Accounting 2.0

For some strange reason, people think that accounting and accountants are not all that exciting. So, I am pleased to see accounting startups hitting the headlines and making watching your numbers cool again.

While I love and use Freshbooks for invoicing, I have yet to make the switch to the web for running the accounting for my business. Believe me, I would love to. Not only do I oversee the books for my business but also for many of the startups I am involved in. If I only had to open my browser to access the books for these companies, I’d be a happy guy. But, I am not sure if these new accounting apps are ready for prime time.

Techcrunch covered newcomer Outright yesterday. I have begun playing around with it. I’ve also spent time in packages like Less Accounting, Xero and Canada’s own Clarity Accounting. They all serve a need, but are not true accounting packages in my view.

Perhaps that is the point of them. Maybe they’re not designed for CFOs. If so, that’s a shame. Your business may be small today. You may wearing all the hats. But, in the Stephen Covey spirit of beginning with the end in mind, the reason you started your business presumably is to grow it. So, by definition, at some point your business will grow to the point where you don’t have to keep the books yourself. And when you do bring on accounting help, they won’t like these packages. At least not as they are today.

Until these web services run faster (I find all of them to be slow to load which is an issue when dealing with lots of transactions and reports), handle complex cross border tax issues (like Canadian startups face when they also have US operations), and have all the reports that are needed to run a high growth business, I’ll have to keep using the same old school accounting packages I always have.

I truly am hoping that the next wave in accounting software is coming and truly want a web service for this. But today’s offerings are just not there yet.