax compliance? 

Thriday stands out for its automated BAS lodgment and GST compliance features, making it a top choice for Australian businesses. 

The Verdict

The headaches of manual data entry, clunky interfaces, and disjointed systems can drain your time and energy, leaving less room for what truly matters: growing your business.

Thankfully, a new generation of accounting software is emerging, led by pioneers like Thriday. It's not just about ticking boxes; it's about a seamless experience where your financial management feels intuitive and integrated, not like a separate, stressful task.

The best accounting software isn't one-size-fits-all. It's about finding the perfect fit for your unique needs. Whether you're a tradie juggling projects, a retailer managing inventory, or a freelancer helping clients, the right software can distinguish between struggling to keep up and thriving with confidence.

The question isn't whether you need modern accounting software, but which one will help you make your Monday mornings not as stressful as they are. With so many options available, don't settle for outdated methods. Embrace the tools designed for how you work today so you can focus on building the business you envision tomorrow.

DISCLAIMER: Team Thrive Pty Ltd ABN 15 637 676 496 (Thriday) is an authorised representative (No.1297601) of Regional Australia Bank ABN 21 087 650 360  AFSL 241167 (Regional Australia Bank).  Regional Australia Bank is the issuer of the transaction account and debit card available through Thriday. Any information provided by Thriday is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether Thriday is appropriate for you.

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