The key to any successful business is having a solid financial foundation to create a profit. What makes a business profitable is ultimately having more money coming in, than money going out. A pragmatic accounting system allows a business to efficiently monitor your business’ income and expenses to keep your profits on track for success. If you are failing to audit the expenses of your business, you could be hindering the growth of the company.

A lot goes into the day to day of keeping a business financially stable, from invoicing to paying employees, managing accounts payable, and tracking inventory costs. Introducing a feature rich accounting software can help automate some of these tasks, in addition to making financial information more accurate and accessible for staff. Having a better comprehensive understanding of the details of your finances ensures that you are making the best decisions for your business, and avoiding losing profits, mismanaging inventory, or paying late fees.

As a Canadian manufacturer of digital signs, sports timing and scoreboard equipment, we manage multiple projects simultaneously while also maintaining payroll of several employees and a large inventory of equipment. In order to efficiently grow our business to serve more clients, we knew Harris Time needed an efficient accounting software that could automate many of these tasks, and house a multitude of financial information easily accessible to our team. We analyzed the top competitors of cloud-based accounting software to see which could best support the functions of our business, with the most reasonable pricing model.


Quickbooks has a scale of membership options, ranging from low cost and basic to more expensive with advanced functions. They start with an option for self-employed at only $3/month, with basic functions for invoicing and tracking expenses. Their 3-tiered business membership options all include the ability to manage payroll, starting at $6/month and max at $50. Quickbooks’ Plus package offers a great deal of features including the ability to project profits and track inventory.

This type of tiered-system software is great if your business is in the early stages, or you are intending to grow your business in the future. You only pay for what you need, with the option to upgrade to add more features as needed. 


Wave is a popular free software for that works well for freelancers and small businesses, but it may not bode well for those looking for advanced capabilities to help manage a growing business. It only has one membership option which is free, other than the option to add payroll services. Although it does host a plethora of basic services, including invoicing, profit & loss statements, and expense tracking it does not offer the type of features a larger business would require, such as cheque capabilities, advanced inventory tracking, or accounts payable.

Free may seem appealing, as all businesses need to save money where they can, but when important financials are concerned, it is imperative to have an accounting software that can keep up with the demand of your business.


Xero is another multi-tiered system that allows you to upgrade and add advanced features as your business grows. It’s pricing structure is competitive with Quickbooks, and even allows you to add additional users at no cost. This system allows you to invoice in multiple currencies, manage payroll, handle project management, and track inventory. One of the benefits of the Xero software is the range of plugin options available for a multitude of different industries (including our industry, manufacturing).

Compatible apps allow you to add personalized features such as integrating advanced payment processing, connecting with ecommerce websites such as shopify, or setting up a detailed, automated inventory system, saving you a great amount of time. Having a myriad of plugin options means a customized accounting experience that can automate many processes, and eliminate the need to hire accounting services.  

Quickbooks Desktop

If a cloud-based monthly subscription doesn’t sound like it would suit your business, Quickbooks Desktop is a great option for small to medium sized businesses. It allows you to work offline and has one-time payment options for multiple different versions. There are also alternative versions available for specific industries including: general business, general contracting, manufacturing & wholesale, non-profit, and professional services. The industry specific versions have some features that the cloud based software doesn’t, allowing you detailed command of your inventory and comprehensive profit data.

Whether you are looking to effectively track your time, create automated expense reports, manage your invoices remotely from your phone or tablet, or establish detailed project budgets, a feature rich accounting software will help you accomplish your business goals. Being acutely aware of the entirety of your finances will help you to make better decisions for growth in the future.

After careful consideration it was determined that Quickbooks Desktop would work best for our business, mostly thanks to the array of features that were directly beneficial to our industry. Consider the specific needs of your business, and the benefits a feature rich accounting software can provide when choosing the best option for you.

By Chakraborty

Dr Chakrabarty is the Chief Innovation Officer of IntuiComp TeraScience. Earlier she was Assistant Professor of Delhi University, a QS ranked university in India. Before that she has held research positions in IIT Mumbai, IIT Chennai and IISc Bangalore. She holds 2 patents and over 20 research publications in her name which are highly cited. Her area of research is in smart technologies, integrated devices and communications. She also has a penchant for blogging and is an editor of Business Fundas.