Every business can benefit from using proper accounting software. While QuickBooks (and its more lightweight sibling, Quicken) may rule the roost, that does not mean that they are the right choice for every organization. If you need an accounting package but want to look at alternatives to QuickBooks, here are five choices to consider.
Xero is a Web-based accounting system that is easy to use. It may be a bit simplistic for a larger enterprise, but for a small to-midsize business, it works great. It has an API that lets you integrate your applications with it, and it can handle businesses in a variety of countries. As an online application, it is easy for your team to collaborate with Xero.
GnuCash has the advantage of being free and open source, and it has a large community to provide help. It has all the basic accounting functions down pat and can run on a wide variety of platforms. One drawback (common to the less sophisticated or less expense products in this space) is that you can't have multiple users working at once, although you can share the data file so that multiple users can work with the same data.
Peachtree is not a single product, but a line of products with different editions, much like QuickBooks. Peachtree's offerings range from the less complex and inexpensive to a sophisticated product that addresses a huge range of needs at a fairly high price. On a feature-by-feature basis, Peachtree stands toe-to-toe with QuickBooks.
inDinero has an SMB orientation, much like Xero. But inDinero is focused much more on reporting and providing a dashboard to help you understand your financial situation than it is on the nitty-gritty aspects of money management. For example, you can't directly manipulate your bank account from inDinero. inDinero is definitely a fresh approach to accounting that is especially appealing to those without a trained accountant as a regular staff member.
FrontAccounting, like Xero and inDinero, is a Web-based package. Unlike them, you install it on your own servers. And to sweeten the deal, it's open source. FrontAccounting is not just an accounting package, either. It's a full ERP system with the ability to handle inventory, purchase orders, and similar items that interact directly with your money flow but fall outside the "accounting" umbrella. If you have more sophisticated needs and Peachtree is out of your price range, FrontAccounting is something you should look at.
Justin James is an OutSystems MVP, architect, and developer with expertise in SaaS applications and enterprise applications.