Using Mint is like kissing a unicorn. Over 10 million people use Mint.com to track their personal finances. Why wouldn’t they? It’s simple, it pushes out useful alerts, you can look at all manner of well laid out reports, and the interface is clean and user-friendly.
Compare that experience to the classic business accounting software process. Connecting unruly accounts, hours of manual entry, reports that tell you nothing meaningful about your business, and a system where you debit your assets to increase them.
What if you could combine the two? No, not bringing double-entry bookkeeping to consumer finance – bringing the unicorn to the business world.
First let’s look at how consumer sites like Mint project themselves. Here’s a screenshot from Mint.
That’s pretty. An easy view of how much cash you have, where all the cash lives, who you owe, your credit score, and alerts about recent activity. The presentation of information draws you into the system and gets you ready to interact with the system.
Most business accounting software does not provide such a friendly face. If we’re going to find a way to make business accounting less horrific, we need to find a program that is easy and pleasant to navigate.
Reporting for duty
Once you’re into the system, one of the best parts of Mint its reporting abilities. Visual breakdowns give you real insights into where your money is going and where it’s coming from. This is especially valuable for businesses trying to track their spending, customer base, and overall cash position.
Knowing your cash position at the drop of a hat is incredibly useful for a small business. Any business accounting system should make it easy to see exactly what you’ve got at any time.
Let me tell you something
Finally, Mint makes all this information active, by allowing you to setup alerts for your accounts. Some of the alerts are just updates, but many tell you when you’re getting close to your budget, remind you to pay bills, or alert you to potential fraud.
For a small business, keeping your actual spending in line with your projections can be the difference between paying yourself at the end of the month, and writing yourself another IOU. Alerts would be a great addition to any business accounting program.
Here’s an M. Night Shyamalan twist for you – you can use Mint for your small business. Now, Mint is only going to work for you if your small business is really small. You’ll need to keep the business account separate from any personal Mint account you have, and while you get reporting tools, you’ll have to do year end reporting yourself and Mint isn’t going to prepare any sort of business taxes for you.
If Mint is too small, or you want more focus on business in your accounting options, don’t worry. You could use Wave, instead. Wave is a free business accounting option, with a pleasant user interface. The range of reporting options is much more powerful, and includes general ledger reporting, income statements, and sales tax reports.
If you’re ready to pay for your accounting software, GoDaddy Bookkeeping – formerly called “Outright” – checks a lot of boxes. GoDaddy manages business reports, helps with taxes, is easy to navigate, and has a solid mobile app. GoDaddy has recurring reports that you can get monthly or weekly.
If you want to customize your alerts and have the power of business accounting, you can pair Xero accounting with AlertFactory. Xero is easy to use, offers powerful reporting features, and has a solid mobile access. AlertFactory is an add-on for Xero that gives you the ability to set your own alerts. There’s a $49 per year charge which is on top of Xero’s $9, $30, or $70 per month charge.
Finding all the strengths that Mint.com offers at the small business level isn’t straightforward. If you’re ready to shell out, though, you can find a lot of the same features. If you need more accounting software options, check out Capterra’s full accounting directory.
Header by Abby Kahler
Looking for Accounting software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Accounting software solutions.