Top 6 Accounting Software Programs for Small Business Owners

accounting software programsThe search for the right accounting software can be tedious. As the choice depends on company needs, assessment includes company size, cash flow, accounting experience and company budget. Here are 6 top accounting software programs small business owners can turn to:

Wave Accounting

Wave has come a long way since 2010 as a free, cloud-based program. Now supporting 2.5 million users, the software provides free standard features, with a visually pleasing interface. Tools include billing/invoicing, estimates, expense tracking, and advanced sales tax settings. Available on Android and iPhone, Wave has added extra features for contact management, bank reconciliation, and lending.


Used by both small business owners and accountants, Xero offers over 500 tools to provide customization for company needs. Supporting multiple currencies, Xero revolves around handling payroll and payroll taxes. Optimized for collaboration between users and accountants, data is processed through a single ledger. Users can speed processes by creating invoices via preset templates, or by sending billing or invoicing statements directly online.


Suited for small businesses, SlickPie’s cloud-based platform brings an invoicing feature for online billing and document management with pre-set themes. Financial reports provide users with business growth analytics, and automates invoicing and payment reminders. It’s free to use, and provides an additional free tool called MagicBot for automated data entry.

QuickBooks Online

Commanding as one of the most recognizable software applications, QuickBooks offers both licensed and online versions. Invoices/billing can be electronically sent to customers, and accountants can find collections, fixed asset management, and cash management tools helpful. QuickBooks provides a 30-day free trial to see if it matches company needs.


Available on iOS and web, Kashoo’s cloud-based accounting software is priced at $12.95/month (free trial available). Online training webinars as available as well as support during business hours. With the ability to track expenses and income, users can invoice customers online and access payroll and tax management features. Kashoo stands out for its ability to deal with multi-currency expenses easily.

Sage 50

Popular amongst small to medium-sized businesses, Sage 50 include features for accounts payable, accounts receivable, bank reconciliation, and cash management. The payroll and employee management features makes it a unique option amongst competitors. Priced at $29.95/month.

Which accounting software programs are best for my business?

Start with free trials and find your optimal comfort level. It helps to obtain a list of requirements from each of your stakeholders so you know what to look for. Reviews online can be helpful, but view them objectively. Finally, remember to consider tools that other businesses in your industry are using.


Marijuana Financing for Legal Cannabis Businesses

marijuana financingAs of mid 2017, medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and 7 states have legalized recreational use. This has resulted in a “pot rush”, where many enterprising individuals are entering the market to somehow capitalize on marijuana. Successful existing cannabis businesses are growing tremendously, the weak ones are getting shaken out, and new players are stepping on the scene. All of this has resulted in a tremendous need for marijuana financing, namely working capital.

Marijuana Financing and Working Capital

A great working capital product for cannabis businesses is the “future revenue advance”. This product is structured as a purchase of future bank deposits (not a loan) so it complies with — and does not fall within the reach of — state regulators. Before we get into the details of how it works, here is a quick summary of the highlights:

  • Cheaper than investors – scale growth without giving up profits forever
  • No collateral required – business or personal
  • No personal guarantee – operate with the freedom to know your personal assets aren’t at risk
  • Often unsecured by funder – some funders don’t even ask if you have collateral
  • Funding in 24-48 hours – great for emergency or opportunities
  • 4 month revenue history – just getting started? No problem.

How it works

This type of funding requires no collateral and is often unsecured. The way it works is that the funding institution will “purchase” a chunk of future revenues from the business, in exchange for a fixed payback. Payment amount is determined by past bank deposit activity, and is often represented as a percentage of historical average deposits. Basically, payback is a fixed royalty (i.e. 10% of revenue) for a fixed period of time (until paid off).

Why It Works

The future revenue purchase is ideal for cannabis businesses for a few reasons. First, the time to receive funds is usually 48 hours. Second is that it is way cheaper than investors. A relatively new cannabis business might pay a lender 20-30% over 6-18 months, but that same business would pay an investor 20-30% for life for the same amount of money. Also bear in mind that this is more expensive than a traditional product like a loan because it is often unsecured, no collateral is required, nor is a personal guarantee. Lastly, there are no limitations for which the funds can be used.

