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the-best-accounting-tools-compared

The best accounting software 2020: 5 secure solutions

Lena WimmerLena Wimmer 6 min read

The issue of finances is extremely important for every company, although it is often rather annoying. After all, bookkeeping is part of it, right? Expenses, income, invoices, taxes, balance sheets - all this becomes tiring and complex quite easily. But if you have the right software, everything will be much easier and above all faster!

So, there is no harm in comparing a few providers with regard to the essential functions. No sooner said than done: 5 GDPR-compliant Saas accounting tools - Candis, Fastbill, sevDesk, Billomat and Debitoor.

What should an accounting software include?

Because accounting is an extremely complex subject, a good accounting solution must have quite a lot to offer these days. Nevertheless, there are big differences in the functional range of accounting tools. This is partly because not every company needs the same scope. Just think about this: the legal requirements to which large corporations are subject can be much more extensive than those that apply to small companies or freelancers. For example, double-entry bookkeeping will not be necessary in every company. Before deciding on an accounting software, it is therefore necessary to ask yourself the following question: which functions are actually relevant for my accounting?

With our article we give a first overview of the most common functions - in other words: what can and what must a solution for accounting include?

With this we would like to provide an indication for the selection of the right accounting software and show which criteria should be taken into account. You will get a first insight into the five providers mentioned above.

Key functions of accounting software - what can you expect?

Accounting and digital administration of all documents

Let's start with one of the basics - the accounting of financial receipts and payments.

"No posting without a receipt!" After all, this is the most important rule in accounting. Every financial transaction that has to do with the company - the purchase of equipment as well as the business lunch - must be proven by a receipt. A good accounting software supports this by enabling the digital recording and administration of receipts, reading them and possibly even posting them in an automated process. In any case, there are input fields provided for this purpose, which already indicate which information is to be recorded. The postings then form the basis for further accounting processes towards the end of the year, such as the annual financial statement, the profit and loss statement, etc.

Candis Smartbooks - Love for detail & everything completely automatic.

Accounting tool Candis

Candis Smartbooks is a special provider that has set a special focus on accelerating accounting through artificial intelligence (AI). The software automatically imports invoices from e-mails and over 4,500 different websites. It uses artificial intelligence to identify discounts, maturities and account movements and to create payment lists. Users don't have to worry about missing documents - Candis sends notifications as soon as they are available.

Fastbill – Automated and time saving accounting.

Accounting tool Fastbill

Fastbill is designed to meet the needs of self-employed professionals and small businesses. Accounting is as easy as forwarding an e-mail. Documents are either forwarded to your Fastbill account by e-mail, moved by drag & drop or integrated using your smartphone camera. Fastbill also has automatic data recognition for all documents that are added.

sevDesk – As easy as taking a picture.

Accounting tool sevDesk

sevDesk, too, meets the expectations of everyone who likes to automate processes. The provider included a special sevScan app for digitalization. Users take photos of their invoices and sevDesk then processes all the data automatically using AI. In addition to scanning, you can also use ‘traditional’ options like the drag & drop function of course.

Billomat – Accounting without much fuss, always and everywhere.

Accounting tool Billomat

Another provider that relies on automatic text recognition is Billomat. Receipts are automatically digitized after they have been transferred via camera, by manually adding files or by using the automated PDF search of forwarded e-mails. Billomat also helps to categorize all documents to provide a better overview.

Debitoor – Made for freelancers and small businesses with love.

Accounting tool Debitoor

Debitoor is aimed at freelancers and small businesses and allows for adding receipts and categorization with just a few clicks. This includes – as with the other providers as well – an upload function via camera, email and drag & drop. Striking is - as we will see - the wide range of functions despite high user-friendliness.

