Project finance · Accounting

Recommendations for cloud-based accounting application for startups?

Brooks Isoldi Developer at Traversed

October 6th, 2015

Can anyone recommend (based on personal experience) a good web/cloud-based financial / accounting application? 

This question is for a very early-stage startup (self-funded so far), that really only came together in the last couple of months.  They're in development of the technology and are beginning to incur some costs and they would like to begin with a financial platform that is easy to use, simplistic in nature, flexible and has all of the basic features needed for organizing their finances.

I have the following characteristics in mind:

- Priced for a very-early stage startup (monthly cost, preferably without a contract)
- Able to integrate (input and output) with other applications for features such as importing / exporting of data, linking to accounts
- Customizable report generation
- Ability to enter / upload invoices (great if it can pay the invoice, but not required)
- Ability to generate branded invoices to clients
- Easy navigation
- All of the modules are well integrated with one another
- Cost projection
- Multi-user web-based environment
- Mobile application (preferably iOS)

They're looking at the popular ones (e.g. Freshbooks, Quicken), but thought I would ask here as well to see if there are any recommendations.


Alex Eckelberry CEO at

October 6th, 2015

I have gone through this pain. I think the easiest is just to get a QuickBooks Online account. That's what I did. When we get bigger, we'll go to Intaact. 

Simon Hill Wazoku CEO, Entrepreneur in Residence at INSEAD

October 6th, 2015

Xero is the best product on the market for price, ease of use, bank feeds, invoicing, mobile etc. 

Stephen Mitchell

October 7th, 2015

Quick comment on developing your own application - when I was speaking with my regional rep for  tax credit for R&D and I mentioned that I may just have my own simplified CRM developed specifically for the few things that I want to do (something I have done before), he pointed out that this piece would *not* be something they would participate in - because there are so many crm's to choose from already. 

He sat there, and waited for my reaction - and it was immediately clear that yes, it would be far cheaper to pay to integrate than to pay to develop. And that our focus remains on developing *our* product, and not redeveloping the wheel.

Just something to think about.

Peter Johnston Businesses are composed of pixels, bytes & atoms. All 3 change constantly. I make that change +ve.

October 7th, 2015

One of the big mistakes startups make is that they take on a developer or CTO. For the first few months he/she is very busy doing the basics - the product architecture, website etc. 

But then they move into the peripheral stuff and their answer to everything is "we can build our own" - it is their way of embedding their value in the organisation.

This, however, distracts them from the task in hand - building a better product which meets customer wishes so well that the numbers go up. Suddenly they are too busy running the accounting systems, or the HR systems, or the CRM - the product gets neglected.

And if they leave, they leave behind a tangled mess of bespoke software no-one can untangle.

There are a number of things you will need which are specialised tasks. And in specialised tasks, the person doing them every day for thousands of customers will always know more than the one-off. And if you actually add it up correctly, they're cheaper too.

My suggestion here, however, is to rethink the whole idea of accounting. Accounting is an old hangover from the days of having to send out invoices and wait for the cheque. Of double entry book keeping and ledgers.

Now it should happen automatically - the minute someone takes on your service, their payment should be in the system and posted to all the ledgers automatically as part of an e-commerce system. That way everyone knows what's going on in real time - what cash is available, what your burn rate is etc. - without waiting for order processing or accounting.

Don't implement an accounting system - implement an e-commerce system.

Chris Fell Inbound Marketing Pro | B2B Marketer

October 6th, 2015

Hi there, we just switched to Xero. its been a really really good experience, they are doing a really great job for nearly everything you mentioned. Cloud based, monthly fee, first few months free, let em know if you'd like to know more. Warm regards Chris Fell Founder & MD Mobile: 0402 340250 Direct: +61 2 8014 5521 General 1300 426765 Skype: clfell Twitter: clfell Company Website | Blog | Linkedin | Twitter | Pinterest Authorised partner: Hubspot, Authorised partner: MathMarketing, . The information in this email, including attachments, is a confidential communication between g2m solutions and the intended recipient only. If you have received this communication in error please contact the sender immediately and erase all copies of this message and attachments.

Stephen Mitchell

October 6th, 2015

Have a look at WaveApps - very simple.

Scott Hughes Finance Professional

October 6th, 2015

Take a look at Xero

Katherine Gaffney Founding Partner at Xcelerate Financial

October 6th, 2015

I recommend QB Online to all my clients. It's easy to customize for the level of complexity you want and it will be easy to hand off to the accountants when you are ready.

Phillip Lewis Assisting BUSINESSES achieve GROWTH objectives.

October 6th, 2015

Hi Brookes.

My experience says that this is a decision that is reliant on you finding something you are comfortable with. By that I mean that some people don’t like a system that others might love (One man’s meat another man’s poison). I would recommend that you use trials to experiment with.

Most of the packages use the same work flow so once you set up a client and do an invoice, run a banking account, allocate the payments and understand the level of reporting from the system you will have a good idea if this is for you.

I also suggest that even once you make the decision to go with a specific system that you run it parallel with your current system to check for consistency in the information, as well as if something goes wrong you can ‘pause’ the new system to resolve without stalling your operations.

Also expect to change systems as your business grows and business needs change.

There are many options available on the web. Some are industry specific and others more general in their approach to the solution.

For me the following is key:
Can you import bank accounts
Is there an option to manage projects (do cost/profit centres)
The level and types of reporting
The access restrictions and security around this
The support given
Costs for the system
Upgrading or exporting information to other systems

Some links I have (not sure if they are still active), include:


Hope this information helps and good luck.

Julian Wilson Co-founder & CEO at Khunu Limited

October 7th, 2015

Xero, particularly if you are outside of the US and working in multiple currencies. We've been using it for two years and have no complaints.