Use of Funds

Funds can be used for whatever you want, however you want to deploy them in a way that makes sense, to either exploit an opportunity or prevent a disaster. Popular uses of funds include:

  • Expansion financing – we’ve had many clients use the funds to make a down payment on a new leasehold for expansion of their growth operations. Many cannabis businesses are on the hunt for new, bigger locations and are being outbid by their competitors. Having the capital in hand to back up your bid goes a long way. Funds can also be used to purchase heat lamps.
  • Acquisition financing – now that the market is becoming (relatively) more mature in states like Colorado and Washington, smaller players are realizing the struggle and offering their businesses up for sale. This is allowing the bigger players to capture more market share at scale. The revenue advance can be used to acquire existing businesses or assets from a business.
  • Working capital – sometimes businesses simply need the extra cushion in their bank account to bridge them to busy season. Or to hire new staff. Whatever the reason may be, this is a great marijuana financing solution provided however you have the margins to support the payback.
  • Emergency capital – as a business owner you know things can go wrong and fast. Having access to liquidity can help you prevent disaster by affording you the ability to remedy the situation as needed, and in a timely manner.

Example Marijuana Financing Deal

A typical revenue purchase for a cannabis business that averages $100,000 in deposits would look like this: the funder would purchase $125,000 of future revenues in exchange for $100,000 up front. Viewed differently, the amount the cannabis business would receive is $100,000 and the payback would be $125,000. Payments are usually 10% of average monthly deposits, or $10,000 in this case. So the payback time would be slightly over a year ($125,000 divided by $10,000 = 12.5 months).

Minimum Requirements

The revenue purchase is fast and flexible, so it is not overly burdensome for a cannabis business to obtain marijuana financing. Usually, here are the requirements to obtain a quote:

  • 1-page application – business name, Federal EIN #, etc. must be a business entity applying
  • 4 month revenue history – evidenced by bank statements, deposited into a business checking account, not a personal account

After you’ve obtained a quote, and you’d like to proceed with funding, the following is required:

  • Proof of ownership (i.e. tax return schedules)
  • Copy of a voided check
  • Bank statement and account verification
  • Copy of owner’s drivers license
  • If over $75,000, financial statements (P&L and balance sheet)

Contact us today if you’d like to learn more!


What is a Merchant Cash Advance (“MCA”)?

For a quick, one-time capital infusion into your business, the merchant cash advance (“MCA”) is an excellent option. MCAs, also known as credit card receivables funding, are a form of cash flow financing. The structure of an MCA is a lump sum of capital up front, in exchange for a fixed payback amount. Payments returned to the funder are received in the form of a fixed dollar or percentage of revenues (effectively a royalty) until the agreed upon repayment amount is met.

Payments are withdrawn directly from the bank account, on a daily or weekly basis, or remitted directly by the credit card processing company. The business’ cash flow (bank deposits or credit card processing volume) is the basis for funding as an option for short-term financing. As collateral is not required with a MCA, it is a suitable option for companies with few assets.

With same-day funding available, the typical turnaround for an advance is 2-3 business days. Often, deals under $100,000 are funded on the same day.

Benefits of an MCA

Merchant cash advances have many benefits. First off, MCAs are highly flexible, accommodating cash flow needs. Lower credit scores are not an issue, as the minimum FICO requirement is 500. Securing an MCA also helps re-establish and improve your credit score. Funding is secured by future cash flow, so if you have a solid cash flow but no assets, you can still qualify. Additionally, securing an MCA requires little stipulation compared to bank financing.

To obtain an offer, an application and four months of bank statements are required. If you process credit cards, your merchant statements will be requested as well. The financing company will require minimal documentation in order to close: a driver’s license, proof of ownership, and a void check. For larger deals, additional information such as your financial statements will be required.

MCA versus other options

When considering funding, it is good to bear in mind that equity is the most expensive option. Equity requires that a percentage of profits and losses are shared with your investor indefinitely. For MCAs, payback is provided as a fixed royalty for a fixed period. It’s perfect for high growth companies, capitalizing on opportunity, preventing disaster, or bridging your business to busy season. However if you are simply delaying the inevitable and your business is in a downward spiral, an MCA can hurt your cash flow significantly. So be careful!

Opting for a MCA is popular for many reasons. Purchasing inventory at volume in order to receive discounts can be completed quickly with an MCA. Having a short-term financing option on-hand for emergencies such as equipment failure can keep operations running smoothly.