Creating and managing invoices

sevDesk Fastbill Candis Billomat Debitoor
Automated dunning yes no no yes yes
Creating invoices yes yes yes yes yes
Features for online banking yes yes yes yes yes

Accounting, settlements, reporting

With the help of the accounting functions, a good software solution can now produce all kinds of reports. The most important ones are the following:

  • revenue-surplus account (EÜR)
  • profit and loss account (P&L)
  • opening balance sheet and the closing balance sheet
  • business analysis

In Billomat, sevDesk and Debitoor EÜR can be created automatically. Both sevDesk and Debitoor offer the possibility of creating a P&L statement – the latter even provides the option of creating a balance sheet and has a function for automatic depreciation. The alternative of these functions remains the cooperation with the tax consultant.

sevDesk Fastbill Candis Billomat Debitoor
revenue-surplus invoice yes no no yes yes
P&L yes no no no yes
balance sheet no no no no yes

Relevant interface: ELSTER for the turnover tax advance return

For most companies - i.e. all companies liable for VAT - an ELSTER interface is one of the most important functions, because for them the periodic turnover tax advance return is mandatory. If an accounting tool includes an ELSTER-interface, the process can be simplified. The turnover tax advance return can then simply be created from the data available in the system and automatically sent to ELSTER.

DATEV interface for the cooperation with the tax consultant

DATEV is the standard tool most tax consultants work with, which is why an interface to DATEV is standard in the repertoire of most accounting tools. This becomes particularly relevant in those cases where certain accounting processes of a company are too complex to be able or willing to do them in-house. What cannot be done independently is given to the tax consultant. If data can be exported and transferred from the company's own accounting software to that of the tax consultant (and vice versa), it will save a lot of time and effort. A DATEV-interface is therefore one of the must-haves for accounting tools.

How about our accounting software providers?

sevDesk Fastbill Candis Billomat Debitoor
ELSTER yes no no yes yes
DATEV yes yes yes yes yes

Additional information: Of the tools mentioned, at least sevDesk, Fastbill, Billomat and Debitoor have an API (similar to the Stackfield-API), that can be used to connect the respective tool to other systems.

Accounting of working hours

Large teams as well as small teams and freelancers have to deal with the recording and accounting of working hours. For this reason, some accounting tools offer features and integrations for calculating remuneration. So, there are also better solutions than complex excel sheets.

Fastbill has its own time tracking system that makes it easy to invoice projects with clients. Other vendors rely on integrations with external tools for this purpose. Billomat, Debitoor and sevDesk for example work with Clockodo and mite.

Decision-making: Must-have-features for accounting solutions at a glance:

Let's take a look at everything that could be relevant for you as a user. As already mentioned: Requirements are individual. There is probably no perfect accounting software that covers everything. Thus, you should take a close look at the functions and reconcile them with your own expectations and demands. Providers do have a lot to offer. So, what will you pick?

Functionality and special features

Ultimately, demand and supply of various functions determine the final choice:

  • Digitize receipts: Can vouchers and invoices be digitally recorded, evaluated and booked? (Keyword: text recognition) Are they then also categorized or otherwise clearly prepared?
  • Managing invoices: Can invoices be generated and if so, what functions does the program offer in this context? For example, if you operate internationally, you should ensure that other currencies can also be set. What about subscription invoices?
  • Cash book
  • Wage and salary administration
  • Automated dunning process
  • Creating revenue-surplus account
  • Creating profit and loss statement
  • Functions for balancing and transmission of the balance sheet to the tax office
  • Fixed asset register + automatic depreciation

Interfaces & Integrations

Another important factor - as has probably already been shown – are options to connect the accounting tools to other services, e.g. with interfaces.

  • DATEV interface
  • ELSTER interface
  • API
  • Integrations individually considered useful (e.g. the above-mentioned Clockodo for time recording)

User-friendliness

Good is everything that simplifies the complex processes. And some tools offer a little more comfort than others.

  • Remember and link: Can the business bank account be linked and reconciled with the accounting software and can templates be used to have all the information at hand for later bookings?
  • Be mobile: Is there a mobile solution for the accounting software and what about usability and functionality?
  • Technical support

If you are uncertain, you should take advantage of the free trial period, to get yourself a comprehensive overview of the tools. Our listing offers guidance when choosing a suitable accounting software. As long as the most important features are covered, the one key factor for decicion-making should be your personal feeling.

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Lena Wimmer
About the Author:
Lena Wimmer is Product Marketing Manager at Stackfield. She is passionate about American literary history, great content and cinematography.
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